35 ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE

35 OILS TO KNOW AND USE

There are hundreds of essential oils and blends available for your DIY needs, but knowing which one suits your needs can take a little research. If you’re interested in making your own nontoxic baby lotions, for example, you need to know which oils are safe for infants (lavender and dill, for instance) and, more importantly, which are not (rosemary, eucalyptus) ON THIS ARTICLE I SHOW YOU 35 ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE.

Just as you wouldn’t treat a headache with a spoon of cough syrup, it makes sense to focus on the oils that fit the specific requirement of your project—whether it’s making an antiseptic salve, a nourishing eye cream, or a disinfectant spray to remove pet odors.

The following pages contain the profiles of the most common, affordable, and useful essential oils available.

For each essential oil, a cost rating is included.

$ – $1 to $9

$$ – 10 to $20

$$$ – $21 to $35

This rating is based on the price of ½ ounce (15 mL) of essential oil. There are approximately 300 drops of essential oil in ½ ounce, and most recipes only use a few drops, so ½ ounce should last a while unless you’re crafting blends on a large scale

Some essential oils may cost as much as $35 for a 15 mL bottle (hops flower, helichrysum, and rose, for example), but there are plenty of great-smelling, equally therapeutic essential oils that work for DIY projects and won’t stress your budget.

ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE

BASIL 

Ocimum basilicum

SCENT : HERBACEOUS/SPICY NOTE : TOP COST : $

ESSENTIAL OILS BASIL  Ocimum basilicum

ESSENTIAL OILS BASIL  Ocimum basilicum

Native to India, where it is considered sacred, basil is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb has also been used in funerary rites since ancient times and is commonly planted on graves in ancient Persia, Malaysia, and Greece. Egyptians believed the leaves opened the gates of heaven and in ancient India, sprigs of the herb were placed in the hands of the dead to ease their passage to the next world. The Romans used it to treat wounds, mixing it with honey to make an antiseptic salve.

BERGAMOT

Citrus bergamia

SCENT: CITRUS/FLORAL NOTE: TOP COST: $$

BERGAMOT Citrus bergamia

BERGAMOT
Citrus bergamia

Bergamot oil is used both in food preparation and perfumery. It is the oil that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive taste. It has also been used to flavor pipe tobacco. The best bergamot oil is sourced from Italy, although the plant also grows in Africa, southern France, and parts of Turkey, where it is primarily used to flavor marmalade. It is sometimes adulterated with the essential oil of bergamot mint.

BLACK PEPPER

Piper nigrum

SCENT: SPICY/WOODY NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

BLACK PEPPER Piper nigrum

BLACK PEPPER
Piper nigrum

Black pepper is the most widely used spice in the world. The plant is native to India, but Vietnam is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of the spice, which is derived from the dried fruit (the peppercorn) of the plant. In arcane herbcraft, black pepper was used to banish negativity and ward off petty jealousy. Perfumes scented with black pepper include Fleur Poivrée by Acorelle, Aurien Nigra by Eudora, and Popy Moreni.

CALENDULA

Calendula officinalis

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

CALENDULA Calendula officinalis

CALENDULA
Calendula officinalis

Also known as the pot marigold, calendula is one of the few flowers that produces an essential oil and not an absolute. The flower has a long history of being associated with sacred rituals and was used to adorn Hindi temples, and revered by the Egyptians for its regenerative properties. Calendula ointments have long been used to treat conjunctivitis (pink eye) and as a gentle lotion for diaper rash.

CEDARWOOD

Juniperus virginiana

SCENT: WOODY NOTE: BASE COST: $

CEDARWOOD Juniperus virginiana

CEDARWOOD
Juniperus virginiana

The scent of cedarwood is said to have a grounding, calming effect. The ancient Romans and Greeks burned the wood to scent the air. It was nicknamed the “Tree of Life” (arborvitae). It is used for fencing and roofing. The wood’s scent is a natural moth repellant and chests made of the fragrant wood were often used to store clothes. Increasingly, the wood is also being used for “green” coffins.

