Aromatherapy A to Z
What follows is a simplified A to Z listing of essential oils with their most common uses, along with other ingredients commonly used in aromatherapy.
- Agarwood – Aquilaria Agollacha:
The main properties of this oil are as an anti parasite oil. It is traditionally used to treat malaria. Also it is extensively used in Japan and the Far East as an aphrodisiac. In Aromatherapy it is reputed to be the most effective aphrodisiac Essential oil.
- Ajowan – Trachyspermum Ammi:
This oil is frequently used for circulatory problems. It also has good muscle relaxing properties. However over use can cause skin irritation in some people.
- Allspice – Pimenta officinalis:
Allspice is a strong essential oil that has properties ranging from anesthetic to antioxidant to stimulant. The taste and aroma is a mixture of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and pepper. The essential oil is also referred to as pimento in the Caribbean islands. Gives added determination, a stimulant, and a stomach tonic. Very vitalizing.
In Aromatherapy Alcohol is used to clean equipment, but it can also be used as a base for making natural Perfumes. Do not Ingest.
- Aloe and Seaweed Gel:
A cooling and skin conditioning base, can be used on its own, but with the addition of 3% Parsley Seed – Petroselinum Sativum} makes a wonderful eye gel, that can help remove the shadows from tired eyes.
- Aloe Vera Gel:
Professional Aromatherapist’s use this cool, skin conditioning base – with Essential oils added} for treating clients who are undergoing radiation treatment to counter the dermal damage done. It can also be used with the addition of Lavender and Roman Chamomile as an after sun lotion.
- Ambrette Seed – Hibiscus Abelmoschus:
Frequently used for muscle aches and pains due to sport or activity fatigue. Helps poor circulation too. Also used as an anti-depressant.
- Amyris – Amyris Balsamifera:
The traditional use of Amyris is as a muscle relaxant, emollient, soothing agent and a stimulant. It can be used to treat neck muscle stress when mixed with Ylang-Ylang or Marjoram.
- Angelica Root – Angelica Archangelica:
A useful oil, but it should be avoided by pregnant women, and diabetics. That said, professional Aromatherapists use Angelica during childbirth to help expel the placenta. A good tonic oil that can aid convalesces. It can also be used to help with draining the lymphatic system, and helps with period pains. As an appetite stimulant it has been used to treat Anorexia Nervosa. Over use can induce insomnia
- Angelica Root – Angelica Glaucha:
This variation and chemo-type is reputed, from traditional uses on the Indian sub continent, to be effective anti-venom in treating snakebites.
- Angelica Root – Archangelica Officinalis:
As with many Essential oils, where the source plant is grown will effect the quality of the oil produced, also while Angelica Archangelica Is the modern internationally recognized name for the official source plant, Archangelica Officinalis, is the old name. Thus this is the same as Angelica.
- Angelica Seed – Angelica Archangelica:
While Angelica root is a good body tonic the oil from the seeds works well as a skin tonic, and may help with various skin conditions.
- Anise Star – Illicum Verum:
This is used as an energizing and toning oil, and has traditionally been used in China as a deodorant. It can be used to good effect for Asthma. It can also help with hangovers. However it has a slight dermal toxicity so should be used diluted and infrequently.
- Apricot Kernel – Prunus Armeniaca:
As with all the carrier oils used in Aromatherapy, the oil should be chosen to match the skin type. Apricot Kernel is especially suited to dry and normal skin types.
- Arnica – Arnica Montana:
Used as an analgesic as well as a perfume ingredient.
- Aspic – Lavandula spica:
Aspic oil comes from a variety of lavender, known once as sticadore, spike lavender or Old English lavender.
- Avocado (Refined) – Persea Americana:
Normally used as an addition to other carrier oils at a rate of 10%-25%. As it has a re-hydrating effect it is good for dry skin and conditions like eczema. However it does appear to exacerbate Psoriasis in some people.
- Basil Linalool – Ocimum Basilicum:
Forget the Prozac, Basil can be good for the relief of depression. But over use will cause depression. Avoid if pregnant. Good for respiration conditions, such as Asthma and Bronchitis. As it has an effect upon Adrenal Cortex it can be effective with allergies.
- Basil Sweet – Ocimum Basilicum:
Sweet Basil is great for aiding concentration and sharpening the senses.
- Bay – Pimenta Racemosa:
One of the traditional uses of Bay is as an aphrodisiac, as it’s a stimulating and energizing oil, this could be true. Bay is great for easing the muscles after sporting activity and its a good hair tonic too.
- Bay Laurel – Laurus Nobilis:
A good tonic for the Liver and Kidneys. Avoid if pregnant.
- Benzoin – Styrax Benzoin:
Can be used as a joint rub to relieve the pain and discomfort of Arthritis. Is also reputed to help with problem such as premature ejaculation. It’s a good oil for dry cracked skin and chilblains.
- Bergamot – Citrus Bergamia:
Without Bergamot oil there would be no Earl Grey tea. But in Aromatherapy this oil has many uses. It has good effects upon people with breathing problems. Also this oil is useful for helping with digestive problems as well as dispelling internal parasites. Bergamot is very useful for most skin conditions, especially when mixed with Eucalyptus, especially acne and oily skin conditions. Caution, as this oil is phototoxic. It is perfectly safe if used on areas of the skin that are covered by clothing before going out into the sun.
- Bergamot FCF (Bergaptene Free) – Citrus Bergamia:
As it is the Bergaptene that has the phototoxic effect in this oil, this Bergaptene Free variant is also offered. It should be noted that most
professional Aromatherapist’s don’t use this variant as it is seen as less effective.
- Birch Sweet – Betula Lenta:
The birch oils are generally good for helping the body remove toxins and purifying the blood. A good kidney tonic too.
- Birch White – Betula Alba:
This oil is reputed to help with the removal of kidney stones too. See Sweet Birch.
- Bitter Almond Oil:
A flavoring and scenting agent. Can cause skin rash, and is not normally recommended.
