ESSENTIAL OIL BENEFITS – basic list of essential oils and their benefits
One of the greatest treats in soap making is experimenting with
combinations of essential oils. Unlike fragrance oils, which are usually
chemically manufactured scents, essential oils are very potent. Each oil,
like the plants they are derived from, are different in their basic makeup
which is why there is such a difference in price among the oils. Essential
oils can begin (at wholesale pricing) from the neighborhood of $12 per
pound all the way up to $1300 per pound (and more).
Many people have asked whether the aromatherapy benefits
survive the soap making process. To my knowledge, as of this writing,
that research has not been done. Chemically, many of them most likely
do, to a degree.
I do believe the emotional benefits of the oils come through in
soap. Smelling them activates the olfactory system and can bring about a
shift in emotions. Mints have the ability to wake you up, Citrus oils are
cheering, Lavender seems to relax you, etc.
You will have to decide for yourself which oils you would like to
use according to their safety precautions. Using essential oils in soap is
definitely a manner of “diluting” an oil. Furthermore, the soap is rinsed
off in the bath or shower — unlike a massage where the essential oils are
rubbed into the skin via a carrier oil and left on the skin until the next
The essential oils listed below is meant for
information purposes regarding the way essential oils are currently being
used. If you have any concerns, feel free to consult a physician before
using a specific oil. It is probably always a good idea to listen to the
advice of the pregnancy precautions.
Anise – (pimpinella anisum)
Sweet, licorice like scent often used during the hunting season to mask
the human scent. Also applied to bait to attract fish. Cheering, euphoric,
energizing, sense enhancing, antibacterical, coughs, deodorant,
menopause. Parts used: seed pod. Dilute well before use. Do not use
Bergamot – (citrus bergamia)
Citrusy, fresh, woodsy scent. Cheering, concentration, aggression,
confidence, grief, nervous tension and stress. Said to help with the stress
of Parkinson’s Disease and PMS moodiness. Good for withdrawals. Parts
used: peel of fruit. Phototoxic. Do not expose applied area of skin to
direct sunlight or tanning bed for 24 hours.
Cedarwood – (cedrus atlantica)
Dry, sweet, woodsy balsamic scent. Balancing, grounding and
strengthening. Often used to promote self-control and to balance
spirituality. Possible uses: acne, dry hair, rheumatism, oily skin, immunity
booster. Parts used: wood. Avoid during pregnancy. May irritate extra
Cinnamon Leaf – (cinnamomum zeylancium)
Hot, spicy scent — richer in aroma than ground cinnamon. Invigorating,
refreshing, warming, aphrodisiac properties. Often used by those with
low blood pressure. Good for exhaustion & fatigue. Antifungal. Parts
used: leaf. Avoid if you have high blood pressure. Dilute well before use.
Citronella – (cymbopogon nardus)
Slightly fruity, fresh, lemony scent. An oil that is known to be refreshing,
stimulating, soothing & vitalizing. Most popular for being a powerful
insect repellent. Antiseptic properties, good when you have a cold. Parts
used: grass. Avoid during pregnancy.
Clary Sage – (salvia sclarea)
Earthy, herbaceous & slightly fruity scent. Known as the “woman’s oil.”
Good for use as an antidepressant, for PMS and Menopause. Also good
for fatigue, fear & stress. Is often used to help promote vivid dreaming.
Parts used: flowering tops, herb. Avoid with a history of breast or
ovarian cysts or estrogen-dependent cancer. Do not overuse while
Clove Bud – (eugenia caryophyllata)
Spicy, warming, rich but slightly bitter scent. Possible uses: memory loss,
stimulating, energizing, warming. Also known for use as an antiseptic, for
sprains, strains and is often used (in part) by dentists for toothache. Parts
used: flower buds. A possible mucous membrane irritant. Not to be used
by alcoholics, haemophiliacs or those with prostate cancer.
