Top 10 Essential Oils Everyone Should Keep at Home

essential oils with lemon and mint

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Essential oils are so much more than just pretty smelling perfume alternatives. These are powerful compounds taken from flowers, herbs, bark, and other organic plant matter. Other than their obviously beautiful scents, essential oils have health and wellness benefits while having almost no negative side effects or toxins. For example, a very recent study has shown that thyme essential oil can kill many types of cancer cells including breast, lung, and ovarian cancer cells.

Take a look at the top 10 essential oils everyone should keep at home in their medicine chests.

1. Lavender

This scent is great at calming the nervous system, making it the perfect for calming the mind before sleep. Lavender can ease depression symptoms. The relaxing and rejuvenating benefits of this oil makes it perfect in a relaxing bath, or as massage oil. Used in a diffuser throughout the house, it can create a calming atmosphere for everyone who enters. This oil can relieve nervous tension, headaches, even migraines.

On top of its calming benefits, lavender has anti-bacterial properties, so it’s perfect to use on cuts, wounds, acne, bug bites, burns, even dandruff. Lavender essential oil is also perfect for when you have a cold as it decongests the sinuses and respiratory system.


2. Tea Tree Oil

This essential oil has so many healing compounds it’s hard to list them all; anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-parasitic. This has to be the go-to oil for almost any purpose. Tea tree oil regenerates skin tissue so use it on lesions, burns, insect bites, cold sores, fungal infections, lice, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, and eczema. And this list is only a start! You can even use tea tree oil mixed with some water and spray it in areas where you find mold, mildew, or places where you would like to kill bacteria and germs, such as in the bathroom.

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3. Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil improves mental alertness and boosts energy levels. If you are trying to quit sugar or caffeine, peppermint oil will help give you that boost of energy you will miss. It can also relieve headaches due to caffeine withdrawal. Peppermint is also a natural anti-bacterial and can help with IBS, food poisoning, and other digestive problems. Used in the mouth, it’s great at killing gum and tooth infections as it is high in anti-bacterial properties as well.


4. Rose

This beautiful scent relieves depression symptoms and is it any wonder why? Rose oil can support the healing of emotional traumas, heartbreak, grief, and shock. Rose oil opens the heart chakra and supports self-confidence. Rose has also been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac. This scent is perhaps the sweetest and has perhaps the strongest ability to uplift spirits of any essential oil. This essential oil can actually regenerate cells and can heal the skin. Rose oil has strong skin rejuvenation compounds that can help stop wrinkles, lessen scars, and reduce stretch marks. Rose oil can also help with menstrual irregularities and reproductive issues.


5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil is a very strong smelling oil that has many medicinal properties, such as germicidal, disinfectant, and anti-septic compounds that are perfect for clearing up respiratory problems, chest colds, coughs, throat and sinus problems. Eucalyptus oil thins mucus and is an expectorant that stops sinus congestion, fever, and coughs. This essential oil is great massage oil for soothing sore muscles, nerves, and joint pain. It also stops urinary and bladder infections. If you don’t have any ailments, this essential oil is stimulating and energizing to the mind when inhaled. Read more about benefits of eucalyptus oil.

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Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

6. Basil

This is another great oil that can help you with many common ailments. Basil is good for relieving the congestion from bronchitis, colds, and coughs. Basil can be mixed with a bit of water and sprayed on the body to repel insects, however, should you get bit, and a dab of basil oil on the bit will stop the itching. Add a few drops of basil oil to a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil, and you have a terrific massage oil that will relax the muscles. This oil is also said to relive the pain of rheumatism. Smelling basil essential oil is also known for fighting exhaustion and fatigue while improving memory, so, if you pulled an all-nighter for an exam, inhale some basil just before that big test.


7. Rosemary

That wonderful dried herb you use in your cooking is also a terrific essential oil. Keep some in your office as an all-natural mental stimulant that improves the memory that same way basil does. Rosemary can help with respiratory problems also such as asthma, and bronchitis. It’s also been used to relive the pain of gout, arthritis, and headaches. A few drops of rosemary essential oil in your shampoo or conditioner will stimulate hair growth and scalp health. Recent studies have shown that this essential oil also fights liver and ovarian cancer cells.


SEE ALSO: Top 12 Best Herbs for Dealing with Back Pain Naturally

8. Neroli

This is a great oil for the skin, especially on more mature skin. Neroli will help lessen scars and stretch marks. It is also good for balancing out oily skin and lessening the appearance of wrinkles. Neroli oil has been used traditionally to control the emotions. Smelling neroli essential oil has been known to lessen feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, stress, irritability and panic attacks. Next time you bring visit your mother in law, try bringing along a bit of neroli oil for backup.

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herbs and essential oils on science sheet

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9. Frankincense

Besides making a great smelling incense, frankincense is also great for reducing symptoms of bronchitis and asthma. You can also use it to relieve dry, hacking coughs and congestion. This is also good at helping with feelings of exhaustion, burnout, or fatigue. Use frankincense to help balance out your emotions whenever you feel lonely, insecure, stressed out or unhappy.


10. Sandalwood

This is good for the men in your life when they think the scent of other oils is too feminine for them. Sandalwood is great for strep throat symptoms or problems with laryngitis. It can also relieve congestion from colds or flus. Great for chapped or very dry skin. Put some sandalwood in a diffuser and put this scent in the air to help relieve feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability and stress.

Essential oils can be inhaled or applied topically, usually with a good carrier oil such as almond, olive, jojoba, or coconut oil. Although you can apply some oils directly to the skin, they sometimes burn, so it’s best to use a carrier oil especially if you are using these on children. When used correctly, essential oils can be the best choice you can make for all natural healing.


Barton, Dalene. “Aromatherapy for Fertility.” Natural Fertility Info. 

Bozkur, Emir. Effects of Thymus serpyllum Extract on Cell Proliferation, Apoptosis and Epigenetic Events in Human Breast Cancer Cells. Nutrition and Cancer, 2012. 

Natural Cures Not Medicines. “This Essential Oil Has Recently Been Proven To Kill Lung, Oral and Ovarian Cancer.” 

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1992.

Valnet, Dr. Jean. The Practice of Aromatherapy: A Classic Compendium of Plant Medicines and Their Healing Properties. Rochester: Healing Arts Press. 1982.

Wang W., Li N., Luo M., Zu Y., Efferth T. Antibacterial activity and anticancer activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil compared to that of its main components. Molecules, 5 March 2012.

Zu Y., Yu H., Liang L., Fu Y., Efferth T., Liu X., Wu N. Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. Molecules, 30 April 2010.

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