- Black pepper – Piper Nigrum:
Flatulence and Rheumatism are two conditions that this oil can be used to relieve. As it gives localized increase in blood flow, it is a good oil for helping tone muscles, as well as relives the aches and strains from exercise. Over use can cause a skin rash on sensitive skins.
- Boise de Rose – Aniba rosaeodora:
A skin care essential oil, used as a perfume, for acne, and is often substituted for Rose oil. Good for the kidneys, add 5 drops in a bath. Also used for making the finest sounding musical instruments.
- Borage – Borago Officinalis:
Borage seed carrier oil is a good skin conditioning oil. In Aromatherapy it is normally blended with other carrier oils and only used at 5% to 10% of the total volume of carrier.
- Cade Oil:
Cade oil is identical to Juniper Tar oil. It is used externally for psoriasis and many other skin afflictions. Cade oil is often used in soaps as a disinfectant and its frangrance combines well with Thyme, Oregano, and Clove oils.
- Cajuput – Melaleuca Minor:
Also sometimes known as White Tea Tree. One of the traditional uses of this oil is as an Insect repellent, this combined with it’s antiseptic and deodorant properties make this a great oil for the traveler.
- Calendula – Calendula Officinalis:
Calendula infused carrier oil, made from the African Marigold, is used for its skin healing properties. The Absolute oil while used mainly for its perfume, can increase the skin conditioning properties to a skin care blend of essential oils.
- Camelia – Thea Sinenis:
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating skin conditions, in Aromatherapy it is very good for very sensitive and mature skin.
- Camphor – Cinnamomum Camphora:
With it’s cooling and skin conditioning properties, this oil can make a great after sun lotion. But it should be avoided while pregnant.
- Caraway – Carum Carvi:
A great pick me up oil for the emotions. Also very good for digestive problems. Further as this oil helps stimulate localized circulation it can give color to a pale complexion. And when mixed with Dill, it can be used to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers.
- Cardamom – Elletaria Cardomomum:
This oil has soothing and muscle relaxing qualities. It has traditionally been used as a treatment for impotence too.
- Carnation – Dianthus Caryophylius:
Used predominately as a perfume ingredient, but is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
- Carrot (Infused) – Daucus Carota:
As the scent of carrot seed is not liked by some, the addition of 5%-10% to your carrier oil can give some of the skin rejuvenating properties of the Essential Oil.
- Carrot seed – Daucus Carota:
It is claimed that this oil is good for treating Premature Aging. But it is a very good oil to use in a make up removal blend. However it’s aroma is not seen as pleasant by many and needs to be used in a blend.
- Cassia – Cinnamomum Cassia:
As this oil can cause serious skin irritation, it should not be used in massage, but as it is reputed to help adults with chronic Asthma it can be used in a Vaporizer or Diffuser.
- Cedarwood Atlas – Cedrus Atlantica:
Also known as White Cedarwood, it is reputed to be best for long standing conditions such as Bronchitis. In Native American Cultures it is used as an aid to meditation. Works well on oily skin problems, and when blended with Frankincense and Cypress, it can be used to soften the skin. Avoid if pregnant.
- Cedarwood Himalayan – Cedrus Deodora:
Often used as a natural deodorant. Avoid if pregnant.
- Cedarwood Texas – Juniperus Texas:
As with other Cederwood’s it is used as a perfume fixative, as well as holding scents in Aromatherapy blends.
- Cedarwood Virginian – Juniperus Viriginiana:
As with other Cederwood’s it is used as a perfume fixative, as well as holding scents in Aromatherapy blends.
- Celery Seed – Apium Graveolens:
A good oil for diabetics to use as it can help prevent Glaucoma. It is a useful oil for tired eyes too.
- Chamomile Blue – Chamomilla Recutita:
First; in spite of international agreements there is some confusion over the name of this oil. Often it is known as German Chamomile, and even Hungarian Chamomile. Also in the 1940s the international scientific world agreed that the Latin name for the source plant would change from Matricaria Chamomilla to Chamomilla Recutita. Thus under any of these names it is the same oil. Distinctive by its strong blue color. Each of the Chamomile’s has its own uses in Aromatherapy, this one is traditionally used as a soothing and toning oil.
- Chamomile Maroc – Ormenis Multicaulis:
Sometimes know as wild Chamomile, it is not a true Chamomile but a few drops in a base of Wheatgerm makes a wonderful skin conditioner.
- Chamomile Roman – Anthemis Nobilis:
This is the main Chamomile used in Aromatherapy. This particular oil is frequently used to treat Menstrual Problems, from PM to helping in the relief of period pains. Good for dry and itchy skins and a brilliant skin cleanser. Good for reducing puffiness and improving the elasticity of the skin.
- Champaca – Michelia Champaca:
Used in massage and as a hair dressing. Champaca oil has a warm, luscious odor and mixes will with Sandalwood.
- Chili Pepper – Capsicum annuum:
This is a powerful, extremely concentrated substance. I recommend it for only one use, and that is to deter animals from eating your plants and dogs from defecating on your sidewalk. Mix with Crisco and then “paint” on the sidewalk, fences, or drop a “painted” rock into a gopher hole.
- Cinnamon Bark – Cinnamomum Zeylanicum:
A very potent oil that will cause skin rashes if overused, it is often best not used in massage. It is great at aiding the tired mind.
- Cinnamon Leaf – Cinnamomum Zeylanicum:
This oil can cause skin irritation! However it is a milder, yet still potent, oil than Cinnamon Bark. It is useful for tightening loose skin. Use infrequently.
- Citronella – Cymbopogan Nardus:
As this oil is a good insect repellent and a great skin conditioner, when combined with Neroli and Bergamot. Also great for helping with sweaty feet.
- Clary Sage – Salvia Sclarea:
A truly feminine oil. As this oil mimics the female and helps balance the reproductive hormones, it is the main Aromatherapy treatment for many menstrual problems. Depression is just one of the many problems this versatile oil can be used to treat. However as this oil can make concentration difficult it should not be used if driving. As it can induce a feeling of nausea when mixed with Alcohol, it can be helpful in treating alcoholics, as well as an aid to beating dependency on other drugs too.
