A Guide to Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

Essential oils are the natural oils of the plant which it was extracted from usually via distillation. They’re highly concentrated which is why there are different safety precautions for different oils, often including diluted or diffusing the oil. Today we’re just discussing their use with aromatherapy, not applying oils to the body, and thus that should not be a concern.

While aromatherapy is, sometimes controversially, considered an alternative medicine, it does actually have backing in science. Studies have shown that two of the olfactory (sense of smell) nerve tracts run into the limbic system. This is important because the limbic system is concerned with instinct and mood which means it controls our drives and basic emotions. It is also related to our memories which explains why smells can bring on such strong recollections.

The studies also showed that there are two responses to odors: hard-wired and soft-wired. Hard-wired responses are programmed before birth and thus instinctual, while soft-wired responses are learned throughout our lives. These responses are the ways in which we as humans respond to different aromatherapy scents and why they affect our mind.

The powerful scent of essential oils affect the mind in the ways described above, and essential oils also have an effect on the nervous system. Different plants produce either a sedative or stimulant nerve reaction, while some can also act as a tonic for the nerves by strengthening them. Put these powerful plant essential oils to work for you through essential oil aromatherapy by diffusing in the air and breathing in their medicinal benefits.

Essential Oil Aromatherapy

Photo credit: Abi Porter

10 Conditions to Treat with Essential Oil Aromatherapy

1. Anxiety
Characterized by worry and apprehension often regarding an event or unknown outcome.
Use: frankincense, lemon balm, orange blossom

2. Depression
Characterized by low mood and feelings of despair, often accompanied by an aversion to activity.
Use: grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon balm, orange blossom, rose, sage, sandalwood, ylang ylang

3. Frigidity (in men and women)
Characterized by difficulty or inability to achieve sexual excitement or arousal during sexual activity.
Use: patchouli, rose, sage, violet, ylang ylang

4. Headache
Characterized by pain afflicting the head and/or neck.
Use: chamomile, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, peppermint, rose, spearmint, violet

5. Insomnia
Characterized by an inability to fall and/or stay asleep.
Use: chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, rose, sandalwood, violet, ylang ylang

6. Mental Fatigue
Characterized by an inability to focus and a decrease in cognitive performance.
Use: peppermint, spearmint

7. Migraine
Characterized by intense pulsing pain in one area of the head, often with light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.
Use: chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, sage, spearmint

8. Nervous Tension or Exhaustion
Characterized by tension or, more severely, exhaustion within the nervous system due to fear or worry and resulting in physical symptoms.
Use: chamomile, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon balm, orange blossom, patchouli, peppermint, rose, sage, sandalwood, spearmint, violet, ylang ylang

9. PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)
Characterized by a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms occurring 7-14 days before a woman’s menstruation begins.
Use: lavender, orange blossom

10. Stress-Related Conditions
Characterized by a myriad of physical and emotional issues which are a symptom of or caused by stress.
Use: chamomile, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, spearmint, orange blossom, patchouli, rose, sage, sandalwood

Resource: The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless

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A Guide to Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

Grace Furman

About the Author

Grace Furman

Grace is a writer and blogger at Heartful Habits - a place of inspiration for what Grace calls living mindfully and heartfully. She loves learning about and sharing wellness tips, natural remedies, healthy recipes, beauty DIYs, homemade green cleaners, social issues, and more.

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Polly

This makes evenythirg so completely painless.

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