Essential oils are becoming more and more popular due to their wide ranging benefits. But often it’s difficult to know exactly what essential oils to use for what, and how best to use essential oils.
That’s why we’ve created this guide on uses for essential oils. Outlining some common problems people might want to solve using essential oils, such muscle pain or inflammation, or even just which essential oils are best for relaxation.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are oils extracted from plants, in other words concentrated plant extracts. We’ve actually written a more extensive guide to essential oils, which goes into much more detail and serves as a good introduction.
How to use essential oils?
The most common way to use essential oils and receive their benefits is diffusing them into the air, allowing the aromatherapy effect.
However, depending on the essential oil and why you’re using it, it may be better to apply the essential oil to your skin, dilute it in a warm bath, or dab the essential oil on a nearby surface such as putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow for example.
Therefore, don’t just assume that it’s best to diffuse your essential oil, as other methods are sometimes more effective for receiving the benefits.
Best uses for essential oils
Here we’ll now outline the best essential oils for lots of different things, so if you are particularly interested in one use please scroll down to the right section.
The essential oils and uses we’ll be discussing are below:
- Best essential oils for weight loss
- Best essential oils for muscle pain and inflammation
- Best essential oils for skin tightening
- Best smelling essential oils for diffuser / Best essential oils to diffuse
- Best essential oils for depression
- Best essential oils for eczema
- Best essential oils for meditation
An important point to note here, is that sometimes it’s popular to think essential oils can be used to treat illnesses, when alternatively it’s always best to seek medical advice. We outline clearly these instances, but just be aware that often essential oils are best viewed as complimentary therapy. If your problem is serious, see a doctor.
1. Best essential oils for weight loss
With essential oils and weight loss, it’s important to understand that essential oils do not directly make you lose weight, they can aid weight loss alongside other weight loss promoting activity.
Like any attempt to lose weight most of it comes down to eating less and exercising more. So please don’t expect essential oils to be the magic formula for losing weight…
However, essential oils can help in ways such as boosting energy, curbing cravings, improving mood, easing aches and pains, and finally promoting the breakdown of fat.
Below are a few examples:
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is useful in weight loss as the limonene helps dissolve fat in your body. Don’t expect the impact to be big but research has shown inhalation of lemon improves neurological activity to promote fat breakdown.
The scent is also nice and energising and promotes a positive mood, both key in motiviation for exercise and healthy living. Alongside this, lemon essential oil also supports healthy digestion.
Peppermint oil can boost energy levels, allowing you to maximise your workouts. Alongside this, it also helps with muscle soreness (see more information in the muscle pain section below) allowing to minimize recovery time and get back to exercising
Research has shown that grapefruit oil can play a aid in digestion, heart rate and metabolism. This is because of compounds such as D-limonene, which supports metabolism and carries nutrients between the tissues and bloodstream. It can also help with appetite control and craving reduction, all which can help weight loss
2. Best essential oils for muscle pain and inflammation
Essential oils can be really useful for helping with various issues, including muscle pain and inflammation. So below are a few of the best essential oils for inflammation and muscle pain.
Lavender is a commonly used essential oil that’s really versatile with many uses. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and has a relaxing and calming effect. Another benefit is that it can be applied topically (using roller bottle for example) or diffused into the air.
It’s important to note however, that you only need a couple of drops of undiluted oil, so be aware of skin irritation using undiluted oil. A good way to use lavender is to place a couple of drops in a warm bath.
Peppermint is one of the world’s oldest medicinal plants. It contains menthol, menthone and methyl esters, which help relieve discomfort with muscle pain, inflammation and aches.
The menthol in peppermint is also cooling and can ease pain and discomfort in joints, as well as calming and decreasing muscle spasms. Again it should be diluted if applying directly
Black pepper oil can be used to relieve pain as well as improving circulation. It has a warming effect on the body and when used on the skin. The analgesic properties of black pepper oil aid with sore muscles and arthritis pain.
3. Best essential oils for skin tightening
Essential oils are a natural and chemical-free way to help skin tightening, and a great alternative to store bought expensive or chemical-filled products.
The first on our list is Frankincense. Known for protecting skin cells and encouraging new cell growth frankincense is a great essential oil for skin tightening.
It’s especially useful for increasing skin elasticity particularly around the eye area.
Best practice with frankincense and applying any essential oils to the skin is to first exfoliate your skin with a hot towel to open the pores before applying.
Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh is an extremely popular essential oil for skin treatment, and is commonly used to help oxygenate and sooth the skin.
It can commonly be used to treat wrinkles, and chapped and cracked skin. Helping improve skin flexibility and give you a glowing skin tone.
Although commonly used for its calming properties, lavender also has beneficial properties for the skin.
Lavender can be used to balance sebum production and reduce scarring on the skin. It also helps prevent skin from drying out.
A further use for lavender essential oil is in toning your skin and helping to reduce appearance of stretch marks.
4. Best smelling essential oils for diffuser / Best essential oils to diffuse
Most commonly, essential oils are diffused into the air to receive the benefits or their respective properties. However some might want to diffuse essential oils purely for their smell.
If you want nicely scented essential oils, then it may come down to personal preference so it’s difficult to say which are the best essential oils to diffuse.
A good starting point however, might be to think about which scented candles you like the best, and base your choices on this. Often scented candles are scented because they contain essential oils in the wax, so this is a great place to start.
We’ve written a post on the 50 best Yankee scents, which could give you some ideas of different essential oils and fragrances you might not have thought of.
Regarding best smelling essential oils, we personally like diffusing lavender essential oil, as it’s not only got a really lovely scent but also is very relaxing and calming too.
5. Best essential oils for depression
Firstly, if you are suffering from depression then you should speak to your doctor before trying your own alternative therapy such as essential oils. Depression is a mental illness and it’s always advisable to speak to a medical professional.
Therefore, essential oils should just be considered as a complimentary therapy alongside medication.
The best essential oil and most commonly found to give benefits is lavender, due to its positive effects on anxiety and relaxation benefits. It can also aid sleep too.
Overall however research on the benefits of essential oils on depression has been inconclusive.
So sorry to disappoint… but if you’re looking for essential oils that can aid depression, instead you should talk to your doctor and find medication that will help instead.
6. Best essential oils for eczema
As with other medical issues, essential oils should be used as a complementary therapy if you’ve tried other creams or prescribed medications.
Essential oils can potentially help to ease some of the symptoms of eczema, however if the eczema is severe then you should consult a doctor for proper treatment.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil doesn’t just help with eczema, but it can also help with a variety of other skin conditions such as athlete’s foot, nail fungus, and insect bites.
This is because tea tree has antiviral properties that make it beneficial to help prevent infection.
Tea tree oil is very strong so should be diluted before application, and you should always dilute it before applying to your skin. A common way to dilute it is with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
Jojoba is an essential oil that gives a natural moisturising effect, and is a great option if you have dry or cracked eczema. By moisturising into the deep levels of the skin it’s a very effective way to help with eczema.
Geranium is a good option for helping to soothe inflamed skin and reduce redness and irritation, and should be diluted when using. Often one of the best ways to do this is by putting some drops in a warm bath.
7. Best essential oils for meditation
It’s often popular for people to diffuse essential oils to increase the effectiveness of their meditation practice.
Sometimes people may choose the most ‘relaxing’ essential oils for meditation, however you don’t want to be too relaxed whilst meditating. Yes, you need to be calm and relaxed, but also present and focused in the moment. Some essential oils can make you so relaxed it decreases your focus and awareness, and can even help you drift off into a calm sleep!
Below are our 3 top choices for meditation essential oils:
Frankincense promotes peace and calm, and its aroma offers stimulation and elevation for the mind. It also strengthens awareness and helps to improve focus, all great for meditation.
Frankincense overall is very calm and grounding, without making you feel sleepy. It has a woody, balsamic smell with notes of spice.
Overall it provides everything you’d look for if you’re looking to improve the effectiveness of your meditation.
Sage in its natural form (not essential oil) is commonly burned to cleanse spaces and used commonly for spiritual purposes.
The essential oil however, has some really useful stress relieving and cleansing benefits. It is thought to cleanse the body, mind and indoor spaces, and has an earthy scent, with herbal and fruity notes.
Overall it’s a very relaxing and stress relieving essential oil.
The main benefit of sandalwood essential oil is that it helps to relax as well as increasing concentration and mental clarity. It helps cleanse the mind of negative thoughts and improve focus.
In Buddhism, the scent of sandalwood is believed to transform desires and increase alertness. It has a woody scent with a bit of sweetness, and is often even used in perfumes.