A-Z Aromatherapy Glossary


Find below a detailed list of essential oils used in Aromatherapy, with their corresponding aroma uses and safety factors to concider during use.



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Name/Plant Family Aroma Use Safety Factors
Basil
(Ocimum basilicum)
Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Antiseptic
Antispasmodic
Headaches
Uplifting/refreshing
Digestion
Avoid during pregnancy
Benzoin
(Styrax benzoin)
Styracaceae
Inflamed skin
Good for Stress
Warming/relaxing
Respiratory
Circulation
Possible skin sensitisation
Bergamot
(Citrus bergamia)
Pinaceae
Anxiety
Depression
Nervous system
Immune system
Uplifting
Cooling
Can be phototoxic (if contains Bergapten which is a furocourmarin: a phototoxic ingredient)
Black pepper
(Piper nigrum)
Piperaceae<
Muscular aches and pains
Circulatory problems
Stimulating
Coughs and colds
Irritant – use in moderation. Not compatible with homeopathic treatments
Cedarwood Atlas
(Cedrus Atlantica)
Piaceae
Acne
Oily skin
Aches and pains
Stiffness
Reduces anxiety, tension and stress
Cystitis and urinary tract infections
Cellulite and oedema
Coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis
Avoid during pregnancy
Chamomile (German)
(Matricaria recutita)
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Allergies Inflammation
Skin conditions (calms)
Bruising
Insomnia
Stress
Relaxing
Causes dermatitis in some people
Chamomile (Roman)
Chamaemelum nobile)
Asteraceae
Same as German Chamomile Skin
Digestive system
Nervous system – sedative
Causes dermatitis in some people
Clary Sage
(Salvia sclarea)
Lamiaceae
Nervous tension Panic
Joints
Muscles
Relaxing
Narcotic: alcohol should not be drunk when using it. Avoid during pregnancy
Cypress
(Cupressus sempervirens)
Cupressaceae
Excessive perspiration Cellulite
Oedema
Poor circulation
Lymph
Haemorrhoids & varicose veins
Non-irritating
Eucalyptus
(Eucalyptus dives)
Myrtaceae
Skin conditions
Antifungal
Allergies
Respiratory system
Circulatory system
Hypertension
Insect repellent
Non-toxic, non irritant, non-sensitising.
However dilute well for use on people with sensitive skin. Not compatible with homeopathy.
Eucalyptus
(Eucalyptus globulus)
Myrtacaea
Headaches
Head clearing
Immune system
Respiratory
Sinusitis
Stimulating
Avoid use with babies and young children. Not compatible with homeopathy.
Eucalyptus
(Eucalyptus smithii)
Myrtaceae
Muscular system Aches and pains
Respiratory system
Expectorant
Decongestant
Nervous system
Stress
Immune system
Not compatible with homeopathy
Fennel (sweet)
(Foeniculum vulgaro)
Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Dull complexions Cellulite
Oedema
Constipation
Amenorrhea
Menopause
Carminative (eases stomach pains/wind)
Digestion
Non-irritant, non-toxic, narcotic in large doses.
Do not use in pregnancy or if epileptic. Never use bitter fennel on the skin.
Frankincense
(Boswellia sacra) Burseraceae
Mature skins
Asthma and bronchitis
Anxiety and nervous tension
Immune system
Sedative
Meditation
None known
Geranium
(Pelargonium graveolens)
Geraniaceae
Very good for circulatory problems and oedema Endocrine: PMT, menopause, helps adrenal glands
Nervous tension and stress-related conditions
Non-toxic Non-iritant Non-sensitising.
Possible dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals
Ginger
(Zingiber officinale)
Zingiberaceae
Muscular/joint Slightly phototoxic
Aches
Digestive
Grapefruit
(Citrus paradisi)
Rutaceae
Oedema/cellulite Depression
Nervous exhaustion
Refreshing
Uplifting
Non-toxic
Jasmine
(Jasmine grandiflorum)
Oleaceae
Nervous instability, depression
Hydrates
Labour pains
Non-toxic
May cause an allergic reaction
Juniper
(Juniperus communis)
Cupresaceae
Nervous exhaustion Stress-related conditions
Circulation
De-toxifying
Cellulite
Nephrotoxic-irritates kidneys Never use with history of kidney conditions Never use during pregnancy
Lavandin
(Lavandula x intermedia)
Lamiaceae (Labiateae)
Circulation, Muscular system, Respiratory system None known
Lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia)
Lamiaceae (Labiateae)
