A to Z of Oils
More about common oils and their smells, main properties and other information.
Anise, star (Illicum verum)
It has a sweet, fresh smell. It can be used for cramping, digestive problems and spasmodic coughs. Caution as the oil is toxic, it is best used under professional guidance.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
A fresh, sweet and spicy essential oil. It has a strengthening and reviving effect on the nervous system, making it beneficial for mental fatigue and nervous tension. It can also be used to relieve nervousness and anxiety, tension headaches and nervous insomnia. It improves the tone and appearance of the skin. Caution as the oil may irritate sensitive skin.
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
This essential oil is used to relieve aches and pains. It may also be used for treating colds, flu, sore throats and viral infections.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
A refreshing and cooling essential oil with a sweet fruity odour. It soothes nervous tension, and can help with depression and anxiety. It has a soothing effect on the psyche while being refreshing at the same time.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
A hot, dry, spicy oil with a great warming effect. It’s very useful for relieving muscular aches and pains. It also stimulates the digestive and circulatory system, stimulating the detoxifying process, making it useful in the treatment of cellulite.
Cajeput (Melaleuca cajeputi)
It has a strong medicinal smell and is used for respiratory infections, including colds, coughs, sinus infections and sore throats by inhalation.
Cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum)
A warm, spicy aromatic essential oil. It is a good digestive aid, helpful for flatulence, diarrhoea and nausea.
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
It has a mild balsamic woody odour. This essential oil is helpful for oily skin and hair, dandruff and skin irritation, acne and skin rashes, and fungal infections like athletes foot. It is also beneficial in the treatment of mucousy coughs, colds, and bronchitis, and is excellent in the treatment of nervous tension, chronic anxiety, depression and tiredness.
Chamomile, Blue/German (Chamomilla recutica)
This essential oil is extremely helpful on allergic or sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing action. It is soothing and calming, particularly when stress or anxiety is inclined to make a person fretful, irritable or nervous.
Chamomile, Roman (Anthemis nobilis)
It has similar properties to blue chamomile, but Roman is preferred for problems with the nervous system.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Has a powerful warm, sweet spicy odour. A pungent and warming oil with strong antiseptic properties, it is good for treating colds and flu. As with all spices cinnamon is also a traditional remedy for digestive problems.
Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus)
This essential oil has a powerful lemony scent. It’s main usefulness is as an insect repellent.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Has a tonifying, strengthening and warming effect, helping to create feelings of well-being and calm. It’s excellent for treating tension and depression, particularly due to hormonal problems. It also prevents excessive sweating.
Clove (Syzgium aromaticum)
With an exotic odour, clove is a powerful antiseptic (which is used to treat a number of skin conditions) and has pain relieving properties (and is very good for tooth-ache).
Coriander (Coriandrum sativium)
Has a fresh spicy scent. Strengthening to the nervous system, a natural deodorant and good for the digestive system.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
A very warming, stimulating and uplifting oil. It helps to relieve muscle aches and pains, and abdominal or menstrual cramp. It is good for used in the treatment or varicose veins, haemorrhoids and broken skin capillaries.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
It is a warming oil with antiseptic properties. This oil has a medicinal smell, and is very good in steam inhalations to relieve cold symptoms, sinus congestion and mucousy coughs
Eucalyptus citriodora (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Has a sweet, fresh, lemony aroma. It is antiseptic and is especially good for treating infections of the respiratory tract like feverish colds, nasal congestion, sinusitis and bronchitis. It’s antiseptic properties help treat skin infections and fungal infections and it is an effective pain killer.
Eucalyptus radiata (Eucalyptus radiata)
This essential oil has a sweeter, less harsh odour compared to the other eucalyptus oils. The milder scent makes it more suitable for the elderly and children. It is very useful for sinus conditions by steam inhalations, as it can be breathed very close without triggering a cough reflex.
Fennel, Sweet (Foeniculum dulce)
Has a very sweet, fresh smell, reminiscent of aniseed. Very useful for treating indigestion and flatulence.
Frankincense (Boswellia thurifera)
Its toning and rejuvenating properties make it one of the most important oils for improving skin tone and treating aging skin and wrinkles. It also reduces scar tissue. It has an uplifting action and is useful if feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed or anxious.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Has a balancing effect on the skin making it suitable for dry, oily or problem skin. It is also calming to the nervous system, making it useful for treating anxiety, tension and restlessness.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
It has a pungent, lemony, hot taste with stimulating properties, and is deeply warming. It can help to strengthen immunity, settle the stomach and relieve flatulence and nausea.
Grapefruit (Citrus paradis/grandis)
This oil has a fresh citrus sweet odour. On the skin it is very cooling, cleansing and antiseptic, and is helpful for oily skin, open pores and acne. It has a balancing effect on the emotions, it’s uplifting nature brightens up dark and depressive moods and boosts confidence.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium)
Has a rich, sweet, honey like smell with a fruity undertone. It is a regenerative oil that is good for treating nervous problems such as depression and tension.
Ho Leaf (Cinnamomum camphora)
It has a clean, sweet, floral-woody scent. It is balancing and calming, useful during times of stress. It can be used for a number of skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Jasmine absolute (Jasminum officinalis)
This is an uplifting essential oil. It can relax both physical and emotional tensions, and create a sense of enjoyment. It’s beneficial for treating hot, dry and inflamed skin, especially if it is linked to emotional stress. Caution: One of the more extravagant oils.
