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kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 11:29 AM 06-21-2012

What are your top 20 favourite essential oils, and what do you do with them?


I've used citrus essential oils in cleaning, and I know that lavender is calming, but I want to really start using them - especially for medicinal purposes.


Thanks for your input! 

adinal's Avatar adinal 05:18 PM 06-21-2012

I love tea tree for all sorts of things.  Mostly in the wash/for disinfecting things.


I haven't gotten into much of them either and always wonder what's good and what works for what.

sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 11:52 AM 06-22-2012

I love essential oils! I have been "playing" with them for ~ 20 years. In the beginning, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender were my favorites because I had a lot of sinus issues and they all help tremendously with that.


If you make your own skin care products, you'll learn about EOs.


I keep an Excel file to organize my EOs, carrier oils, infused oils, and hydrosols. At the moment, I have 92 items on the list and I just updated it last month. I use nearly everything in some way or another. When I make a not-so-great choice, I still find a way to use it.


Laundry works. LOL Fill the rinse dispenser with white vinegar and add 2-5 drops of EO. The air smells lovely while laundry is going and the clothes end up with a faint scent or stronger, depending on how you dry your laundry. Take breaks altogether and change up the EOs, for best results. The EO gets so diluted, even if you don't care for a particular scent, it doesn't usually matter. Add a drop of something you do like to increase the pleasantness.


I recommend checking out some aromatherapy books in your library, bookstores, and online. I own the following books (all different authors for a well-rounded library):

The Healthy Child
Aromatherapy A-Z (mine has a different cover)
Practical Aromatherapy (mine's hardback)
And my absolute FAVE: Aromatherapy Through the Seasons

I also have quite a few "natural healing" type books that include EOs (and herbs, etc).


Mountain Rose Herbs, Camden-Gray (aim for wildcrafted), and Nature's Gift are my favorite online resources (all very different). You can read a lot about specific EOs on those sites, too.


My current use for essential oils is adding a few drops to deodorant. With a commercial crystal roll-on, I add 1 drop of a base note + 3 drops of a top note (winter fave = 1 drop ylang ylang + 3 drops sweet orange). Apply one drop to the roller ball and push it around with a chopstick and turn the bottle every which way (1 drop at a time) to get it all mixed in. I haven't figured out a way to remove the ball without destroying the container too much for reuse. I do the same thing with my homemade deodorants, but the number of drops depends on the total quantity of product. (I am personally working my way through commercial deo I already own while experimenting with homemade versions.)


I don't know about a top 20 list, but here are the most useful EOs from my experience:

Tea tree


Just keep in mind essential oils are CONCENTRATED plant oils. They are measured in drops for a reason. Use a carrier oil. Herb-infused oils and hydrosols are easier to use and have less cautions. They tend to smell more like the plants/flowers, too. The main thing with all of these things is to mix up what you use and take breaks. Go easy and educate yourself along the way. They are lots of fun!!!

cyrusbrian's Avatar cyrusbrian 03:14 AM 06-23-2012

Thanks Sunny for this awesome post !

kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 11:24 AM 06-25-2012

Thanks for all the information!


I love lavender, too, Sunny.  I use it for multiple things, from bath oil to sunburn treatment.


So far in my kit I have:



Tea Tree (Maleluca)




I'm learning a lot about several more of the citrus oils, and plan to buy them next.


For what are chamomile and peppermint used?


Also, does anyone have any first-hand knowledge about clary sage?  From what I've read, it's useful for treating PMS symptoms, but I would like to know more before I buy some, because it's so expensive.

fruitfulmomma's Avatar fruitfulmomma 11:36 AM 06-25-2012

Peppermint is my new favorite for dealing with headaches.


TTO and lavender are good too.