- Clove Bud – Eugenia Caryophyllata:
Famously used to relief toothache it also has other uses. It has been found to be effective in treating Lupus. It can cause skin irritation, but even people with the most sensitive skins can still carefully use this oil. It can be used in a diffuser or vaporizer during the winter to ward off infections.
- Clove Leaf – Eugenia Caryophyllata:
See Clove Bud. The bud variant is the milder form of this oil.
- Coconut (Fractionated) – Cocus Nucifera:
Fractionated coconut is a wonderfully light oil that is suitable for all skin types, and it smells great too.
- Coriander – Coriandrum Sativum:
This warming oil can be very good for dry chapped hands, as well as arthritic and rheumatic pain. Said to help revitalize the glandular system.
- Croton Oil:
Croton oil is very toxic but has historical use as a stimulant for the pineal gland. I do not now how it is used.
- Cubeb – Piper Cubeba:
As with many spice oils it is used to improve circulation, and thus may help with Arthritis and Rheumatism. Also useful for drying out congestion in the upper respiratory tract.
- Cumin – Cuminum Cyminum:
A warming oil that is said to help with Osteoarthritis and muscular pain. It has a tonic action on the heart and is often used by professional Aromatherapist’s to treat clients at risk of heart attack. Helps increase lactation in women.
- Cumin Black – Nigella Sativa:
Often used to increase fertility and increase sexual desire in men, as well as normalize the menstrual cycle in women.
- Cypress – Cupressus Sempervirens:
With it’s anti-viral properties, this oil can be used as a treatment for cold sores. Also a good treatment for heavy periods. Good for oily skins and often used to help with acne. However it is important to note that this oil is FLAMMABLE.
- Davana – Artermisia Pallens:
With its fine cognac aroma, this oil is often used in male toiletries. As it has good skin conditioning properties it is a good post shaving oil. But as it is reputed to be the second most potent aphrodisiac Essential oil, Agarwood being the first… Well this reputation can only be a case for personal experimentation.
- Dill Seed – Anethum Graveoleons:
Often used to promote lactation in nursing mothers. It also has a beneficial effect in promoting healing in the dermas.
- Elderflower – Sambucus Nigra:
Used to make natural perfumes. Unknown uses in Aromatherapy.
- Elemi – Canarium Luzonicum:
Elemi is one of the oils used in Conventional medicine, as the oil helps with regeneration of broken bones the oil is used in plaster bandages that hospitals use for plaster casts. Because of its effect upon the skeleton, it may help with Osteoporosis. On the skin it has a drying and cooling effects, and is seen as effective in chronic skin conditions.
- Eucalyptus 80/85 – Eucalyptus Globulus:
Is one of the well-known Essential oils, and has been used for years – since 1788} to treat chest conditions. As it aids the body in expelling mucous. With it’s analgesic properties Eucalyptus can be a great treatment for sunburn. It also clears congested skin. Also is very good for the treatment of cystitis. However as it raises blood pressure it should be avoided by people with hypertension as well as people with Epilepsy.
- Eucalyptus Dives – Eucalyptus Dives:
As there are over 600 species of Eucalyptus, there are other variants that produce therapeutic oil. While all the therapeutic Eucalyptus oils have a beneficial effect upon Asthma, this one appears to be most effective for most people.
- Evening Primrose (10% GLA) – Oenothera Biennis:
As this oil is high in Gamma Linoleic acid, it is a very good skin conditioner and is normally used at 10 to 20% of total carrier oil.
- Fennel sweet – Foeniculum Vulgare:
Good skin cleansing properties, and reputed to keep wrinkles at bay. This oil can be a great help for the relief of Menopausal Problems.
- Fir Needle – Abies Sibirica:
Has a good effect upon the respiratory system, and is suitable for all chest conditions. Also a gentle warming action upon tired muscles. Further it balances chemicals in the body and could be useful for metabolic conditions.
- Frankincense – Boswellia Thurifera:
This oil has the effect of helping to slow down breathing and with its calming effect upon the mind, is frequently used to aid meditation. Also useful as a tonic for uterine problems, and can be useful during labor. Could help with postnatal depression. Reputed to help smooth out wrinkles, and give new life to mature skin.
- Galangal – Galanga Officinalis:
A stimulating oil that helps reduce stress.
- Galbanum – Ferula Galbaniflua:
A very useful oil for female reproductive problems. As it helps with problems such as scanty periods, it should be avoided in pregnancy. In Menopause it can help with hot flushes and mood swings associated with the change. Good for mature skins too.
- Garlic – Allium Sativum:
While a very useful oil, the strength of the aroma prevents many people using this oil. As a strong antiseptic it can be used for many skin conditions. Best used in a blend with other oils and at a rate of 1% or less, or the result is a loss of friends.
- Geranium – Pelogonium Graveoleons:
Very useful for all skin types as it helps keep the skin supple. A good tonic for the liver and kidneys too.
- Ginger – Zingiber Officinalis:
A great warming, stimulating yet grounding oil. Very effective in dealing with colds and other upper respiratory conditions. Helps drying catarrh. Also very good for digestive problems. Helps reduce bruising.
- Gingergrass – Cymbopogon Martini:
Unknown uses in Aromatherapy. Used in Perfumes.
- Grape Seed Oil – Vitis Vinifera:
Often used in Aromatherapy as a cheap oil, but it is not easily absorbed into the dermas in many people. However it is good for retaining the Essential oils.
- Grapefruit – Citrus Paradisi:
A great mind balancing and up lifting oil. Reputed to help with BI-polar disorder (Manic Depression) used in many cosmetic products as it is said to help with reducing cellulite. Also useful in balancing the kidneys and helping to remove toxins. Said to nourish skin cells too.
- Guiacac Wood – Bulnesia Sarmienti:
A very useful oil for helping with the menopause. That it can help with inducing vaginal secretion has added to its reputation as an aphrodisiac too. Because it helps tighten the skin, it is useful for mature skin.
