Ajowan – Trachyspermum copticum
(pronounced aj’o-wan) is a member of the Umbelliferae family, which includes dill, caraway and cumin. Comprised mainly of thymol a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide. Thymol is also used in very small amounts in toothpaste and perfumery. Diluted and rubbed into the tummy, it is useful against diarrhea and flatulence. In India the seeds are used as a household remedy for indigestion and colic, and used in poultices to relieve asthma. Do not use if pregnant, with infants, or internally.
Allspice – Pimenta officinalis
Known to help dull pain and relax muscles. Use carefully as it is a skin irritant. Do not use if pregnant, nor with infants.
Amber – Pinus succinifera
A refined oil steam distilled from tree resins, mostly pine. It is used mainly in perfumery for its soft, sweet, scent. Do not use when pregnant, with children, nor take internally.
Ambrette – Hibiscus abelmoschus
Steam distilled from the seed of the hibiscus. Mainly used in perfumery. May soothe anxious feelings. Do not use when pregnant, with children, nor take internally.
Angelica Root – Angelica archangelica
Steam distilled roots and rhizomes. Dilute with carrier or facial cream and try on dull, congested skin. Used in a diffuser, it may be helpful for shortness of breath and smoker’s cough. Avoid with diabetes or pregnancy. Overuse may cause insomnia. Do not take internally, nor use with children.
Angelica Seed – Angelica archangelica
Steam distilled from the seed. A lighter scent than the root. May help with anxiety. Phototoxic. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally. Can irritate skin.
Anise – Pimpinella anisum
Try making a massage oil for muscle pain. May have some use with infected skin. Avoid in pregnancy. Never take internally. Avoid in cases of estrogen sensitive cancers.
Helps inflamed skin due to chamoazulene content. Anti-microbial. Do not use internally, with babies, nor if pregnant.
Balsam of Peru – Myroxylon pereira
This oil is enjoyed for its warm, sweet scent. It is a good fixative for blends. It is a known allergen on skin. Never take internally. Do not use if pregnant, nor on babies.
Basil – Ocimum basilicum
Sniff to increase mental clarity. May be good for oily skin, mosquito and wasp bites, hair growth, eczema, acne, shingles and herpes. Do not use with hormone sensitive cancers. Do not take internally.
Basil Holy – Ocimum sanctum
Said to be, anti spasmodic and anti-fungal. Often used for meditation in eastern tradition. Not safe for children or pregnant women. Avoid with hormone sensitive cancers. Do not take internally.
Bay Leaf – Pimenta racemosa
Myrtaceae family. From the West Indies. Original ingredient in Bay rum. Used as a hair tonic. Known as an analgesic and stimulant. Moderately toxic, so do not use internally, nor if pregnant. It is not a known dermal irritant, as is bay laurel.
Benzoin gum – Styrax benzoin
Relaxing, calming, warming. Can be soothing to cracked skin, but can be a skin allergen. Do not use if pregnant, nor with children. No internal use.
Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
Uplifting, balancing and may be good for anxiety, when diffused. Commonly used for acne, chicken pox and shingles. Phototoxic-do not wear in sunlight. May irritate sensitive skin.
Birch Sweet – Betula lenta
Steam distilled tree bark. Helps rid joints of uric acid. Analgesic for gout and arthritis. Fairly toxic. Can be absorbed into skin and cause poisoning. One of the less safe essential oils. Avoid in pregnancy, during lactation and with children. Never take internally.
Black Pepper – Piper nigrum
This respiratory stimulant warms overall chills and cold feet. Commonly used for muscular pain, arthritis, and neuralgia. Skin irritant. Large amounts may irritate kidneys. Do not use internally, or with babies. Keep out of eyes.
Buchu Leaf– Agathosma crenulata
Used mainly as a perfume ingredient. Some people love the scent and others- well- do not. Do not use internally, when pregnant nor with children.
Cabreuva – Myocarpus fastigiatus
Used mainly for healing skin- wounds, scars and cuts. It may also be useful for respiratory issues. Often used as a fixative in perfumery. Toxicology unknown.
Cade – Juniperus oxycedrus
Traditionally used on scalp for dandruff and hair loss. Can be irritating on skin for those with allergies and inflamed conditions. Strong, tar-like odor. Do not use internally, when pregnant, nor with children.
Cajeput – Melaleuca cajaputi
Similar uses to tea-tree, such as, insect bites, oily skin and radiation burns. In New Zealand it is used for respiratory ailments, such as, bronchitis, sore-throat and colds. Caution in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Camphor – Cinnamomum camphora
It is traditionally used for muscular pain, applied as a massage oil. Always dilute. Historically used for colds, flues, and fevers. Extremely toxic internally- also careful about the amount you use in baths, as it absorbs through skin and can be toxic. Never use with children, nor when pregnant.
Caraway – Carum carvi
It is sometimes recommended as a tissue regenerator for oily skin. It has historically been used as a digestive- rub into tummy (diluted) for colic, gas, spasms and to aid poor appetite. May irritate skin. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally.
Cardamom – Elletaria cardamomum
Eases coughs, congestion, chills and warms the body. Mix one drop into a spoon of honey and add to warm milk for nausea and gas. Otherwise avoid internal use.
