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The popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has
In fact, according to the Global Aromatherapy Market Analysis, Companies Profiles, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast to 2024, the global aromatherapy market is projected to grow by 8 percent between 2017 and 2024.
But what exactly are essential oils? For those new to this trend, these incredibly potent oils — some of which have been around for centuries — are extracted from plants to capture their flavors, scents, and overall beneficial properties.
They make for a great addition to your skin, hair, and healthcare collection, and can also be used for aromatherapy.
Before you begin
Before getting started, there are a few basics to remember when working with essential oils:
- When applying oils topically, always use a carrier oil. These are oils used to dilute essential oils, like coconut or jojoba oil.
- Always do a patch test before applying anything to larger areas of your skin.
- Many essential oils are toxic and shouldn’t be taken by mouth unless under the specific care of a healthcare professional.
- Buy “pure” essential oils. There are all kinds of knock-off versions and perfume oils that don’t contain the same benefits.
If you’re looking to get into essential oils, but aren’t quite sure where to start, we’ve compiled an extensive list on some of the most popular and beneficial ones. Keep reading to see which oils can best meet your needs.
This incredibly popular oil has all kinds of benefits. This subtly floral scent can help people to relax and sleep. Moreover, breathing it in has been found to help with
Safety: There are a few known side effects. These include nausea, headaches, chills, and vomiting. It can also irritate the skin if you have an intolerance.
Featuring a combination of a light floral and herbal aroma, this oil has
Safety: Anyone allergic to daisies, marigolds, and ragweed should avoid using this oil altogether.
When the sweet, floral scent of rose oil is inhaled,
Safety: Skin irritation can occur when used topically, so make sure to use more of the carrier oil if you want to reap the skin care benefits of rose oil.
This earthy, herbal, and sweet-scented essential oil can be used on the skin to help to
Safety: Don’t use hyssop if you’re pregnant or have a history of seizures.
This flowery oil emits a spicy but sweet aroma, and has been suggested as an aid in
This sappy-smelling essential oil is said to
Safety: Myrrh should never be taken orally. If you’re using it topically, take note that it’s been found to cause dermatitis. More serious side effects include heart irregularities and lower blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of miscarriage if taken by people who are pregnant.
Thesmoky, sugary scent of vetiver is often used in tranquil aromatherapy to boost your overall mood and calm your nerves. As for its antioxidant benefits,
Safety: Since it’s nonirritating and non-sensitizing it’s a great topical alternative for those who can’t handle other essential oils.
The aroma of this one may smell like the holiday season to you, but it also has all kinds of astringent, digestive, antiseptic, and disinfectant properties.
It may prevent oral issues like bad breath, toothaches, cavities, and mouth sores, and one
Safety: Aside from potential skin sensitivity, users can rest easy knowing there aren’t any major side effects from using frankincense.
Even though this is also derived from a citrus fruit — the peel to be exact — it has more of a bitter and fresh scent, and is a popular oil to use in a diffuser. It’s been said to have
Safety: Again, similar to lemon, avoid UV rays from the sun when applying topically.
Earthy and naturally woody-smelling, cedarwood is used for a number of topical beauty treatments. Studies have shown that
Safety: It’s important to note that none of these benefits comes from ingesting the oil. It’s not safe to consume cedarwood oil and if done so can result in vomiting, nausea, thirst, and damage to the digestive system.
Text “POISON” to 797979 to save the National Poison Help Hotline number and the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ online tool to your smartphone. If you can’t access a phone or computer, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
When you inhale the minty herbal scent of this oil, some evidence
When applied topically, you’ll immediately sense a cooling effect. This can help with things like muscle pain (and potentially help to increase exercise
Safety: Peppermint essential oil shouldn’t be ingested as it can cause serious side effects like heartburn, headaches, an irritated esophagus, and mouth sores. So if you need to freshen your breath, just stick to actual mints.
This other minty option is quite similar to peppermint in both aroma and benefits, therefore it can be used as an alternative. You will find that spearmint oil has a bit of a sweeter kick to its aroma and has been found to have antifungal properties.
It also provides the same cooling effect as peppermint when applied topically, which makes it equally as useful for warding off unwanted insects and relieving bug bites.
Safety: If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before using spearmint oil.
The essential oil extracted from basil has many topical and internal benefits. It’s
It’s also been found to
Safety: If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before using basil oil.
You probably know this oil by its more commonly used name — tea tree oil — along with its easy to identify medicinal scent. It’s typically used as an antibacterial,
Thanks to these benefits, it’s been shown to help treat eczema, reduce reactions in people allergic to nickel, and even treat staph infections and bug bites.
Safety: You should only inhale or apply this oil topically — never ingest it. If you do, you could experience digestive issues, hives, or dizziness.
Tea tree oil comes in a variety of strengths. Be sure to dilute it, if it’s pure. It’s also possible to be allergic to tea tree oil — and any other oil for that matter.
This citrusy oil is loaded with antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, fight against
Safety: You can use it on your skin to nourish it, but remember: Because it’s incredibly photosensitive, you should only use it at night and wash it off in the morning. Don’t expose skin to sunlight when using lemon oil topically.
This lesser-known oil emits a woody scent and is said to help repel bugs and reduce stress. Its main draw is its supposed ability to promote a healthy, glowing complexion.
Safety: If you inhale too much, too quickly, it can potentially irritate your lungs and respiratory tract. Don’t take it orally as it’s been shown to be toxic.
It’s no surprise that this oil — packed with vitamin C — has tons of skin care benefits when applied topically. This oil is found in a variety of beauty products and touts promises to make skin appear brighter, smoother, and clearer.
As for health-based benefits, studies have found that orange may help treat anxiety and
Safety: This bold and zesty citrus oil isn’t without its downfalls. Dilute it well. Never apply directly to your skin or you may experience redness and swelling, and be sure to avoid direct sunlight right after application.
This oil — which smells like a mix of honey and hay — features antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to promote internal and external health. When applied to the skin,
Safety: It’s generally considered a safe oil and has been said to produce little to few allergic reactions, making it an ideal option for those with skin sensitivity.
Derived from the cinnamomum cassia plant, this oil has a similar warm and spicy fragrance to actual cinnamon, though it’s a bit sweeter. Unlike the cooling effect of the minty oils, cassia oil warms the body, which can leave people feeling tranquil.
Safety: That said, anyone who’s pregnant shouldn’t use this oil.
This spiced essential oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal benefits that
Its sharp, spicy scent with hints of herbal tendencies can be used in aromatherapy, or applied topically to reap its benefits.
Safety: If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should talk to your doctor before using oregano oil.
While there’s still a good deal of research that needs to be done to fully back and support essential oils as a way to treat various health issues, there are still a number of benefits worth exploring.
Remember that essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil before applying to the skin. Do not swallow essential oils. Some are toxic.
From alleviating insect bites to making your home smell great, essential oils offer a wide range of potential benefits.