CHAMOMILE

Chamaemelum nobile (Roman Chamomile) Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile)

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: TOP COST: $$ 

CHAMOMILE Chamaemelum nobile

CHAMOMILE
Chamaemelum nobile

Chamomile is moderately priced, but it’s well worth the few extra dollars it costs for this versatile and gentle essential oil –  ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE.

Typically, you’ll find two varieties of chamomile: Roman and German. You can use these two oils interchangeably in preparations and recipes. Chamomile is related to ragweed, so people with a ragweed allergy may be sensitive to topical application of chamomile.

CINNAMON (BARK OR LEAF)

Cinnamomum zeylancium

SCENT: SPICY NOTE: BASE TO MIDDLE COST: $$$

CINNAMON (BARK OR LEAF)

CINNAMON (BARK OR LEAF)

Cinnamon oil is distilled from both the leaf and the bark of the cinnamon tree.

And cinnamon leaf costs roughly onefifth what cinnamon bark oil does, but you can use the two interchangeably depending on what you have available.

Another cinnamon is used as a spice for cooking, a flavoring for candy, dental products, and alcoholic spirits like spiced rum, whiskey, and tequila.

The tree is hardy and can grow in soil that is 99 percent pure sand.

CLARY SAGE

Salvia sclarea

SCENT: EARTHY/FLORAL NOTE: BASE TO MIDDLE COST: $$

CLARY SAGE Salvia sclarea

CLARY SAGE
Salvia sclarea

Native to southern Europe, clary sage essential oil has a slightly pungent, earthy odor. While it costs slightly more than other essential oils, clary sage is a good tool to have in your arsenal.

It is extremely versatile for health purposes, and it is a mild oil that is safe for use with most people.

CLOVE

Syzygium aromaticum

SCENT: SPICY/WOODY NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $

CLOVE Syzygium aromaticum

CLOVE
Syzygium aromaticum

Unscrupulous vendors may dilute clove oil with copaiba or pimento essential oil.

In pioneer dentistry, oil of cloves was used to deaden the pain of decayed teeth and inflamed gums, but it’s not recommended for internal use.

It is a sacred spice and in ancient times, clove trees were planted to mark a child’s birth. (It was a bad sign if the tree failed to thrive.) Cloves are used in cooking and are also smoked as a substitute for tobacco.

CORIANDER SEED 

Coriandrum sativum

SCENT: SPICY NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $

CORIANDER SEED 

CORIANDER SEED

Coriander (also known as cilantro) is used as a food flavoring and is one of the ingredients of gin.

It was known to the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Israelites, and an ancient Chinese legend said that eating the seeds would confer immortality.

“Coriander water” is an old remedy for the “windy colic.” Coriander’s spicy note is part of several memorable perfumes, including Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche, Live Jazz from Yves Saint Laurent, and Coriandre from Jean Couturier.

CYPRESS (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

Cupressus sempervirens

SCENT: WOODY/BALSAMIC NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

CYPRESS (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE) Cupressus sempervirens

CYPRESS (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)
Cupressus sempervirens

The Phoenicians and Cretans used cypress for boat building.

Cypress trees have long been associated with death and funeral rites.

Ancient Egyptians built coffins out of the wood. In Greek mythology, the tree was sacred to Hades, ruler of the underworld.

Both Greeks and Romans planted the tree outside their temples and cemeteries.

The essential oil is said to boost the effects of negative ions in the air.

EUCALYPTUS 

Eucalyptus globulus

SCENT: WOODY/MEDICINAL NOTE: TOP COST: $

EUCALYPTUS  Eucalyptus globulus

EUCALYPTUS 
Eucalyptus globulus

Eucalyptus leaves are a koala bear’s favorite food. There are more than 700 species of the plant, most of them native to Australia where the indigenous people have used the plant in their medicines for centuries.

It is now widely used as an inhalant to treat colds and other respiratory illnesses, and topically for muscle aches and pains. It is also used to flavor cough drops.

FRANKINCENSE (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

Boswellia carterii

SCENT: WOODY/SPICY/ORIENTAL NOTE: BASE COST: $$$

FRANKINCENSE (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE) Boswellia carterii

FRANKINCENSE (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)
Boswellia carterii

Long before biblical times, frankincense was known as a precious plant, burned by the Egyptians as incense and used in their perfumes.