Carnation Absolute – Dianthus caryophyllus
An absolute, made from the flowers. Used mainly for perfumery. May cause skin irritation. Do not take internally.
Carrot Seed – Daucus carota
Use in small amounts in skin creams. It is thought to have skin regenerating qualities. It may improve the tone and elasticity of skin. Very healing to many skin conditions. This oils smells very carroty, so careful when blending. Avoid in pregnancy.
Catnip – Nepeta cataria
The main use of this oil is as an insect repellent- just careful about what felines are attracted! Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not use on babies or infants.
Cedarwood Atlas – Cedrus atlantica
Thought by some to be good for soothing nervous tension. Used on mature, damaged, and oily skin May help with dermatitis, hair loss and cellulite. Reduces spider veins and scars. May irritate skin. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies. Do not use internally.
Cedar Himalayan – Cedrus deodora
In a massage blend this oil may aid inflammation caused from rheumatoid arthritis. May help relieve cough. Used in perfumes for men. Do not use internally, when pregnant, nor with children.
Cedar Red – Juniperus virginiana
Traditionally used for acne, dandruff, oily skin and hemorrhoids. May also be useful for bronchitis, sinusitis and arthritis. Can cause skin reactions. Avoid in pregnancy. Toxic if taken internally. Atlas Cedarwood is safer.
Cedarwood Texas – Juniperus ashei
Has been used to regulate oily skin and as an insect repellant. It seems to be a mild sedative for the nervous system. Aids meditation. Can irritate skin. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not use internally.
Celery Seed – Apium graveolens
Carminative and stimulating properties. Has been historically used for rheumatoid arthritis and cellulite. Do not take internally or use when pregnant.
Chamomile Mixta – Ormensis multicaulis
Try this oil for sensitive and dry skin, or eczema. This family of plants can cause allergies and asthma in some people. It may soothe the mind and decrease irritability. Avoid if pregnant.
Chamomile, German – Matricaria recutita
A high level of chamazulene gives this oil its distinctive blue color. Only a little is needed. It is very anti-inflammatory for skin and an analgesic. Often used for roseacea of the skin. Great for sore muscles, sprains and arthritis. Do not use when pregnant, nor with infants. Test for allergies – careful if you have a ragweed allergy.
Chamomile – Moroc. Blue, Wild Blue – Tanacetum annuum
Related to tansy, wormwood and mugwort. Used for its strong “blue” some say, “apple-like”, odor. Avoid in pregnancy and with infants. Contains toxic ketones. Use very little over short periods of time. Avoid in epilepsy. Do not take internally.
Chamomile, Roman – Chamamelum nobile
Soothing to the nervous system, provides a calming effect for many people. Beneficial for all skin types, especially, hyper- sensitive skin. My favorite for skin. Anti-inflammatory. It may help heal burns, dermatitis and eczema. It is anti- bacterial and helpful diluted with calendula carrier oil for diaper rash. It is used on skin for: puffiness and to strengthen and tighten tissue. Thought to be an analgesic. Try for insomnia, PMS symptoms and meditation. A must have in the home. Avoid in first trimester of pregnancy. People allergic to ragweed should be careful of allergic reaction.
Cilantro – Coriandrum sativum
Made by steam distilling the leaf of the coriander plant. Used in cough and cold remedies and for digestion. Careful if pregnant and do not take internally.
Cinnamon Bark – Cinnamon zeylanicum
More expensive than Cinnamon Leaf. May raise body temperature. Thought to have antifungal and anti bacterial properties. Stimulating to the mind. Very aggressive on skin. It smells as yummy as cinnamon spice. Do not use with high blood pressure, or in early stages of pregnancy. Do not take internally and do not use on skin. Keep out of your eyes and away from babies.
Cinnamon Leaf – Cinnamon zeylanicum
The leaf of cinnamon is from the same plant as the bark, but is a softer scented oil. Good for the same issues as the bark and also heed the same cautions, as it too is a skin irritant. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children and do not take internally.
Cistus/Labdanum – Cistus ladanifer
From the leaves of the rock rose. Mostly useful for skin issues, such as, mature skin that is, wrinkled. Also used for inflamed, irritated and acne afflicted skin. Good for meditation and nervousness. Thought to aid wound healing, regenerating when the healing is slow. Avoid with babies, children and when pregnant. Do not use internally.
Citronella – Cymbopogon nardus
Distilled from the grass. Useful as an insect repellent and deodorizer. Avoid use on sensitive or damaged skin. Avoid in pregnancy and do not take internally.
Clary Sage – Salvia sclarea
A very complex oil with around 250 constituents. For skin, it is thought to be a cellular regenerator and useful for- aging, oily, acne, inflamed skin and wrinkles. For mental states it has some anti-depressant, fluid and hormone regulating properties, making it useful for PMS and peri- menopausal symptoms. It is also calming and may be helpful for some migraines. Avoid with breast and ovarian cysts and hormone sensitive cancers. It may also exaggerate the effect of alcohol, so do not use when drinking. Avoid when pregnant and do not use internally.
