Essentials Oils Descriptions


Essential Oils are potent, so always use carefully. As a rule, do not apply onto skin without first diluting with vegetable oil. Do not get into eyes. Avoid any oils if you are allergic to the plant that they originate from. Use oils carefully to determine which, if any of the oils you react to. If you are epileptic or have asthma, note your reactions and avoid those that create a problem. Keep away from babies, children, and pets. Some oils can be fatal even in small amounts if taken internally. Avoid internal use. Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding, or consult an aromatherapist to see which ones you can use safely.

Scents of Wonder, Aromatherapy uses pure, full-strength essential oils.

This information is meant for educational purposes only and does not attempt to diagnose or treat. Aromatherapy is an evolving field, not everything is understood about how oils react with medicines and individual chemistry, so always be cautious and monitor your own reactions.

*Note the word infant, baby, children are all used as synonyms, rather than repeating all of them in each paragraph. People sometimes forget to also protect their pets, although they do not react in exactly the same way as people. They should not take the oils internally (and if they lick their coats, this would involve internal use). Use the oils like any powerful healing agent, sensibly and with respect.

Interested in becoming an aromatherapist? Take the Practical Potions, e-course, certification program. Start with a free demonstration, at Northern Star College.

Practical Potions Aromatherapy Program



Scents of Wonder Essential Oils – Descriptions


AjowanTrachyspermum 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.

AllspicePimenta 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.

AmberPinus 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.

AmbretteHibiscus 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 RootAngelica archangelica
Steam distilled roots and rhizomes. Dilute with a 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. A mild photosensitizer.

Angelica SeedAngelica 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.

AnisePimpinella 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.

Artemisia douglasiana
Helps inflamed skin due to chamazulene content. Anti-microbial. Do not use internally, with babies, or if pregnant.


Balsam of PeruMyroxylon pereira
This oil is enjoyed for its warm, sweet scent. It is a good fixative for blends. It is a known allergen on the skin. Never take internally. Do not use if pregnant, nor on babies.

BasilOcimum basilicum
Sniff to increase mental clarity. Maybe 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 HolyOcimum sanctum
Said to be, antispasmodic 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 LeafPimenta 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, or if pregnant. It is not a known dermal irritant, as is bay laurel.

Benzoin gumStyrax benzoin
Relaxing, calming, warming. Can be soothing for cracked skin, but can be a skin allergen. Do not use if pregnant, nor with children. No internal use.

BergamotCitrus 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 SweetBetula lenta
Steam distilled tree bark. Helps rid joints of uric acid. Analgesic for gout and arthritis. Fairly toxic. Can be absorbed into the skin and cause poisoning. One of the less safe essential oils. Avoid in pregnancy, during lactation, and with children. Never take internally.

Black PepperPiper 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 LeafAgathosma 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.


CabreuvaMyocarpus 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.

CadeJuniperus oxycedrus
Traditionally used on scalp for dandruff and hair loss. Can be irritating to the skin for those with allergies and inflamed conditions. Strong, tar-like odor. Do not use internally, when pregnant, nor with children.

CajeputMelaleuca 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, a sore throat, and colds. Caution in pregnancy. Do not take internally.

CamphorCinnamomum 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 the skin and can be toxic. Never use with children, nor when pregnant.

CarawayCarum 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. Mildly photosensitizing.

CardamomElletaria 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 AbsoluteDianthus caryophyllus
An absolute, made from the flowers. Used mainly for perfumery. May cause skin irritation. Do not take internally.

Carrot SeedDaucus carota
Use in small amounts in skin creams. It is thought to have skin regenerating qualities. It may improve the tone and elasticity of the skin. Very healing to many skin conditions. This oil smells very carroty, so careful when blending. Avoid in pregnancy.

CatnipNepeta cataria
The main use of this oil is 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 AtlasCedrus 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 HimalayanCedrus deodora
In a massage blend, this oil may aid inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. May help relieve a cough. Used in perfumes for men. Do not use internally, when pregnant, nor with children.

Cedar RedJuniperus 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 and while breastfeeding. Toxic if taken internally. Atlas Cedarwood is safer. Mildly photosensitizing.

Cedarwood TexasJuniperus 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 SeedApium graveolens
Carminative and stimulating properties. Has been historically used for rheumatoid arthritis and cellulite. Do not take internally or use when pregnant.

Chamomile MixtaOrmensis 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, GermanMatricaria 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 rosacea 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 BlueTanacetum 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, RomanChamamelum nobile
Soothing to the nervous system; provides a calming effect for many people. Beneficial for all skin types, especially, hypersensitive skin. My favorite for the skin. Anti-inflammatory. It may help heal burns, dermatitis, and eczema. It is antibacterial and helpful diluted with calendula carrier oil for diaper rash. It is used on the 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 the first trimester of pregnancy. People allergic to ragweed should be careful of allergic reaction.