Juniper/Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
A warming, stimulating, refreshing and tonifying essential oil, with a pleasant woody smell. It is healing to the skin, especially good for skin that is prone to black heads and acne, and generally cleansing.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This oil has a familiar sweet fragrance. It is relaxing, soothing and balancing. It is very healing and may be used for burns, sunburn, wounds, bites, dermatitis and any inflammation of the skin. It promotes rapid healing and helps prevent scarring. It also has a mild analgesic property which helps in the treatment of general aches and pains like headaches and muscular pain.
Lavendin (Lavandula hybrida)
Very similar to lavender, but Lavendin has a sharper and fresher fragrance. It is antiseptic and very stimulating. It is mainly used to treat aches and pains, sprains, strains, rheumatism and arthritis.
Lemon (Citrus limonum)
Lemon has a fresh, sharp scent. It is very antiseptic and generally tones, stimulates and strengthens. It’s toning properties help combat wrinkles. It is used in treating greasy skin, broken capillaries, cold sores and insect bites.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Has a strong, fresh-grassy and lemony odour. This oil is toning and deodorising, and can be used to treat open or blocked pores and acne. It is a mild antidepressant, that will relieve stress and nervousness exhaustion and can soothe a headache.
Lime (Cirtus aurantifolia)
Has a sharp, fresh scent. It relieves tension and helps to calm the mind.
Litsea Cubea (Litsea cubea)
This essential oil has an intense, lemony, fresh, fruity odour. It is used as an antiseptic and deodorant.
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Has an extremely sweet smell. Beneficial for the treatment of stress, nervous tension and insomnia. It is also used to help gastric complaints.
Marjoram, Spanish (Thymus mastichina)
A herbaceous scented oil, which may be used for respiratory infections.
Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum marjorana)
A warming and relaxing oil for both body and the mind. It may be used with muscular problems and stress related conditions.
Melissa/Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Has a sweet lemony smell. It is very uplifting and calming and is useful for treating tension, stress headaches, migraine and nervous asthma. It is also uefull for inflamed skin and allergic skin conditions. Caution: One of the more extravagant oils.
Myrrh (Commiphora molmol)
Myrrh is antiseptic, healing, and anti-inflammatory. It is regarded as a skin preserver capable of delaying wrinkles and other signs of aging skin. It is also stimulating and strengthening.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium)
Possesses a refreshing floral smell. It relaxes and uplifts, therefore it will benefit people who feel depressed, exhausted, anxious and confused. Also useful for treating mature skin. Caution: One of the more extravagant oils.
Niaouli (Melaleuca vividiflora)
Has a sweet but pungent medicinal smell. It helps to clear the mind and aid concentration. Also used to help mental fatigue and confusion.
Orange, sweet (Citrus sinensis)
Has a sweet, refreshing pleasant odour. It has a relaxing and uplifting effect and is therefore used to treat stress, nervous tension and depression. It is also useful on dull and tired skin due to its toning properties.
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
Has a pleasant, sweet, floral-rosy smell. It is best known for its balancing skin care properties, it can help to hydrate dry skin and balance the sebum secretions of oily skin.
Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli)
This oil has a dry, musky, woody odour. It is stimulating and strengthening, and can help skin tissue to regenerate and improve scar tissue and stretch marks. Can also be used to treat nervous exhaustion, stress and anxiety.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
A cooling menthol oil, it is good for coughs, asthma, sinusitis, flu and head colds. Its stimulating and analgesic properties make it very effective for neuralgia, muscular pains, migraines and headaches. It is also good for digestive system upsets including flatulence and indigestion.
Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium)
Has a fresh, floral and sweet smell. It’s refreshing, uplifting with deodorant properties. It is used to treat excessive perspiration and greasy skin.
Pine (Pinus slvestris)
This oil has a refreshing, sweet, woody smell. It’s very good for respiratory complaints like colds, asthma and flu. It also stimulates the circulation.
Ravensara aromatica (Ravensara aromatica)
Has a fresh, clean, medicinal smell. A gentle antiseptic and antiviral oil.
Rose Absolute/Otto (Rosa damascena)
Rose is very delicate and fragrant. It is anti-inflammatory, cooling and soothing, so it is beneficial for hot, dry, inflamed or itching skin. Due to its soothing properties it is excellent for treating stress related conditions. Caution: One of the more extravagant oils.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
A warm herbal aroma. It stimulates the circulation and is excellent for hair and scalp problems, including poor hair health, hair loss and dandruff. Its antiseptic quality makes it beneficial for colds, flu and coughs too.
Sage, Spanish (Salvia lavandulaefolia)
Has a herbaceous and camphorous smell. It is good for digestive problems, inflammation and for relieving muscular aches and pains.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This oil is an excellent germicidal and antifungal, so helps with athletes foot, verrucas, warts and other skin infections. It is also excellent for cold and flu relief.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
An excellent antiseptic oil. Good for stimulating the immune system and treating many kinds of infections and viruses. It is very powerful when used as an inhalant.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
This oil has a woody, earthy, almost smoky smell. It both calms and strengthens the nervous system. It is excellent in cases of depression, many stress related conditions, debility and insomnia. Most appropriate when feeling overwhelmed or under pressure.
Yarrow, English (Achillea millefolium)
With a fresh, green and spicy herbaceous odour, it can balance and revitalise the nervous system and raise the spirits. It also aids the healing process for wounds, cuts, dry skin, acne, ulcers and rashes. It is also said to aid hair growth.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
A powerful exotic floral smell with a reputation as an aphrodisiac. It also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and is suited to those who push themselves too hard.
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