With essential oils continuing to grow in popularity, there is no doubt that each and every oil comes alongside a plethora of benefits. Not only do essential oils smell gorgeous, but they are proven to act as a natural, alternative medicine to an array of physical and mental woes if used correctly.
If you’re new to the world of essential oils, it can be somewhat overwhelming, attempting to pinpoint which oil is best suited to you. With so many fantastic options to choose from, how do you decipher between the different types? To begin your journey, I’ve put together a guide to the most popular, and many say the most beneficial essential oils.
What Are Essential Oils?
Before delving into the various essential oils available, it’s important to understand exactly what these oils are. By definition, essential oils are compounds that have been carefully extracted from plants. They capture the unique aromatic scents of plants, which means that every oil has its own characteristic essence. It is thought that essential oils date back as far as 5,000 years, being used by our ancestors for their amazing healing properties! They’re now used widely for home use as an addition to skin and hair care routines, along with super relaxing holistic therapies such as aromatherapy.
When it comes to essential oils, its important to ensure that you opt for those that have been derived through traditional methods. Traditional techniques include either distillation or cold pressing. The chemicals extracted are then mixed with a carrier oil and are ready to use. Unless the oil has been made through these methods, they are not classed as ‘true’ essential oils.
Now that we are a little more familiarised with the technical aspect of essential oils, it’s time to take a closer look at those that continue to grow in popularity.
Bergamot is a fruit that is less common in the UK; however, it does have an incredibly similar appearance to a lemon. It is also a citrus fruit, which makes the aroma somewhat recognisable and a common component in many perfumes.
An oil infused with bergamot is widely used due to its proven medical properties, both physically and mentally. In an article dating back to 2017 by the Phytotherapy Research journal, it was revealed that bergamot had a hormonal impact on the body, helping towards improving mental and neurological conditions. Some more benefits of bergamot include the following:
- Kills Germs
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Relaxes The Nerves
- Speeds Up Healing
- Reduces Fevers
2. Black Pepper
Black pepper is one of the most surprising essential oils as many do not associate the two. While black pepper is commonly considered a condiment, in the past, it was, in fact, seen as sacred and traded as currency. When mixed with oil, a world of health benefits are uncovered.
Not only is black pepper packed with rich minerals and vitamins, but it also improves the entire digestive system. From encouraging the intestines to stopping acid reaching the stomach, black pepper will help your body to function effectively. The spice is also known for added benefits such as:
- Detoxing The Body
- Treating Bacterial Infections
- Helps Spasms
- Reduces Joint Pain
As cedarwood essential oil is derived from a tree, the creation process is slightly different. Steam distillation is used to extract the oil from pieces of wood, which then uncovers its key components such as alpha cedrene and beta cedrene; both of which contribute toward the oils proven medicinal benefits.
One of the most well-known benefits of cedarwood is its ability to help to ease the symptoms of seborrhoea. Seborrhoea impacts the sebaceous glands, causing them to malfunction, which causes the skin to become infected. While cedarwood cannot cure seborrhoea, it can reduce the inflammation of the skin, which in return, will stop the skin from peeling and will start fighting the infection. Other proven benefits of cedarwood are:
- Stimulates Metabolism
- Relieves Stress
- Prevents Septic Wounds
- Strengthens The Gums
- Helps To Treat Coughs
While chamomile is most commonly known for its use in herbal tea, it can also be used in essential oil in two variations; Roman or German camomile. Roman camomile works as an emmenagogue (a substance to stimulate menstrual flow) and is more calming, whereas the German alternative is powerful, able to fight inflammatory. More health benefits of chamomile essential oil are:
- Prevents Infection
- Improves Digestive System
- Balances the Nervous System
- Relaxes The Body
- Removes Toxic Agents
Geranium essential oil is used a lot during aromatherapy treatments as the aroma comes alongside an array of health benefits. During the massage, the geranium is absorbed through the skin and can not only aid skincare but also balance hormones and ease stress. When booking aromatherapy using geranium, other benefits you can enjoy are:
- Natural Deodorant
- Prevents Bacteria Growth
- Fades Scarring
- Treats Acne
- Promotes Cell Regeneration
Although grapefruit is more commonly known as a fruit to snack on, it is also widely used in aromatherapy as an essential oil. Its citrus scent is incredibly distinctive and offers various health benefits.
While some of the most apparent advantages of the use of grapefruit essential oils include those associated with weight loss, they are also proven to balance moods and fight headaches. More features of grapefruit oil include the following:
- Stimulate Circulation
- Improve Digestion
- Eases Acne Symptoms
- Combats Jet Lag
- Fights Colds
Juniper is one of the most versatile berries, capable of being used to not only create an essential oil but also to flavour gin or simply to eat as an antioxidant-filled snack. When creating the essential oil of juniper, steam distillation of the needles is used to obtain the 87 different active constituent compounds.
Due to the generous section of compounds featured in juniper, users can enjoy a number of benefits such as:
- Aids Sleep
- Boosts Digestion
- Active Heartburn Relief
- Natural Antiseptic
- Proven Insect Repellent
Lavender is most commonly known as a natural sleep aid, used widely in different products such as pillow spray and body lotions; all with the aim of helping you to drift off into a deep sleep. A less common, but highly effective, use of lavender is to create organic household cleansers as the flower is packed with antibacterial properties.
