If you’re just getting started with aromatherapy and essential oils, it can be a bit confusing knowing which oils to buy first. Not only is there a huge variety of oils to choose from, but there can also be quite a variation in quality and price.
So, where do you start?
Firstly, it’s important to select a reputable supplier. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory body that evaluates and certifies the purity of essential oils and there are many companies that make false claims about their products. One tip is to look for companies that are members of the Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC). The ATC is the trade association for the specialist aromatherapy trade and represents manufacturers and suppliers of aromatherapy products as well as the interest of consumers in the United Kingdom. Their aim is to ensure that members are marketing safe, good quality products in a responsible manner, as well as supplying accurate information for consumers.
Choosing your oils
Specialist essential oil suppliers will typically sell well over 100 different types of oil – so the next question is which oils do you choose? Many essential oils share similar therapeutic properties and do similar jobs – so you certainly don’t need to buy them all.
An easy and affordable way to start is to buy an aromatherapy starter kit. These generally contain the most popular oils that provide a wide range of benefits for health and wellbeing. They also offer great value for money as they are much cheaper than buying the oils individually.
To help you make your selection we’ve listed 10 of the most popular and most useful oils to look out for:
- Tea Tree
- Roman Chamomile
Lavender: This is the most versatile of oils. It’s calming, soothing and has a balancing, antidepressant effect on the emotions. It can be helpful for insomnia and its analgesic properties are good for aches and pains including headaches. It is antiseptic and antibacterial making it useful for a range of skin problems including spots, burns, sunburn, allergies and insect bites. It is also useful for colds and flu.
Eucalyptus: Has strong antiviral, antiseptic and decongestant properties that make it excellent for coughs and colds and fighting infection. It is also good for muscular and rheumatic pain and is a useful insect repellent.
Rosemary: This is excellent for muscular aches and pains, coughs, colds, headaches and relieving fatigue. Its stimulating action helps improve the clarity of thought, focus, and memory and it can also be helpful for dandruff and hair loss.
Peppermint: This is widely used for settling a range of digestive problems including nausea, indigestion and tummy cramps. It is also excellent for headaches, fever, colds, flu, and other respiratory problems, and for relieving both mental and physical fatigue.
Lemon: Stimulates the body’s ability to fight infection. It is useful for colds, flu, fever, and fatigue and has an uplifting, antidepressant effect on the mood. Also useful for stopping bleeding in minor wounds, boosting the circulation and counteracting acidity in the body.
Tea Tree: Fights all types of infection and stimulates the immune system. It is commonly used for skincare problems such as acne, athlete’s foot, blisters, cuts, cold sores, and dandruff and can also be helpful for treating and preventing head lice.
Bergamot: Is known as nature’s Prozac and is one of the first choices for relieving anxiety, stress, and depression – having uplifting, yet relaxing qualities. It is also the first choice for treating urinary tract infections such as cystitis.
Roman Chamomile: Is one of the gentlest essential oils, making it particularly suitable for children. It is soothing and calming and particularly helpful for stress-related conditions, insomnia, and PMT. Also useful for aches and pains, headaches, period pain, sensitive, itchy, irritated or inflamed skin and allergies such as hay fever.
Frankincense: Helps to slow and deepen breathing which is useful for soothing anxiety, fear, nervous tension, and stress. It is beneficial for respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs, sore throats and chest infections. It is one of the best oils for rejuvenating mature skin and can also be useful for healing wounds and reducing the appearance of scars.
Geranium: Is a great balancer for hormones, mood, and skin. It is excellent for menstrual problems including PMT and menopause and is also good for anxiety, stress, and depression – helping to lift and balance the mood. It is one of the best oils for detoxifying the lymphatic system and for helping with cellulite. It also helps to balance sebum production in both oily and dry skin.
Please note that essential oils are extremely powerful substances and should be used with care. Always read the safety notes and contraindications for each oil prior to use and never apply undiluted to the skin.