Essential Oils A to Z: Properties, Benefits & Uses

essentials oils bottles
A is for Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes.

You can use essential oils for aromatherapy in massage by applying skin-safe essential oils, or by using essential oils in a diffuser to inhale the natural benefits.

Top Tip: Want to treat tired muscles? Add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil in your body lotion for a cooling effect

B is for Best Selling

Did you know the best selling essential oil is Lavender? With all its natural properties there’s no wondering why!

Lavender is a well known essential oil for a good night’s sleep. What you might not know is that Lavender is also a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant.

TOP TIP: Add a drop of lavender essential oil to your night cream for an easy way to use aromatherapy for sleep.

C is for Camphor

Camphor essential oil is one of the best essential oils to help clear sinuses and coughs.

Camphor oil is a common ingredient in pain relief medications and topical creams. Rather than expensive creams and rubs for muscle pain, make your own instead, using camphor essential oil diluted with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil).

D is for Distillation

Ever wondered how essential oils are extracted?

Most essential oils are extracted by steam distillation straight from their sources of leaves, roots or wood.

E is for Eucalyptus

The scent of eucalyptus might remind you of vapour rubs for coughs and colds. In addition to this, eucalyptus essential oil is also known to boost activity, vitality, and energy.

lush foliage of bush with water drops

TOP TIP: If you’re struggling with sniffles, a few drops of oil in a diffuser is said to kill germs and airborne bacteria.

F is for Fresh

I make my own fabric freshener with just 2 ingredients – white vinegar and Essential Oils!

I create a blend I like to call “Fresh Linen” using Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint and Tea-tree.

G is for Glass

Essential oils should only be stored in glass as they are powerful enough to break down plastic.

H is for Ho Wood

Ho Wood is a beautifully fragrant wood oil, said to have calming properties. It is therefore a good option when choosing an essential oil for relaxing or unwinding.

Ho Wood is the perfect essential oil for skin especially mature skin types due to anti-ageing properties.

TOP TIP: Give your skincare routine a boost by adding a drop of Ho Wood essential oil to your facial creams or serums.

I is for Inhale

The easiest way to use essential oils is to inhale directly from the bottle. You can also apply a drop to your palm, gently rub your palms together and create a bowl shape around your nose with your hands to inhale.

person putting finger on mist

Alternatively, you can use essential oils and diffuser.

A couple of drops is all you need in water to diffuse the fresh scent throughout your home.

J is for Jewellery

Inhaling essential oils on-the-go is easy with aromatherapy jewellery.

For example, I use an aromatherapy necklace to help with mental health, or for natural relief from headaches.

K is for Keep Bugs Away

With the warmer weather on its way, opening doors and windows for a fresh breeze may invite flies indoors.

You can use these essential oils to keep bugs away by using a diffuser or creating your own homemade bug spray.

To make your own natural bug spray you need:

440ml water
1 tsp Epsom Salts
25 drops of Peppermint essential oil
Spray bottle (ideally glass)

a fly perched on a plant
L is for Lemon

Lemon essential oil is the essential oil I use most in my home.

It has so many uses, from beauty to cleaning, but here are some of my favourites:

– Sticky stuff remover – Lemon essential oil can remove sticky messes and also easily remove labels from jars that you want to reuse.

– Freshen up your sink – pour 1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Leave for a few minutes to bubble away as it removes grease and grime. Pour a full (boiling) kettle of water down the drain to rinse the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar away. Follow with 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil to fill your kitchen with a lovely lemon-fresh scent that diffuses with the steam from the boiling water.

M is for May Chang

There are many proven benefits of May Chang essential oil, from using it to enhance the look of your skin, to allowing the citrus scent to help you feel uplifted.

So, if you’re looking for mental clarity and well-being or to treat acne, skin blemishes or oily skin, May Chang essential oil is for you.

TOP TIP: add a drop of May Change to your regular facial toner to help reduce excess oil in the skin and clear out dirt and grime.

N is for Naked Skin

Generally, most essential oils need to be diluted before applying directly to skin.

A carrier oil such as jojoba oil, coconut oil or avocado oil, coupled with a drop or two of your chosen essential oil can then be applied to skin.

TOP TIP: use your own skincare products such as lotions or even shampoos and conditioners as a carrier for essential oils.

aromatherapy beauty blur bottle
O is for Orange

Mandarin essential oil benefits your digestive system with its stimulating effect on both the stomach and the liver.

TOP TIP: Apply to your stomach area (diluted with a carrier oil) to relieve digestive problems such as fluid retention.

P is for Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil is good for headaches as well as other common ailments such as asthma, colic, fever, flatulence, nausea, chest congestion and vertigo. 

Additionally, Peppermint essential oil is good for skin as a natural way to treat sunburn, itchiness and inflamed skin.

TOP TIP: add a drop of peppermint essential oil to your after-sun lotion to heal sunburn.

sun drawing sunscreen on child s back photo
Q is for Q&A

We found frequently asked questions for using essential oils, so here’s the answers you’re looking for:

Are essential oils safe for dogs to smell?

We have a dog at home (our German Shepherd, Pippa) and use a range of essential oils at home. However, we haven’t directly applied essential oils to our dog, which can be dangerous. It’s best to check with a vet if you’re particularly worried which essential oils are safe for dogs.