Frankincense resin is harvested by “wounding” the tree in a process known as striping. The resin that drips out then hardens and is known as “tears.”

The tree is extremely hardy and can even grow on solid rock. The Roman Catholic Church sources most of its frankincense from Somalia, which produces the highest-quality resin.

GERANIUM 

Pelargonium graveolens

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

GERANIUM  Pelargonium graveolens

GERANIUM 
Pelargonium graveolens

One of the few flower oils available for a reasonable price, geranium is prized for its “rosy” notes and may be sold as rose geranium.

It has a calming effect both physically and mentally, and has been distilled since the early 19th century. In the 17th century, English gardeners planted the flower to protect against evil spirits.

In the language of flowers, geraniums represent gentility. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat menstrual and menopausal symptoms as well as a remedy for depression.

GINGER (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

Zingiber officinale

SCENT: SPICY/ORIENTAL NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

GINGER (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE) Zingiber officinale

GINGER (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE) Zingiber officinale

The ginger spice was traded as early as the first century. In the 16th century, Jamaican ginger became the first “Oriental spice” to be grown in the New World and exported back to Europe.

Ginger is used to flavor food, candy, soft drinks, and wine. It is used in perfume, especially in unisex and male fragrances like Zenzero Tesori d’Oriente, and Big Pony 3 by Ralph Lauren.

GRAPEFRUIT 

Citrus x paradisi

SCENT: CITRUS NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

GRAPEFRUIT  Citrus x paradisi

GRAPEFRUIT 
Citrus x paradisi

Grapefruit is believed to have originated as a hybrid between the pomelo and sweet orange sometime in the 19th century.

Energy workers believe the oil is cleansing to the aura. A grapefruit half is a prop in one of the most iconic scenes in Hollywood history, the moment in Public Enemy when James Cagney smashes the fruit into Mae Clarke’s face.

Both pink and white grapefruit are used in perfumery.

GRAPEFRUIT

Citrus x paradisi

SCENT: CITRUS NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

GRAPEFRUIT Citrus x paradisi

GRAPEFRUIT
Citrus x paradisi

Grapefruit is believed to have originated as a hybrid between the pomelo and sweet orange sometime in the 19th century. Energy workers believe the oil is cleansing to the aura.

A grapefruit half is a prop in one of the most iconic scenes in Hollywood history, the moment in Public Enemy when James Cagney smashes the fruit into Mae Clarke’s face.

Both pink and white grapefruit are used in perfumery.

JUNIPER – One More ESSENTIAL OIL TO KNOW AND USE

 Juniperus communis

SCENT: WOODY NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

Juniper has been used by many cultures in purification rituals. Many modern-day energy workers use juniper essential oil to cleanse their crystals.

Juniper berries lend their fragrance to gin and are also used in perfumery.

Fragrances that have juniper notes include J’ai Osé Aqua by Guy Laroche, CK IN2U for Her by Calvin Klein, and Adventurer II from Eddie Bauer.

LAVENDER 

Lavandula angustifolia Lavandula latifolia (spike lavender) Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender)

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: MIDDLE COST: $$

Lavender is one of the oldest essential oils still in use today.

The Egyptians used it in their mummification rituals and it was known to both the Greeks and Romans in classical times.

In the United States, lavender is grown coast-to-coast but flourishes in the Pacific Northwest where an annual lavender festival is held in Sequim, Washington.

LEMON

Citrus limonum

SCENT: CITRUS NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

LEMON

LEMON

In India, lemons are called “golden apples.”

Lemon essential oil is one of the most useful botanicals available to the aromatherapist.

It is used for flavoring everything from pickles (popular in Asia) to candy to soda and prized for its versatility as an ingredient in cosmetics, medicinals, and nontoxic cleaning products.

The fruit has an exotic heritage—born in India, given an Arabic name, and brought to Europe by the Crusaders.

