There are more than 90 essential oils and each one provides unique and amazing benefits. So where do you start? Below I have provided a starter list for your aromatherapy journey.
Tea Tree Oil: Of the 300 varieties of tea trees that grow in Australia only one variety, Melaleuca alternifolia, produces the actual tea tree oil. For centuries the aborigines have applied poultices of tea tree leaves to cuts, wounds, and skin infections. You can inhale crushed tea tree leaves to treat respiratory problems. Australians call tea tree oil a "first-aid kit in a bottle" due to its multiple healing benefits. Tea tree is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral. This oil is effective for the treatment of abscesses, acne, bites, blisters, burns, cuts, dandruff, skin disorders, and scalp problems. It aids respiratory ailments and relieves symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, earaches, fevers, laryngitis, sinusitis, sore throats, tonsillitis, and whooping cough. Tea tree is also a great immune booster and can reduce the incidence of colds, fevers, the flu, and other infectious illnesses. It is excellent for fighting fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, candida infections, and jock itch. It helps heal cold sores and prevent herpes outbreaks. Tea tree improves oral hygiene and relieves gingivitis, mouth ulcers, periodontal disease, and toothaches. With all of these amazing benefits tea tree oil is one of the essential oils that should be in everyone’s collection.
Frankincense Oil: Since the beginning of recorded history frankincense has been associated with healing and spirituality. Frankincense, also known as the "king of oils", comes from the gum resin of the Boswellia carteri tree that is native to the Middle East. Traditional Chinese Medicine used frankincense for centuries to treat leprosy and tuberculosis. Medical professionals in Europe and England today prescribe frankincense oil to treat many of the same disorders. Frankincense has a soothing and healing effect on mucous membranes, wounds, and inflammation. It can clear congestion in the lungs, soothe respiratory problems such as colds, coughs, bronchitis, the flu and laryngitis, and can even help avert asthma attacks. Medical practitioners say that frankincense alleviates the discomforts of cystitis, genital infections, and kidney complaints. Frankincense is a great essential oil for the skin. Combined with lavender essential oil and coconut oil is a very effective treatment for psoriasis. Frankincense can also smooth lines and wrinkles on the face. Frankincense accelerates the healing of blemishes, inflammations, sores, scars, skin ulcers, and wounds. This oil not only revitalizes the body but also the mind. Frankincense can help sever ties with the past that contribute to depression and hamper personal growth. This is a must have oil in the aromatherapists cabinet.
Lavender Oil: The ancient Greeks and Romans prized this oil, for its perfume and cleansing properties. The word lavender comes from the Latin word lavare, which means "to wash". In the early 1900s a French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse was working in his lab and burned his hand severely. He stuck his hand in a nearby container of lavender oil thinking it was water. He discovered his hand not only stopped hurting, it healed faster and didn't scar. Lavender is a powerful oil. It is used for an array of different ailments such as digestive disorders, earaches, respiratory illnesses, and skin disorders. This oil clears congestion and stuffiness of sinusitis and it soothes sore throats, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. Lavender oil is a great pain reliever. It eases the pain and discomfort of muscular aches, spasms, and injuries, and can even help to heal bruises, cuts, and insect bites. It relieves pain associated with migraines and tension headaches. Lavender is amazing for skin disorders such as burns, psoriasis, eczema, facial candida, cold sores and herpes. Research has shown that lavender oil helps reduce anxiety and insomnia. It can be a powerful sleep aid. Scientific evidence suggests that the use of lavender oil may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve quality of sleep, promote relaxation, and lift the mood of people that are suffering from sleep disorders. In one study on lavender oil by Britain’s University of Southampton, researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 10 adults for a week. Half of the participants slept in a room where lavender essential oil was diffused into the air throughout the night. The rest of the participants slept in another room that was diffused with a placebo. At the end of the study the volunteers ranked that lavender increased the quality of sleep and the ability to sleep by 20%. Lavender has also been found to increase slow wave sleep; the deep slumber where the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. This is the time when the brain is thought to organize memory. The mildness of lavender makes it a safe essential oil for infants and children.
Sweet Orange Oil: From early times, the orange has been associated with generosity and gratitude. Once called "golden apples", oranges symbolized innocence and fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners prescribe oranges for digestion, but sweet orange oil has many more uses. Sweet orange oil relieves the discomfort of bronchitis and flu symptoms. It boosts the immune system by aiding the body absorb vitamin C. Orange oil can heal mouth ulcers and gingivitis. This oil can calm an upset stomach, especially if it is nerve or stress related, and can aid in digestion and restore appetite. It regulates the bowels and relieves diarrhea and constipation. Orange oil encourages the elimination of wastes and promotes urination, making it quite helpful in treating obesity, fluid retention, and PMS. This oil is also very beneficial for the skin. It restores balance to dry or oily skin, and can clear blemishes and improve acne-prone skin. Orange oil stimulates circulation of lymphatic fluids, helping relieve tissue swelling. It can also improve the appearance of cellulite. Orange is a great oil for depression because it can brighten gloomy feelings, and has a warm, happy, and light influence. Sweet orange smells amazing, treats multiple ailments, and is a great oil to blend with your other essential oils.
Sweet orange oil is not bitter orange oil. Sweet orange oil is extracted from the species of orange tree called Citrus sinensis where bitter orange oil is extracted from the species Citrus aurantium. Bitter orange oil does have the same uses as sweet orange, but bitter orange is more phototoxic (rendering the skin susceptible to damage upon exposure to light and especially ultraviolet light) and is irritating to sensitive skin. The scent of bitter orange is a cross between sweet orange and the slight bitterness of grapefruit oil.
Patchouli Oil: For centuries the people of China, India, Japan, and Malaysia have relied on patchouli for various medicinal purposes. It is used to fight infection, cool fevers, and to tone the skin. Patchouli oil is antifungal and is helpful in treating athletes’ foot, jock itch, vaginitis, and fungal infections of the skin such as candida. This oil reduces the inflammation in skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, sunburns, skin allergies, eczema, and other forms of dermatitis. Patchouli oil speeds up the healing of sores and wounds and helps fade scars. This oil is a great weight loss aid. It curbs the appetite and tones and tightens skin to prevent sagging after weight is lost. Patchouli also regulates the oiliness of skin and hair, and helps scalp disorders such as dandruff and seborrhea (excessive discharge of sebum from sweat glands). One unique characteristic about patchouli is that as it ages the scent gets sweeter. Patchouli is a well-known aphrodisiac and expands sensuality, inspires creativity, and encourages freedom of expression of the imagination. It cools and calms during physically or emotionally hot situations. This is a great oil to have on hand, and is an effective oil to blend with other citrus or herbal essential oils.