Essential oils can be your secret to a healthy and balanced emotional life. They are extracted from natural sources using steam distillation and other processes, such as expression or solvent extraction.
These oils are popular in the perfume, cosmetic and aromatherapy fields. You can use essential oils for room diffusion, soothing baths, massage, inhalation, or topical application.
However, before using them topically, do a patch test on a small area of your skin to rule out the possibility of allergy and skin irritation.
Plus, use of certain essential oils such as tea tree oil, rosemary oil, etc. may not be suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Essential oils are also used as flavoring agents in food and drinks as well as for adding scents to incense, air fresheners and household cleaning products.
To enjoy their beauty and health benefits, keep one or two bottles of your favorite essential oils on hand.
Here are the top 10 most popular essential oils and their health benefits.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil, made from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, has a fresh, camphor-like scent. Health experts refer to this essential oil as a ‘medicine cabinet in a bottle’, due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, expectorant, insecticide and stimulant properties.
You can use this essential oil to cure almost all topical infections and diseases. Just a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with carrier oil helps treat toenail fungus, dandruff, boils, warts, insect bites, and head lice.
If you do not have sensitive skin then you can simply moisten a cotton swab, add a drop of tea tree oil, and dap it on the affected area.
It even helps fight vaginal infections, clear chest congestion, eliminate body odor and improve oral health. In addition, you can use it as an effective insect repellent.
Note: Never take tea tree oil internally, which can cause side effects including confusion, hallucinations, drowsiness, unsteadiness, severe rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and general weakness. This essential oil is not suitable for small babies or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
2. Rosemary Essential Oil
This essential oil has strong, fresh, camphor-like aroma. It is commonly used in cosmetic and housecleaning. You can use it as a part of aromatherapy to give a boost to your memory and treat mood swings and other psychological problems.
Plus, it has potent antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve respiratory problems, reduce muscle pain, soothe digestive uses, fight vaginal infections, reduce headaches, treat coughs and so on.
Also, you can add a few drops of rosemary oil to a carrier oil and massage your hair and scalp with it to stimulate the hair follicles and boost hair growth.
Being a disinfectant, rosemary essential also supports oral health. Add a few drops of the oil to a glass of warm water and use it as a mouthwash to fight bad breath, prevent cavities, plaque buildup, and other dental problems.
Note: Avoid this essential oil during pregnancy and if suffering from epilepsy and hypertension. Also, do not use it if taking homeopathic medicines.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a strong, penetrating menthol aroma with a sweet undertone. Due to its natural mint scent, it is commonly used in personal body care products and air deodorizers. It is also used as a flavoring agent for toothpaste, chewing gum, tea and ice cream.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and expectorant properties, it has many health benefits too.
It helps relieve stomachaches, treat digestive issues and heartburn, cure bad breath, relieve headaches, improve mental health, and treat respiratory problems. Emotionally, it can help reduce anger, ease depression and combat fatigue, stress and anxiety.
Rub a drop or two on your temples and forehead to alleviate headaches. Put a few drops on your handkerchief and inhale it regularly to boost your mood and reduce fatigue.
You can even use this oil to deter rodents, ants and cockroaches by putting a few drops on a cotton ball and placing it in their path or entry areas.
Note: Avoid using too much peppermint oil, as it can cause side effects like heartburn and headaches.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most calming oils, having a delightful floral smell liked by most people. It has both physiological as well as psychological benefits.
Its health benefits can be attributed to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antidepressant properties. You can use this oil to treat anxiety, respiratory problems, minor burns, wounds, insect bites and stings, earaches, acne, hair loss and a number of women’s health issues.
Add a few drops to a carrier oil like olive oil and apply it on your body to repel mosquitoes. Put a few drops in a humidifier to get relief from a stuffy nose or chest congestion.
You can even put a few drops on your pillow or handkerchief to combat insomnia, stress, and headaches.
5. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is popular for its culinary uses as well as health benefits. Extracted through steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves, the chief components of oregano oil include carvacrol, thymol, cymene and terpinene. This oil has a warm, spicy herbaceous and camphoraceous smell.
With its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiparasitic, antimicrobial, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, antibacterial, antioxidant, mild tonic and antiseptic properties, oregano essential oil immensely benefits your health.
It helps treat fungal infections, athlete’s foot, sore throats, sinus congestion, sprains, arthritis pain, tendonitis, cysts, warts, candida, shingles and herpes.