Haven't explored much beyond that but have been reading about using them for labor and postpartum.

loveandgarbage's Avatar loveandgarbage 11:48 AM 06-25-2012

I started using EOs a few years ago when I began to make my own skincare products. Some of my favorites that are good for hydration/anti-aging/toning:


clary sage

carrot seed

rosewood (sadly has become endangered)

rose geranium


I also wear a mix of EOs daily for scents. I like mixing any of these together: bergamot, rose geranium, rosewood, neroli, lemongrass, sage, pettigrain, palmarosa, lavender.... the list goes on!


Since I am pregnant and prone to being veiny, I plan to use EOs for that purpose too. I've heard these are good for varicose veins:



juniper berry




kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 11:49 AM 06-25-2012

Fruitful - Peppermint for headaches?  How do you use it (topically on the skin?, diffused into the air?, taken orally?) and does it work as well as, say, Tylenol?


L&G, do you use clary sage for treating PMS symptoms?

fruitfulmomma's Avatar fruitfulmomma 12:05 PM 06-25-2012

oh, topically... I've been putting it on a wet washcloth and laying it on the area. I think you could rub it on directly on but you might need a carrier to dilute it. 


For the most part it seems to work just as well as Tylenol, sometimes if they are really bad or I've waited too long I'll end up doing both. One thing is that it works almost right away and you don't have to wait like with pain relievers.

sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 01:28 AM 06-26-2012

Try sniffing the peppermint EO from the bottle first for a headache or pick-me-up. It'll get you over the initial "ick". Then, use a carrier oil (anything will do: olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, etc) and just a drop of peppermint EO. This EO can REALLY irritate your skin if it is not diluted properly. If you want to use a compress for a headache, it would be best to create an infusion (strong tea) using mint leaves and water. Then, soak your washcloth in that and apply to your head (hot or cold, whichever way feels best to you is good). It'll smell great and not irritate your skin and it'll help release the headache. For that matter, headaches are often caused by dehydration, so drink the tea or a glass of water while you are at it. ;) Stress also causes headaches, so simple breathing exercises can relieve them, too.

EmbraceLife's Avatar EmbraceLife 12:18 PM 06-26-2012

I absolutely love using essential oils and have used them for a variety of things from injury, ailments, cleaning to just as a fresh fragrance.


I want to use them MORE too!  Before children, I use to use them often as I had more time on my hands to read and to create!  :)

dbsam's Avatar dbsam 07:48 PM 07-24-2012

I need to sub to this thread. 


I typically do not like scents but EO's do not bother me as much as other scents - and I actually like some of them.  Although I wouldn't want to smell them all day in the house or on me.


I currently have the following EO's but I do not use them much and would love to learn more ways to use them.


TTO - I mostly use it in cleaning products but I do not like the scent at all.

lemon - this is my favorite scent and I would love to use it more.

clary sage - I do not care for it.  Maybe I need to find the best way to use it.

balsam fir needle

cinnamon leaf

candy cane - a combination of peppermint oil, sweet orange oil, spearmint oil, wintergreen oil, and vanilla


I'm not sure I have quality oils.  I have been buying Aura Cacia organics.  Do they have a shelf life?  My Candy Cane oil is several years old.


Is there an oil I can use on my son's feet and legs to help alleviate his leg pain?   (I stretch him nightly.)

sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 11:33 PM 07-24-2012

You can use lemon EO in place of the TTO in all cleaning products. I dislike the smell of TTO and only use it when I want/need the therapeutic properties. ANY EO is good for cleaning. For that matter, I don't even use EOs at all in most of my homemade cleaning products.


Clary sage is not appealing to me, either. I only use it in blends with EOs I do enjoy. The good thing about EOs is you can literally use one drop and it will provide therapeutic properties. So, add that one drop of clary sage and then add some other EOs you do enjoy.


Aura Cacia (AC) is not a great brand. Sorry.


