Maybe you’ve noticed subtle smells of lavender and lemon coming from your coworkers cubical. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing that lady in the gym, who’s been dotting her temples and under eyes with oil and suddenly the room smells of grapefruit and peppermint. Or maybe you walked out of yoga class with feet smelling of frankincense. And perhaps you’ve noticed that as a result of all this, your mood has become a little bit lighter at work, post-work out your ‘high’ lasts a little bit longer, and that yoga class really made you feel totally blissed out! So, could all of this feel-goodness be result of the powers of essential oils? While the jury is still out in the world of modern science and research (although it is increasing), the overwhelming amount of testimonials is a resounding, YES!
Aromatherapy is a field of complementary medicine (treatment that is provided in coordination with standard treatment) where plant materials and aromatic oils are used with a goal of altering ones physical, mental, and emotional state of being. Many companies and aromatherapists have made aromatherapy and essential oil use more widely available to every day consumers by providing access to things like eucalyptus essential oil, without the end user having to spend hours collecting, processing and extracting the oils on their own.
Essential oils seem to be popping up everywhere. There’s no shortage of social media posts and recipes for DIY home and body care products on the internet, and it’s nearly every day at work that someone brings up the topic of oiling for this reason or that. So where’s a person new to the world of aroma therapy to start? Are all oils created the same? How do I know if they’re safe to use? This chart below provides a really nice overview of basic oils/ uses. My advice? Start slow. A few basic essential oils can be a really great place to start without spending a fortune on an oil you may not even really have a use for.
Most important to keep in mind, is that various brands tout that they are the most ‘pure’ or of ‘therapeutic grade’, etc., but know that there’s not really any regulation out there on these claims. They live in the same category with all other foods, drugs and cosmetics we consume on the market today, where the manufacturer is bound by the honestly policy. So, do your research and draw your most common sense conclusion. If something seems fishy or one brand is significantly higher priced than most all others, you could be wasting your pennies. Similarly, if a brand is selling oils a price far lower than the market average, it could very easily be a synthetic – which defeats the purpose of aromatherapy to start with. Asking around before you buy is always a good idea.
This table lists some common oils and uses. Remember, this advice is not used to treat or prevent any disease and should not take place of seeking medical treatment, but merely additional tools in the tool kit for your curious mind to explore.
Essential Oil Uses for Cleaning and Home
All-purpose cleaner: Add three drops each of lemon oil and tea tree oil to a few ounces of warm water, then spray countertops to naturally disinfect.
Natural mosquito repellent: Combine one drop each of lemongrass oil, citronella oil and eucalyptus oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil to make natural bug spray and rub on exposed skin. Reapply as needed.
Sports gear: If your kids play sports, add two drops each of tea tree oil and lemon essential oil to one quart of warm water; next add four tablespoons of baking soda and mix. Use to clean ripe (!) jerseys, cleats and sports gear.
Clean air: Diffuse cinnamon essential oil in the air and enjoy its anti-microbial properties.
Homemade peppermint patties: Use peppermint oil, coconut oil, dark chocolate and raw honey to make real peppermint treats.
Washing machine: Add 10-20 drops of your favorite scent per load.
Vacuum cleaner: Add 5-10 drops of your favorite oil in your vacuum bag or dust container.
Homemade sunscreen: Mix coconut oil, zinc oxide, shea butter, helichrysum oil and lavender essential oil, then store in a squeeze bottle to make homemade toxic-free sunscreen.
Eliminate shower curtain scum: Using a 16-ounce spray bottle, use four drops of eucalyptus essential oil and four drops of tea tree oil (melaleuca) with warm water; spray onto your shower for natural mold killing action.
Clean burnt pans: Use a few drops of lemon oil and some boiling water to help remove burnt food from pots and pans.
Wonderful smelling home: Diffuse clove, rosemary and orange essential oils when guests come over, and they will talk about how amazing your house smells.
Carpet cleaner: Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with Borax for homemade carpet powder.
Kill pests: Spray orange essential oil and clove oil to kill pests on contact.
Lavender cake: Mix coconut flour, raw honey, organic eggs and lavender essential oil and bake at 350 degrees.
Eliminate mold: Add tea tree oil to your diffuser to kill mold and other pathogens in the air.
Christmas scent: Add a drop of pine, sandalwood or cedarwood oil on a fire log about 30 minutes before burning.
Reduce anxiety: Diffuse lavender essential oil around your home to reduce feelings of stress and tension.
Spiritual enlightenment: Diffuse frankincense essential oil while praying, meditating or reading to increase spiritual awareness.
Bathtub scrub: Mix one-half cup of baking soda, one-half cup of vinegar and five drops of bergamot or lime oil; use as a scrub for a sink or bathtub.
Freshen trash can: Put a cotton ball with two drops each of lemon oil and tea tree oil at the bottom of the trashcan to help decrease the odor and detoxify.
Wash produce: To clean fruit and vegetables, add two drops of lemon oil to a large bowl of water then wash.