Dilute a few drops of oregano essential oil in water to make a spray to repel bed bugs, mites, lice and fleas. You can even add a few drops to a bottle of water and spray on countertops to eliminate bacteria and odors.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This essential oil has a mild pungent, sweet and refreshing aroma. Often used as an ingredient in vapor rubs, inhalers, liniments, rash creams and mouthwashes, eucalyptus oil is also used in aromatherapy.
Its medicinal use is mainly due to its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, disinfectant, antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic, stimulating and other medicinal qualities.
It even boosts the immune system and relieves muscle aches. You can apply this oil topically to treat wounds, burns, sore muscles, bug bites and boils.
Inhaling its aroma helps treat respiratory tract infections, asthma, bronchitis and sinus pain. You can add a few drops of this oil in a pot or bowl of boiling water and inhale the stea.
This will also help relieve congestion. Plus, it will increases alertness, relieves stress and help you concentrate better. You can also use eucalyptus oil as an insect repellent and bio-pesticide.
Add a few drops to a spray bottle of water to use in the kitchen and bathroom to eliminate germs and odors. You can also use it to add flavor to various foods including baked goods, confectionery, meat products and beverages.
7. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil has a refreshing and soothing aroma nearly identical to the freshly peeled fruit. It comes from cold-press processing of the lemon peel, not the inner fruit.
This essential oil has a myriad of uses to enhance your beauty, health and mood. It is a common ingredient in perfumes, scented candles, soaps, face washes and body lotions.
Its health benefits are mainly due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antidepressant, antihistamine, carminative, sleep-inducing, detoxifying and astringent properties.
It helps cure sore throats as well as bacterial and viral infections in the mouth. It also helps treat headaches, insect bites and stings, respiratory issues, hair loss and skin issues.
Its refreshing smell improves mood and helps fight stress and anxiety. It is also effective for pregnant women during bouts of nausea and vomiting.
Add a few drops to a glass of water and gargle with it to relieve bad breath. A few drops added to your shampoo can alleviate dandruff.
8. Chamomile Essential Oil (Roman)
Chamomile essential oil has a warm, fruity aroma that is relaxing and calming for both the mind and body. It is a common ingredient in body care as well as aromatherapy products.
It has calming, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antidepressant, carminative, analgesic, hepatic, sedative, digestive, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious properties.
You can use this oil topically in either diluted or undiluted form to treat boils, dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, bee stings, cuts, minor burns and bruises.
When used in diffused form, it helps alleviate insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression and irritability, especially when associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause. You can add a few drops to any cream used for diaper rash, burns and sunburn.
Put a few drops of Roman chamomile oil in a glass of lukewarm water and use it as a mouthwash for dental abscesses and tonsillitis. You can even add a few drops to any massage oil to ease muscle pain after exercise.
Note: People who are allergic to ragweed must not use chamomile.
9. Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil has a quite strong, sharp and earthy smell. It contains antioxidant, antibacterial, analgesic, antiparasitic, antifungal, aphrodisiac, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and stimulating properties.
It is one of the best treatments for toothaches and gum diseases. Several toothpastes, mouthwashes and oral care medications contain clove oil as a key ingredient. You can simply put a little clove oil on a cotton ball and dab it on the sore tooth and surrounding gums to reduce a toothache and swelling of gums.
You can also use diluted clove oil to treat athlete’s foot, prickly heat rash, fungal infections, indigestion, asthma, headaches, and earaches. You can even diffuse the oil to repel mosquitoes and other insects.
Note: As clove essential oil is very strong, always dilute it before using. Pregnant women and people who have liver or kidney conditions should not use this oil. If you are allergic to eugenol, the main component in clove essential oil, do not use it.
10. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil has a woodsy, warm, balsamic aroma. It has been a popular ingredient in cosmetics and incense burners for centuries. It is also good for your health, mainly due to its antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant and sedative properties.
Topical application of diluted frankincense oil helps treat acne, wrinkles, minor burns, boils, scar tissue, insect bites, rashes, cuts and scrapes. You can add a few drops to any carrier oil and use it to massage your body to promote sleep, reduce anxiety and fight stress.
Add a few drops to a handkerchief and inhale it to relieve nasal congestion and treat headache and migraine pain. When added to bathwater, it helps reduce body pain, menstrual pain and arthritis pain.
Scientists have found that some properties in frankincense oil even help stop cancer from spreading. In addition, when put in a humidifier, it helps repel mosquitoes and flies.