CilantroCoriandrum 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 BarkCinnamon zeylanicum
More expensive than Cinnamon Leaf. May raise body temperature. Thought to have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Stimulating to the mind. Very aggressive on the skin. It smells as yummy as the spice you use for cooking. Do not use with high blood pressure or during pregnancy. Do not take internally and do not use on skin. Keep out of your eyes and away from babies. Mildly photosensitizing.

Cinnamon LeafCinnamon 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/LabdanumCistus 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.

CitronellaCymbopogon 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 SageSalvia sclarea
A very complex oil with around 250 constituents. For skin, it is thought to be a cellular regenerator and useful for- ageing, 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 perimenopausal 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 LeafSyzygium 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 toothaches and gum infections. It is useful for neuralgia.
Dilute if using on the mouth, as it can be a dermal and mucous membrane irritant. Avoid in pregnancy and do not take internally.

Copaiba BalsamCopaifera aromaticum
Most people find this oil to be soothing and relaxing. It is a good perfume fixative. Possible skin sensitivities. Do not take internally. The effect in pregnancy unknown.

CorianderCoriandrum 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.

CubebPiper 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 BlackNigella 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.

CypressCupressus 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 to aid transitions such as death. Avoid in pregnancy, with children, high blood pressure and with hormone-sensitive cancers. Do not take internally.


DillweedAnethum 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 the skin.


ElemiCanarium lozonicum
This oil is thought to be a cellular rejuvenator. It is cooling on the skin. It is said to heal and close wounds. It has traditionally been used for aged skin, inflammation, and wrinkles. Use for respiratory issues, such as an unproductive cough. Grounding mentally and 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 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 the skin. Do not use with children under the age of six, 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 its higher lemon like properties, it is more emotionally soothing than other eucalyptus and repels insects. May be irritating to the 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 the 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 the skin.

Eucalyptus radiata
Use in a diffuser to help dissolve excess mucous. Maybe useful for colds, flu, and sinus. Very anti viral and antibacterial. Do not use with children, or during pregnancy. Can be fatal if taken internally, or if too much is absorbed through the 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 the other eucalyptus types, according to Dr. Penoel. 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 DouglasPseudotsuga 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 NeedleAbies balsamea
Distilled from needles. This oil is antiseptic and commonly diluted and used as a rub for arthritis. Used in a diffuser, it may be grounding for the nervous system.
Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy and with children.

FrankincenseBoswellia 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 the 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, ageing 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.


GalangalKaempferia galanga
Steam distilled from the rhizomes. Maybe useful for skin infections and to induce perspiration. Avoid in pregnancy and do not take internally.

GalbanumFerula 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. Maybe a skin irritant to some.

GardeniaGardenia 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, RosePelargonium 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, antibacterial, 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, perimenopause, 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 KolaCentella 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 WhiteCitrus 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. Maybe an anti-depressive. May increase potency of other drugs. Do not use with cholesterol-inhibiting drugs. May be irritating to the 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.

GuaiacwoodBulnesia sarmienti
This oil is from the gum extract. It has a woody, amber-like scent, used in perfumery. It is irritating to the skin. The risk during is unknown. Do not take internally.

Gurjun BalsamDiptercarpus 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. Maybe 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 prevent bruises. Also thought to be used for headaches and detoxifying from nicotine. No formal testing on safety done. Possibility of skin irritation. Careful in pregnancy.

Ho LeafCinnamomum 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. Maybe healing for wounds, sores, and muscular pains. Never take internally. Avoid in pregnancy, with babies and children.

HyssopHyssopus 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

JasmineJasminum officinale
Absolute- Solvent extracted. Gorgeous, seductive scent. Maybe useful for 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 an 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. Maybe 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 LeafJuniperus communis
Steam distilled from the branches. Use same cautions as Juniper Berry.

K to L

Labrador TeaLedum 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 overactive and hypothyroid may be helped. Do not take internally, or use when pregnant, nor with children. Overuse 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.

LavandinLavendula 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 SpikeLavendula 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 headache. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.

LavenderLavandula 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.

LemonCitrus 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.

LemongrassCymbopogon 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 deodorize closets, basements etc. Do not take internally. Do not use if pregnant, or with babies or young children.

Lemon VerbenaLippia 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 the 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. It is a moderate photosensitizer.

