What are the most common essential oils and what are they commonly used for?

This is not an exhaustive list of all essential oils but includes the main uses. For more specific information consult an aromatherapist or a good aromatherapy reference. See recommended reading at the bottom of this page.


The below descriptions include the common name, the Latin name and common uses. The letter after the Latin name indicates when the oil should not be used. Click here to see the key.


Basil Basilicum ocimum     P, SE

Muscular aches and pains, sinusitis, bronchitis, concentration, anxiety, fatigue

Bergamot Citrus bergamia   S, UV

Acne, cold sores, cystitis, anxiety, depression, stress, digestive problems

Black pepper Piper nigrum S, K

Muscular aches and pains, arthritis, digestive problems, fatigue, mental stimulant

Cajeput Melaleuca cajeputi P, C, S

Respiratory problems, sinusitis, colds and flu, muscular aches and pains, mental stimulant

Cedarwood Cedrus atlanticus  P, S

Respiratory problems, colds, sinusitis, arthritis, acne, stress, anger, anxiety, nervous tension, dandruff, lymphatic system stimulant, cystitis

Chamomile roman Chamaemelum nobile

Skin inflammations, eczema, sunburn, insect bites, arthritis, rheumatism, insomnia, irritability, depression, stress, menstrual problems, digestive problems

Clary sage Salvia sclarea   P, E, C, LBP, M

Menstrual problems, labour, stress, nervous tension, depression, oily skin

Cypress Cupressus sempervirens  P, HBP

Haemorrhoids, varicose veins, sore throat, coughs, anger, grief, cellulite, poor circulation

Eucalyptus Eucalytptus globulus/radiata HBP, EP

Colds, flu, respiratory problems, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, acne, mosquito repellent

Sweet fennel Foeniculum vulgare v.dulce P, C, E

Digestive problems, lymphatic stimulant, cellulite, fluid retention, menstrual problems

Fragonia Agonis fragrans

Emotional blockages, peace and harmony inducing, muscular aches and pains, bronchitis, sinusitis, colds and flus, antibacterial, fungal infections, immune stimulant, stress, calming, menstrual pain, focusing, grounding, balancing

Frankincense Boswellia carteri

Anxiety, nervous tension, stress, respiratory problems, asthma, dry skin, scars, relaxant

Geranium Pelargonium graveleons P

Menstrual problems, PMS, skincare, wounds, poor circulation, cellulite, stress, anxiety, depression

Ginger Zingiber officinale S, UV

Respiratory problems, sinusitis, muscular aches and pains, digestive problems, nausea, mental stimulant

Grapefruit Citrus paradisi UV, C

Cellulite, poor circulation, fluid retention, stress, depression, oily skin, scalp tonic, uplifting

Jasmine Jasmineum officinale P

Deepens breathing, laryngitis, muscular aches and pains, muscular spasm, uterotonic, labour, PMS, stimulates milk production, fear, anxiety, depression, negativity, self-confidence, stress, anxiety, postnatal depression, peace

Juniper berry Juniperus communis P, K, B

Muscular aches and pains, fluid retention, varicose veins, poor circulation, haemorrhoids, stress

Lavender Lavandula officinalis

Respiratory problems, sinusitis, skin inflammations, fungal infections, muscular aches and pains, stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, menstrual problems, headaches, migraines, relaxant, wounds, burns

Lemon Citrus limon UV

Colds and flu, sinusitis, concentration, poor circulation, anxiety

Lemongrass Cymbopogon flexosus P,S

Fungal infections, bruises, concentration, stress, stimulates immune system

Lime Citrus aurantifolia UV

Oily skin, nails, cellulite, sore throat, stress, anxiety

Mandarin Citrus reticulata UV

Stress, oily skin, stretch marks, nervous tension

Marjoram sweet Origanum majorana P, LBP, AS

Insomnia, nervous tension, stress, grief, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, respiratory problems, digestive problems, relaxant

May Chang Litsea cubeba SE

Fungal infections, insect repellant, arthritis, rheumatism, anxiety, nervous depression, mental stimulant

Myrrh Commiphora myrrha P

Haemorrhoids, bed sores, wounds, gum disease, fungal infections, coughs, sore throats, calming, meditation

Myrtle Myrtus communis

Respiratory problems, acne, oily skin, immune booster, cystitis, anger, calming, insomnia

Neroli Citrus aurantium

Stress, anxiety, depression, skincare, insomnia, relaxant

Niaouli Melaleuca quinquenervia P

Respiratory problems, sinusitis, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, wounds, mental stimulant

Orange Citrus sinensis UV

Digestive problems, depression, stress, anxiety, vertigo

Patchouli Pogostemom patchouli

Skincare, wounds, skin inflammations, fungal infections, depression, stress, anxiety, relaxant

Peppermint Mentha piperita P, E, S, SE, H

Bronchitis, sinusitis, menstrual pains, mental stimulant, muscular aches and pains, arthritis, rheumatism, digestive problems, headaches, migraines, itchy skin

Petitgrain Citrus aurantium

Stress, anxiety, respiratory infections, insomnia, skincare, digestive problems

Pine Pinus sylvestris

Excessive perspiration, wounds, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throats, laryngitis, muscular aches & pains, arthritis, rheumatism, water retention, poor circulation, immune stimulant, colds & flu, stress, cleansing, healing, self-esteem

Ravensara Ravensara aromatica SE

Respiratory infections, colds & flu, immune stimulant, shingles, herpes, viral ailments, stress

Rosalina Melaleuca ericifolia

Children’s ear, nose & throat infections, respiratory infections, sinus infections, colds, grounding, acne, boils, calming, relaxing, centering

Rose Rose otto P

Menstrual problems, bronchitis, menopause problems, skincare, stress, depression, fear, anxiety, anger, irritability, panic, birth & labour

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis EP, HBP, P

Cold, flu, respiratory problems, sinusitis, concentration, fatigue, muscular aches and pains, dandruff, mental stimulant, scalp stimulant

Spearmint Menthe spicata P, H

Colds, flu, sinusitis, digestive problems, mental stimulant, stress, headaches, depression

Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia SE

Acne, skin infections, colds & flu, respiratory problems, sinusitis, cystitis, cold sores, fungal infections, skin infections, immune stimulant

Thyme Thymus vulgaris (be aware of the type as some are very harsh-the linalool cineotype ismore gentle) use in low doses and do not   use in baths. SE, S, P, HBP, C

Immune stimulant, muscular aches and pains, mental stimulant, colds & flu, respiratory problems, circulation problems, scalp stimulant

Vetiver Vetiveria zizanoides

Stress, anxiety, depression, post-partum depression, shock, insomnia, arthritis, rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, wounds, immune stimulant, PMS, relaxant

Ylang ylang Cananga odorata LBP

Stress, anxiety, anger, panic, irritability, depression, insomnia, skincare, hair care, relaxant


The following letters denote the conditions with which a particular oil should not be used.

AS- asthma

B- bladder infections

C-cancers, cysts

E- endometriosis

EP- epilepsy

H- avoid use with homeopathic remedies

HBP- avoid with high blood pressure

K- avoid use with kidney infections/problems

LBP- avoid with low blood pressure

M- avoid with heavy menstruation

P- avoid during pregnancy. Click here to see pregnancy page.

S- large doses may cause skin irritation

SE- avoid use with sensitive skin

UV- do not apply to skin 12 hours before being exposed to sunlight (unless it is bergamot FCF from which the coumarins have been removed and therefore is not phototoxic)

For use with children, click here to see the aromatherapy for babies and children page.