- Hazelnut – Corylus Avellana:
A carrier oil that seems best for dry to normal skin types. Best used at 25% of carrier oil total.
- Heliotrope – Heliotropium peruvianum:
A wonderful vanilla sweet scented plant, but is not grown commercially for its oil as steam distillation seems to be unsuccessful. Best use is to buy the flowers and inhale their delicious sweetness to soothe your nerves and relax your body.
- Ho Leaf – Cinnamomum Camphora:
As this oil has an Aroma almost identical to Rosewood, a seriously endangered spice, it is often used to replace the rosewood in perfumes. However it does not have the same therapeutic effects and as yet its uses in Aromatherapy are unknown.
- Honeysuckle – Lonicera caprifolium:
It produces an intensely sweet odor. The absolute is only available to perfume houses, but it can be infused in oil and is perfect for massage therapy. It is soothing and relaxing and can be used as well in any dessert where oil is needed but will not necessarily be cooked. The fragrance of Honeysuckle is notable because it is relaxing, soothing, and uplifting.
- Hop – Humulus Lupulus:
A mild calming Oil that can help with sleeping. As it also has mild analgesic qualities it is particularly useful for any painful condition that prevents sleep. A potent oil on the skin and it should not be over used.
- Hyssop – Hyssopus Officinalis:
Safety first, as this is a very potent oil it should be avoided by pregnant women, and people with high blood pressure, as well as people with Epilepsy. This oil is reputed to help with grief. A very effective oil for helping scars to heal.
- Immortelle – Helichrysium Angustifolia:
One of the most important oils in the Aromatherapist’s Pharmacopoeia. As it boosts the immune system it can raise the persons vitality. Lessens the effect of shock, and helps with fears and phobias. Helps with depression too. This oil also helps the skin regenerate, and promotes cell growth. With it’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti viral properties, it is a very effective oil for various conditions. Such as Candida, cold sores, acne, etc. And when blended with Bergamot, Lavender and Yarrow is said to be an effective treatment for Psoriasis.
- Inula Sweet – Inula Helenium:
Aromatherapy uses unknown.
- Iris Flowers:
Iris is an incredibly fragrant plant. The scent of Iris is not captured by enfleurage or steam distillation. So, if you want to experience the joyful feeling of uplift and an end to anxiety and lethargy, plant some of the fragrant Iris and inhale the scent directly from the flower.
- Jasmine – Jasminum Grandiflorum:
An extremely useful oil for treating depression. It stimulates, uplifts and helps boost self-confidence. It should be avoided during pregnancy, but it can be used to speed delivery, once contractions have started. Further it can help with postnatal depression, while also help the mother bond with baby. Also reputedly promotes lactation in nursing mothers too. A great beauty oil, helping all skin types, and dry skin in particular. A blend of 1% in Macadamia nut or Jojoba makes a wonderful moisturizer for very sensitive skins. Makes a wonderful hair conditioner too.
While it is possible to produce a Jasmine Essential Oil, it lacks the wonderful aroma of the Absolute. Also as the absolute, as with all absolute oils, is only used at half the dilution of an essential oil 0.5% – 2.5% the use of the absolute is better value.
- Jasmine – Jasminum Sambac:
See Above. Jasminum Sambac is preferred by some for its perfume qualities.
- Jojoba – Simmondsia Chinensis:
Less an oil than a wax. In Aromatherapy it is normally used at 5% to 20% of the total volume of carrier oil. However as it also acts as a natural preservative, and holds the scent of rare oils so well, it can be used as the only carrier oil in beauty applications. At 10% of total volume, makes a wonderful hair conditioner too.
- Juniper Berry – Juniperis Communis:
A great tonic for the liver, has been known to help with cirrhosis. It also helps the blood clear toxins from the blood. Very useful for oily and congested skins. If used in a good skin care blend this oil can be good for the treatment of Acne. Great for the hair too. Best avoided during pregnancy.
- Kanuka – Leptospermum Ericoides:
This is one of two relatively new oils now used in Aromatherapy. By looking at the traditional medicines of the Maori and Aboriginal peoples, it was discovered that this oil reputedly had good skin toning properties.
- Kewda – Pandanus odoratissimus:
Also called Attar of Kewda, or Keora oil. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for the spleen. The scent has been described as a strange combination of a Horseradish and Gardenia.
- Labdanum – Cistus Ladaniferus:
its main use is as a fixative in perfumes. However as it also has good mood uplifting properties as well as calming and stress reducing properties, it is an effective and useful Aromatherapy oil. It has toning and soothing effect upon the skin too.
- Lavandin – Lavandula Hybrida:
Lavandin oils comes from a plant that is a hybrid of True Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) and Lavender Spike (Lavendula Latifolia). It is very similar to Lavender but without the sedative properties; as such it has the ability to refresh a tired mind. One of its main uses is as a pain killer, and can help with tired and stiff muscles. Its cicatrisant effect can help with mildly scarred and blemished skin.
- Lavender – Lavendula Angustifolia:
This is the most used oil in Aromatherapy. It has a soothing and sedative effect, thus helping with sleep difficulties. Further it has a balancing effect upon the central nervous system so may help with bi-polar disorder. Its sedative action also helps reduce blood pressure. It’s pain relief properties make it a great oil for sprains or strains, especially in a blend with Marjoram. As it promotes the growth of new cells, it is suitable for all skin conditions. It has a very good effect upon burns and sunburn. Great for healing wounds and preventing infection. A great hair and scalp tonic too.
Like Ylang-Ylang, Lavender is available in different levels, 30/32 40/42 50/52. The most therapeutic being a 50/52 but for most uses a 40/42 is standard. In some years, as Essential oils are natural, there will be no 50/52 produced.
- Lavender (Mont Blanc – High Alt) – Lavendula Angustifolia:
See Lavender information (above). Often has a better sedative effect helping give a good nights sleep.
- Lavender (Spike) – Lavendula Latifolia:
This oil is a wonderful cerebro-spinal analgesic, helping calm nerve pain too, makes this very useful oil for sports injury, and other aches and pains. Some times known as the male lavender as the scent is less flowery and more clearer and fresher. As this oil is has as emmenagogic effect it is best avoided in pregnancy.
