AromEssential – Better Living Through Nature

Essential oils have a multitude of therapeutic uses and have become a part of many people’s daily rituals. ​

From a simple relaxing and pleasant aroma to reliving pain, nausea and inflammation, essential oils (abbreviated as EOs) have a multitude of uses.

Unfortunately, the market is quite saturated. And every company out there seems to claim that they have the purest product. How are you to choose?

That’s why we created AromEssential, to help consumers make informed choices and answer any questions you may have.  Want to know if essential oils can help improve your mental and physical health? Not sure where to begin? Read on to learn how to live essentially!

What Are Essential Oils?

You’ve likely used or at least experienced essential oils in some capacity over your lifetime. But what exactly is an essential oil? EOs contain all the natural oils within a certain plant, in a more concentrated form.

More specifically, an essential oil contains the extracted volatile aromatic compounds of a plant. The volatile compounds within the essential oils are called such because they tend to change physical states from solid to gas quite easily – hence the potent aroma. But, they do more than just smell good! These complex aromatic compounds produced by the plants also possess a variety of pharmacological and therapeutic traits. Essential oils can provide a multitude of physical and mental benefits, which is exactly why we love them so much!

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a form of therapy by which aromatic plant oils are used to provide improved both psychological and physical well-being. The study and practice of aromatherapy dates back to many ancient civilizations such as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians and in many ways, modern medicine could be considered to be a derivative of early aromatherapy. For example, did you know that the active ingredient of Aspirin, salisylic acid, was first extracted from the bark of the Willow tree? People have been using the oils of plants for centuries to heal the body and mind for good reason, it works!

What are The Most Popular Oils?

Because essential oils have such a wide range of uses and applications, there isn’t one product that satisfies every use. We have, however, identified a top 10 list of oils that have the most desirable effects and aromas for you to choose from.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Cedar​​​​wood
  • Lavender
  • Pine
  • orange
  • Tea tree
  • clove
  • oregano
  • rosemary
​10) Rosemary

What is it: Rosmarinus officinalis, woody perennial mediterranean plant

Primary active ingredients: eucalyptolalpha-pinenecamphor

Extraction method: Steam distillation from leaves and flowers

Aroma: invigorating, camphoraceous, herbaceous

Benefits: promotes digestive system and respiratory function, relaxing, concentration, anti-anxiety, energizing

Common Uses: diffusion, skin and haircare, cooking, cleaning

​1) Eucalyptus

What is it: Eucalyptus genus of trees and shrubs

Primary active ingredient: Eucalyptol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from leaves, stems

Aroma: mint-like, spicy, fresh, cooling, intoxicating

Benefits: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial,

Uses: diffusion, insect repellant, massage, respiratory issues, decongestant, immune system, flus, colds, diy cleaning supplies

Recommended Brand: DoTerra

2) ​Frankincense

What is it: aromatic resin from the Boswelia family of trees

Primary active ingredients: monoterpenes such as limonene, alpha-thujene, beta-pinene

Extraction method: Steam distillation from dried resin

Aroma: warm and spicy, lemony, slightly piney

Benefits: relaxing aroma, reduce skin imperfections, healthy cell function, anti-aging

Uses: diffusion, skincare products,

3) ​Cedarwood

What is it: aromatic resin from the Boswelia family of trees

Primary active ingredients: cedrol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from dried wood

Aroma: woody, cedar, nutty, peaceful

Benefits: relaxing and peaceful, antibacterial, antifungal, pesticidal

Common Uses: diffusion, massage, natural insect repellant,

4) ​Lavender

What is it: aromatic resin from the Boswelia family of trees

Primary active ingredients: cedrol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from dried wood

Aroma: woody, cedar, nutty, peaceful

Benefits: relaxing and peaceful, antibacterial, antifungal, pesticidal

Common Uses: diffusion, massage, natural insect repellant,

5) Pine

What is it: Most commonly the Pinus Sylvestris species of pine tree

Primary active ingredients: alpha-terpineol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from wood, needles, cones

Aroma: cleansing, invigorating, piney

Benefits: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory

Common Uses: diffusion, skincare, cleaning supplies, massage,

​6) Orange

What is it: Fruit from Citrus sinensis trees (common Oranges)

Primary active ingredients: d-limonene

Extraction method: Cold-press extraction from orange peels

Aroma: bright, powerful, citrusy

Benefits: cleansing, purifying, insecticide, energizing

Common Uses: diffusion, cleaning supplies, massage,

7) Tea Tree

What is it: Melaleuca alternifolia tree (Tea Tree)

Primary active ingredients: terpinen-4-ol, gamma-terpinene, and alpha-terpinene

Extraction method: Steam distillation from leaves

Aroma: camphoraceous, herbaceous, bright,

Benefits: immune system function, anti-inflammatory, insecticide, purifying,

Common Uses: diffusion, massage, skincare, cleaning, acne

​8) Clove

What is it: The clove plant, Syzygium aromaticum

Primary active ingredients: eugenol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from buds, leaves or stems

Aroma: warm, spicy, leathery, woody, cinnamon

Benefits: antioxidant, cardiovascular benefits,

Common Uses: diffusion, toothache, cooking

​9) Oregano

What is it: Flowering plant, Origanum vulgare

Primary active ingredients: Carvacrolthymol

Extraction method: Steam distillation from leaves

Aroma: pungent, green, warm, herbaceous

Benefits: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, promotes respiratory and immune system function

Common Uses: diffusion, skincare, cooking, cleaning

​10) Rosemary

What is it: Rosmarinus officinalis, woody perennial mediterranean plant

Primary active ingredients: eucalyptolalpha-pinenecamphor

Extraction method: Steam distillation from leaves and flowers

Aroma: invigorating, camphoraceous, herbaceous

Benefits: promotes digestive system and respiratory function, relaxing, concentration, anti-anxiety, energizing

Common Uses: diffusion, skin and haircare, cooking, cleaning

Choosing The Best Essential Oils

Not sure what type is suited for your purposes? Check out our guide to the Best Essential Oils available today. We'll help you understand the differences between them, and find the one that will best suit your needs.