Clove Bud and Leaf – Syzygium aromticum
Clove bud is distilled from the bud, and Clove leaf from the leaf. The leaf has weaker, but similar properties to the bud. Clove bud has been used in dentistry for tooth- aches and gum infections. It is useful for neuralgia.
Dilute if using on mouth, as it can be a dermal and mucous membrane irritant. Avoid in pregnancy and do not take internally.
Copaiba Balsam – Copaifera aromaticum
Most people find this oil to be soothing and relaxing. It is a good perfume fixative. Possible skin sensitivities. Do not take internally. Effect in pregnancy unknown.
Coriander – Coriandrum sativum
This is the seed, but from the same plant that cilantro (the leaf part) is from. Coriander smells very different than cilantro. It is used in India for muscular pains, digestive issues and nervous exhaustion. Avoid with estrogen sensitive cancers and pregnancy. No internal use.
Cubeb – Piper cubeba
From the dried berry. Traditionally used for dental issues, muscle pain including: leg, neck, cramps and tennis elbow. Avoid if pregnant. Do not use internally.
Cumin Black – Nigella cyminum
Historically used as a digestive to stimulate appetite. Aids hypothyroidism. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies and children. Phototoxic. May irritate skin. No internal use.
Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
Useful for draining water bogged and water retentive, skin conditions. Also for oily skin, cellulite, varicose veins, excessive perspiration, and acne. It is said to be anti-bacterial and astringent. It may be helpful in reducing spider veins and hemorrhoids. Cypress is used for muscle cramps, as an anti-spasmodic and for menopausal tension. It has traditionally been used to cleanse space and aid transitions such as death. Avoid in pregnancy, with children, high blood pressure and with hormone sensitive cancers. Do not take internally.
Dillweed – Anethum graveoloens
Steam distilled from the whole plant. Mostly used as a tummy rub to expel gas. Dilute well for this purpose. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not use with young children. Do not take internally. Can be irritating to skin.
Elemi – Canarium lozonicum
This oils is thought to be a cellular rejuvenator. It is cooling on skin. It is said to heal and close wounds. It has traditionally been used on aged skin, inflammation and wrinkles. Use for respiratory issues, such as an unproductive cough. Grounding mentally, encourages stillness. Used by ancient Egyptians for embalming. Avoid with babies, children and pregnant women. There may be some skin sensitivity toward this oil.
EUCALYPTUS- ALL OF THE EUCALYPTUS’ CAN BE FATAL IF SWALLOWED, EVEN IN SMALL AMOUNTS. DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY. KEEP SAFELY AWAY FROM BABIES, CHILDREN AND PETS. THEY MAY ALSO BE HAZARDOUS IF ABSORBED, SO DO NOT USE MORE THAN A FEW DROPS IN BATH WATER.
Eucalyptus globulus –
This is the most common and well loved eucalyptus. It is used for respiratory conditions including, sinusitis, bronchitis and lung infections. Use a little, diluted on the skin to relieve muscle aches and pains. Reduces bacteria up to 80% by spraying in the air. Fabulous for cleaning and disinfecting. Try a few drops in your laundry to disinfect. Do not apply near children’s nostrils.
Can be hazardous if taken internally or absorbed through skin. Do not use with children, or during pregnancy. Avoid with high blood pressure and epilepsy.
Eucalyptus Lemon or citriodora –
Thought to be useful for arthritic pains, shingles and staph infections. Deodorizing and you can clean with it. Due to the higher lemon like properties it is more emotionally soothing than other eucalyptus and repels insects. May be irritating to skin. Can be fatal if ingested or absorbed in higher concentrations. This eucalyptus may lower blood pressure. Do not use if pregnant, or with babies.
Eucalyptus dives – Eucalyptus Peppermint
When used in a diffuser, good for sinus infections and mucous. Dilute with vegetable oil and use as a rub for arthritis, muscle aches, colds and fevers.
Do not use with children, or during pregnancy. Can be hazardous if taken internally, or if too much is absorbed through skin.
Eucalyptus polybractea –
Try in a diffuser for coughs and lung congestion. Thought to be a good anti-viral for colds and flues. Do not use with children, or during pregnancy. Can be fatal if taken internally, or if too much is absorbed through skin.
Eucalyptus radiata –
Use in a diffuser to help dissolve excess mucous. May be useful for colds, flus and sinus. Very anti viral and anti bacterial. Do not use with children, or during pregnancy. Can be fatal if taken internally, or if too much is absorbed through skin.
Eucalyptus smithii –
According to the studies of Dr. Penoel this oil is an excellent immune protector. Good for excess mucous, muscle aches and to protect against flues and colds. Safer in very small amounts for children than other eucalyptus. May be fatal if taken internally. Avoid with babies.
Fennel (Sweet) – Foeniculum vulgare
Steam distilled from the seeds. For water bogged skin and corns. Helps neuromuscular spasms. As a tummy rub dilute with vegetable oil and rub in, for nausea and colic. Avoid in pregnancy, epilepsy, alcoholism and liver disease. Do not take internally. Possibly carcinogenic in large doses- be especially careful with estrogen sensitive cancers.
