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You are here:Home > Aromatherapy > Essential Oil Descriptions and Uses
Essential Oil Descriptions, Uses, and Contraindications

Caution: Essential Oils are concentrated essences from plants, and should always be diluted before application to the skin to avoid irritation. We do not promote or encourage the use of Essential Oils internally but more for their aromatic and topical benefits. Ensure that you are aware of the contraindications of the oils that you are using and consult with your doctor or a certified aromatherapist if you have health concerns or questions.




How to Use Essential Oils

Inhaling Essential Oils
  • Diffuser - car, electric, ceramic, light ring, glass 6-8 drops
  • Mister (Environmental) - 45 drops per 30 ml water
  • Mister (Body/Face) - 15 drops per 30 ml of water
  • Tissue - one drop and inhale, avoiding eye area
Massaging Essential Oils
  • Must be diluted in cold pressed vegetable oil or lotion or cream base
  • For healthy adults 7-15 drops per 30 ml of massage base
  • Older Children or Seniors half the amount 3-7 drops per 30ml
Bathing with Essential Oils
  • Bath tub - add up to 8 drops of essential oil to a full tub
  • Foot bath - add up to 4-6 drops of essential oil
  • *Use very little citrus in the bath, could tingle the skin


Essential Oil Descriptions & Contraindications

Aniseed Essential Oil

Uses: An essential oil suggested for the digestive system, could stimulate a tired mind, muscular aches and pains. Helpful for colds, coughs, and bronchitis.
Origin: Spain
Latin name: Pimpinella anisum
Note: Top
Extraction: Distillation from seeds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Avoid during pregnancy, can cause dermatitis, best to use in small doses.

Basil Essential Oil

Uses: Headaches, digestive upsets, sharpens the senses, sluggish/congested skin.
Origin: India
Latin name: Ocimum basilicum
Note: Top
Extraction: Distillation from flowering herb
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications:
Avoid during pregnancy, can irritate the skin

Benzoin Essential Oil

Uses: Calms the mind, helps relieve symptoms of coughs, colds, bronchitis and flus, cuts or chapped skin.
Origin: India
Latin name:
Styrax benzoin
Note: Base

Extraction:
Solvent from resin
Applications: Widely used as a fragrance fixative. Also can be used in massage, bath and body care products.
Cautions:
May be an irritant to people with extremely sensitive skin

Bergamot (FCF) Essential Oil

Uses: Very uplifting oil, good for depression, anxiety, eczema/psoriasis, cold sores, sluggish digestion.
Origin: Italy
Latin name: Citrus bergamia
Note: Middle
Extraction: Expression from the rind
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Skin irritant, bergaptene has been removed from this essential oil, which causes sun photo-sensitivity.

Black Pepper Essential Oil

Uses: Muscular aches and pains, helpful with bruising, stimulates the mind, stimulates the digestive system.
Origin: India
Latin name: Piper nigrum
Note: Middle
Extraction: Extraction from peppercorns
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Skin irritant, could over stimulate kidneys.

Cajeput Essential Oil

Uses: An excellent antiseptic for the respiratory tract. Good for muscular aches and pains, colds, flus, sinusitis, insect bites.
Origin: Indonesia
Latin name: Malaleuca cajaputi
Note: Top
Extraction: Distillation of leaves & twigs
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: May irritate the skin

Camphor (White) Essential Oil

Uses: Good for infections, muscular aches and pains, calms the digestive system.
Origin: China
Latin name: Cinnamon camphora
Note: Top Extraction: Distilled from wood & branches
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications:
White Camphor is said to be less toxic than yellow or brown camphor. Powerful Oil, avoid during pregnancy, epilepsy and asthma

Carrot Seed Essential Oil

Uses: Cleanses the body, tonic on hormonal concerns, great for skin adding elasticity and toning.
Origin: Hungary
Latin name: Daucus carota
Note: Middle
Extraction: Steam distilled from dried seeds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy

Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil

Uses: Good for acne, eczema, greasy skin (astringent), respiratory conditions asthma, bronchitis, calming good for stress.
Cedarwood Origin:
Morocco
Cedarwood Latin name: Daucus carota
Cedarwood Note: Middle
Cedarwood Extraction: Distilled from the wood
Cedarwood Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Cedarwood Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy, could irritate skin

Chamomile (Roman) Essential Oil

Uses: Calming, good for stress and anxiety, anti-inflammatory good for muscular aches and pains, soothing and healing for the skin
Origin:
UK
Latin name: Anthemis nobilis
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from flower heads
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during beginning of pregnancy

*There are two Chamomile varieties used in Aromatherapy - Roman and Blue. The Blue has more anti-inflammatory properties. Maroc (Ormenis multicaulis) it is not a true Chamomile and cannot be considered a replacement.