- Lemon – Citrus Limonum:
Felling hot and bothered? Try this cooling and refreshing oil. A good tonic for the circulatory system. As it helps liquefy the blood, it can be very helpful for people with heart problems, and can have a good effect upon varicose veins. Helps brighten dull complexions, and has a good effect upon spider veins and broken capillaries. Further it has a cleansing action upon greasy skin and hair. Strengthens brittle nails. Do not use in direct sunlight, as it is a photo-toxic oil.
- Lemon Verbena – Lippia Citriodora:
This oil is famous for helping to banish depression, as it reduces stress and tension it has very beneficial effects upon the mind. Further, by helping to reduce tension it can be useful for stress related sexual problems, and could explain it’s reputation as an aphrodisiac. Also this oil reduces puffiness in skin and is a good hair tonic. Some tests have shown this oil to be photo toxic, so best avoided before going out into direct sun light.
- Lemongrass – Cymbopogan Flexuosus:
A revitalising oil that helps with states of exhaustion, lifting the spirits too. A good tonic for the body, helping the glands. Reputed to help with colitis. In massage it helps make muscles suppler. Helps give good tone to the skin, and helps open the pores, thus can help with clearing acne. Also as it helps keep insects at bay it can be a great oil for the traveler too.
- Lime – Citrus Aurantifolia:
Useful uplifting oil for helping deal with apathy. As a digestive stimulant it can also help with Anorexia. Its astringent, refreshing and toning qualities helps with greasy skin. As with all the citrus oils it has a photo-toxic effect, so best avoided before going out into direct sun light.
- Linden blossom – Tilia Europaea:
A relaxing oil that can help with sleeping problems. Good for reducing blood pressure. On the skin it has a softening and soothing action, and is reputed to help keep wrinkles at bay too. Further it has a reputation for helping with blemished skin. A good scalp and hair tonic that is said to help promote hair growth.
- Lovage – Levisticum officinale:
Has a very powerful fragrance of Celery. Mainly used in cooking, and would make a wonderful fragrance for the entrance of a restaurant, as the scent is warm and smells like good cooking.
- Macadamia Nut – Macadmia Integrifolia:
Potentially one of the most useful of the carrier oils. As the lightest oil, lighter than even Coconut, it is the best carrier oil for people with very sensitive skins. Further as a light oil it can be used on very oily skins, yet is suitable for all skin types.
- Mandarin – Citrus Reticulata var Blanco:
A much milder oil than many of the other citrus oils. Yet still has the same refreshing quality of this class of oils. When used in a blend with Neroli and Lavender can be used to lessen the effects of stretch marks.
- Manuka – Leptopermum Scoparium:
Another of the relatively new oils now used in Aromatherapy that have come from traditional medicines of the Maori and Aboriginal peoples. The hype from the main distillers say; “This oil could be more important and effective than Lavender” Away from the hype, it does have good skin regenerating qualities. The New Zealand Fire service are using this oil to treat burns victims, and with its pain killing qualities it is seen as possibly very effective. This oil reputedly had good skin toning properties too.
- Marjoram Sweet – Origanum Marjorama:
A wonderful calming oil, helping reduce stress, works well with those whom over work. Helps reduce blood pressure, and aids painful and sore muscles. Helps disperse bruises. As a mild emmenagogue it should be avoided in pregnancy. Also it will diminish sexual desire.
- Marjoram Wood – Thymus Mastichina:
See Marjoram Sweet. Also known as Wild Marjoram. The properties of this oil are very similar to Sweet Marjoram but milder.
- Mastic – Pistacia lentiscus:
Mastic is a resin that comes from an evergreen shrub, and is used in perfumery, as well as in the paint industry and in dentistry. Mastic shrubs have been used for thousands of years to purify the blood and to treat rheumatism.
- May Chang – Litsea Cubeba:
This oil has come to Aromatherapy via Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it is used as a Bronchodilator, making it useful for Asthma and other respiratory problems. In TCM it is also used as a heart tonic. A very uplifting oil, and very useful for oily skin and hair.
- Melitot – Melilotus officinalis:
Melitot has a wonderful fragrance, and is used for eyes, brain, and head. Used in baths to take away melancholy, it is a very effective fragrance. The fragrance is inhaled to give mental comfort, ease pain in the head, and to help people who have “lost their senses.”
- Melissa – Melissa Officinalis:
A wonderful oil that is very useful for shock and bereavement. Useful for states of hysteria too. Further it has a calming effect upon the circulatory system. Melissa is also very useful for menstrual and reproductive problems, and can help some women having difficulty conceiving. Useful with soothing allergic reactions. As it can help stem bleeding it can be useful in a natural After-shave. Further it is useful for greasy skin and hair. It is reputed to counteract baldness.
- Mimosa – Acacia Dealbata:
A very useful skin conditioning oil, with its soothing and muscle relaxing qualities. Also known as an anti-inflammatory and anti depressant too.
- Muguet Oil:
Muguet oil is the created version of Lily of the Valley, which is only rarely available as a natural oil.
- Mugwort – Artemisia herba alba or A. vulgare:
This oil is considered an emmenagogue and should not be used by pregnant women, it is used to stimulate menstruation. Mugwort has been sprinkled on pillows for wild dreams, but care should be taken because the thujone content may cause nightmares and sickness if used to excess.
- Myrrh – Commiphora Myrrha:
A very useful oil for stimulating the immune system. Works well on many gynecological problems. This oil has a drying effect upon the skin and works well for treating boils and acne. A useful oil for athletes foot too.
- Myrtle – Myrtus Communis:
Also known as Bog Myrtle. This oil can be useful is quelling feelings of anger. Also can help with night sweats associated with menopause. A good skin cleanser helping clear congested skins. Useful for acne and blemished skin.