Very versatile, antibacterial and germicidal,skincare/burns, wounds, good for stress relief, relaxation, insomnia, circulation, immune system, refreshing and relaxing None known
Lavender Spike
(Lavandula latifolia)
Lamiaceae (Labiateae)
Nervous system, headaches, skin care, respiratory system, insect repellent Non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitising
Lemon
(Citrus limon)
Rutaceae
Acne Circulatory problems
Lowers blood pressure
Arthritis
Rheumatism
Colds, flu, etc
Immune system
Refreshing
Stimulating
May cause skin sensitisation or irritation; phototoxic
Lemongrass
(Cymbopogon citratus) Poaceae (Gramineae)
Acne Circulatory problems
Lowers blood pressure
Arthritis
Rheumatism
Colds, flu, etc
Immune system
Refreshing
Stimulating
Possible dermal irritation – use with care
Mandarin
(Citrus reticulate) Rutaceae
Anxiety Insomnia
Stomach upsets
Uplifting
Refreshing
Stretch marks
Oedema
Digestive
Possibly phototoxic
Marjoram
(Organum marjorana) Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Muscular aches and pains Headaches
Circulation
Relaxant
Helps insomnia
Stress
Avoid during pregnancy
Myrrh
(Commiphora myrrha) Burseracea
Anti-inflammatory Mature skin
Fungal infections
Athlete’s foot
Respiratory problems
Colds and flu
Cooling and toning
Not to be used during pregnancy. Toxic in high quantities
Neroli
(Citrus aurantium) Rutaceae
Stress relief Anxiety
Insomnia
Nervous system
Eases palpitations
Mature skins
Emotional upsets
Very relaxing
None known
Orange (bitter)
(Citrus sinensis) Rutaceae
Digestive system Circulatory/Lymphatic system
Nervous system
Stress
Uplifting
Oily, dull skin
Acne
May cause photosensitivity
Orange (sweet)
(Citrus sinensis) Rutaceae
Dull, oily skin Digestion
Nervous tension
Stress-related conditions
Refreshing
If distilled is phototoxic
Patchouli
(Pogostemon cablin) Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Insect repellent Nervous system
Scarred tissue
May cause phootoxicity. Use in low concentrations
Peppermint
(Mentha piperita) Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Indigestion Flatulence
Headaches
Cooling/refreshing
Cephalic
Nervous system
Immune system
Not compatible with homeopathy; possible sensitisation so use well-diluted
Petigrain
(Citrus aurantium var. amara) Rutaceae
Insomnia Nervous exhaustion
Stress-related conditions
Relieves indigestion
None known
Rose (cabbage)
(Rosa centifolia) Rosaceae
Dry skin Eczema
Mature/sensitive skin
Uterine disorders
Impotence
Irregular menstruation
Frigidity
PMT
Depression
Non-toxic Non-sensitising Non-irritant
Rose (damask)
(Rosa damascena) Rosaceae
Dry skin Eczema
Mature/sensitive skin
Uterine disorders
Impotence
Irregular menstruation
Frigidity
PMT
Depression
Non-toxic Non-sensitising Non-irritant
Rosemary
(Rosmarinus officinalis) Lamiaceae
Stimulates mind Congested skin
Muscle/joint aches
Headaches
Immune system
Stress-related disorders
Invigorating
Refreshing
Avoid during pregnancy Do not use on epileptics Contraindicated in cases of high blood pressure
Sandalwood
(Santalum album) Santalaceae
Skin ailments Throat and chest infections
Dry/sensitive skin
Stress
Depression
None known
Tea tree
(Melaleuca alternifolia) Myrtaceae

Any infections Coughs and colds
Thrush
Cystitis
Antiseptic
Antibacterial
First-aid kit in a bottle
Anxiety
Warming
Possible skin sensitisation
Thyme
Thymus vulgaris Laminaceae (Labiatae) Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Acne
Oily skin
Boils
Arthritis
Sports injuries and rheumatism
Stimulates blood flow
Hypertensive
Headaches
Stress
Nerve tonic and mental stimulant
Improves appetite
Eases flatulence
Stimulating
Tonic for system
Coughs, colds, catarrh
Bronchitis
Flu
Avoid use during pregnancy and on hypertensives
Possible sensitiser
Vetiver
(Vetivera zizanoides) Poaceae (Gramineae)
Nervous system Deeply relaxing
Calming
Good for stress
Palpitations
Hyperactivity
Anxiety
Hyperventilation
None known
Ylang Ylang
(Cananga odorata) Annonaceae
Stress reduction Hyperventilation
Anxiety
Mental relaxant
Calming
Antidepressant
Relaxing
Aphrodisiac
High blood pressure
Palpitations
Use in moderation Can cause headaches or nausea