10 Best Essential Oils to Use as a Natural Remedy—-If you know me, you know that I absolutely love essential oils and all the amazing health benefits they bring. Whether you’re looking for a natural sleep remedy, a way to cure your headache, or simply just to relax, there are a number of essential oils that have restorative and medicinal properties.
Essential oils (or aromatherapy) have certainly grown in popularity over the last number of years and I can understand why. There is an essential oil for everything!
However, there are a number of cautions you should consider when using essential oils. Essential oils can impact different people (and pets!) differently, so it is important to only use essential oils, especially in diffusers, on yourself. Some essential oils can be extremely toxic to pets and children (when ingested) so be careful with your essential oil bottles.
I also want to preface that essential oils are not a replacement for medical care and attention. Please use essential oils with caution and remember that some essential oils are toxic for children and pets even in small quantities.
I also highly encourage you to test your tolerance for essential oils before using them in large amounts as some people can have allergic reactions to specific essential oils. Always speak to your doctor before using any essential oil while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Essential oils in their simplest form are simply various forms of plant extracts. Essential oils are created by steaming, refining, or pressing different parts of a plant (think roots, bark, flowers, fruit, etc.) to make a fragrant compound.
These compounds are generally combined with a carrier oil to make a functional aromatherapy mixture that we know as essential oils. It can often take several pounds of a plant to make a single bottom of essential oil.
How Can I use Essential Oils?
Essential oils can be used in aromatherapy and as a topical treatment on the skin. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for emotional and psychological benefits. The scent of different essential oils activates the olfactory nerves in the brain to directly impact the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain. As a topical treatment, an essential oil can be used to relax, relieve headaches and ease muscle tension.
With that being said, here are my top ten recommendations for essential oils to use as a natural remedy for any number of concerns and conditions. Of course, you can learn how to safely use essential oils in more depth via WebMD.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most common essential oils and is used for its relaxing and soothing scents. Lavender is often used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and act as a natural sleep aid. This essential oil is also commonly used during massage therapy when combined with a carrier oil. Lavender is a purple flowering plant that is most commonly found in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. Fun fact: lavender is part of the mint plant family!
Peppermint is also a very common essential oil that is commonly used for headache relief, as a remedy for muscle soreness and tightness, and can even improve irritable bowel (IBS) symptoms. This oil is made from the Mentha x Piperita plant that is often found in the Pacific Northwest and is made using a process called steam distillation.
Tea tree oil is one of the more medicinal essential oils and is said to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil is commonly used in wound care, to control dandruff and to kill head lice. It is common to see tea tree oil added to beauty products such as shampoos to help control dry, itchy scalp.
This oil can also be used in a diluted form directly on the skin to treat rashes and fungal infections such as athletes’ foot. Tea tree can be a very harsh irritant to the skin and eyes so be careful never to use it directly on your body in its undiluted form. Tea tree oil is also said to be toxic to pets when inhaled so use with caution when diffusing. Tea tree oil is created by steam distilling the leaves of the melaleuca alternifolia tree which is native to Australia.
Bergamot essential oil is a highly fragrant citrus oil that is often used in body lotions, perfumes, colognes, and massage oils. The bergamot scent is often described as a distinct scent that smells like a hybrid combination between oranges and lemons. The smell of bergamot oil is a great way to “wake you up” and energize you.
It also is said to relieve stress and alleviate pain and inflammation throughout the body. Be very careful using bergamot oil on your skin, even in a diluted form, as it can be very irritating to the skin. Because it is a citrus oil, bergamot oil can make your skin become photosensitive which may cause you to be more susceptible to sunburns.
Always do a patch test before using bergamot oil on your skin. Bergamot essential oil is a citrus oil made from the rinds (the hard outer shell) of the citrus bergamia fruit.
Oil of oregano is another herbal essential oil that has strong antibacterial properties making it an excellent natural remedy for a range of ailments. The spicy herbal oil can be used to help treat fungal infections such as athletes’ foot, bacterial infections, warts, and even psoriasis.
Some people even swear by using oregano essential oil as a natural fever remedy to its’ antioxidant properties and ability to fight internal infections.
Chamomile is a relaxing essential oil that has a variety of benefits including calming anxiety and treating common skin conditions like inflammation and eczema.
Chamomile has a lightly floral and herbal smell making it an excellent choice for pre-bedtime aromatherapy. If you are allergic to daisies, marigolds, or ragweed, you should avoid chamomile as you will most likely have an allergic reaction. Chamomile is also an amazing natural sleep remedy!
Ylang Ylang is a powerful, flowery oil that has a spicy but sweet smell. Ylang ylang is used in lots of beauty and hygiene products as it is said to have relaxing, self-esteem boosting properties. This oil has a huge list of beauty benefits, helping to improve combination skin and encouraging hair growth. Ylang ylang is also used in certain insect repellents as the smell deters mosquitoes and other pests.
The floral scent of rose essential oil makes it a popular choice for aromatherapy and skincare. Rose essential oil can be extremely irritating on its own so we highly recommend using a diluted form or additional carrier oil when using rose oil directly on the skin. Rose essential oil is a common remedy for a range of skin conditions and acne due to its’ highly antioxidant nature.
One of my personal favorites, eucalyptus essential oil is a common natural remedy for congestion, asthma, respiratory infections, and as insect repellant. One of my favorite ways to use eucalyptus oil is as a shower melt for an aromatherapy steam. This helps to clear the sinus and ease chest and nasal congestion and headaches.
Diluted eucalyptus is also a great remedy for skin ulcers, sore muscles, and even arthritis when a diluted solution is applied to the skin.
One of the lesser-known essential oils on this list is basil oil, an essential oil derived from the basil herb plant. Basil oil can be used topically and internally for antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits.
This oil is a traditional cold and flu remedy and is said to relax tired, sore muscles. Some people also swear by the beauty benefits of basil oil, recommending it as an acne treatment and as a way to remove product build-up from your hair.
What are some of your favorite essential oils? Any that I missed in my list? Let me know in the comments below.