- Neroli – Citrus Aurantium var Amara:
An extremely calming oil that can instill a sense of peace. Useful treating chronic depression, anxiety, hysteria and shock. Useful for insomnia. Also effective in treating neuralgia – nerve pain}. Its stress reducing qualities make it useful for treating sexual problems, and could be the source of its reputation as an aphrodisiac. Also aids with emotional problems relating to Pre menstrual syndrome, and irritability and tearfulness in menopause. All in all a very good health tonic. This oil is good for skin, improving elasticity and helping cells to regenerate. Generally an excellent skin conditioner.
- Niaouli – Melaleuca Viridflora:
Related to Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) but it has a more pronounced effect upon the immune system. Works well in suppressing any viral infection. A good skin cleanser, firming tissues and aiding healing.
- Nutmeg – Myristica Fragrans:
Has an overall good effect upon the digestive system, and can aid the body to break down fats. Can be useful in Pre-menstrual syndrome, and menopause, as it imitates oestrogen. Also can aid childbirth as it excites the motor nerves strengthening contractions. But best avoided during pregnancy. Also a good hair tonic.
- Oakmoss – Evernia Prunastri:
Has good skin toning and cleansing properties.
- Olive – Olea Europae:
This is the same oil as used in cooking but without the preservatives that are frequently added. Thus a cosmetic grade is better for use on the skin. Normally used as just 10% of total volume of carrier. Very good for the skin and hair. In Aromatherapy often used for rheumatic conditions.
- Orange – Citrus Aurantium var Dulcis:
Adds a little zest to gloomy moods, dispelling stress. Said to help the body absorb vitamin C, and is a great oil to use to clear the air following illness. Promotes the formation of collagen, thus helps to smooth out wrinkles. Also helps dispel toxins from the skin. Suitable for all skin types but most effective on dry skin.
- Orange Bitter – Citrus Aurantium var Amara:
See Orange for therapeutic qualities. The bitter orange seems to be more effective for dermatitis.
- Oregano Common – Origanum Vulgare:
This oil has beneficial effects upon psychosomatic disorders. Over all a good tonic for the digestive system, especially the liver and spleen. The effect upon the liver could explain its reputation as helping reduce cellulite.
- Orris – Iris florentina or Iris pallida:
This is not strictly an aromatherapy oil, although if you could obtain it you would find some powerful uses for the inhaled scent.
- Osmanthus – Osmanthus Fragrans:
While its main use is as a perfume ingredient, it does help reduce stress and have some anti depressant qualities too.
- Palmarosa – Cymbopogon Martini:
A very useful oil for reducing high temperatures in fevers. Has good anti bacterial and anti viral properties too. It is reputed to eradicate wrinkles, as it helps the skin cells balance their water content as well as the natural oil sebum, it could be reducing them. Very useful for dry skins, but a good general skin tonic.
- Parsley Seed – Petroselinum Sativum:
A very potent oil that should be used with care. However it has a good cooling and clearing action on the mind. Used mainly as a diuretic to counter water retention during menstruation. It also has been used in fighting cellulite. Also useful when used in labor as it strengthens uterine contractions. But for the same reasons it should not be used during pregnancy, or painful menstruation. It is a good tonic for the digestive system, especially the liver and kidneys as it improves circulation and helps cleanse the blood. However it should not be used in people with kidney problems, as it could over stimulate a weak organ. A good skin and scalp tonic. Use infrequently.
- Patchouli – Pogostemon Patchouli:
A strong earthy oil that will forever be associated with hippies and the 60’s. It has a balancing action upon the mind, useful for overcoming lethargy and increasing objectivity. As it has a mild appetite suppressant quality it is frequently used to aid dieting. It’s astringent qualities may help tighten loose skin after dieting too. Useful in the menopause for helping with hot flushes, and is frequently used as a natural deodorant. Also very useful for cracked and weeping skin conditions.
- Peach Kernel – Prunus persica:
A very useful carrier oil, suitable for all skin types, but especially dry skins. Can be used as moisturizing base too.
- Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium:
Can be used as an emmenagogue, but is considered dangerous and toxic. Pregnant women should avoid it entirely. Mainly used for repelling insects.
- Pepper or Black Pepper – Piper nigrum:
Black Pepper oil when taken internally is used to stimulate the digestive system, and to stimulate the reproductive system as an aphrodisiac. When used externally, always dilute this oil. It acts as a pain killer, stimulates blood circulation, and is best used in blends. Inhaled, the scent is stimulating and comforting.
- Pepper or California Pepper Tree – Schinus molle:
California Pepper is often called “false Pepper.” This essential oil rarely, if ever, appears on the market. It can be used externally to massage aching sore muscles or joints, and internally as a food spice.
- Peppermint – Mentha Arvensis:
Should more correctly be called Cornmint, Very good for helping clear the respiratory system. Is reputed to help speed up the metabolism and has been used to help with weight loss. A refreshing oil that can sharpen the senses in the morning. Can irritate sensitive skins, and over use can over stimulate the nervous system.
- Peppermint – Mentha Piperita:
A cooling and soothing oil. Very effective for all respiratory conditions, and has a relaxing effect upon digestive problems. The cooling effect upon joint inflammation can make it useful for arthritis, and it works on muscle pain too. A useful skin cleanser that helps remove blackheads, and its cooling action can relieve itching and help with sunburn. Effective upon greasy skin and hair.
- Petitgrain – Citrus Aurantium:
A nice calming oil that can be used to aid Convalescence. A good cleansing oil that can help clearing up blemishes like pimples or even acne.
- Pimento Berry – Pimento Officinalis:
A potent yet useful oil, which helps stimulate local circulation. This can aid rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Also can help with muscle cramp and pain. It can be a good overall tonic for the body. Over use on the skin can cause a rash.
- Pimento Leaf – Pimento Officinalis:
A milder effect than Pimento Berry, and more suitable for people with sensitive skin.
- Pine Needle – Pinus Sylvestris:
A very powerful antiseptic. Helps with Bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. A useful Kidney cleanser, and it can help with cystitis. Further it has an anti-inflammatory effect upon the gall bladder. Also has a beneficial effect upon prostate problems in men. And is reputed to help overcome male impotency. In women it can help with uterine inflammation too.
