ESSENTIAL OILS: Which one(s) should I use??

I am an essential oil junky. I have my own essential oil pharmacy going on, where all of my oils are categorized alphabetically. Because I genuinely believe in natural healing (9 times out of 10), essential oils are my go-to when making various soaps, shampoos, or skin products. My love for natural healing began with my second round of acne, which seemed to be heightened at times of stress. I have used many products on my skin to try and heal this problem, and have found that not only do natural based products work better in the long-term, but I feel better about using products that come from the Earth, rather than a lab. Obviously, this is a personal decision, and for me, after years of suffering with the embarrassment of acne, I had to come to a point where I used sound logic, rather than slathering everything I could on my face, based on emotions only. I have tested many essential oils on my own skin, some with great results, and others with questionable results. Like any product used to cure, it is important that you are aware of not only the benefits, but also the dangers. This list contains some of the more popular essential oils used, covering both the benefits and dangers. This is a great start, but you should also take the time to do more outside research prior to bringing an essential oil into your routine.

Some BASIC FACTS you should know:

1) NEVER use essential oils undiluted (use bases such as jojoba oil, almond oil, etc.). Many websites/ resources will suggest that certain essential oils (such as lavender) are safe to use undiluted, but I strongly suggest against this. It is always best, and safest to dilute essential oils with one of your favorite oil bases (mine is jojoba oil). That way, you will not have to worry about having any adverse reactions. When beginning my natural skin routine, I used undiluted tea tree oil and lavender oil on existing redness/ pimples, only to find that I experienced an even worse break-out, with increased redness and scarring. I realized very quickly that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. For essential oils, it is always best to start small, and increase your way up as your skin begins to adjust.

2) As with any natural (or even unnatural product), you always run the risk of allergies. That is why it is important to always research what you are introducing to your body, as well as doing small patch tests before hand. Many essential oils are linked to various allergic reaction and skin irritations. Prior to using an essential oil, a patch test can be done by diluting a small amount of it with your favorite base oil, placing a small drop on the inside of your arm, covering it with a band-aid, and waiting till the end of the day (or overnight) to remove the band-aid. If redness, or raised bumps appear, than you are more than likely sensitive to that oil. This being said, diluting is important, because many undiluted essential oils will cause redness (even though you are not allergic to them). Some essential oils should also be avoided during pregnancy, or certain health conditions (so make sure to do your research, thoroughly).

3) Essential oils should not be taken internally on your own, without the consent from a practiced aromatherapy practitioner.

4) Essential oils are flammable, so keep them away from fire hazards.

Popular Essential Oils, List:

ALLSPICE:
Possible Uses: Arthritis, muscle tone, stiffness, rheumatism, muscular and gastric cramps, indigestion, nausea, depression, nervous tension/exhaustion and neuralgia.
Safety Information: This oil may be a mucous membrane and derman irritant. Significant dilution suggested.

ANISE:
Possible Uses: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, flatulence, flu, muscle aches, rheumatism.
Safety Information: Caution for those with hypersensitive skin or with skin problems. Avoid in endometriosis and oestrogen-dependent cancers.

BASIL:
Possible Uses: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, exhaustion, flatulence, flu, gout, insect bites, insect repellent, muscle aches, rheumatism, sinusitis.
Safety Information: Use sparingly with caution. High doses may be carcinogenic due to its methyl chavicol content. Avoid in cases of liver problems.

BERGAMOT:
Possible Uses: Acne, abscesses, anxiety, boils, cold sores, cystitis, depression, halitosis, itching, loss of appetite, oily skin, psoriasis, stress.
Safety Information: Phototoxic.

CHAMOMILE:
Possible Uses: Abscesses, allergies, arthritis, boils, colic, cuts, cystitis, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, earache, flatulence, hair, headache, inflamed skin, insect bites, insomnia, nausea, neuralgia, PMS, rheumatism, sores, sprains, strains, stress, wounds.
Safety Information: May cause dermatitis in some.

CEDARWOOD:
Possible Uses: Acne, arthritis, bronchitis, coughing, cystitis, dandruff, dermatitis, stress.
Safety Information: Avoid during pregnancy.

CINNAMON:
Possible Uses: Constipation, exhaustion, flatulence, lice, low blood pressure, rheumatism, scabies, stress.
Safety Information: Mucous membrane irritant and strong skin sensitizer. Avoid in alcoholism, in haemophilia, in prostatic cancer, with kidney and liver problems and if taking anticoagulants. Only the oil from the leaf should be used. The oil from the bark is too hazardous.

CITRONELLA:
Possible Uses: Excessive perspiration, fatigue, headache, insect repellant, oily skin.
Safety Information: Possible sensitization.

CLARY SAGE:
Possible Uses: Amenorrhea, asthma, coughing, dysmenorrhea, exhaustion, gas, labor pains, sore throat, stress.
Safety Information: minimal.

