ESSENTIAL OILS – AROMATHERAPY

aroma
ESSENTIAL OILS in AROMATHERAPY

There is a huge range of essential oils available that may be used in aromatherapy although most practitioners will tend to work from a limited range that they find best for them of say 12 or 15 different oils. Not all essential oils are suitable for use in this way and there are some that are positively dangerous. See warnings page for more information.

Also it is important to look at the latin names for the oils to be sure of which plant they have come from. Some plants tend to be called the same for example marigold but there are two types tagetes and calendula. The uses are different and the plants totally different. With oils such as lavender there are different types too but the oils from the plants in this case vary mostly as to the quality of the oil.

Whilst not exhaustive this is a list of the more common available oils with their suggested uses (based on widely available information on aromatherapy) The descriptions are for EXTERNAL use only.

DO NOT USE UNDILUTED ESSENTIAL OILS DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN
PLEASE ALSO REFER TO THE WARNINGS PAGE FOR CONTRA-INDICATIONS AND SAFETY ADVICE

 

ESSENTIAL OIL

 

LATIN NAME

 

COMMON USES/PROPERTIES

Basil

Ocimum
Basilicum

Calming and for lifting the spirits.  Be
careful to use sparingly as this oil can be soporific in large quantities.

Bay

Pimento
racemosa

This is the West Indian Bay Rum in the Myrtaceae family. Slightly narcotic and warming.  Can he helpful for increasing confidence.
Used a lot in men’s fragrances.
Antiseptic, astringent, stimulating and warming

Bergamot

Citrus bergamia Risso

Light and citrus this oil may uplift the mood and reduce anxiety and help with
compulsive behaviours.

Black
Pepper

Piper
nigrum

Warming and strengthening for nerves and mind.
The properties listed are analgesic,
antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, aperitif, aphrodisiac,
bactericidal, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge,
laxative, rubefacient, stimulant (nervous, circulatory, digestive),
stomachic, tonic.

Cajeput

Melaleuca
cajuputi

Balancing and combating sluggishness. Said to be useful for problem with the stomach, rheumatism and chronic skin
problems.  Room spray to freshen the air and ward off insects.
Use sparingly (very strong).

White
Camphor

Cinnamomum
camphora

Used to ease muscle aches, pains, sprains and
traditionally used for coughs, colds and fever.
Properties – Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic,
Antidepressant Carminative, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Insecticide, Rubefacient, Stimulant

Carnation

Dianthus caryophyllus

Lifts the mood.

Cedarwood
(Atlas)

Cedrus
atlantica

Helps to clear the breathing tubes.  Often
used in hair and skin care products.

     Chamomile

              Roman

Anthemis
nobilis

Soothing for mind and body. Helps sleep and is gentle enough to use for the young and fragile.  Good for protecting dry
skin. Also for headaches and hay fever provided you are not allergic to
ragwort pollens.

 Chamomile

         Moroc
(Sauvage)

 

Anthemis
mixta

This is not a true chamomile but is also useful for calming the mind and also for
intestinal problems.
Properties
are balancing, soothing, cooling and toning.

Cinnamon

Cinnamomum
zeylanicum

Familiar smell of Christmas and is a good room fragrance.  Warming and stimulating it also has a good antiseptic
quality and is cleansing.

Citronella

Cymbopogon
nardus

Familiar through the summer months as an insect repellent.  Light and citrus it is a natural deodoriser and is fresh an
uplifting.

Clary
Sage

Salvia
sclerea

Soothing, relaxing and warming.  Clary Sage has a constituent that is similar to oestrogen that makes this useful for
menstrual problems.  It is also uplifting.
DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT

Clove

Eucenia
carophyllata

The traditional use is for toothache rub the oil onto the gum.  It is also antiseptic and stimulating.  Muscle
relaxant and soothing.

Coriander

Coriandum
sativum

Used as a massage oil it is used to relax muscles and help with aches and pains.  In the bath it is stimulating and
refreshing.
USE SPARINGLY AS SLIGHTLY TOXIC.

