Essential oils seem to be everywhere these days — in our skincare routines, in our soothing baths, and sometimes even in our food — but with so many options out there, how do you know which one is best one for you and your personal needs?
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts — each one has a unique blend of chemicals — that retain the natural smell and flavor of their source, such as lavender or peppermint. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, essential oils are typically obtained through mechanical pressing or distillation. No wonder they’re so potent!
These powerful oils are most often used in diluted form for aromatherapy via a diffuser or for topical massages using a carrier oil. Meanwhile, some folks also use beauty products that are infused with essential oils.
But before you decide what vehicle you want to use, take a moment to learn about some of the most popular essential oils and what they’re most commonly used for.
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Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender Oil: To Catch Zzz's
According to the Mayo Clinic, aromatherapy with lavender oil may help with anxiety relief and improve sleep. Studies have also shown that it can also improve the quality of life for people with dementia and reduce pain for people with kidney stones or osteoarthritis of the knee.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon Oil: To Spark Joy
Lemon oil may be helpful if you need to lift your spirits. According to Consumer Reports, studies have shown that aromatherapy with lemon essential oil may help improve your mood. Additional research has suggested that lemon oil may also reduce anxiety and signs of agitation in people with dementia. It's also great when used for cleaning, which might make the chore a little more enjoyable!
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint Oil: To Repel Bugs
Peppermint oil is perhaps best known for its refreshing, recognizable scent most often associated with winter. But this oil is also a secret weapon against bugs. Studies have shown that insects such as mosquitos find this smell super offensive. All you have to do is either dilute it in a DIY spray with water or put a few drops on a cotton ball before placing it wherever you see bugs hanging out around your home. A major bonus: Research has shown that peppermint oil also has mood-elevating properties that can help alleviate anxiety and relieve feelings of sadness.
Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger Oil: To Relieve Heartburn
Experts say ginger essential oil is one of the best options for heartburn relief. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties present in the oil are thought to relieve gastrointestinal distress. To do: You can either inhale the oil via a diffuser or ingest a couple of drops diluted in a cup of water or tea. (If you choose to go the latter route, just be sure it's an edible oil and safe for consumption.)
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Oil: To Promote Wellness
Studies have shown that diffusing eucalyptus essential oil can help fight off nasty bacteria, such as E. coli and germs that cause staph infections. When paired with general good cleansing habits, this oil can lend a big hand with helping you stay healthy all year long.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang Oil: To Boost Romance
Ylang ylang essential oil is a well-known aphrodisiac, often used to encourage emotional well-being and enhance sexual energy between partners. The best part? A little goes a long way: You can either use a couple drops diluted in a carrier oil for a relaxing massage or diffuse the oil, perhaps during a cozy, romantic dinner at home.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass Oil: To Clean Up
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), the anti-viral and anti-microbial properties of lemongrass oil make it an optimal choice for cleaning things around the house, such as a countertop or table. All you need to do is dilute a few drops in a spray bottle filled up with water and you're good to go!
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree Oil: To Freshen Up
According to NAHA, diffusing tee tree essential oil can help support and enhance your immune system. On top of that, it can also help purify the air in your home naturally without being too overwhelming or using a bunch of icky chemicals that are common in many air fresheners.
Rosehip Essential Oil
Rosehip Oil: To Improve Skin
When a product reportedly gets the green light from Kate Middleton, you know it has to be good! Research shows that the antioxidant in rose hip oil are what makes it such a great protection against inflammation and oxidative skin stress. It's also pretty easy to use. After you wash and dry your face, add two to three drops of Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil ($29, Trilogy) to the palm of your hand and apply it with your fingers while massaging outwards on your face. Follow with your favorite moisturizer and that's it. It's an oil fit for a queen — and a queen's busy schedule!