How To Choose and Use Essential Oils

The essential oil that you choose will depend on the purpose

Do you want it to help elevate your mood or do you need something to treat a burn? There is no definitive list that specifies which essential oil is used to treat which health condition. For example, while the essential oils of lavender, chamomile, basil, Frankincense, are generally found to have a calming effect and may help with anxiety and bergamot and peppermint oil are stimulating and can help those with depression, this is somewhat individual. So you need to be proactive about doing research and talking with qualified aromatherapists or other individuals with training in using essential oils.

A good place to start is to get a book about therapeutic aromatherapy. There are many good books available and you will be able to find one that matches your needs.

Be sure to pay attention to cautions for each essential oil and application method. We provide some tips and examples in this section, but it is important to dilute the oils properly, consider your individual reactions, and watch closely for adverse effects.

How do I use essential oils?

Essential oils enter the body primarily in three ways—applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Within each of these, there are many different kinds of application methods. For example, you can apply essential oils topically using compresses, sprays, baths, or massaging them into the skin.

How do I choose a method to apply essential oils?

The application method chosen depends on the desired effect and the essential oil selected. For example, some essential oils are irritating to the skin because of their chemistry. These would need more dilution or might better be used by inhalation.

Once you have purchased an essential oil, the application method depends on the condition to be treated and the desired effect. Some tips:


  1. Wound care most often involves topical applications.
  2. Mood effects might be addressed by either inhalation or topical application. For fast action, inhalation might be preferred.
  3. Baths involve both inhalation and topical absorption.

Note: If you are unsure about which application method to use with essential oils, consult an qualified aromatherapist.

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