EUCALYPTUS:
Possible Uses: Arthritis, bronchitis, catarhh, cold sores, colds, coughing, fever, flu, poor circulation, sinusitis.
Safety Information: Eucalyptus Oil is very toxic when taken orally.

FENNEL:
Possible Uses: Bruises, cellulites, flatulence, gums, halitosis, mouth, nausea, obesity, toxin build-up, water retention. 
Safety Information: Dermal sensitizer, possibly carcinogenic. Avoid in instances of endometriosis, prostatic hyperplasia and oestrogen-dependent cancers.

FRANKINCENSE:
Possible Uses: Anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, extreme coughing, scars, stress, stretch marks.
Safety Information: minimal.

GERANIUM:
Possible Uses: Acne, cellulites, dull skin, lice, menopause, oily skin.
Safety Information: Use caution to avoid dermatitis in hypersensitive persons. Avoid during pregnancy.

GINGER:
Possible Uses: Aching muscles, arthritis, nausea, poor circulation.
Safety Information: Slightly phototoxic.

GRAPEFRUIT:
Possible Uses: Cellulitis, dull skin, toxin build-up, water retention.
Safety Information: potentially Phototoxic.

JASMINE:
Possible Uses: Depression, dry skin, exhaustion, labor pains, sensitive skin.
Safety Information: minimal.

LAVENDER:
Possible Uses: Acne, allergies, anxiety, asthma, athlete's foot, bruises, burns, chicken pox, colic, cuts, cystitis, depression, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, earache, flatulence, headache, hypertension, insect bites, insect repellant, itching, labor pains, migrane, oily skin, rheumatism, scabies, scars, sores, sprains, strains, stress, stretch marks, vertigo, whooping cough.
Safety Information: minimal. 

LEMON:
Possible Uses: Athlete's foot, chiliblains, colds, corns, dull skin, flu, oily skin, spots, varicose veins, warts.
Safety Information: Phototoxic.

LIME:
Possible Uses: Acne, asthma, chilblains, colds, dull skin, flu, varicose veins.
Safety Information: Phototoxic.

MARJORAM:
Possible Uses: Aching muscles, amenorrhea, bronchitis, chiliblains, colic, coughing, excessive sex drive, flatulence, hypertension, muscle cramps, neuralgia, rheumatism, sprains, strains, stress, ticks.
Safety Information: Avoid during pregnancy.

NUTMEG:
Possible Uses: Arthritis, constipation, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, neralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism, slow digestion.
Safety Information: If used in large amounts, can cause toxic symptoms such as nausea and tachycardia.

ORANGE:
Possible Uses: Colds, constipation, dull skin, flatulence, flatulence, flu, gums, mouth, slow digestion, stress.
Safety Information: minimal. 

PARSLEY:
Possible Uses: Amenorrhea, arthritis, cellulites, cystitis, frigidity, griping pains, indigestion, rheumatism, toxic build-up.
Safety Information: Hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver). Abortifacient (can induce abortions).

PEPPERMINT:
Possible Uses: Asthma, colic, exhaustion, fever, flatulence, headache, nausea, scabies, sinusitis, vertigo.
Safety Information: Avoid in cardiac fibrillation, epilepsy, fever. Mucous membrane irritant and neurotoxic (toxic to the nerves).

ROSE:
Possible Uses: Depression, eczema, frigidity, mature skin, menopause, stress.
Safety Information: minimal. 

ROSEMARY:
Possible Uses: Aching muscles, arthritis, dandruff, dull skin, exhaustion, gout, hair care, muscle cramping, neuralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism.
Safety Information: Neurotoxic (toxic to the nerves). Avoid in pregnancy. Avoid in epilepsy, fever.

ROSEWOOD:
Possible Uses: Acne, colds, dry skin, dull skin, fever, flu, frigidity, headache, oily skin, scars, sensitive skin, stress, stretch marks.
Safety Information: minimal. 

TEA TREE:
Possible Uses: Acne, athlete's foot, candida, chicken pox, cold sores, colds, corns, cuts, flu, insect bites, itching, migraine, oily skin, ringworm, sinusitis, sores, spots, urethritis, warts, whooping cough.
Safety Information: May cause sensitization in some.

THYME:
Possible Uses: Arthritis, colds, cuts, dermatitis, flu, insect bites, laryngitis, lice, muscle aches, oily skin, poor circulation, scabies, sore throat.
Safety Information: Avoid in cases of hypertension.

VANILLA (ABSOLUTE):
Possible Uses: Perfumery and enhancing the fragrance of aromatherapy and natural skin/hair care formulations
Safety Information: minimal.  

YLANG YLANG:
Possible Uses: Anxiety, depression, frigidity, hypertension, palpitations, stress.
Safety Information: Possible sensitization.

* Most of this information came from a great website called "Aroma Web".
* Also from the book "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils", by Julia Lawless.

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