Eucalyptus – (eucalyptus globulus)
Clean, fresh, medicinal scent. A balancing, cooling & stimulating oil often
used with colds, coughs, muscular fatigue & sinusitis. Also helpful when
you have bronchitis, the flu or slight fever. Parts used: leaves & twigs.
Avoid with a history of epilepsy or if you have using homeopathic
remedies. Do NOT take internally — toxic.
Fir Needle – (Abies alba)
Woody, earthy, fresh scent. Known for stimulating circulation. Often
used for muscle pain, arthritis & rheumatism as well as elevating the
emotions and helping with stress. Parts used: leaves (needles), twigs.
Dilute well before use.
Frankincense – (Boswellia carterii)
Spicy, woody, fruity & fresh smell. For the mind, frankincense is often
used for anxiety, exhaustion and for focus. Reported to help with scars
and wrinkles. Has been used in history for blessing and consecration.
Parts used: resin. Avoid during pregnancy. Regarded as generally safe.
Geranium – (Pelargonium graveolens)
Floral but sweet smell with fruity undertones. Often used for nerves,
stress and for relaxed, intense focus (such as self-hypnosis). Has been
known to calm those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and Muscular
Dystrophy. Parts used: flowers, leaves, stalks. Avoid if a history of
estrogen-dependant cancer or hypoglycemia.
Ginger – (Zingiber officinale)
Smoky, spicy, woody scent. For the mind, used for memory loss and to
anchor the emotions. Good for nausea, motion sickness, aches & sprains
and the nausea associated with migraine headaches. Parts used: roots
(stems). May irritate extra-sensitive skin. Dilute well before use.
Jasmine Absolute – (Jasminum officinalis)
Exotic, floral, rich, sweet scent. Used often in the perfume industry. Has
relaxing, sedative properties and is said to be an aphrodisiac. Also good
as an antidepressant, for PMS & Menopause. Parts used: flowers Avoid
during pregnancy. Extended use has narcotic-like properties.
Juniper Berry – (juniperus communis)
Crisp, sweet & herbaceous with a fruity note. Often used for gout, jet lag
and hangovers as well as for memory loss, clearing the mind and
exhaustion. Said to have detoxifying and toning properties. Parts used:
berries Avoid during pregnancy. Avoid if a history of kidney disease or
high blood pressure.
Lavender – (lavandula officinalis)
Floral, fresh, light, herbaceous scent. Is said to bring about love and
peace. Good for insect bites, to calm the nerves, help with sleeping —
soothing & relaxing. Also good for burns, bruises, itching and headaches.
Parts used: flowering tops. Avoid during first trimester of pregnancy.
Lemon – (citrus limonum)
Rich, fresh smell similar to fresh lemon rinds. Used to uplift the spirits as
it is balancing, cheering and refreshing. Often used to reduce warts, for
fainting and hayfever. Good ingredient in cleaning and dish washing.
Parts used: peel of fruit. Phototoxic. Do not expose applied area of skin
to direct sunlight or tanning bed for 24 hours.
Lemon Eucalyptus – (eucalyptus citriodora)
Sweet, lemony smell with a woody note. Known to be calming and
purifying. Reported by the CDC to be a good, natural substitution for
DEET in combating mosquitoes. Contains some of the same properties
as regular eucalyptus. Parts used: leaves, twigs. Dilute before use.
Lemongrass – (cymbopogon citratus)
Fresh, lemony, grassy scent. For the mind, used for irritability, mental
fatigue, stress & nervous exhaustion. Often used as a mild insect
repellent, for light cases of athlete’s foot and reported to be good for
cellulite. Parts used: grass, leaves. Avoid during pregnancy or a history of
high blood pressure.
Lime – (citrus aurantifolia)
Green, fresh, citrusy, sweet scent. Stimulating, uplifting & cheering, lime
is know for helping raise the spirits and makes a good antidepressant.
Good for skin toning as an astringent and is said to help with dandruff.
Parts used: peel of fruit. Mildly phototoxic. Try to avoid direct exposure
to sunlight where lime has been used on the skin.