LEMONGRASS

Cymbopogon citratus (West Indian lemongrass) Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian lemongrass)

SCENT: CITRUS/HERBAL NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

LEMONGRASS Cymbopogon citratus

LEMONGRASS
Cymbopogon citratus

A native of Sri Lanka, this plant is used as both a culinary herb and a medicine all over Asia.

It is a staple of the Ayurvedic medicine pharmacopeia, used for treating kidney infections, headaches, depression, and as a general tonic for the immune system.

It is the source for citronella oil but “citronella” is another plant entirely. Lemongrass oil is used in waxes, polishes, detergents, and insecticides.

LIME

 Citrus aurantifolia

SCENT: CITRUS NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

The fruit is fondly remembered as an ingredient in the nonalcoholic “Lime Rickey,” which competed with a “Shirley Temple” as the go-to “cocktail” for children dining out with their parents in the 60s.

The slang term “limey” for Englishmen is derived from the 18th-century practice of carrying limes on British naval ships to prevent scurvy.

It is widely used as a fragrance. Perfumes with lime notes include Lime by Caswell-Massey, Old Spice Lime, and Acqua di Gio by Armani.

MYRRH

Commiphora myrrha

SCENT: WOODY/ORIENTAL NOTE: BASE PRICE: $$$

An aromatic, resinous gum harvested throughout Africa, myrrh is extensively used in Chinese medicine where it is classified as a “bitter” and “spicy” herb.

In the ancient Jewish Talmud, myrrh is highly praised as a medicinal ointment, and in Muslim texts, as “balsam of Mecca.” An unrelated herb called “sweet cicely” is also sometimes referred to as myrrh.

NIAOULI

Melaleuca quinquenervia

SCENT: MEDICINAL NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $

Also known as the “paperbark tree,” niaouli is related to the allspice family.

It is native to the Pacific Island region. Like a number of nonnative plants introduced to the Everglades (Old World climbing fern, hydrilla), niaouli has become “naturalized” and the invasive plant is now threatening the area’s delicate ecosystem.

The oil is used as an inhalant for respiratory ailments but also heals acne, eczema, and other skin conditions.

NUTMEG 

Myristica fragrans

SCENT: SPICY NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $$

Long used as a spice and flavoring, nutmeg is used in perfumery to fix citrus scents.

It was originally used by Arab physicians (who introduced it to the Venetians), to treat digestive disorders, kidney ailments, and bad breath.

Both Indians and Arabs used the spice as an aphrodisiac. The spice is mentioned in the writings of both Pliny and Hildegard of Bingen. Elizabethans used it to ward off the plague.

Nutmeg is frequently used for unisex and masculine scents like Guerlain’s Vetiver Sport and Dior’s Fahrenheit.

ORANGE 

1 Citrus aurantium (Neroli or Bitter orange) 2Citrus sinesis (Sweet orange) 3Citrus reticulata (Mandarin)

SCENT: CITRUS NOTE: TOP COST: $

With similar scents, the essential oils in the orange family also have similar properties and can typically be substituted for one another in both health and scent formulations.

Orange is used as a flavoring and also as a solvent. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat gout, digestive disorders, and anxiety.

Some of the perfumes that possess an orange note are Chopard’s Happy Spirit, and Miss Dior Cherie L’Eau by Dior.

OREGANO ( ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE )

Origanum vulgare

SCENT: HERBACEOUS NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $$

As noted in a fact sheet produced by the Herb Society of America, oregano was grown in Egypt for 3,000 years, used by the Greeks in Classical times, and used by the Hittites, who lived in the area that is now Syria, who inscribed images of the herb on clay tablets.

The herb is highly prized as a food flavoring, especially in Mediterranean cooking, as well as for its therapeutic qualities, which were noted by Greek physician Hippocrates.

PALMAROSA

Cymbopogon martinii

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $

Palmarosa essential oil is extracted from a flowering grass harvested before it flowers.

It was used by ancient Indian doctors to treat nerve pain, rheumatism, and infectious diseases.

It is valued as a perfume ingredient because of the “rosy note” in its aroma. Alternate names for palmarosa include Turkish rose, Indian rose, and rose geranium.

Perfumes with palmarosa notes include Ciara by Revlon and Jasmin 17 by Le Labo.

