How Essential Oils Can Help You

Essential (or aromatherapy) oils offer fast and easy solutions for day-to-day ailments. Aromatherapy serves double duty by calming you with an assortment of mostly pleasant scents. Used for millennia by numerous cultures, aromatherapeutic plant oils foster health and balance. In the last half century, research has begun to validate some of these oils’ healing properties.

Aromatherapy enters the body in several ways. When inhaled, essential oils pass directly from the lungs into the bloodstream. When absorbed through the skin in dilutions or natural beauty products, aromatherapy oils enter the circulatory system. If you carefully follow the guidelines for diluting and suggested uses, you’ll be amazed at what these plant-based remedies can do for you.

Top 10 Oils for First Aid

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens): varicose veins, sore throat, excessive menstruation.

German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): bruises, inflammation, pain, sprains, tension.

Eucalyptus (E. globulus): congestion, inflammation, colds, flu, chickenpox, shingles, herpes.

Lavender (L. angustifolia): acne, bee stings, bruises, headaches, insect bites, rash, sprains, sunburn.

Lemon (Citrus limonum): digestive tonic, sore throat, detoxification, lymphatic congestion.

Marjoram (Oreganum majorana): insomnia, menstrual cramps, sore muscles.

Rose (Rosa damascena): liver and digestive tonic, vascular tonic, menstrual aid, grief.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): headaches, fatigue, hangover, constipation, muscle aches, circulation.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata): indigestion, nausea, headaches, fatigue, fever, sinusitis, poison ivy.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia): athlete’s foot, burns, warts, acne, cold sores, flu, insect bites.

Formulating with Essential Oils
Many of the following massage formulas combine 20 drops total essential oils with 2 ounces of carrier oil (such as vegetable or olive oil). All these combinations are given in drops, and these formulas are suggested for external application only.

Anxiety or stress: 7 geranium, 5 lavender, 4 lemon, 1 rose

Constipation: 7 marjoram, 13 rosemary (massage abdomen)

Fatigue: 15 rosemary, 5 lemon

Hangover: 5 carrot seed, 5 rosemary, 3 peppermint, 2 rose, 5 helichrysum (massage over liver)

Insomnia: 15 lavender, 5 lemon, 5 marjoram (add 8 drops of the blend to a full bath or use as massage oil along spine)

Menstrual cramps: 5 clary sage, 5 marjoram, 5 geranium, 2 rose, 5 lavender (massage abdomen, hips and lower back)

Stress: 5 chamomile, 10 lavender, 5 marjoram

Muscle strain: 5 rosemary, 3 eucalyptus, 5 marjoram, 7 lavender


To learn more visit and


Essential oils must be diluted before application to the skin. Follow these guidelines: 1 percent dilution = 5 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (best for babies, the elderly, or those of weak constitution). 2 percent dilution = 10 to 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (for general use). Do not exceed 15 drops per ounce of carrier oil.

Take Precautions

To avoid skin irritation, dilute essential oil with plain vegetable oil, like olive oil. Do not take essential oils internally. Also avoid essential oil use in the first trimester of pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, floral oils are best: try rose, lavender, ylang ylang, jasmine, chamomile, and neroli. Use in 1/2 to 1 percent dilutions.

How to Use Essential Oils

Massage oil: 2 percent dilution (see above)

Bath oil: 2 to 10 drops per tub (don’t use irritant oils: peppermint, citrus, lemongrass, or spice oils)

Foot bath: 5 to 10 drops per gallon of water 

Compress: 4 drops per quart of water

Inhalant: 5 to 10 drops in hot water with a towel tent, or sprinkle on a hankie and inhale the aroma