Palmarosa – (cymbopogon martini)
A floral, grassy, rose-like scent. Good for creativity, aggression & anxiety.
Said to work quite well for wrinkles, dermatitis, hair loss & PMS
symptoms. Associated with healing and love. Parts used: whole plant
Avoid with a history of high blood pressure.
Patchouli – (pogostemon cablin)
Rich, earthy, woody aroma. Known as a general aphrodisiac. Good for
relaxation as well as concentration. Said to be good for wrinkles, acne,
dandruff and athlete’s foot. Best known as the incense commonly used in
the 1960’s. Parts used: leaves Generally regarded as safe. Do not take
Peppermint – (mentha piperita)
Minty, strong peppermint candy smell. Cooling, refreshing, revitalizing
and stimulating. Is good for headaches, nausea & jet lag. Mixed in base
oils or lotions, is good for muscular aches and rheumatoid arthritis. Parts
used: whole plant Avoid during pregnancy or a history of high blood
pressure. Use in small amounts. Avoid contact with eyes.
Pink Grapefruit – (citrus paradisi)
Citrusy scent, similar to a grapefruit rind. A good uplifting oil — good
for concentration and to promote happy thoughts. Reported to be good
for migraines, hangovers, PMS symptoms & hair loss as well as being
antibacterial. Parts used: peel of fruit. Phototoxic. Avoid contact with the
sun or tanning beds after using oil on skin.
Rosemary – (rosmarinus officinalis)
Sweet, fresh, herb-like, medicinal scent. Good for grief and fatigue as
well as clearing out the mind. Often used as an antiviral, a decongestant
and for muscular aches. Also known as an immunity stimulant. Parts
used: leaves. Avoid during pregnancy or a history of high blood pressure
Rosewood – (aniba rosaeodora)
Sweet, woody and fruity with a floral scent. Good for mild cases of
depression and clearing out confusion. Often used for headaches, PMS,
scars, sensitive skin and stretch marks. Parts used: wood, twigs. Generally
regarded as safe. Do not take internally.
Sandalwood – (santalum album)
Woodsy, balsamic, deep perfume-like scent. Used to center the thoughts
and also used in meditation and as an aphrodisiac. Known for being used
for wrinkles, chapped skin, dry hair and dandruff. Parts used: wood. Do
not take internally.
Spearmint – (mentha spicata)
Fresh, minty, sweet smell — less potent than peppermint. Often used for
sniffing during times of morning sickness. Also good for stimulating and
reviving as well as asthma, headache and nausea. Parts used: leaves. Use
in small amounts. Large amounts may irritate mucous membranes.
Sweet Orange – (citrus sinensis)
Citrusy, sweet, strong scent like orange peels. Good antidepressant and
uplifting oil. Has been used for drug withdrawal symptoms, stress and for
its slight sedative properties. Often associated with joy, luck and money.
Parts used: peel of fruit. Avoid use in sun. May irritate sensitive skin if
not diluted properly.
Tangerine – (citrus reticulata)
Bright, deep citrusy smell like tangerine peels. Relaxing, cheering &
soothing. Astringent, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antidepressant. Parts
used: peel of fruit. Avoid use in sun. May irritate sensitive skin if not
Tea Tree – (melaleuca alternifolia)
An herbaceous, green, earthy scent — slightly medicinal. The scent has
cleansing and cooling properties. Has been used for centuries for burns,
bug bites, scrapes and cuts. Also good for athlete’s foot, blisters, boils
and sunburns. Parts used: leaves, twigs. Do not take internally. Can be
used neat (undiluted) in small amounts on many people. Test patch first.
Ylang-Ylang – (cananga odorata)
Floral, slightly fruity, delicate, perfume-like scent. Promotes euphoria,
relaxation and is often thought of as an aphrodisiac. Lowers blood
pressure. Good for its sedative properties and for shock. Parts used:
flowers. Avoid if a history of apnea or low blood pressure.