LimeCitrus 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 BlossomTilia 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


MandarinCitrus nobilis (same species as tangerine).
Cold pressed from the peel. Thought to be useful for skin: oily, congested, combination, acne, scars, pimples, and stretch marks. Maybe toning, antiseptic-spasmodic and calming. Calms excitation, helps with mild insomnia and restlessness. Older oils may be phototoxic. May be a skin irritant.

ManukaLeptospermum scoparium
Steam distilled leaves and end branches. Is used in Australia for fungus infections, ringworm, 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 headaches, especially migraines. Historically used for hypertension. It may be sedating. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally.

Melissa – Lemon BalmMelissa officinalis
Steam distilled leaves and flowering tops. It is effective against Herpes Simplex- cold sores. If you apply during the itchy phase, before a full eruption.
Reduces healing time, and lengthens the 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 the nervous system. Avoid in pregnancy.

MugwortArtemesia 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.

MyrrhCommiphora myrrha
Distilled from the gum resin. Historically thought to be good for skin- ageing, 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.

MyrtleMyrtus 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.


NarcissusNarcissus poeticus
Absolute made from flowers. Used in perfumery, possible sedative. May cause skin irritation. Do not take internally.

NeroliCitrus aurantium var. italicum
Steam distilled flowers. Thought to be good for most skin types, especially dry, ageing 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 antidepressant, as well as a gentle tonic that combats fatigue and poor concentration. Occasionally causes skin reactions. Do not take if pregnant.

NiaouliMelaleuca 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, antiviral, antibacterial 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). Maybe 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 nerolidolMelaleuca 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.

NutmegMyristica fragrans
Steam distilled seeds. Used for almost everything in Grenada, from aiding with muscular pain, headaches, 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 BitterCitrus amara
Cold pressed from the 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 SweetCitrus 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. Maybe phototoxic and a skin irritant.

OreganoOriganum vulgare
Steam distilled leaves. Anti-infectious, antiseptic, used for colds, flues, and inflammation. Do not use internally. Avoid when pregnant and breastfeeding. 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 HerbPetroselinum 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 the skin.

PatchouliPogostemon cablin
Steam distilled from a resinoid made from partially fermented leaves. Maybe 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 antimicrobial 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 BlackPiper 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. Maybe very irritating to the skin. So be careful- do not get in eyes. Do not use if pregnant, or take internally.

Pepper GreenPiper 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 the 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 the pain. Thought to be useful for some headaches, (those that are helped by cooling down). Avoid in pregnancy and lactation. Keep away from babies and infants, at least up to the age of 6. 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.

PetitgrainCitrus aurantium
Steam distilled leaves and branches. Maybe 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 – NeedlePinus 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

RavensareCinnamomum 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 AbsoluteRosa 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, ageing 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, stimulates the 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. Maybe 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, hypersensitive 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 JamaicanAmyris balsamifera
Steam distilled wood. May relax tension. Good for mixing blends- a fine fixative. Avoid during 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 during pregnancy, with babies and when nursing. Avoid when prone to epilepsy or seizures. Toxic internally even in small quantities.

Saint John’s WortHypericum perforatum
Steam distilled. Thought to be helpful for nerve pain and shingles. Do not use if pregnant, with children, nor internally.

SandalwoodSantalum 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 antiseptic, 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 the 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 affect 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 BlackPicea 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- HemlockTsuga 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.

TangerineCitrus 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 muscle spasms and be an immune strengthener. Toxic if taken internally. Possibly carcinogenic – avoid with estrogen-sensitive cancers. Avoid if pregnant, breastfeeding, with babies and children.

Tea TreeMelaleuca alternifolia
Steam distilled from branches. Maybe 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 LinaloolThymus 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 the skin. Broadly antimicrobial. Avoid in pregnancy. Do not take internally

Thyme RedThymus vulgaris
Steam distilled from the leaves. Highly anti-microbial. Aggressive on the skin. Do not take internally. Avoid in pregnancy.

Thuja EasternThuja 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.

TumericCurcuma longa
Steam distilled rhizome. Thought to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Do not use internally, when pregnant nor with children.

TurpentinePinus 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

ValerianValeriana officinalis
Steam distilled root. Historically used for muscle spasms and insomnia. Avoid in pregnancy and with children. Do not take internally. It can overpower 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. Maybe sensitizing to skin.

Vanilla OleoresinVanilla 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 GingerAsarum 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, or if pregnant, nor with infants.

WintergreenGaultheria 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 the 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 chamazulene 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 YlangCananga 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 a headache. May cause a skin reaction in some. Do not use if pregnant, nor with children. No internal use.


References: Sheppard-Hanger The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual,
Martin Watt, Scents of Wonder- Robert Rogers
Northern Star College- Aromatherapy program

For descriptions of Scents of Wonder Blends please click here.