Champa Essential Oil

Uses: Calming, balancing, can be used as a personal perfume. Aphrodisiac.
Origin:
India
Latin name: Michelela champaca
Note: Base
Extraction: Solvent extracted from flowers
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy

Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

Uses: Good for exhausted states, strong antiseptic, eases muscular aches and pains, warming
Origin:
Sri Lanka
Latin name: Cinnamonum zeylanicum
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from leaves, twigs
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Skin irritant, best to avoid during pregnancy

Citronella Essential Oil

Uses: Oily skin, greasy hair, insect deterrent and for colds & flus in soaps and candles.
Origin:
Indonesia
Latin name: Cymbopogon nardus
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from the grass
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy. Could cause skin irritation.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Uses: Calming nerves, PMS / menopause-balancing. Used for high blood pressure, oily hair and skin, for dandruff.
Origin:
Hungary
Latin name: Salvia sclarea
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from leaves/flower tops
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Very sedating, avoid during pregnancy.

Clove Bud Essential Oil

Uses: muscular aches and pains, good for the digestive system, disinfectant, aphrodisiac, strengthens memory and the mind, helpful with depression.
Origin:
Madagascar
Latin name: Eugenia caryophylatta
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from the buds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Very strong oil, could cause skin irritation

Coriander Essential Oil

Uses: Uplifting, refreshing to memory, good the digestive system, warming analgesic for muscular pain, arthritis and a general cleanser of the body.
Origin:
Russia
Latin name: Coriandum sativum
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from seeds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Said to be stupefying in large doses.

Cypress Essential Oil

Uses: Calming, great for varicose veins, balancing action on skin (oily skin) good for muscular aches and pains, for coughs, bronchitis
Origin:
Austria
Latin name: Cupressus sempervirens
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distillation of needles and twigs
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy

Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil

Uses: Said to be useful for clearing congestion, aiding in construction of new skin cells and preventing bacterial growth. It is reputed to have a healing action on burns, blisters, wounds and insect bites, and has been used to combat sore muscles and joints.
Origin: China
Latin name: Eucalyptus Globulus
Note:
Top
Extraction: Steam Distillation
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Caution: Avoid use with young children. Best to avoid during pregnancy, with high blood pressure and epilepsy.

Eucalyptus, Lemon

Uses: Same as other Eucalyptus. It is said that Eucalyptus Lemon can assist with ailments such as arthritis, bronchitis, colds, coughs, flu, and poor circulation.’
Origin:
China
Latin name: Eucalyptus citriodora
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Same as other Eucalyptus’

Eucalyptus, Radiata

Origin: Australia
Latin name: Eucalyptus radiata
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Same as other Eucalyptus’
Uses: Same as above, this is a better choice for kids, not as stimulating

Fennel

Uses: Bruising, cellulite, rheumatism, good for detoxifying the body, increasing mother's breast milk
Origin:
Hungary
Latin name: Foeniculum vulgare
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from crushed seeds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy, with epilepsy, can be a skin irritant

Fir Needle

Uses: For colds, flus, coughs, bronchitis, muscular aches and pains, grounding effect on the mind
Origin:
Austria
Latin name: Abies siberica
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation from needles/leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known

Frankincense

Uses: Great for meditation, slows things down and is comforting, wonderful for congestion, drying effect. Tonic to the skin, healing for wounds, sores…
Origin:
France
Latin name: Boswellia thurifera
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of bark
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known

Geranium

Uses: Wonderful balance, great for PMS, menopause, depression. For skin, healing and helps balance sebum.
Origin: China
Latin name: Pelargonium graveolens
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distillation from flowers/leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy, may irritate sensitive skin.

Ginger

Uses: Great for nausea, warming and good for muscular aches and pains, sharpens senses and aids memory, colds and flus
Origin:
India
Latin name: Zingiber officinalis
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from the rhizome (root)
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could irritate sensitive skin.

Grapefruit, White

Uses: Good for depression, headaches, cellulite, congested and oily skin, water retention, nervous exhaustion
Origin:
Israel
Latin name: Citrus paradisi
Note: Top
Extraction: Expressed from the peel
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could increase photo-sensitivity (burn easier in the sun)

Jasmine, Absolute

Uses: Good for depression, great for child labor, uterine tonic, aphrodisiac, coughs, laryngitis, loosens up stiff limbs
Origin:
India
Latin name: Jasminum officinale
Note: Base
Extraction: Solvent extraction
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy.

Juniper Berry

Uses: Clears the mind, effective diuretic (increases urine flow) cellulite, detoxifying the body, regulates periods. Good for congested or oily skin, acne…
Origin:
Croatia
Latin name: Juniperus communis
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from the berries
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Prolonged used could overstimulate the kidneys, best avoid during pregnancy.