Clean kitchen smell: Add a few drops of clove, cinnamon or citrus essential oil to a simmering pan of water to get rid of cooking odors.
Bathroom freshener: Put a cotton ball soaked in lime or lemon oil behind the toilet for a bathroom refresher.
Purify fridge: To freshen up the fridge or freezer when cleaning, add a few drops of lime, grapefruit or bergamot oil to the rinsing water.
Mint tea: Use 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil in your favorite tea for a hint of mint.
Eliminate smoke: To remove cigarette smoke, put four drops of rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle and spray around the house.
Detoxify the air: Add peppermint and eucalyptus oil to a gallon of paint to dispel fumes.
Get rid of shoe smell: To remove the smell from shoes, add a few drops of tea tree oil and lemon oil to freshen them up.
Bridal shower gift: For a cute bridal shower gift, create a “love potion” with essential oils. Use 20 drops of sandalwood, and four drops of cocoa, vanilla and rose oil to unscented lotion.
Baby shower gift: Give a wall diffuser with a lavender scent to calm the mom and baby.
Flavored lemon water: Use 2-3 drops of lemon oil in water for a delicious citrus flavor.
Cleaner dishes: Add a few drops of lemon oil to the dishwasher before washing for a spot-free rinse.
Physician kit: Makeover your medicine cabinet and create a family physician kit with essential oils of lavender, lemon, peppermint, tea tree, oregano and frankincense.
Essential Oil Uses For Spa and Relaxation
Improve sleep: Lavender oil can alleviate insomnia. Sprinkle a few drops on your pillow to help you fall asleep.
Body butter lotion: Mix coconut oil, shea butter, magnesium oil and essential oils for moisturizing body lotion.
Homemade lip balm: Combine coconut oil, beeswax and lavender oil for an amazing healing balm for chapped lips.
Relieve tension: Help to relieve anxiety by using a single drop of lavender oil on your hands, rub together, and cup your hands to your nose and let the smell flood your senses.
Massage therapy: Use a few drops of cedarwood or lavender oil, mixed with an unscented lotion during a relaxation massage.
Immediate relaxation: Apply 2-4 drops of chamomile, lavender and peppermint essential oil to your temples for a cooling effect and immediate relaxation.
Detox bath: Mix lavender oil, epsom salts and sea salt to a warm bath to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.
Sauna therapy: Add two drops of your favorite essential oil into two cups of water in a sauna.
Calm upset child: Help sooth and calm children by adding lavender or chamomile to their stuffed animals.
Foot bath: Add a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil to a large bowl of warm water to help soothe the feet.
Improve depression: To boost mood and relieve depression, add rose oil to baths, inhalations and diffusers to improve mood.
Yoga and Pilates: To relax during yoga or meditation, inhale lavender or sandalwood before class. Also, mix clove and citrus essential oil to clean yoga mats.
Mint chocolate cocoa: Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to hot cocoa for instant minty chocolate!
Essential Oil Uses for Skin and Beauty
Reduce cellulite: Mix five drops of grapefruit essential oil with two teaspoons of coconut oil and massage into dimpled areas.
Natural perfume: Use 1-2 drops of jasmine essential oil on your wrist as a fresh natural fragrance. Lavender and vanilla also agree with most women, while cypress and clove work well for men’s cologne.
Acne face wash: To get rid of acne, make a homemade face wash by mixing tea tree oil (melaleuca) with raw honey and rub on your face. Then rinse off with water.
Freshen breath: Use a drop of peppermint essential oil for a natural way to freshen breath.
Homemade shampoo: To make homemade shampoo, mix lavender oil, rosemary oil, aloe vera gel and coconut milk. Use as you would regular shampoo. It lasts 2-4 weeks.
Homemade deodorant: Combine coconut oil, beeswax and your favorite essential oils like cedarwood and clove oil for men and lavender and tea tree oil for women.
Sugar scrub: Mix a few drops of an essential oil with almond oil and rock salt or sugar to make your own salt or sugar scrub.
Homemade toothpaste: Combine sea salt, baking soda, coconut oil and xylitol with peppermint essential oil to make homemade remineralizing toothpaste. Then brush.
Body spray: Add 5-10 drops to four ounces of water and use as a fragrant body spray.
Itchy scalp: Add lavender, cedarwood or basil essential oil to shampoo to reduce itching.
Thicken hair: Add rosemary to shampoo to naturally thicken hair and increase volume.
Strengthen nails: Mix 10 drops of frankincense, myrrh and lemon essential oils into two tablespoons of vitamin E oil, then rub on cuticles.
Reduce wrinkles: Mix 3-5 drops of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and frankincense essential oils with an unscented lotion and apply to face. Avoid applying to eyes.
Teeth whitener: Combine lemon essential oil, coconut oil and fresh strawberries, then rub on your teeth. Rinse after two minutes.
Cure dandruff: Mix five drops of rosemary and lavender essential oils with three tablespoons of unscented oil. Massage into your scalp and leave on for 10 minutes. Shampoo mixture out.