I've owned quite a few brands of EOs, and for long enough to know when and how fast they go "off", which is honestly the only way for the average person to tell if an EO is good quality (unless they have reactions and delve deeper). There are lots of tests and reading one can do, but experience is the best indicator. In any case, the AC EOs go "off" in shorter time than most other brands I have used (all treated the same: dark location, lids capped tightly, smallest bottle possible, etc). And, those caps and orifice reducers are soooo annoying! They receive an extra penalty from me due to the waste factor! I actually have a few NOW brand EOs that have lasted longer (in terms of potency and proper scent). If I need an EO quickly, I will buy NOW versus Aura Cacia. Otherwise, though, I stick to the sources I stated above (earlier in the thread), which are all definitely higher quality than both of these brands.


You may be interested to know that ALL citrus EOs and pine EO will lose potency the quickest, regardless. So, unless you plan to use a lot for something specific, it is best to only buy the quantity you will use within a year or two, depending on how often you open the bottle and how you store it, etc. Better quality will last longer, but still only buy what you can use up, or split the original contents immediately to several smaller dark glass bottles and label them. Exposure to air is one way they lose potency and go bad.


For leg pain, it will depend on what is causing it...finding the source and eliminating it is first on the agenda. It often is growing pains in kids, though, and we don't want to "eliminate" the leg or the kid. ;) Making a salve or healing oil with arnica infused oil and St. John's Wort infused oil will do wonders along with a parent's healing massage. (You can look up how to make sun-infused oils or buy them.) Avoid open sores with arnica externally. Taking homeopathic arnica can also help. If he also has dry skin or other issues, you can add other "goodies" to the salve or oil to deal with them all at once. Salve is more convenient to use for some folks, but takes more work upfront to make. Personal preference is what matters.


Tea tree - can be applied "neat" (directly to skin without dilution); heals skin; good disinfectant; lots of uses, but you gotta like the scent or just use one drop. I mix TTO half & half with lavender EO (the other one that can be used neat) and put it in a teensy weeny glass vial and keep it in my change pouch in my purse for "owies". A single DROP works like a charm and won't harm your LOs. Don't use it every day or go crazy with it, take breaks, mix up a different batch once in awhile with a carrier oil and different EOs, etc...for prudency purposes.


Lemon - must be diluted with a carrier; causes photosensitivity, so don't apply to exposed skin when you will be outside much (your time will vary); excellent cleanser/freshener/etc. I put it in my water when traveling. It helps me with car sickness on winding mountain roads and seasickness on boats. I use Camden-Gray's wildcrafted lemon EO and Mountain Rose Herbs organic lemon EO for internal purposes. I use a fresh squeezed lemon when practical, but that's really messy when traveling most of the time. I also make citrus-vanilla sprays and bath salts pretty often. This is my DD's favorite scent that I make and I enjoy it a lot, too! I make it different each time; using all my citrus EOs in a base of homemade vanilla extract to "anchor" the top notes of the citrus, then add to water for a spray or to epsom salts for a bath soak.


Clary sage - must be diluted with a carrier; good for lots of "female" issues; also good for lots and lots of other things, but I honestly just don't enjoy it much. I add one drop to blends I make up and will add less than recipes call for when I bother following one. LOL From experience, I don't recommend it in deodorant. ;) Rosemary EO is much more effective. Just sayin'!


Balsam fir needle - must be diluted with a carrier; nice scent for creating a winter, woodsy feel; good cleaner and other uses. I'd avoid this on the skin, personally.


Cinnamon leaf - must be diluted with a carrier; can be very strong, especially for children and those sensitive to "warming" elements; great scent for homes; can be great for other things, but I cannot use it and have not experimented with it. I use cinnamon sticks instead and grind them, when needed, or simply use them whole. I have a bath salt experiment going with a cinnamon stick infusing in a quart of Epsom salts along with other "goodies". I make a cough syrup / cold & flu formula syrup with elderberries, cinnamon sticks, echinacea, and honey (adapted from Crunchy Betty)...It is a little strong on the cinnamon for me, but works well for others.