PATCHOULI

Pogostemon cablin

SCENT: EARTHY/SPICY NOTE: BASE PRICE: $$

If the 1970s were a person, patchouli oil would have been its signature scent.

It is used in Chinese traditional medicines and also in Wiccan rituals, where it substitutes for graveyard dust.

It is highly prized for its skin-conditioning properties and used to treat eczema, rashes, acne, chapped skin, and dermatitis.

Its use in perfumery is widespread, with scents as different as Lorenzo Villoresi’s Patchouli, Sergei Lutens’ Borneo 1834, and Angel by Thierry Mugler demonstrating how subtle patchouli can be when blended by a superior nose.

PEPPERMINT ( ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

Mentha piperita

SCENT: MINTY NOTE: TOP PRICE: $

The plant we know as peppermint is a natural hybrid, a cross between spearmint and watermint, a plant that grows in damp places across Europe, Asia, and northwest Africa.

The ancient Romans planted peppermint between the steppingstones leading to their houses so that guests would be welcomed by the scent as they approached.

Peppermint is used to flavor both food and medicine and as a fragrance in cosmetics. Drunk as a tea, it aids digestion.

PINE

Pinnus sylvestris

SCENT: WOODY NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $

Pine is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 115 feet high. The scent of pine oil is ubiquitous in cleaning products to the point that it is virtually synonymous with “clean.”

According to Bryan Miller and Dr. Light Miller, authors of the authoritative Ayurveda & Aromatherapy, “the world’s largest production of any essential oil is pine.”

It is also used in perfumery in fragrances as diverse as Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens and Black Forest by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

ROSEMARY

Rosmarinus officinalis

SCENT: WOODY/HERBAL NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $

A cooking herb as well as an ingredient in many ancient medicines, rosemary is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean.

The scent has been known to stimulate memory since at least Shakespeare’s time. (“There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance,” Ophelia says as she goes mad in Hamlet.)

In Hoodoo folk magic traditions, rosemary is thought to empower women and is often used in spells to ward off evil. In astrology, rosemary is associated with Leo.

SANDALWOOD

Santalum album (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

SCENT: WOODY NOTE: BOTTOM PRICE: $$

Sandalwood is slightly more expensive than other woody essential oils, but its scent is highly prized. It has a woody, masculine scent found in incense, men’s cologne, and women’s fragrances.

While traditional sandalwood comes from India, recently Australia has surpassed India as the leading provider of sandalwood throughout the world.

TEA TREE

Melaleuca alternifolia

SCENT: MEDICINAL NOTE: MIDDLE PRICE: $

Tea tree oil is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, from acne to herpes.

It has been shown to kill the superbug MRSA in a laboratory setting.

In addition to its medicinal uses, tea tree has a long tradition of being used for energy work, for aura cleansing, protection, purification, to open mental channels, and promote mental clarity.

A native of Australia, the plant was named by British explorer Captain James Cook.

It is associated with the moon and with Mercury.

VETIVER ( ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE )

Vetiveria zizanioide

SCENT: EARTHY NOTE: BASE PRICE: $$

Also known as khus oil, vetiver is believed to be very calming and grounding.

It is a perennial grass native to India that is often planted for erosion control.

In folk magic it is said to be protective and it is used in rituals to attract money.

The roots are used to make blinds, hats, and bags.

The oil is extensively used in perfume where its earthy note is incorporated into fragrances like Encre Noire by Lalique, Vetiver by Zara, and Black Vetiver by Phaedon.

YLANG YLANG (ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE)

Cananga odorata

SCENT: FLORAL NOTE: BASE PRICE: $$

Known by many names, including “the perfume tree,” ylang ylang is a fast-growing tree (up to 15 feet a year) native to the tropical rain forest in the Philippines and Malaysia.

The plant is said to be an aphrodisiac and is used to treat nervous disorders and relieve stress. Ylang ylang oil is used extensively in perfumery.

Some notable fragrances with ylang ylang notes are Ylang Austral by Givenchy and Ombre D’Or by Jean Charles Brosseau.

Finally this is the 35 ESSENTIAL OILS TO KNOW AND USE.

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