Fir Douglas – Pseudotsuga menziesii
Steam distilled from the needles. Useful for respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis and coughs. Use in a massage rub for muscle aches. Mentally grounding.
No formal testing for sensitivities. Avoid use on sensitive skin. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children. Do not take internally.
Fir Needle – Abies balsamea
Distilled from needles. This oil is antiseptic and commonly diluted and used as a rub for arthritis. In a diffuser it may be grounding for the nervous system.
Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy and with children.
Frankincense – Boswellia carterii
The gum of this tree is steam distilled. For those with hardy skin and no allergy to it, it may be used neat in some applications. Do a patch test on crux of your arm to determine sensitivity. This oil is anti infectious and may deepen breathing. Effective for skin- especially mature. Commonly used for dry, aging skin, including the neck, scars, wrinkles and stretch marks. Use in a diffuser for anxiety, meditation and dream state. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not use internally. Avoid with epilepsy.
Galangal – Kaempferia galanga
Steam distilled from the rhizomes. May be useful for skin infections and to induce perspiration. Avoid in pregnancy and do not take internally.
Galbanum – Ferula galbaniflua
Mainly useful for skin wounds and inflammations. Is thought to help heal scar tissue and tone mature skin. May also soften wrinkles, and be beneficial for ulcers and abscesses. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally. May be a skin irritant to some.
Gardenia – Gardenia jasminoides
A refined absolute made from the flowers and then refined. It has a very sweet scent and is used in perfumery. Do not use internally. May cause skin irritation.
Geranium – (Chinese) Pelargonium x asperum
Steam distilled from leaves. Helpful for many skin conditions. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies. Rose Geranium is even more desirable for many skin issues.
Geranium, Rose – Pelargonium graveolens
Distilled from the leaves. Excellent for many skin conditions: oily, acne, burns, dry or weepy eczema, itchy and inflamed skin. It is thought to be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti- infectious and antiseptic. Decreases congestion, accumulated fluids, and poor elimination of skin. It is a gentle but effective oil. Said to be a cellular regenerator. Balances oil secretion. Try for nervous tension, peri-menopause, and PMS. Avoid in early pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Ginger Root (Fresh) – Zingiber officinalis
Steam distilled from the rhizome. A well loved spice. Use in a massage blend for aching muscles and poor circulation. Helps to warm up cold bodies. Mind stimulating, but grounding. May irritate sensitive skin. Slightly phototoxic. Avoid in the first trimester of pregnancy and with babies.
Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica
Great for skin. It is thought to improve the synthesis of collagen, thus promoting tissue firmness. Helps repair wounds. Useful for some psoriasis, burns and varicose veins. Do not use when pregnant. Some skin sensitivity can result.
Grapefruit Pink and White – Citrus paradise
The oil is cold pressed from the peel. It is a natural air disinfectant. Helps with: oily skin, tones congested skin and lightens skin. May aid hair growth. May be an anti- depressive. May increase potency of other drugs. Do not use with cholesterol inhibiting drugs. May be irritating to skin. Older oil that oxidizes may become phototoxic, so do not use on skin before going in the sun, or under a light, such as when tanning- may result in skin burning.
Guaiacwood – Bulnesia sarmienti
This oil is from the gum extract. It has a woody, amber like scent, used in perfumery. It is irritating to skin. Risk in pregnancy is unknown. Do not take internally.
Gurjun Balsam – Diptercarpus jouordainii (Copaiba Wood)
Traditionally used for inflamed skin. Some may find it calming to their nervous system. Avoid in pregnancy, do not take internally.
Helichrysum italicum – also known as Immortelle
Steam distilled from the flowering heads. There is very low yield from this plant. May be useful for skin- burns, wounds, acne, couperose skin, frost burn and mature skin. May protect skin from ultra-violet rays. It is also thought to treat damaged and congested skin. Anti- inflammatory, anti-coagulant, which may prevents bruises. Also thought to be useful for headaches and detoxifying from nicotine. No formal testing on safety done. Possibility of skin irritation. Careful in pregnancy.
Ho Leaf – Cinnamomum camphora
Steam distilled from the leaf. This oil is like rosewood and is suggested to be balancing to all skin types. Because it is from a leaf, not wood it is a renewable resource. May be healing for wounds, sores, and muscular pains. Never take internally. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children.
Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalis
Steam distilled from the flowering tops and leaves. May relieve irritation from itching and flaking skin and bruises. May be effective against TB- Valnet, 1980. Historically used for colds, flues and sometimes anxiety. Avoid in pregnancy, with children, babies and elderly. Avoid with people prone to epilepsy, asthma and high blood pressure.
I to J
Jasmine – Jasminum officinale
Absolute- Solvent extracted. Gorgeous, seductive scent. May be useful on skin, but can be sensitizing. Sometimes used on skin that may be dry, greasy, stretch marks, dermatitis and in cases of intense itching (pruritis). Mentally euphoric, aphrodisiac. May cause allergic reaction with some. Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy.
Juniper Berry – Juniperus communis
Steam distilled from the berry.
All skin types may get some relief. Often used for psoriasis, stretch marks, weeping and infected eczema and cellulite. May be anti-inflammatory, good for stiff joints, as it expels uric acid. Said to be a powerful detoxifying agent. Steam with juniper for congested, oily skin with blackheads. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies. Do not take internally.
