Essential oils are a staple of any home apothecary. They’re versatile in their uses, and most essential oils are pretty easy to find and purchase. But there are literally hundreds of essential oils out there; so which ones are the best to keep on hand in the home apothecary?
We’ll be breaking that question down into the top 3 essential oils to keep on hand, as well as some of the applications behind them. These 3 essential oils have proven their versatility in uses for aromatherapy, healing recipes, and more.
Lavender Essential Oil
This list wouldn’t be a complete list without including one of the most popular essential oils out there: lavender (Lavendula augustifolia). There’s a reason for lavender’s popularity status–and it’s found in its range of uses. Lavender oil can be used for aromatherapy, cleaning house, in medicinal recipes, and it’s gentle enough to apply topically, either by itself or diluted in a carrier oil like almond or grapeseed oil. Some organic and food-grade lavender oils can be ingested and used in supplements.
In aromatherapy, lavender essential oil works by releasing its scent which promotes relaxation, eases anxiety, and freshens your space. Research has shown that when lavender scent is inhaled, behavior related to anxiety, depression, and aggression is significantly inhibited. (1) Furthermore, this research found that when lavender oil is inhaled, the effects of the chemical constituents of linalool and linalyl acetate had a calming and mild sedative effect. The same goes for our homes.
The research doesn’t lie: lavender essential oil has also been found to have major benefits when applied to the skin. It’s one of the gentlest oils, making it absolutely okay to apply undiluted to the skin. The constituents within lavender are quickly absorbed into the skin, making this essential oil a staple for skin conditions like rash, eczema, bug bites and stings, dry skin and dandruff, and even some skin infections.
Orally, lavender has a long history of fighting viral infections, easing stomach upsets, and inducing effects similar to taking an antidepressant..
Pure, food-grade lavender essential oil is safe to drop a little in your water, but for taste, I’d stick with dried lavender for tea! (Always discuss with a licensed practitioner about medicinal essential oils before ingesting).
Use lavender essential oil for bath and beauty too! It makes a great addition to coconut oil for a hair mask, aiding in cleansing the scalp and clearing up dandruff and dryness. Use lavender essential oil in baths, salts, lotions, and balms for dry skin. Lavender oil is also a great base for roll-on perfumes!
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is another one of the popular essential oils, and like lavender, it’s considered an apothecary necessity! From aromatherapy for respiratory support to organic pest control, peppermint essential oil offers a consistent stream of medicinal and naturally clean benefits.
Use peppermint in your diffuser for its aromatherapy effects. Peppermint is refreshing and stimulating, whereas lavender is calming and relaxitive. Though peppermint does have antidepressant and antianxiety benefits in common with lavender aroma.
Peppermint essential oil can also be used topically diluted in a carrier oil to help invigorate the skin, ease inflammation from bug bites and stings, and research has also shown that when applied topically, peppermint oil helps ease tension headaches. Because of this benefit, peppermint essential oil has become a means to relieve headaches and migraines. Try making a headache salve with peppermint–a natural headache reliever!
Peppermint oil has also been shown to help treat IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome] when ingested in gel capsules. (2) I do not recommend ingesting peppermint essential oil as is, without first discussing it with your doctor; there are capsules made specifically for this purpose, and the essential oil used with most of these is 100% food-grade, while some of your common essential oil brands might not be 100% food-grade.
Use peppermint essential oil in a distilled vinegar cleaning spray and spritz around your home’s inside perimeter to deter ants, roaches, and other unwanted critters.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil
Tea Tree (Melaleuca Sp) is probably one of the most versatile essential oils there is. I don’t know what I’d do without tea tree oil!
But…let’s first get to know tea tree’s aromatherapeutic benefits. Tea tree is a cleansing and detoxifying oil. It can be used in a diffuser or in a bath to ease respiratory upset, cough, mild bronchial and pulmonary illness. (3)
Applied topically, tea tree seems to offer the most benefit. Most skin infections like acne, fungus (athlete’s foot, ringworm), and eczema can be treated with tea tree, used in an appropriate dilution rate. Nail fungus, bug bites and stings are also among treatable ailments with tea tree essential oil. Head lice, mites, and scabies are among the pests that can be prevented, treated and cleansed away using tea tree.
In cleaning applications I tend to use my tea tree essential oil in laundry, dish soap, and shampoo. You can also use tea tree for your pets. Tea tree in laundry: add 15-20 drops tea tree essential oil to detergent, depending on load size. In dish soap (like plain old Dawn): 10 drops to soap container–again, the amount of drops dependent on amount of soap. In shampoo: usually the same as in dish soap, about 7-10 drops to a full bottle of shampoo (10-12 fl oz). Use the Apothecary’s tea tree flea bath recipe for cats to treat and prevent fleas and ticks and freshen your kitty’s coat.
What essential oils do you always keep on hand?
As you can see, even with just 3 essential oils you can find many different uses. Not only that, but these 3 essential oils make a great foundation to your essential oil collection, as well as offer amazing health benefits when used as-is or in your apothecary recipes and remedies. Which essential oils did/will you start with? Which are your favorites?
(1) “Lavender and the Nervous System” research through https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
(2) “Peppermint Oil” research & data through https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil
(3) “Tea Tree Oil: Benefits & Uses” information provided by https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262944.php