There are two ways that essential oils can enter the body to create an effect: they can either be absorbed through the skin or inhaled through the nose. Through the skin, the molecules enter through the hair follicles, sweat glands and fat molecules on the skin, entering your lymphatic and blood systems to get circulated around your body, going to the places they are needed most. Inhaling an essential oil gets the essential oil molecules into your body via your olfactory system (sense of smell) and limbic system (the emotional part of your brain) – going to the brain and your respiratory system. Once in the body, they work their way to where they are needed and where they can begin to trigger healing: in a similar way to how taking a pain-relieving tablet works.
Simple smells such as lavender, chamomile, and rosewater may help keep you calm. You can breathe in or rub diluted versions of these oils on your skin. Scientists think they work by sending chemical messages to parts of the brain that affect mood and emotion. Although these scents alone won’t take all your stress away, the aroma may help you relax.

With neuroprotective effects and cognitive performance boosting abilities, essential oil benefits have helped many people who are suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In a scientific review published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers found that because essential oils possess powerful antioxidants that work to inhibit free radical scavenging, they help to naturally improve brain function and reduce inflammation.
There are three different categories of oils: top notes, middle notes and base notes. Generally, top notes are more stimulating, uplifting and refreshing and base notes are more sedating and relaxing, though this is not always the case. Whilst not always strictly accurate, another good general guide to this is that citrus oils (Lemon, Lime etc) can often be top notes, uplifting and stimulating, whereas floral oils (Lavender, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Rose etc) are more middle to base notes and more relaxing.
Some oils, such as clary sage, geranium and thyme, help to balance out estrogen and progesterone levels in your body, which can improve conditions like infertility and PCOS, as well as PMS and menopause symptoms. A 2017 published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters indicates that geranium and rose have the ability to influence the salivary concentration of estrogen in women. This may be helpful for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms that are caused by declining levels of estrogen secretion. (2)
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that help to boost your immune system and fight infections. The chemical substances found in the oils, such as terpenes, esters, phenolics, ethers and ketones, have the potential to fight foreign pathogens that can threaten your health. Some of the best essential oils for your immunity include oregano, myrrh, ginger, lemon, eucalyptus, frankincense, peppermint (or Mentha piperita) and cinnamon.

The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs.[7] Oils were used for aesthetic pleasure and in the beauty industry. It was a luxury item and a means of payment. It was believed the essential oils increased the shelf life of wine and improved the taste of food.
Having discussed the many ways we can get the oils into your system, how do we know which oils to use? Firstly, it is important to think about your objectives for using essential oils. Are you hoping to become more relaxed? Are you wanting to sleep better? Do you feel like you need reviving with a boost to your immune system? Are you wanting to detox? Do you have congestion following a cold? Are you in need of an antiseptic? Do you need uplifting? Are your hormones in need of balancing? There are different essential oils for all of these different things; some of them working on several ailments at once.
They make eyedropper lids to fit all sizes of aromatherapy bottles. Your bottles should be stored with the eyedropper lid on securely, but NOT tightly. Why? Too tight, and you will lessen the life of your Essential Oils and your eyedropper lids. A sign you’ve got it on too tight: The rubber dropper part is puckering and the Essential Oil is traveling up the dropper toward the lid.
Essential oils have also shown to improve learning, memory and ability to focus. Both stimulating and sedative oils can be useful, as oils like peppermint can improve sustained attention over a longer period of time, while oils like lavender can be useful for people going through tough exercises or situations. Furthermore, they can be useful in relieving agitation in individuals with dementia. This is due to their calming and sedative effects. (10)
Whilst this can seem confusing, the best advice for oil selection is to test which scents you like the smell of, because the ones your body needs tend to show themselves as the ones you like! This can change daily depending on your healing needs at the time. On our website, you can read a description of the scent and learn more about the properties of the oils and their therapeutic effects. Check out the ‘Safety Notes’ before you use them and check with your GP if you are pregnant or have more serious conditions such as epilepsy or blood pressure problems.
There is an immense amount of studies exploring the concerns that essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin when used in undiluted form.[26][27] Therefore, they are normally diluted with a carrier oil for topical application, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Phototoxic reactions may occur with citrus peel oils such as lemon or lime.[28] Also, many essential oils have chemical components that are sensitisers (meaning that they will, after a number of uses, cause reactions on the skin, and more so in the rest of the body). Chemical composition of essential oils could be affected by herbicides if the original plants are cultivated versus wild-harvested.[29][30] Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, with cats being particularly prone.[31]

Peppermint is a very recognizable scent, after all they make gum that smells like peppermint. But Peppermint is so much more than just a nostalgic, fresh aroma. This oil can be diffused to create a stimulating, focused atmosphere for daily tasks. You can also apply it topically to create a cool, tingling sensation on the skin, which can be very soothing after hard physical activity. Peppermint can help relieve headaches, curb appetite, settle an upset tummy and is great for an afternoon pick me up.
A 2014 systematic review conducted at the University of Minnesota evaluated 15 quantitative studies, including 11 randomized controlled trials that examined the effects of essential oils on sleep. Researchers found that a majority of the study findings suggest a positive effect of oils on sleep deprivation and disturbances. Lavender oil was the most frequently studied oil and of all evaluated studies, no adverse events were reported. (20)

Beginning to use essential oils is the start of an incredible aromatic journey. I created AromaWeb over 20 years ago because essential oils played a highly beneficial role in my life and I was (and still am!) eager to share insight into the safe and effective use of essential oils. Below are several important aromatherapy tips for beginners and those that are new to using essential oils.
Beginning to use essential oils is the start of an incredible aromatic journey. I created AromaWeb over 20 years ago because essential oils played a highly beneficial role in my life and I was (and still am!) eager to share insight into the safe and effective use of essential oils. Below are several important aromatherapy tips for beginners and those that are new to using essential oils.
Especially if skin sensitivity is a concern, definitely ALWAYS dilute your essential oil with a common neutral carrier oil (also called base oils) before application. Carrier oils are typically cold-pressed oils and do not evaporate like essential oils do, but they can go rancid where essential oils will not. Your choice of carrier oil will depend a bit on preference of smell, texture, and sensitivities to avoid allergic reactions. Popular choices for carrier oils are coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil or grape seed oil.

In the era of modern medicine, the naming of this treatment first appeared in print in 1937 in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé [fr], a chemist. An English version was published in 1993.[11] In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.[12]
×