- Ravensara – Ravensara Aromatica:
A very useful oil for cleaning and clearing the breathing passages. Also works well upon the sinuses too. A useful toning oil that can help tighten underused muscles, further it can help keep the breasts firm. Useful for treating menstrual cramps too.
- Rose Hip – Rosa Mosqueta:
The skin rejuvenating properties of rose are utilized in this carrier oil. Normally used at 5% to 10% of total carrier oil volume, it can add a feel of luxury to a conditioning blend.
- Rose Otto – Rosa damascena:
This is a truly feminine oil. It’s effect upon the mind is reputed to be more pronounced in women, and is said to make her feel more positive about herself. Said to increase the production of dopamine. Further this oil is a useful tonic for reproductive problems, from aiding pre-menstrual syndrome to aiding vaginal secretions during intercourse. Yet it also is reputed to increase semen production in men. Useful for all skin types, yet particularly effective on Mature, Dry, or Sensitive skin. Further it can soften hard skin, and is a wonderful oil for hardworking hands. A valuable treatment for broken and thread veins.
- Rosemary – Rosmarinus Officinalis:
A wonderful energizing oil, with its pain killing qualities without the sedative action makes it a useful oil for muscular aches and pains. A good oil for treating headaches and Migraine. A useful toning oil. Said to help with anemia, and is reputed to help with cellulite too. Useful for sagging and puffy skin. However as it raises blood pressure it should be avoided by people with hypertension as well as people with Epilepsy.
- Rosewood – Aniba Rosaeaodora:
Also known as Bois de Rose. Illegal logging and rain forest depletion has seriously endangered the source of this spice. It is useful for chronic conditions. Yet it is it’s reputation as an aphrodisiac that seems to keep it on the general market.
- Sage – Salvia lavandulaefolia:
A calming oil when used sparingly. Beneficial for menstrual and reproductive problems. As it imitates Oestrogen, it can help with regulating the menstrual cycle. Has a good reputation for aiding conception. Further in menopause it can help with excessive sweating and hot flushes. Useful tonic for the liver and kidneys, promotes urine flow, and this diuretic effect can help with weight loss. Very effective in helping close large pores. Gives dull hair back its shine.
- Sage – Salvia Officinalis:
See Sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) for the therapeutic uses. This variant has a toxic effect, even at low doses, so is best avoided for home use. Sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) does not have this toxic effect but is still a potent oil.
- Sandalwood Mysore – Santalum Album:
While Sandalwood does grow in other areas of the world, it only the Sandalwood from the Mysore region that has the full therapeutic effect. It has a strong calming effect but should not be used for depression as it can deepen the depression. However it is very useful for helping the terminally ill as it can bring feelings of acceptance. A useful oil for it’s genito-urinary action and can be used to treat Cystitis. A useful skin oil especially for dry skin, and skin conditions. Further it can help with acne.
- Sassafras – Sassafras albidun:
Over 38 years ago, however, sassafras in its pure form was outlawed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from foods, beverages and other products due to the health risks associated with one of the three main compounds found in it, called safrole.
Today, sassafras trees grow freely and are still used in many homes to make sassafras tea or homemade sassafras root beer. More concerning is the practice many now have of creating essential oil from the bark of this tree for the purposes of creating dangerous sassafras drugs, MDA (street name “sassafras”) and MDMA (commonly known as “ecstasy”).
Dangers: As the quality of the oil can vary so much, you must buy very carefully if at all. As there are so marry other oils which can benefit rheumatic pains and gout, I think that sassafras is dispensable, particularly in view of its carcinogenic reputation. In addition, because the entire tree needs to be destroyed, the greenhouse effect is continuously being worsened and so sassafras should be eliminated entirely from use in therapy and industry. Because of the suspected carcinogenicity, its use is severely restricted (to 0.05 percent in products) by EC cosmetics laws and IFRA.
- Savory Summer – Satureja Hortensis:
A very powerful antiseptic, very useful for helping formation of scar tissue. Also aids insect stings and bites. A soothing oil that can help with burns too. Reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
- Savory Winter – Satureja Montana:
See Summer Savory (above) for thereapeutic qualities (Satureja Hortensis).
- Sesame – Sesamum Indicum:
Another carrier oil, can be used at 100% of total.
- Spearmint – Mentha Spicata:
A useful oil for treating nausea and may help with travel sickness too. Can soothe itchy skin. Wonderfully refreshing skin cleanser, but as a potent oil it should be used with care and only on localized areas, never to be used on whole body massage.
- Spearmint – Mentha Viridis:
See Spearmint – Mentha Spicata (above). This is a variant with the same therapeutic qualities.
- Spikenard – Nardostachys Jatamansi:
A wonderful relaxing oil that can help induce restful sleep. Also its anti-inflammatory action can help with inflamed skin conditions.
- St John’s Wort – Hypericum Perfotatum:
Recent research in Germany has shown this oil to be very useful for helping treat mild to moderate depression. However this oil does have a photo-toxic action, so best used at 50% of total carrier oil volume.
- Sunflower – Helianthus Annus:
Another carrier oil, can be used at 100% of total.
- Sweet Almond – Prunus Amygdalus:
The most widely used carrier oil in Aromatherapy. Suitable for all skin types, and can be used on it’s own as a moisturizer.
- Tagetes – Tagetes Minuta:
A useful oil for helping regain a grip on the emotions. It’s anti microbial action makes it a useful oil for mosquito bites, also useful for keeping them at bay. Very useful for fungal infections like athletes foot. A very potent oil, do not over use.
- Tangerine – Citrus Reticulata:
As the Tangerine is an earlier harvested Mandarin, See also Mandarin. Helps give color to pale complexions. When blended with Lavender and Neroli it can smooth out stretch marks. A useful skin cleanser.
- Tarragon – Artemisia Dracunculus:
A wonderful oil for helping with apathy and boredom, thus helping with anorexia. A good kidney tonic that also helps eliminate uric acid. Useful in treating weeping skin conditions.