Some essential oils that are poisonous for dogs include (but are not limited to): Cinnamon oil, Citrus oil, Pennyroyal oil, Peppermint oil, Pine oil, Sweet Birch oil, Tea-tree oil, Wintergreen oil, Ylang Ylang, Anise, Clove, Thyme, Juniper and Yarrow.

Are essential oils safe for cats?

Likewise, it’s best to check with your vet who will advise you which essential oils are safe for cats, and always do research before using them around pets.

There are some essential oils that are toxic to cats, including (but not limited to) Wintergreen oil, Peppermint oil, Pine oil, Eucalyptus oil, Clove oil, Tea-tree oil, Citrus oil, Ylang Ylang, Cinnamon oil, Lavender oil and Pennyroyal oil.

orange tabby cat beside fawn short coated puppy
Which essential oils are safe for pregnancy?

Before using any complementary therapy, consult your GP or midwife.

There are some essential oils safe for pregnancy that can help morning sickness and nausea, tired muscles or joints, and improve sleep.

Simply inhaling essentials oils such as Ginger, Peppermint, Lavender and Chamomile from the bottle can help morning sickness and pregnancy-related nausea.

Similarly, Lavender, Ginger, Chamomile and Ylang Ylang can help ease muscle aches. Use these oils, diluted with a carrier oil, by applying them to the affected area. You can also add a drop or two to a warm bath for a full aromatherapy experience.

If you’re struggling to sleep while pregnant, use an essential oil with sleep benefits (such as Lavender, Chamomile, Mandarin and Frankincense) and diffuser in your bedroom before bedtime.

Which essential oils go well together?
essential oils in vials
R is for Relaxation

Essential oils are an effective and natural way to instantly relax. For example, you can use essential oils for anxiety, choosing essential oil relaxing blends such as Lavender with Mandarin.

For on-the-go essential oils, you can create rollerball blends. Find an empty rollerball (or buy them cheaply) to pop in your bag and mix your chosen carrier oil with drops of essential oils for the moments you need them.

S is for Star Anise

Although aniseed is not everyone’s favourite scent, Star Anise essential oil is great for an upset stomach, as a natural diuretic and as a natural appetite suppressant that works.

TOP TIP: If you are looking for essential oils you can use in a nebulizer, Star Anise is great for a runny nose.

T is for Tea-Tree

Tea-Tree essential oil is a common household essential oil. I think there’s a bottle of Tea-Tree in almost every room of our house!

For the most part, Tea-Tree oil is used for itchy skin, rashes and bites. More recently, I used tea tree directly to a sore part between my toes and felt immediate relief.

U is for Uses

Here are some great essential oil uses:

Add a drop of essential oil to the centre tube in your toilet roll to create a naturally fresh scent throughout your bathroom

Apply 1-2 drops of your favourite essential oil to a cotton wool ball or piece of tissue and pop in the bottom of your bins to neutralise any bad odours.

Apply a few drops to woolen dryer balls before putting them into your tumble dryer, for a scent boost without dryer sheets.

V is for Versus

Essential oils vs Fragrance oils – what’s the difference between the two?

Fragrance is an umbrella term which can mean many different things, including natural fragrance, synthetic fragrance and perfume. It can be difficult to determine which fragrances are safe to use and inhale.

Essential oils have naturally-occurring properties which are hard to reproduce synthetically due to how essential oils are extracted from their source (see D is for Distillation).

two yellow sunflowers with clear glass bottle with cork lid
W is for Wintergreen

Wintergreen has a refreshing and minty aroma, which makes it a perfect essential oil for diffusers to create a relaxing and stress-free environment.

Freshen up feet with Wintergreen essential oil by adding to a foot lotion or body butter to help smelly feet.

TOP TIP: Add a drop of Wintergreen to a cotton wool ball and throw in your gym bag to keep your gym kit fresh.

NOTE: Wintergreen is an essential oil that must be diluted before applying to skin.

Y is for Ylang-Ylang

Last but not least (ignoring X and Z) is Ylang-Ylang essential oil.

I use Ylang-Ylang with Lavender essential oil in a hand cream for its refreshing and sweet scent.

Ylang-Ylang essential oil benefits include relaxation, massage, skincare, hair care, air freshening and use as an antiseptic.

TOP TIP: Add Ylang-Ylang to Coconut oil, then leave in the fridge to solidify before applying to cuts and grazes to naturally help heal wounds.

Ylang-Ylang essential oil is great for hair. Take two tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil and mix with five drops of Ylang-Ylang essential oil. Spread through your hair using your fingers or a comb to evenly coat each strand from the roots to the end. Allow this to sit for ten to twenty minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.

brown wooden hair comb on beige background

See Our Newest Posts

Be notified about new blog posts when they are released here:

Ready to make small steps towards an eco-friendly lifestyle? Let Between Green Subscription Boxes do the hard work so you don’t have to!

We send tried-and-tested sustainable products through your letterbox – it has never been easier to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and protect planet Earth.

Discover new eco-friendly products, reduce plastic, achieve a natural home and support small businesses in the UK with every box.

Check out our gifts, too!