Cumin

Cuminum
cyminun

May be useful to counteract mental or physical exhaustion and stimulate the metabolism to help with obesity/fluid retention.

Cypress

Cupressus
sempervirens

Astringent useful for greasy skin.  Natural
anti-perspirant  especially for sweaty feet.  Good massage oil for menstrual cramps/cellulite. Useful for menopausal problems.  Also
antiseptic and insect repellent.

Elemi

Canarium
commune

Said to improve the immune system.  Can be an expectorant and has been useful for asthmatics.  Aids sleep.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus
globulus

Powerfully antiseptic it is used in baths and
massage in the cold period. Good to clear the breathing passages.
Use in a vaporiser or oil burner to keep the air germ free.  Toning and
stimulating.

Fennel

Foenicum
vulgare

May be useful as a massage for cellulite and digestive problems particularly wind!  Energising and toning

Frankincense

Boswellia
carterii

Has been used for hundreds of years to burn in temples and churches and as an aid for meditation.  Soothing and
warming.  Good for mature/ageing skin.

Geranium

Pelargonium
graveolen

Balances mind and body.  Relaxes and
stabilises emotions. Insect repellent. In massage use for cellulite and also
psoriasis and eczema.

Ginger

Zingiber
officinalis

Hot and comforting.  Good for
sickness/nausea. In massage good for aching muscles or after exercise.

Grapefruit

Citrus
paradisi

Refreshing and uplifting. Toning effect on greasy and congested skin.  Good to lift nervous exhaustion.

Hyssop

Hyssopus
officinalis

Warm and vibrant and can help clear the mind and promote clear thinking.  Can help with colds, flus and bruises.
Stimulating and balancing.

Jasmine

Jasminum
officinale

Very expensive and whilst you can buy pure absolute oil a more affordable option is to buy the oil ready mixed with a
carrier oil.
It is also a very intense oil so the diluted oil is usually fine for most purposes.

Juniperberry

Juniperus
communis

Often used in male fragrances.  Toning,
stimulating, antiseptic and astringent for either bath or massage. Calms the
emotions and reputedly aids the immune system.

Lavender

Lavendula
augustifolia

The most versatile of the oils and one of the few that can be used undiluted on the skin. Relaxing, soothing and balancing of
mind and body.  A balancer either reviving or relaxing accordingly to need.   Aids sleep.  Can be used to treat burns and to reduce scarring.

Lemon

Citrus
Limonum

Cleansing, refreshing, cooling and
stimulating.  Used in beauty products.  Astringent and antiseptic.

Lemongrass

Cymbopogon
Citratus

Refreshing, cleansing, stimulating tonic.
Antiseptic and astringent.  Good as a room fragrance.

Lime

Citrus
Aurantifolia

Similar to the other citrus oils, lemon,
grapefruit etc.

Mandarin

Citrus
Noblis

Gentle and calming oil. Good for oily skin and massage for digestion.  Can be used to help reduce stretch marks.

Marjoram

Origanum
marjorama

Soothing, comforting and warming.  Good for massage into tired muscles and also for menstrual pains.  Regulates
nervous system and helps sleep.  Use in the bath or massage for after
sports.

Melissa

Milissa
Officinalis

Melissa comes from the Lemon Balm plant.
Soothing and uplifting.  Good in cold weather and also for easing hay
fever.

Myrrh

Commiphora
Myrrha

Like frankincense myrrh comes from resin.
Myrrh is probably the oldest known perfumes.  A very recognisable
incense blend is myrrh and frankincense.  Good for meditation, insect
repellent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.  Useful for dry or ageing
skin.

Myrtle

Myrtus
communis

Revitalises the mood and good for
meditation.  Clears nasal passages.  Muscle relaxant.

Neroli

Citrus
aurantium

This oil too is expensive and the absolute very intense so the diluted version is both more affordable and generally still
strong enough for most purposes.

Niaouli

Melaleuca
Viridiflora

Very antiseptic and thus good for skin problems such as acne.  Can also be used as a chest rub or room fragrance.