Candy Cane blend - If this is JUST EOs, then it needs to be well diluted with a carrier (some AC blends already have a carrier); the jury is out on wintergreen EO for me. I have read a lot of authors on aromatherapy and almost all of them say it is not appropriate (or worse). If I already had this blend, I'd stick to scent uses. In a bowl of baking soda in the winter or in a spray used to wipe down non-food zones or as a refresher for potpourri (does anyone use these anymore?)...


I hope this helps! EOs are so fun! Look up each of your oils on Mountain Rose Herbs to learn more. AC even has an app... ;)

dbsam's Avatar dbsam 12:00 AM 07-25-2012


Thank you for all the info!


After posting I re-read the thread and noticed you suggested a few brands.  I'll try one of those next time I buy.  I'm not even sure why I bought these.  The EO's are sometimes on sale in my co-op and I think..."These look interesting...I can use them for something."   But then I am not sure what to do with it redface.gif


My son has cerebral palsy and is very tight which caused his lower body pain.  We stretch him often and are restarting his weekly PT.  He has sensitive skin and used to suffer from KP, but we give him CLO (even though we are vegetarian...this is his one non-veggie consumption.)  The CLO seems to really help with his KP and his pain.  I was a little worried EO's would irritate his skin.  (I've purchased bath products with citrus EO's and he rashed up immediately.)  I am going to look into the infused oils for him. 


Your citrus vanilla spray sounds great.  Those are two of the scents I like most.  What do you do with the spray? 


Yes, the candy cane is all EO's.  I've only used it as a Holiday scent and to keep ants out of the house. (We had wood rotting under our front door.)


Thank you again for all your time and info.  It all sounds sort of overwhelming...I am going to do a little reading.

sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 12:42 AM 07-25-2012

I'm glad to help a little. It can sound overwhelming at first. Just start somewhere and have fun with it. :)


For your son, I would avoid EOs for awhile. The infusions I mentioned should be fine, but look up those herbs in a few places first to be sure. I've not had to deal with those specific health concerns, so I wasn't looking for CP contraindictions. Before you make a full-on infusion and herbal oil or salve for him, do a few tests. Try coconut oil on his skin and look for any reactions. Try olive oil; same thing. Wait a few days in-between. Try whatever oil you already have. Same deal. I typically use coconut oil for skin and olive oil for hair. They just add benefits to those areas best. Some applications work best with different types of oils, but that gets complicated. Start simple.


My vanilla-citrus spray has been used in lots of ways! I made it for a "spa party" for my DD's birthday one year and we made "spa spritzers" for all the guests (like a body spray, I guess). The girls LOVED it!!! DH included "twirl in the mist" in the instructions on the label and the girls were spraying and twirling for a long time! LOL I used a tablespoon (teaspoon? no idea right now) of vanilla extract (homemade using organic vanilla beans and vodka; left for weeks/months; topped off; add a new bean once a year or so? I'm not real regimented) because I wanted the vodka as a preservative since who knows how long these girls would keep this stuff and use it. I added citrus EOs until DD liked the scent and topped off the 2 oz spray bottles with distilled water (again, not my kids, no control). For us, I use tap water or filtered water and we use them up before they go "off". I also use less vanilla extract and fewer EOs, varying it. We spray it on ourselves as perfume (stronger variation) and in the air to make a room smell nice (medium variation) and on soft furnishings for the scent and "freshness" of citrus (lightest variation). It is particularly LOVELY in the winter, which gave me the idea to offer it as a "Spa Spritzer" to my massage therapist to use. I call it "Winter Sunshine" and she sprays it in the air before a client comes in and it changes the atmosphere by adding a little more joy and love...