- Tea Tree – Melaleuca Alternifolia:
The anti-viral, anti-septic, and anti-fungal properties of this oil make it one of the most useful and popular oils in Aromatherapy. It has been shown to boost the immune system, and is very useful in helping fight disease. Very useful for all skin conditions, and all skin types.
- Thuja – Thuja Occidentalis:
Used by Professional therapists to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions. But as this oil is toxic it should not be used at home.
- Thyme Red – Thymus Vulgaris:
See White Thyme (below) for therapeutic uses. There is a myth that White Thyme comes from the white flowering plant and the red from the red flowering plant. In fact it is oxidization of the oil. This oxidization has an effect upon the potency of the oil, and makes it kinder if used for treating conditions like cystitis.
- Thyme White – Thymus Vulgaris:
An extremely potent oil and one of the best natural antiseptics known. It is known to become toxic from over use. Very useful for most respiratory conditions, and is known to stimulate white blood cells. Further it can reduce the swelling in Arthritic joints. Useful when dealing with loss of period, but as a potent emmenagogue it should not be used while pregnant. Very useful for clearing dandruff too. Should not be used by people with high blood pressure.
- Thyme White (Rectified) – Thymus Vulgaris:
For therapeutic uses see White Thyme (above). Due to the toxic side effects, this rectified version of Thyme is preferable for home use.
- Thyme Wild (Serpole) – Thymus Serpyllum:
For therapeutic uses see White Thyme (above). This oil is useful for helping with menstruation following a miscarriage.
- Tuberose – Polyanthus Tuberosa:
Inhaled the oil is an aphrodisiac, it centers the emotions, and for those who like it, strengthens the emotions as well. The fresh flowers can be used as an aphrodisiac in combination with champagne, use one flower per glass.
- Turmeric – Curcuma Longa:
This warming oil can help lift the emotions. Helpful in dealing with rheumatic pain.
- Turpentine or Terebinth oil:
Turpentine oil is made from the resin of certain pine trees. Don’t confuse turpentine oil with gum turpentine, which is the resin. Turpentine oil is applied to the skin for joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, and toothaches. People sometimes breathe in (inhale) the vapors of turpentine oil to reduce the chest congestion that goes along with some lung diseases. In foods and beverages, distilled turpentine oil is used as a flavoring. In manufacturing, turpentine oil is used in soap and cosmetics and also as a paint solvent. Was once an important part of the home pharmacy. It is very antiseptic and cleansing.
- Valerian Root – Valeriana Wallachi:
It’s main use is as nerve stimulant and pain killer. Normally used at less than 1% in a blend.
- Vanilla – Vanilla Planifolia:
A wonderful oil for softening and smoothing the skin. Also widely used as an aphrodisiac.
- Vetivert – Vetiveria Zizanoides:
A panacea for stress. A great oil to use just before a job interview or taking an exam. Also useful for deep-rooted psychological problems. It is reputed to help improve the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, and could help with muscular aches and pains. Also helps with clearing acne.
- Violet Leaf – Viola Oderata:
An excellent oil for the kidneys and bladder, making it useful for treating cystitis. Also eases lower back pain associated with kidney problems. Reputed to help with jaundice and the effects over drinking can have on the liver. Further it can help with low libido. Can alleviate irritability and hot flushes in the menopause. Also a great oil for healing cracked nipples, but the blend would need to be washed off with Witch Hazel if the cracked nipples are the result of nursing baby.
- Vitamin E – Dl-Alpha tocopherol:
As a natural preservative, it is very useful in binding and preserving blends. Moreover, it does appear to help nourish the skin too.
- Wheatgerm Refined – Triticum Sativum:
Normally used at 10% of total carrier oil. As it has great skin conditioning properties it can be used as a skin-conditioning base. Useful for prematurely ageing skin, as well as conditions like eczema, and psoriasis.
- Wintergreen – Gaultheria Procubens:
A useful skin cleanser that needs to be used at no more than 2% dilution. Very harmful and possibly fatal if taken internally. Avoid if pregnant.
- Witch Hazel – Hamamelis Virginiana:
A simple and wonderful cleanser. Especially useful for cleaning the skin of the face before and after massage on the face.
- Yarrow – Achillea Millefolium:
After Clary Sage, this oil is the most important oil for treating Menstrual and reproductive problems in women. For many conditions it could be first choice but as a very potent oil, it can induce headaches and irritate the skin. However it is a great tonic for the body, and stimulates the bone marrow improving the production of red blood cells. Said to help with varicose veins. Very useful for back pain. It helps clear oily skin, and is a slow but sure healing oil on inflamed wounds, chapped hands, ulcers and cuts. Also a very good scalp and hair conditioner, that seems to stimulate hair growth.
- Ylang Ylang Extra – Cananga Odorata:
Sometimes also described as Superior. A very useful oil for reducing stress as it helps regulate adrenaline flow. Very useful for reducing blood pressure. The feeling of joy and togetherness this oil can inspire has given it a reputation as an aphrodisiac, and it can be used to treat sexual problems. Further it can help a mother bond with her child especially after a caesarean birth. A very useful oil for the skin helping balance the natural oils in the skin. Further it is reputed to help keep breasts firm. Also a great scalp tonic, reputed to help produce a luxurious head of hair.
- Ylang Ylang I – Cananga Odorata:
Ylang Ylang has five levels of scent, and each has similar therapeutic values. However the contra-indications of these oils, predominately
headaches and nausea from over use, are less pronounced in the higher levels. See Ylang Ylang Extra.
- Ylang Ylang Complete – Cananga Odorata:
Some say that the combination of the four distillations of the levels, is best for Aromatherapy.
Collected from various sources
Almost anyone can enjoy the benefits of an aromatherapy oil, but certain individuals, such as pregnant women, persons with allergies, and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma should only use essential oils for aromatherapy under the guidance of a trained professional.
Keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts and should never be ingested or applied to skin at full strength. Consult a professional aromatherapist or an accredited reference on aromatherapy for advice on these uses.
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