Nutmeg

Myristica
aromata

Calming and good for digestion.  Can aid
sleep.

Orange
(Sweet)

Citrus
Sinensis

Another of the smells of Christmas, warming and comforting.
Good to aid digestion.  Calming, soothing and astringent.

Palmarosa

Cymbopogon
martinii

A light floral fragrance that I find a good
alternative to rose if rose is too strong.  Good for skincare and said to help cell regeneration so good for aging/mature skin.  Insect repellent, skin conditioner, soothing agent, emollient, muscle relaxant

Patchouli

Pogostemon
patchouli

Uplifting and musky smell.  Good for aging,
dry or blemished skin. In the East it is used to repel lice and fleas.
As it is strongly stimulating it may prevent sleep.

Peppermint

Mentha
piperita

Refreshing, stimulating, cooling and
stimulating.  Uplifting mind and body. Good to aid digestion and also for tired and aching feet.  Can help to keep your mind clear when driving or revive yourself during travel.  Put a drop or two on a hankie
or piece of cotton wool.  Make sure not to let the oil contact the
dashboard though as it may damage the finish.

Petitgrain

Citrus
aurantium

Petigrain comes from the same plant as neroli but is made from the leaves rather than the blossom and has similar
properties.  Relaxing, cleansing and uplifts the spirit.  Helps relieve anxiety and stress.

Pine

Pinus
sylvestris

Stimulating, refreshing and cleansing.
Strong aroma with antiseptic and deodorant properties.  Often used in
commercial cleaning products.

Ravensara

Ravensara
Anisata/Aromatica

Anisata comes from the bark and aromatic from the leaves of the same plant.  Good for clearing the sinus, releasing tight
muscles and relieving menstrual discomforts.

Rose
Absolute

Rosa
damascena

Rose absolute is obtained by solvent extraction.
Very feminine fragrance and soothes the emotions.  It tones, cleanses
and uplifts the spirits.  Good for skincare particularly ageing or mature
skin.  A very expensive oil so rarely used in commercial products where
an artificial substitute is used.  Diluted oils are cheaper and very
usable.

Rose
Otto

Rosa
damascena

Rose otto is obtained by steam distillation and is the best rose oil.  As for Rose Absolute but more intense and
powerful aroma.

Rosemary

Rosemarinus
officinalis

Reviving, warming, restoring and stimulating. Use to ease tired muscles and clear the mind.  It aids suppleness so it also good for pre and post exercise rubs.  A general pick me up that helps
ease fatigue and fuggy air.  Aids release of water retention and
reducing cellulite.

Rosewood

Aniba
Rosaeodora

Ensure the oil comes from a sustainable source to save the hardwood forests.

Sage

Salvia
officinalis

Helps regulate the central nervous system and may also help with menstrual and digestive disorders.  Soothing.

Sandalwood

Santalum
Album

White sandalwood is becoming shorter in supply and the price has increased.  The best oil comes from East India.
Other sources produce a cheaper but generally not such good quality oil. It is  antiseptic, emollient, soothing agent, astringent, insect repellent,
skin conditioner.  Used traditionally in meditation and also reputed to
be an aphrodisiac.

Spikenard

Nardostachys
Jatamansi

May reduce inflammation.  Useful too in
helping restful sleep and also reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Tea
Tree

Melaleuca
alternifolia

Insect repellent and antiseptic, anti-viral,
anti-baterial.  A must for your first aid kit also one of the oils that can be used neat on unbroken skin.  Has a wide range of uses.

Thyme
(sweet)

Thymus
Vulgari

Deodorant and antiseptic.  Used as a
household disinfectant and is said to repel rodents and fleas.

Vetivert

Vetivera
zizanoides

Very relaxing and soothing for both mind and body.  Intense and best diluted.  Sensual and may help reduce blood
pressure

Violet

Viola
Odorata

Calming, balancing and soothing.

Ylang
Ylang

Cananga
Odorata

Sensuous and feminine.  Soothing and
relaxing and so good when experiencing periods of stress.  Good for both
dry and oily skin and as a hair rinse.