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Essential Oils
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— September 16, 2012

Essential Oils

  • These gentle therapies can help you look and feel your best.
Essential Oils

Plant essences have been used for thousands of years. Today, trained aromatherapists continue that tradition of using these richly scented oils to promote well-being and beauty. (Find one through the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy:, 828-898-6161.)

Many people also employ essential oils in their own daily health and skin care rituals. Plant essences are versatile: They can be added to baths, wafted through the air using diffusers, mixed with water to create facial sprays and combined with jojoba, sweet almond or other carrier oils for healthful massages. Here are some of the most popular scents; always look for 100% pure, natural essential oils.

Essential OilPhysical BenefitsEmotional/Mental BenefitsAppearance Benefits
Chamomile Reduces pain, including headaches, and inflammation; soothes gastrointestinal symptoms; acts as a diuretic, helping to control blood pressure and ease PMS; induces sweating to relieve fever Calming and soothing (the Roman variety is especially helpful for children); helps ease depression and irritability; used to stabilize emotions and release nervous tension Reduces irritation and swelling; helps diminish skin marks; relieves discomfort linked to dermatitis, 
eczema and psoriasis
Eucalyptus Helps break up congestion and open up breathing passages; fights viruses, bacteria and fungi; relieves muscle and joint pain; encourages recovery from wounds, burns and outbreaks of cold sores or shingles Acts as a stimulant to overcome mental fatigue and sluggishness; improves concentration; helps increase optimistic feelings Helps ease acne and skin blemishes by reducing oiliness, and reduce sunburn pain; often added to baths, spas and saunas
Geranium Helps stop bleeding; promotes cellular health and acts as a general tonic; increases urination; eases sore throat and tonsillitis; helps ease symptoms associated with PMS and menopause Uplifting, helps to counteract anxiety, depression and the effects of stress; encourages creativity, imagination and self-expression Helps fade scars and other skin marks while evening out skin tone; promotes healthy skin circulation and helps control oiliness
Jasmine Helps reduce muscle and other spasms, including those related to asthma and coughs; encourages menstrual flow, eases labor pains and promotes milk 
production; serves as a antiseptic and disinfectant
Promotes relaxation while easing nervous exhaustion and stress-related fatigue; helps elevate mood and overcome feelings of apathy; acts as an aphrodisiac Benefits all skin types from oily to dry by regulating oil production and promoting proper moisture content; helps keep skin from cracking
Lavender Clears stuffiness and congestion while soothing throat soreness; relieves pain and induces sleep; stimulates circulation and promotes healthy immune response; eases indigestion and nausea; supports bladder health Best known as an antidepressant but also helps ease anxiety; balances out emotional extremes and helps release repressed emotions; promotes clear thinking Helps reduce skin inflammation of all kinds and heal blemishes; regulates scalp oiliness and helps repair damaged hair
Lemon Relieves discomfort associated with colds and flu while boosting immunity; helps ease heartburn and indigestion; helps stop bleeding; stimulates circulation and helps to reduce blood pressure Helps dispel negative emotions; relieves mental 
exhaustion and nervous fatigue; boosts alertness, 
clarity and concentration
Promotes strong, healthy, shiny hair; revitalizes dull skin and encourages exfoliation; helps strengthen brittle nails
Patchouli Increases urination, which helps lower blood pressure; cools fevers; serves as a general body tonic; fights fungal infections Helps lift depression and counteract sluggishness; acts as an aphrodisiac; helps spur motivation and cognition
Tightens skin and promotes cell regeneration; repels insects; soothes rough skin; serves as a deodorant
Peppermint Best known for soothing digestive symptoms and supporting gastrointestinal health; promotes healthy gums and dispels bad breath; helps clear nasal stuffiness and ease breathing; reduces headache; cools inflammation Cools emotions and helps to dispels anger; helps clarify thoughts and sharpen memory; has been used to inspire creative thinking
Reduces oiliness; softens skin and brings life to a dull complexion; reduces the redness of varicose veins; helps keep biting insects at bay
Rose Helps balance irregular menstrual cycles; fights bacteria and viruses, and promotes prompt wound healing; supports gastrointestinal and liver health; helps relieve cramps; serves as a blood tonic Helps fight both depression and anxiety; may invoke 
feelings of happiness and hope; has been used as an aphrodisiac
Serves as an astringent, toning skin and strengthening hair roots; helps all skin types, including sensitive or damaged skin, by restoring moisture balance
Rosemary Helps ease indigestion and stomach cramping, and stimulate appetite; soothes pain; reduces respiratory symptoms, including those associated with allergic 
reactions; sweetens bad breath
Best known for its ability to sharpen concentration and focus while fighting mental fatigue; eases stress-related problems; encourages confidence and drive
Strengthens hair and reduces scalp flakiness; may slow premature hair graying and loss; tones skin and helps reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Tea Tree Fights microbes of all kinds, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, and protects wounds against infection; eases respiratory symptoms as well as sore throats and earaches; boosts immunity; fights vaginal and other fungal infections; supports oral health Alleviates exhaustion and fatigue caused by stress; 
eases the effects of emotional shock; encourages positive thinking
Fights acne, rashes and other skin eruptions, as well as fungal nail infections; eases after-shave irritation; deters insects and soothes bites
Ylang Ylang Relaxes muscular tightness and eases spasms; helps lower blood pressure; soothes the nervous system; promotes female reproductive health by easing PMS, menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms Help reduce anxiety and depression; encourages 
feelings of security and enthusiasm; counteracts loss of libido
Helps reduce excessive oiliness, including that caused by seborrhea, and peeling associated with seborrhea; stimulates skin cell growth

NOTE: Always test an essential oil by diluting it and placing a single drop on the inside of your elbow. Increase dosage gradually and stop usage if irritation develops. Do not use internally without consulting a trained practitioner; always consult a practitioner if you have a pre-existing condition or are pregnant.

More Essential Oils

Essential OilPhysical BenefitsEmotional/Mental BenefitsAppearance
Clary Sage Best known as an eye therapy, used to improve sight and protect against ocular infections; supports gastrointestinal health; regulates the female reproductive system; relaxes muscles and eases spasms; boosts immunity; regulates blood pressure Eases depression and calms fear; boosts confidence; bolsters memory and mental activity; helps support people going through midlife changes; acts as an aphrodisiac Soothes inflammation associated with psoriasis and other skin conditions; helps skin retain a youthful appearance; fights acne and seborrhea; serves as a deodorant
Frankincense Clears congestion and eases breathing problems; soothes stomach problems; encourages urination, which helps lower blood pressure, and eases urinary tract symptoms; serves a tonic, boosting overall health Spurs relaxation and defuses anxiety; promotes a sense of spirituality; revives a mind exhausted by stress, fear and panic Rejuvenates mature skin by toning and lifting skin tissue, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles; helps heal blemishes and other eruptions; strengthens hair roots
Myrrh Fights microbes and boosts immunity; helps expel mucus and clear congestion; stops bleeding; relieves gas and supports the stomach; increases sweating to help clear toxins; stimulates circulation Promotes alertness and cognition; overcomes apathy and lack of drive; eases grief and restores peace of mind Helps prevent premature skin aging; softens rough, dry skin; heals wounds and blemishes, and fights infection
Sandalwood Used extensively in India’s Ayurvedic medicine to treat urinary problems, including those of the prostate, and fight infection; acts as an anti-inflammatory; helps expel mucus and intestinal gas; promotes urination Boosts memory and increases concentration; induces relaxation and positive thoughts; promotes openness and compassion Revives dry skin; helps clear acne and blemishes; controls oiliness; protects against skin infection and inflammation

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