Lavandin

Uses: Refreshing oil, good for aches and pains, coughs, colds and flus and helps heal wounds.
Origin:
France
Latin name: Lavandula hybrida grosso
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distillation from flowering tops
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Similar to lavender, not as relaxing oil

Lavender

Uses: Good for high blood pressure, insomnia, wounds/cuts rejuvenating to skin, helpful for colds, flus, coughs, helps regulate periods, insect repellant.
Origin:
France
Latin name: Lavendula angustifolium
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from flowering tops
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during the first two trimesters of pregnancy and if you have low blood pressure.

Lemon

Uses: Refreshing, uplifting to the mind, tonic to the circulatory system, helpful with infections, colds, flus, used for wart treatments, for headaches.
Origin:
Italy
Latin name: Citrus limonum
Note: Top
Extraction: Expressed from rinds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Photosensitive
Uses: Stimulating, energizing, antiseptic for colds, flus…headaches, tonic to the skin, encourages appetite. Insect repellant
Origin:
Guatemala
Latin name: Cymbopogon citratus
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distillation from grass/leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could irritate skin

Lime

Uses: Refreshing, uplifting, eases coughs, congestion, sinusitis, tonic to immune system and helps with rheumatic pain.
Origin:
Italy
Latin name: Citrus aurantifolia
Note: Top
Extraction: Expressed from the rind
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Increases photosensitivity

Litsea Cubeba

Uses: Good for acne, greasy skin conditions, indigestion, antiseptic for immune system.
Origin:
China
Latin name: Litsea cubeba
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from the fruits} Note:
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could irritate sensitive skin

Mandarin, Red

Uses: Good for acne, oily skin, stretch marks, fluid retention, insomnia, nervous tension, uplifting to mind, digestive complaints.
Origin:
Italy
Latin name: Citrus nobilis
Note: Top
Extraction: Expressed from the rinds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Increases photosensitivity

Marjoram

Uses: Calming effect, helpful with insomnia, helps with rheumatic aches and pains, dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, helpful with headaches. Reduces sexual desire!
Origin:
Spain
Latin name: Thymus masticina
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of flowering heads
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, BathContraindications: Best avoided during pregnancy, prolonged use could cause drowiness.

Myrrh

Uses: Wonderful drying effect, for colds, flus, congestion, helps support the immune system, excellent for mouth and gum disorders.
Origin:
France
Latin name: Commiphora myrrha
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of branches, stem
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy

Myrtle

Uses: For children with colds, coughs, more sedating and gentle than eucalyptus. Soothes feelings of anger, helpful with sleep, has drying effect on colds, flus and insect repellant
Origin:
Tunisia
Latin name: Myrtus communis
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of the leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could possibly irritate mucous membranes
Uses: Said to be euphoric, great for depression and stress, helpful in cases of insomnia, aphrodisiac, circulatory tonic
Origin:
Tunisia
Latin name: Citrus aurantium
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of petals (orange tree)
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Very relaxing oil

Niaouli

Uses: Stimulating, reviving, great for infections, helps support the immune system, good for the respiratory system, bronchitis, flu, pneumonia…good for acne, boils, cuts…
Origin:
Australia
Latin name: Melaleuca viridiflora
Note: Top to Middle
Extraction: Distillation of leaves/shoots
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known?

Nutmeg

Uses: Invigorating to the mind, wonderful for the digestive system, helping break down foods, regulates periods, warming great for muscular aches and pains, aphrodisiac.
Origin:
Indonesia
Latin name: Myristica fragrans
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation from seeds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Potent oil use in moderation, best avoid during pregnancy

Oak Moss, Absolute

Uses: As a fixative, used in soaps, perfumes, hair products…
Origin:
France
Latin name: Evernia prunastri
Note: Base
Extraction: Solvent
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: It is not a true essential oil, compound

Uses: Good for depression, uplifting, refreshing, calms upset stomachs, helps with insomnia, good for oily dull skin, good skin tonic.
Origin:
Brazil
Latin name: Citrus sinensis
Note: Middle
Extraction: Distilled from the rinds
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Unknown?

Palmarosa

Uses: Uplifting, cools the body down, tonic to digestive system, general skin tonic
Origin:
India
Latin name: Cymbopogon martinii
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of grass
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known?

Patchouli

Uses: Grounding and balancing effect, healing for the skin, eczema, psoriasis, astringent, diuretic cellulite, deodorant, aphrodisiac
Origin:
Indonesia
Latin name: Pogostemum cablin
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Sedative in low doses, stimulating in high doses, may cause loss of appetite

Peppermint

Uses: Great for headaches, digestive upsets, cooling effect, good for mental fatigue, colds, flus, muscular aches and pains, skin good for acne (blackheads)
Origin:
India
Latin name: Mentha piperita
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best avoided during pregnancy, with high blood pressure and may antidote homeopathic remedies. Nursing mothers avoid, could discourage milk flow.