Juniper Leaf – Juniperus communis
Steam distilled from the branches. Use same cautions as Juniper Berry.
K to L
Labrador Tea – Ledum groendlandicum
Steam distilled aerial parts. The oil has been used for kidney disorders. Thought to be anti inflammatory especially for prostate enlargement. Some literature suggests that both over active and hypo thyroid may be helped. Do not take internally, or use when pregnant, nor with children. Over use of the oil may cause excess water loss.
Laurel Leaf – Sweet Bay Laurus nobilis
Steam distilled from the leaves of the Laurel.
Stimulating for hair and scalp. This tonic may help hair grow. Has been used for pain, sprains, muscle contractions, arthritis and rheumatism. Is thought to be a powerful analgesic and immune-stimulant. May be used with colds and flues. Avoid in pregnancy. May irritate the skin. Do not take internally.
Lavandin – Lavendula hybrida
Lavandin is Lavender crossed with Spike Lavender – It has similar effects, but more stimulating. Steam distilled from the flowers. Suited for muscular, respiratory and circulatory problems. Safe, but slightly more irritating than Lavendula officinalis. Do not use during pregnancy or take internally.
Lavender Spike – Lavendula spica
Steam distilled flowers. Good for burns, acne, fungal infections and wound healing.
Helps abscesses come to a head. Often used for flu, viral infections and head-ache. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Lavender – Lavandula officinalis angustifolia
Steam distilled from flowers. The most popular essential oil we know. This oil seems to be a cellular regenerator. All skin types may benefit. Some find it useful for: acne, dermatitis, dry and wet eczema, insect bites & stings, rashes, rosacea, sunburn, wounds, burns and blisters. It is thought to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti- infectious and regenerative. It may prevent scarring. It may also regulate puffy skin. Mentally it is used to calm and regulate the nervous system. It may balance sebum and have analgesic properties. It may also help balance blood pressure and teething pains. A sedative in low doses, but stimulating in high amounts. May cause dermatitis in some people. Avoid in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Lemon – Citrus limonum
Steam distilled from the peel. Good for blonde hair, as it lightens skin pigments. Used for: cellulite, acne, boils, corns, couperose and dry skin, thin hair and nails. Thought to balance sebum, strengthen epidermis function, tighten blood vessels, stimulate connective tissue. May also promote hair shine and increase its growth. Possibly stimulates the mind, clears thoughts and aids concentration. Can be phototoxic. Unsure if it interferes with cholesterol drugs like grapefruit. Do not use undiluted.
Lemongrass – Cymbopogon citratus
Steam distilled from the grass. A very under utilized oil. Good for oily skin, infections, and cellulite. Counters acne, athlete’s foot and enlarged pores. Thought to be a tissue toner and lymphatic detoxifier. It is said to aid in weak connective tissue and to tighten elastin weakness. Calming to the nervous system, sedative. Possible skin irritant. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Lemon Mint – Bergamot Mint Mentha citrata
Calming and uplifting. Often used to de-odorize closets, basements etc. Do not take internally. Do not use if pregnant, or with babies or young children.
Lemon Verbena –Lippia citriodora
Steam distilled from the freshly harvested leaves. The oil is said to be calming, uplifting and helpful for anxiety. It is antiseptic and good for acne and boils, but put directly on the spots not on surrounding tissue, as it may be irritating to skin. It may also be helpful for cold sores, although, not as potent as Melissa for this purpose.
Do not take internally, nor use at the beginning stages of pregnancy.
Lime – Citrus aurantifolia
Oil made from expressed peels. It is deodorizing and disinfects the air. Wonderful for the mind- anxiety and listlessness. Phototoxic. Do not take internally.
Linden Blossom – Tilia cordata
Absolute made from the flowers. Is used for nervousness and mild insomnia. (Laurie’s favorite scent). Wonderful in perfumery if you are looking for a sweet, innocent floral note. Do not take internally.
Litsea cubeba -May Chang
Steam distilled fruit. Thought to be calming and anti- inflammatory. Used in personal care products. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally
Mandarin – Citrus nobilis (same species as tangerine).
Cold pressed from peel. Thought to be useful for skin: oily, congested, combination, acne, scars, pimples, and stretch marks. May be toning, antiseptic-spasmodic and calming. Calms excitation, helps with mild insomnia and restlessness. Older oils may be phototoxic. May be a skin irritant.
Manuka – Leptospermum scoparium
Steam distilled leaves and end branches. Is used in Australia for fungus infections, ring worm, athlete’s foot. According to Dr. Penoeol it is effective against some staph and strep infections, muscle aches, and vaginitis. Do not use with babies or during pregnancy.
Marjoram – (Sweet) origanum marjorana
Steam distilled from the leaves. May inhibit some bacteria and fungus. May be effective for arthritic pain, stiffness, spasms and neuromuscular contractions. One of the most effective agents for relaxing muscle tension. Thought to be analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, neurotonic and sedative. Some people report relief of head-aches, especially migraines. Historically used for hypertension. It may be sedating. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Melissa – Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis
Steam distilled leaves and flowering tops. It is effective against Herpes Simplex- cold sores. If you apply during the itchy phase, before full eruption.