Reduce stretch marks: Mix five drops of frankincense, myrrh and grapefruit essential oils with coconut oil and apply to stretch marks.
Facial scrub: Mix one-fourth cup yogurt, one-fourth cup cornmeal, and five drops of patchouli, grapefruit and lavender oil. Apply to face and wash off.
Natural skin toner: Mix eight ounces of water with two drops of lavender, geranium and frankincense.
Deep hair conditioner: Mix 15 drops of rosewood with five drops of sandalwood and lavender into unscented oil. Place mixture in a small plastic bag and dunk into warm water to heat up. Apply to hair and wrap for 20 minutes. Shampoo as usual.
Reduce age spots: Put on frankincense essential oil three times daily directly on skin to improve sun spots and age spots.
For oily hair: Mix 10 drops of ylang ylang, lime and rosemary oil with two ounces of unscented oil. Massage it scalp 2-3 times per week. Wash out as usual.
Heal dry cracked feet: Add three drops of lavender oil to two tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply to the feet at night and put on some socks.
Relieve nausea: Breathe in peppermint oil through your nose to alleviate nausea, and also apply to your neck and upper chest. Ginger and lavender may also help.
Essential Oil Remedies and Natural Medicine
Migraine headache relief: Try combining a few drops of lavender oil and peppermint oil and apply to temples to help with headaches and migraines.
Reduce cough or sinusitis: Eucalyptus oil is known for its powerful ability to fight coughs and open airways. Add a few drops into steaming hot water or diffuser. Inhale to help clear nasal passage.
Repair broken bones: To support healing of broken bones, apply helichrysum, fir and cypress essential oils.
Heal burns: Mix lavender oil with aloe vera to treat burns.
Soothe bug bites: Use lavender oil for bug bites and stings.
Improve digestion; Take ginger oil, peppermint oil and fennel essential oil to support digestion and healing leaky gut.
Bronchitis and asthma remedy: Make a homemade vapor rub by combining eucalyptus, peppermint and coconut oil. Rub on your chest and neck.
Treat bruises; Use essential oils as a hot compress to treat bruises or other wounds. Add five drops of lavender and five drops of frankincense to four ounces of hot water and soak. Apply to affected area.
Improve concentration: Inhale bergamot, grapefruit or peppermint oil to increase concentration during the day.
Sore feet soak: Add 10 drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of Epson salt and add to a warm-water foot bath.
Reduce teeth grinding: Massage 1-3 drops of lavender on the bottom of the feet and behind ears before bed.
Relieve PMS: Mix two drops of sage, basil and rosemary, then apply to a warm, moist hand towel and apply to abdomen.
Eczema and psoriasis cream: To treat eczema, psoriasis or red dry skin, apply a mixture of lavender essential oil with shea butter.
Improve circulation: Add 8-10 drops of grapefruit essential oil to warm bath water.
Relieve hangover symptoms: Add six drops each of juniper berry, cedarwood, grapefruit, lavender, rosemary and lemon oil into a warm bath.
Curb food cravings: Inhale peppermint and cinnamon oil to reduce your appetite and balance blood sugar.
Energize your workout: Inhale peppermint oil before a workout to reduce fatigue.
Reduce fever: Add 1-3 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender to a cool cloth and sponge the body.
Relieve motion sickness: Use peppermint, lavender and ginger oil to reduce motion sickness.
Arthritis relief: Mix two drops of wintergreen, cypress and lemongrass into an unscented lotion. Massage into affected areas.
Treat ringworm: Combine three drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and massage over the affected area twice a day.
Head lice cure: Mix three drops of thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oil with unscented oil and apply to scalp. Cover head with a shower cap and leave on for 30 minutes. Shampoo out.
Heal blistered skin: Mix two drops of tea tree oil with two drops of unscented oil and apply to the blistered area up to five times per day.
Soothe a sunburn: Combine lavender or chamomile oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the skin with a cotton ball to reduce swelling and pain.
Treat poison oak or poison ivy: Mix three drops of peppermint oil with unscented oil and apply to affected area.
Lose weight: Combine grapefruit, ginger and cinnamon oil and take as a supplement three times daily to support metabolism.
Boost immune system: Mix one drop of oregano oil with four drops of carrier oil and rub on the bottom of your feet before flying on a plane.
Achy muscle rub: Mix eucalyptus, wintergreen and cypress with an unscented lotion or coconut oil and apply to muscles.
Reduce morning sickness caused by pregnancy: Add a few drops of wild orange, lemon or ginger oil to a handkerchief and inhale.
Improve allergies: Rub frankincense and lavender on your palms and inhale deeply to relieve itchy eyes and throat.
Kick a cold fast: Take three drops of oil of oregano and frankincense three daily for one week.
Reduce back and neck pain: Combine peppermint, cypress and ginger oils with cayenne pepper and coconut oil for a homemade pain relieving muscle rub.
Of course, there are seeminly endless uses for essentil oils to replace industrially made products. What are your favorite ways to get oily?