Peru Balsam

Uses: Eczema, chapped skin, colds, flus, bronchitis, nervous tension and stress
Origin:
Peru
Latin name:
Note: Base
Extraction: Steam distilled
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Skin irritant, not true essential oil, compounded

Petitgrain

Uses: Calming, soothing on emotions, sedative, insomnia, deodorant, clears up acne
Origin:
Paraguay
Latin name: Citrus aurantium
Note: Top-Middle
Extraction: Distilled from twigs/shoots
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known? Comes from Orange Tree

Pine

Uses: Refreshing, clears the mind, powerful antiseptic, colds, flus, congestion, warming properties, arthritis, gout, sciatica, insect repellant, congested skin.
Origin: Austria
Latin name: Pinus sylvestris
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from needles/cones
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: May irritate sensitive skin

Rose Geranium

Uses: Good for depression, stress, great for balancing PMS, menopause, tonic to the liver, stimulates the lymphatic system, excellent for skin conditions (acne, eczema), rejuvenating, healing and promotes balance.

Origin:
France
Latin name: Pelargoonium graveolens
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from leaves/flowers
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best avoided during pregnancy, could irritate sensitive skin

Rose, Absolute

Uses: Good for depression, eases nervous tension, stress, excellent tonic for the womb, balances hormones, tonic to the heart, liver, wonderful for mature, ageing skin, rejuvenating, healing and soothing.
Origin:
Morocco
Latin name: Rosa centifolia
Note: Base
Extraction: Solvent extraction
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Rosemary

Uses: Great for headaches, memory, good for muscular aches and pains, raises low blood pressure, liver decongestant, relieve menstrual cramps, may help with cellulite, alleviates dandruff and encourages hair growth.
Origin:
Spain
Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from leaves/flowers
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy, with high blood pressure, in cases of epilepsy and may antidote homeopathic meds.


Uses: In very small doses calms the nervous system, aids memory, good for menopause, PMS, tonic to digestive system, clears mucous, respiratory system, deodorant, raises low blood pressure.
Origin:
Spain
Latin name: Salvia lavandifolia
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from flowers/leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Powerful oil, avoid during pregnancy and while breast feeding, with high blood pressure, with epilepsy, may antidote homeopathic meds.

Sandalwood

Uses: Very relaxing, for anxiety, nervous tension, aphrodisiac, drying effect, great for congestion, colds, coughs, sore throats, good for ageing skin, balancing, softening effect, relieves inflammation and itch.
Origin:
India
Latin name: Santalum album
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from inner heartwood
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: In cases of depression, could lower mood, very grounding oil

Spearmint

Uses: Stimulates a tired mind, helpful with digestive upsets, good for headaches, bad breath and sore gums.
Origin:
United States
Latin name: Mentha spicata
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Sharp, strong oil, best avoided during pregnancy and may antidote homeopathic remedies.

Spruce

Uses: Muscular aches and pains, respiratory conditions, bronchitis, coughs, colds, infections, helpful in cases of stress or anxiety
Origin:
Austria
Latin name: Tsuga canadensis
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from needles/twigs
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Not known, possible skin irritant

Tea Tree

Uses: Revitalising, in cases of shock, excellent for the immune system, antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericide, expectorant, fungicide. Great for the skin, in cases of acne, infections, cold sores, warts, athletes foot
Origin: Australia
Latin name: Melaleuca alternifolia
Note: Top
Extraction: Distilled from tree leaves
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Could irritate skin
…

Thyme, White

Uses: Wonderful antiseptic, great for colds, flus, coughs, sore throats, said to be warming, raises low blood pressure, good for circulation, tonic to the scalp - dandruff
Origin:
Spain
Latin name: Thymus vulgaris
Note: Base
Extraction: Distilled from flowering heads
Applications: Inhalation, Massage
Contraindications: Best to avoid during pregnancy, with high blood pressure, could irritate sensitive skin

Vetiver

Uses: Calming, grounding oil, good for stress and tension, sedative action, helpful with acne, tonic.
Origin:
Java
Latin name: Vetiveria zizanoides
Note: Base
Extraction: Solvent
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Avoid high concentration in pregnancy

Ylang Ylang III

Uses: Great for insomnia, lowering blood pressure, calming, grounding oil, wonderful for balancing hormones, PMS, menopause. Great for all types of skin, balancing and a tonic.
Origin:
Comores
Latin name: Cananga odorata
Note: Base
Extraction: Distillation of flowers
Applications: Inhalation, Massage, Bath
Contraindications: Use in small amounts, may lead to headaches and nausea