Do Essential Oils Really Work?

An important question to ask! And, well, the answer generally depends on what you want them to do, (and also who you ask).

There are numerous studies that have been conducted that show essential oils are beneficial. They’ve been shown to improve physical and mental wellness in various areas, such as increased focus in young kids, relieving pain by distracting the mind, and reducing nausea as a few examples. For a more detailed look into what the science says about essential oils, and if they really do work, check out this article that explains the pros and cons.

How To Use Essential Oils

EOs have a multitude of uses, from purely aesthetic uses like improving the aroma of your home, to therapeutic uses like treating pain. Regardless of what you are looking for EOs to do, we’ll help you find the right one. There are three common methods to use them: diffusion, topical use and ingestion.

Diffusion

One of the simplest and easily the most common ways to use EOs is to use a diffuser to spread the plant compounds and aroma around a room.  The vast majority of EOs are produced strictly for diffusion as this is the primary method that aromatherapy is practiced. 

Diffusers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are also a few different types of diffusers that all vary in the way they release their aroma. Click here to learn more about diffusion of essential oils.

Topical Application

Many people use EOs topically – that is, applied directly to the skin – to treat a variety of symptoms. These can be applied to the skin, used in the bath, in skin creams or massage oils. EOs often come in very high concentrations, so it’s typically not advised to apply these substances without first diluting in a carrier oil. There are also some areas of skin so sensitive you shouldn’t apply essential oils to at all. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using oils for the not intended purposes. Staying on the safe side, we’d recommend not using any EOs topically as most are made strictly for diffusing. 

Teatree

Ingestion

There are some EOs that provide the most benefit when they are directly ingested. Ever add oregano to your pizza or pasta sauce? It’s the EOs inside the plant that add that flavour and aroma (and the healthy benefits), just at a lower concentration. It’s very important to consult a medical professional before ingesting any essential oils, and to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s labels to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction, and to ensure you dose appropriately. In general, we’d advise to never ingest any EOs. The human body is only capable of metabolizing so much of an EO, and overdoing it can prove toxic.

Where to Buy


These days you’ll EOs available in most grocery stores, health food stores, even stores like Marshall’s and Nordstrom Rack. In our opinion, the best place to buy essential oils is online or through an online retailer like Amazon. We also typically see the best prices online since there is no overhead such as cost for a storefront and much less staffing. That being said, many people who use essential oils tend to find a retailer (online or not) that they like, and stick with them. Since product performance can vary, once you find something you like it's common to stick with it.

Food Grade vs. Therapeutic Grade

A common labelling/marketing tactic by companies is to market their products as “therapeutic grade.” There is no third party organization that is certifying essential oil products for therapeutic use, so the term can be misleading to consumers. Basically, any EO you buy will be therapeutic grade, so just keep that in mind.

Qualifying as food grade is a whole different story all together. Technically, it is advised that the vast majority of EOs should not be ingested. However, many company’s oils do have a “GRAS” rating from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration. GRAS means “Generally Recognized as Safe for use in foods.”

While many essential oils do have a GRAS rating, some should never be ingested, and so we would simply advise never ingesting them to be on the safe side. You should always consult a medical professional before thinking about ingesting EOs, and also for topical use. Even topical use is a grey-area for us as the vast majority of EOs are manufactured strictly for use in diffusion and aromatherapy.

Best Books to Learn More

Looking to learn more on your own? One of our absolute favourite books is The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.

It doesn’t have a lot of pictures or diagrams so it can be a bit dense to read but it’s considered one of the absolute best resources for learning about EOs.

Check back for some other great books all about EOs that will quickly transform you from student to guru in no time.

Using Essential Oils Responsibly Around Pets

The use of EOs with pets is a controversial subject. There have been a number of cases recently of pets being poisoned by unknowing pet owners.

While many pet owners, business owners and bloggers stand by using diffusers and other EO uses with their pets, we recommend that you do not use EOs on or around your pets – especially cats. Many EOs can be toxic to cats and dogs! That means not feeding your pets EOs in any form, no topical use of any kind, and avoiding their exposure to diffusers. Always consult your veterinarian before using any sort of substance on your pets.

If you want to use a diffuser, we recommend not operating it around your cats and dogs (and other pets). The oils, even in their diluted state, can cause unwanted allergic reactions or prove toxic.

Use the diffuser in a separate room with the door closed, turn it off when your pet is around, and definitely don’t leave the diffuser on when you leave the house with your pet alone. Monitor your pet for any changes in behaviour and behaviours as loss of appetite, lethargy, drooling, tremors, pawing at the face, difficulty breathing and vomiting.

A few essential oils that are absolutely known to be toxic to pets include: thyme, cinnamon, tea tree, clove, birch, anise, and cedarwood. And while many people do use diffusers and EOs with their pets safely and without issue, it’s best to always be on the safe side with your beloved pets.

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