Reduces healing time, and lengthens time before another occurrence,(Lawrence 1989). It is also used on insect bites, especially bees and wasps. May lower blood pressure and ease palpitations. Is thought to decreases anxiety and PMS, as it may calm the central nervous system. May irritate sensitive skin. Avoid in cases of glaucoma. Do not take internally. Do not use if pregnant.
Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm.
Steam distilled flowering plant. Balancing for hair and skin, like rose geranium. Used on aged skin and for shingle pain. Balancing for nervous system. Avoid in pregnancy.
Mugwort – Artemesia vulgaris
Distilled whole plant. The only way we use it is, to put a drop on a dream pillow, to promote dreams. It is an oral toxin. Avoid with babies, children and pregnancy.
Myrrh – Commiphora myrrha
Distilled from the gum resin. Historically thought to be good for skin- aging, chapped, cracked, ulcerations, fungal infections, weeping eczema and wrinkles. It may be antiseptic, fungicidal and anti-inflammatory. It has been used for gum health and for hemorrhoids for centuries. Can be toxic in large doses. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies.
Myrtle – Myrtus communis
Steam distilled from branches and leaves. It is often used on devitalized, inflamed skin. It is historically used for respiratory problems, hay fever and allergic congestion. Thought to be helpful for mild insomnia and sedative. Do not use if pregnant. Do not use internally.
Narcissus – Narcissus poeticus
Absolute made from flowers. Used in perfumery, possible sedative. May cause skin irritation. Do not take internally.
Neroli – Citrus aurantium var. italicum
Steam distilled flowers. Thought to be good for most skin types, especially dry, aging skin, and spider or varicose veins, and broken blood vessels. It may improve elasticity. Said to have a dual effect on the CNS: it is calming and an anti- depressant, as well as a gentle tonic that combats fatigue and poor concentration. Occasionally causes skin reactions. Do not take if pregnant.
Niaouli – Melaleuca quinquenervia var. cineol
Steam distilled branches. Thought to be cosmetically beneficial for most skin types, especially infected skin, acne, insect bites, and both eczemas. Strongly disinfectant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and fungicidal. May stop itching and allergic reactions. It is sometimes used neat on athlete’s foot. It is thought to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, and may protect from deep radiation burns if used pre & post radiation (10% in rosehip oil). May be useful for after x-rays too. Good for colds, fevers and urinary tract infections. Avoid in pregnancy and with babies. Do not take internally.
Niaouli nerolidol – Melaleuca quinquenerva nerolididol
This oil is used in a diffuser for respiratory infections. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children. Not the best choice for women because of male hormonal effect. Do not take internally.
Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans
Steam distilled seeds. Used for almost everything in Grenada, from aiding with muscular pain, to head-ache, sprains strains and fatigue. The Grenadians say that it invigorates the mind and heightens dream state. The West Indian Nutmeg (Grenadian) is much safer than the East Indian variety. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Orange Bitter – Citrus amara
Cold pressed from peel. Cosmetic uses include: dull, dry, oily congested, acne, as well as wrinkly skin. May strengthen and soften skin. Said to stimulate nerve endings, aid in hydration, calm oil gland function, increase hydro lipid layer, and support regeneration. Diluted and made into a rub it may be helpful for sore muscles. Diffuse oils for colds and flu. May ease anxiety and insomnia. Phototoxic. High amounts may irritate skin. Avoid in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Orange Sweet – Citrus sinensis
Steam distilled or cold pressed peel. Similar to Bitter orange, but less helpful for sore bones and muscles. Sweet orange is a better environmental disinfectant. May be phototoxic and a skin irritant.
Oregano – Origanum vulgare
Steam distilled leaves. Anti-infectious, antiseptic, used for colds, flues and inflammation. Do not use internally. Avoid when pregnant. Irritates skin. May be toxic to the liver in high amounts.
Palma Rosa – Cymbopogon martinii
Steam distilled from the grass. Said to be good for acne, dermatitis, wet and dry eczema, dry skin, scars, and wrinkles- cellular regenerator. It may be a broad spectrum antimicrobial, antiseptic, with fungicidal action comparable to tea tree and niaouli; very gentle on the skin and hydrating (eases upper respiratory tract infections). Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Parsley Herb – Petroselinum sativum
Steam distilled from the leaves. Anti-microbial, antiseptic, stimulating. Gives a green note in men’s scent blends. Do not take internally. Do not take when pregnant. Can be irritating to skin.
Patchouli – Pogostemon cablin
Steam distilled from a resinoid made from partially fermented leaves. May be useful for acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, impetigo, inflammatory and allergic skin, seborrheic, dermatitis, spider, varicose or broken veins and weeping eczema. Used as an anti-microbial and insect repellant. Thought to be anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and astringent. In India it is historically used on: cracks, scars, wrinkles, wounds and chapped skin. An aphrodisiac to some. Sedative. Do not take internally, or use when pregnant.