Those who opt for using lavender oil during aromatherapy can reap the following benefits:
- Relieves Stress
- Helps Respiratory Problems
- Fights Acne
- Improves Blood Circulation
- Eases Muscle and Joint Pain
There is nothing quite like the refreshing scent of lemon; its distinctive aroma is used widely across the globe for both health and culinary purposes.
Before delving into the benefits of the use of lemon, it is important to highlight that lemon essential oil is not the same as its fruit and juice alternatives. Lemon essential oil is found in the rind and is cold-pressed until the oil is extracted.
As the main features of lemon oil is its ability to calm and detoxify the body, known benefits include:
- Restores Dull Skin
- Boosts Immune System
- Enhances Concentration
- Active Antiseptic
- Aids Weight Loss
The ‘Melissa Officinalis’ plant, more commonly known as the lemon balm, is part of the mint family. Its oil is extracted through the steam distillation of the plant’s fresh buds, leaves and twigs. With a sweet, yet somewhat tangy aroma, lemon balm remains one of the most popular types of essential oil. However, unlike many of its siblings, Melissa essential oil can not only be used aromatically but also topically due to its fantastic benefits:
- Supports A Healthy Immune System
- Promotes Relaxation
- Calms Tension
- Treats Colds and Infections
- Soothes Inflammation
If you took part in the annual nativity during primary school, then the name myrrh will most definitely ring a bell. Although myrrh is most widely known for its mention in Biblical tales, it also creates a great essential oil.
Made using a dried sap taken from a tree called the ‘Commiphora Myrrha’, Myrrh essential oil is brown in colour with a more earthy scent. It dates back hundreds of years due to its use in Chinese medicine and range of benefits such as:
- Heals Sores
- Powerful Antioxidant
- Prevents Infections
- Improves Digestion
- Stimulates Blood Circulation
While Niaouli may not smell as appealing as other essential oils, it most definitely does not lack in beneficial properties. Niaouli is most commonly known for its disinfectant and antiseptic features, which makes it a key component in many of the cosmetics you use each day. Toothpaste, lotions and soaps all include a small percentage of Niaouli.
Similarly to many other essential oils, Niaouli is extracted using a steam distillation of the leaves and twigs. Once derived, the following benefits can be uncovered:
- Clears Congestion
- Lowers Fevers
- Stimulates Blood Circulation
- Reduces Acne Scars
- Speeds Up Wound Healing
The aroma of peppermint can be distinguished a mile away; making it a component in a plethora of products across the globe. Not only is peppermint an essential oil, but also used in toothpaste, shampoo, chewing gum, ice cream and many more. Most commonly, peppermint is used to create a tasty herbal tea, which too, has many benefits. More information on the benefits of peppermint tea can be found on Healthline.
Peppermint essential oil, on the other hand, comes alongside slightly different perks, including the following:
- Reduces Muscle and Joint Pain
- Treats Acne
- Relieves Headaches
- Alleviates Respiratory Problems
- Improves Digestion
Roses are some of the most delicate flowers in the world with tonnes of associations with the most romantic love stories. With this in mind, it is only fair that the scent of the rose essential oil is equally as sweet with a slightly fruity twist.
Once extracted from the flower, it is thought that rose essential oil is capable of transmitting messages of tranquillity to the limbic system. In return, the emotions can be controlled, and nerves will relax – making the oil widely used during aromatherapy. More benefits of rose are:
- Relieves Headaches
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Purifies The Blood
- Eliminates Bacteria
- Treats Wounds
While rosemary is often used as a culinary herb, once the essential oils have been extracted from the leaves, a world of new benefits begin to arise.
In the past, rosemary was not only regularly used in religious ceremonies such as weddings but also for medicinal purposes. It was made increasingly famous during the 16th century thanks to Paracelsus, a historic German-Swiss physician and botanist. Paracelsus adored rosemary essential oil due to the compounds ability to strengthen every aspect of the body. To this day, this particular essential oil continues to be used across the globe due to the following benefits:
- Naturally Detoxes The Body
- Boosts The Immune System
- Eases Stress
- Helps Treat Indigestion
- Removes Bad Breath
Sandalwood is one of the more expensive essential oils to purchase as it is a little more tedious to create. To ensure that the oil extracted is of the finest quality, the sandalwood tree from which it is sourced must be ideally 80 years old. The older the tree, the more aromatic the oil will be; therefore, the more beneficial to the body.
While sandalwood is most commonly an essential oil, it can also be utilised to create other products such as perfume, lotions, incense sticks and room fresheners. Some of its most sought-after benefits include:
- Improves Concentration
- Promotes Scar Healing
- Helps Balance Cholesterol
- Boosts Immune System
- Can Aid Urinary Infections
Essential Oils Brimming With Benefits!
Every essential oil comes alongside tonnes of fantastic benefits to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Before beginning to use any essential oils, it is important always to research the most effective, safest ways to use them. If you notice that they start to cause any irritation, then always stop using them immediately.
Organic Facts is a fantastic website to browse through if you are interested in any of the essential oils mentioned above. It features tonnes of information on all manner of oils, including additional options that are not mentioned here.