For non-water applications, I have infused vanilla beans in coconut oil in a sunny window for weeks/months and use that as my base note. MMMmmmmm.... That is in my Epsom salts along with every citrus EO I own right now (bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, sweet orange, and maybe something else???). Oh, it is heavenly! If for some reason I did NOT want a little bit of coconut oil in my Epsom salts, I would have just stuck a split vanilla bean in the container of Epsom salts with the EOs (like the cinnamon stick I mentioned above). Scent, no oil. Epsom salts are the carrier. I wanted the oil to help combat dry skin (year-round for DD; rarely for me), but it does require additional tub cleaning that the versions without oil do not.


Okay, I could go on and on about this topic! I love essential oils and herbs and all this stuff!!!!!

CordeliaLynn's Avatar CordeliaLynn 07:47 PM 08-09-2012

What do you all think of doTERRA?  In terms of it worth the added cost?  Thanks!

swd12422's Avatar swd12422 03:53 PM 08-20-2012

I had asked about them after seeing the brand mentioned on this forum. I was never able to find much information on them beyond this forum, so I started a thread which ultimately convinced me not to get involved with them. I don't like MLMs and see no reason to pay more to support one when there are other companies out there that are reputable and not as expensive. (I see lots of recommendations here and elsewhere for Mountain Rose Herbs, although I've never bought from them, mostly b/c I have a great little locally-owned shop near me where I can get whatever I need, which isn't much...)

sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 10:18 PM 08-20-2012

I have no opinion on the doterra brand of essential oils. I've never seen them in person nor talked to a sales rep in person, therefore I reserve judgement.


I like the multiple places I obtain my EOs from already and I have over 15 years experience with EOs. I have no need to find a new supplier.

j4ino's Avatar j4ino 07:42 PM 01-24-2014

Hi!  I've started a monthly newsletter on therapeutic grade essential oils.  I talk about most common oils and uses, how to dilute, how to determine purity of an oil, how to use them for effective and non-toxic cleaning solutions, and much more!  Please message me with your email address if you would like me to add you to my mailing list!

mejese313's Avatar mejese313 07:09 AM 03-10-2014
Just want to share with every one. I'm so glad I've found this company because quality essentials oils are now affordable for me! Plus you can get 10% off every order with coupon code: simplyhealth
MaryClarens 11:35 AM 07-19-2014
I love lavender too because it is very relaxing and calming especially when you are tired after work. It also helps me to fall asleep in the evening I also love burning lavender scented candles before going to bed to relieve some stress. Peppermint is also good it is soothing and relaxing.
naturestealeaf 08:17 AM 08-19-2014
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post
<p>What are your top 20 favourite essential oils, and what do you do with them?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I've used citrus essential oils in cleaning, and I know that lavender is calming, but I want to <em><strong>really</strong></em> start using them - especially for medicinal purposes.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks for your input! </p>
This is a great topic as essential oils can be used both medicinally and as a way to induce relaxation and promote restful sleep. Many essential oils can be found in loose leaf tea. Loose teas are very different from pre-packaged tea bags in that when hot water is added it draws out the natural oils, flavors and aroma. Since tea bag teas are made from small broken pieces and fannings (tea dust) the essential oils are lost through evaporation during processing. Some essential oils that can be harnessed from loose tea and are readily available are:

Rose Hip
MaryClarens 11:28 PM 10-29-2014
I really love essential oils because they have many uses and benefits. I use citronella, lavender and peppermint as an insect repellant. I also use chamomile, jasmine, and lemongrass oil beside our bed it helps us to relax and have a good smelling bedroom. I also love to put some essential oil to my oil burner like cinnamon, lemon, vanilla and green tea in our kitchen.
Ethelpea's Avatar Ethelpea 12:29 PM 11-06-2014
I don't think I have a top 20, but I'm adding:

tea tree
lavender (love this in the shower)

I make my own thieves oil and the constituents of those are clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
MaryClarens 12:04 AM Today
I bought eucalyptus oil yesterday from a natural shop and it smells great. It is best aroma therapy, massaging and it warms my back and helps me to relax. I'm adding eucalyptus oil in my favorite essential oils now.
Tags: Natural Body Care