Pepper Black – Piper nigrum
Distilled from the dry, ripe fruit. Warming mentally and physically. A small amount in a massage mix can help with indigestion and muscle aches. Analgesic and good for helping memory. Gives a pleasing top note to scent blends. May be very irritating to skin. So be careful- do not get in eyes. Do not use if pregnant, or take internally.
Pepper Green – Piper nigrum
This is from the same plant as black pepper. The fruit in this case is unripened and less mature. The same cautions apply.
Peppermint –Mentha piperiata var. vulgaris
Steam distilled from the flowering herb. Much research has been done on this plant, as it has been in the European culture for hundreds of years. It is used for shingles, acne, and dermatitis. Thought to be detoxifying. It may constrict capillaries, relieve itching, inflammation, soften and degrease skin, water retention in tissue and cool skin. Peppermint is also a decongestant and may stimulate the mind. Apply to bruises, with skin intact to take away pain. Thought to be useful for some head-aches, (those that are helped by cooling down). Avoid in pregnancy and lactation. Keep away from babies and infants. May cause reflex apnea or laryngospasm in babies. Contact dermatitis. Keep away from eyes and nostrils. Do not use on grafted tissue. Do not take internally.
Petitgrain – Citrus aurantium
Steam distilled leaves and branches. May be useful for acne. Also thought to aid perspiration, tissue regeneration and healing of scars. May help balance central nervous system. May irritate skin. Do not use if pregnant.
Pine – Needle – Pinus sylvestris
Steam distilled branches. Historically used for boils, cuts, sores and excessive perspiration. Is said to be good for grayish smoker’s skin. Seems to fight fatigue. Do not take internally. Do not use when pregnant, nor with children.
Q to R
Ravensare – Cinnamomum camphora
Steam distilled from leaves and branches. Thought to be immune enhancing. Used for sinus problems, respiratory and muscle pain. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally.
Rose Absolute – Rosa damascena
Extracted from the petals with an alcohol solvent. The scent is beautiful. Not as conducive for skin use as rose otto, due to the solvent extraction. Used mainly in perfumery.
Rose Otto – Rosa damascena
Steam distilled from the flowers. It may take about 70 whole flowers, (or more), to make one drop of the oil. Used for: dry, aging and sensitive skin, redness, rosacea, wrinkles, couperose, eczema and inflammations. Is said to be astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It may help clear small broken capillaries, regulate hormones, stimulate nervous system, and even increase sexual desires. Do not use in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Rose Spring & Rose Tea
These are hybrid roses from India. They are much loved for perfumery. Do not take internally and do not use when pregnant.
Rosemary – Rosemarinus officinalis
Steam distilled flowering tops and leaves. Historically used for acne, oily hair and dandruff. Promotes hair growth (to some degree). May increase blood pressure. May be stimulating for the mind. It is possible to experience allergic response on sensitive skin. Avoid with high blood pressure, pregnancy and epilepsy. Do not use with infants.
Rosemary – verbenone type Rosemarinus officinalis verbenon
Steam distilled flowering plants and leaves. Is historically used for mature, chronically dry aged skin, acne and oily skin, couperose or broken veins. May rejuvenate skin. Said to be good for the nervous system. Do not use during pregnancy or with babies. Do not use with high blood pressure, hyper- sensitive liver, or hormone dependent cancers. Can become toxic with heavy use.
Rosewood – Aniba roseodora
Steam distilled wood chips. Very balancing for skin- acne, eczema, dermatitis, scars, wrinkles, combination and sensitive skin. Gentle, non-toxic, non-irritating, cellular stimulant and possible tissue regenerator. Is said to relax and balance the mind. Ho leaf is chemically very similar and can be substituted. Do not use internally, or if pregnant.
Rosewood Jamaican – Amyris balsamifera
Steam distilled wood. May relax tension. Good for mixing blends- a fine fixative. Avoid in pregnancy with babies and children. Some skin allergies reported.
Sage – Salvia officinalis
Steam distilled from leaves. May regulate perspiration and aid lymph flow. Used by indigenous people to clear negative energy from a room. Avoid in pregnancy with babies and when nursing. Avoid when prone to epilepsy or seizures. Toxic internally even in small quantities.
Saint John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum
Steam distilled. Thought to be helpful for nerve pain and shingles. Do not use if pregnant, with children, nor internally.
Sandalwood – Santalum album
Steam distilled from wood chips. In India it is thought to be healing for all skin types- dry, acne, damaged skin, chapped, cracked and inflamed. Is said to be anti-septic, moisturizing and able to penetrate the subcutaneous layer, and can carry other oils there. It may increase capillary circulation. Apparently connective tissue and dermis are strengthened, as it may increase water retention of collagen. Balancing for the nervous system. Good fixative. Do not use when pregnant.
Spearmint – Mentha spicata
Steam distilled from the flowering tops. Very refreshing scent. Cooling to skin. May help with migraines and fatigue. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Spikenard – Nardastachys jatamansi
Steam distilled rhizomes. May have wound healing ability. Good for mature skin. May effect the parasympathetic system, and aid in insomnia and stress. Said to unite the male and female sides of the personality. No formal testing with babies and children- so avoid. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.
Spruce Black– Picea mariana
Steam distilled from the branches. May help fight colds and flu. Used for anxiety, stress and exhaustion. See Spruce Hemlock for more detail. Do not take internally, (toxic) or use with babies and children. Do not use if pregnant.
Spruce- Hemlock– Tsuga canadensis
Steam distilled from the needles and twigs. Spruce is thought to be anti-microbial and antiseptic. It is used for muscle pains and to aid breathing. It is disinfecting. Dilute to 10 % and rub into adrenal glands in the morning- Dr. Penoel says this may help regenerate them. Do not take internally, or use with babies and children, (toxic). Do not use if pregnant.
Tagetes –Tagetes minuta
Steam distilled flowering plant. Sometimes called French Marigold- but this is not Calendula. Do not use on sensitive skin. Useful for: corns, bunions, calluses and fungal infections. May cause skin reactions in hypersensitive people. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children. Fairly toxic. Never take internally.
Tangerine – Citrus reticula- see mandarin
Cold pressed from the peel. May smell slightly different than mandarin, but the properties are the same.
Tarragon – Artemesia dracunculus
Steam distilled aerial parts. May ease muscular spasms and be an immune strengthener. Toxic if taken internally. Possibly carcinogenic – avoid with estrogen sensitive cancers. Avoid if pregnant, breast feeding, with babies and children.
Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
Steam distilled from branches. May be good for abscesses, boils, burns, cold sores, dandruff, fungal infections, infected skin, impetigo, insect bites, warts and acne. Is said to be a wide spectrum antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, insect repellant, anti-fungal. May also help protect from radiation burns – afterward use rose and lavender. Possible skin irritant. Sensitizing in some people. Toxic in high quantities.
Thyme Linalool – Thymus vulgaris linalooliferum linalool
Steam distilled from leaves. In some cases good for psoriasis, acne, dry and weeping eczema. It may be a strong antiseptic, but still gentle and healing to skin. Broadly antimicrobial. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally
Thyme Red – Thymus vulgaris
Steam distilled from the leaves. Highly anti-microbial. Aggressive on skin. Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy.
Thuja Eastern – Thuja occidentalis
Steam distilled from leaves and branches. Said to be soothing to poison ivy. Put directly on viral warts to deter. Very toxic if taken internally. Convulsive. Never use when pregnant or around children. Use only with extreme caution.
Tumeric – Curcuma longa
Steam distilled rhizome. Thought to be an anti oxidant and anti- inflammatory. Do not use internally, when pregnant nor with children.
Turpentine – Pinus pinaster
Steam distilled pine wood. Toxic. Do not use internally. Do not use if pregnant. Do not use in high quantities in baths or skin, as it can also be toxic when absorbed.
U to V
Valerian – Valeriana officinalis
Steam distilled root. Historically used for muscle spasms and insomnia. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally. It can over power the scent of other oils and the smell is very persistent.
Vanilla Absolute – Vanilla planifolia
An absolute used mostly in perfumery. More concentrated than the oleoresin. Lends a soothing vanilla note to scent blends. Do not use internally. May be sensitizing to skin.
Vanilla Oleoresin – Vanilla planifolia
Used mostly for scent blends for the vanilla like scent. The oil does tend to separate. Do not use internally. Do not use if you are pregnant, or with babies.
Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanoides
Steam distilled from the root. Useful for mature, dry skin and wounds. It may be a cellular regenerator, works on atrophic or slack skin. Used as a base note in scent blends. Do not use when pregnant, with children, or internally. Rare dermatitis on some people.
Violet Leaf – Viola odorata
Steam distilled from the leaves. This oil is used in perfumery to produce a very green scent. It is very potent and concentrated. It does not smell at all like the violet flower. Do not take internally, nor use when pregnant, nor with children.
Wild Ginger – Asarum cadatum
Distilled from the root, which must be ground into a powder and soaked in water prior to distillation. It has a gingery/woody scent. If diluted and rubbed into the tummy it can help with cramps or digestive pain. According to Steven Foster it is antibacterial against gram- positive bacteria. Never use internally, nor if pregnant, nor with infants.
Wintergreen – Gaultheria procumbens
Analgesic. Used mainly for arthritis and rheumatism. The scent can be refreshing and is sometimes used in respiratory blends. Do not take internally, as it is toxic. Toxic if absorbed through skin. Do not use on babies, children or when pregnant.
X to Z
Yarrow – Achillea millefolium
Steam distilled from the aerial parts. The blue in yarrow is chamazluene and it is wonderful for the skin. It is useful for acne, burns, sunburn, inflammation, eczema, warts, varicose veins and scars. Balances oily skin and scalp and promotes hair growth and encourages perspiration. It is said to be anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-allergenic. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children.
Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata
Steam distilled from the flowers. Ylang1 and Ylang 3 are different pressings of the same oil. Ylang 1 is slightly superior in both smell and qualities, but both are very adequate. Used on dry, oily, combination, irritated skin, as well as, insect bites. Balances sebum. May relax the central nervous system. May bring down blood pressure. Do not use on inflamed skin. Excess may lead to headache. May cause a skin reaction in some. Do not use if pregnant, nor with children. No internal use.