By Scott J. Banks, Joe Kraynak, J. J. Virgin

Aromatherapy is the practice of using aromatic essential oils extracted from plants to improve mental and physical health. The table highlights the most commonly used essential oils and lists the ailments that each is most often used to treat.

Don’t take essential oils internally. Essential oils are commonly combined with salts to be used in baths, mixed with a carrier oil to be used in massage or applied topically, or used with a diffuser to spread the aroma throughout a room.

Essential Oil Used For
Allspice berry Arthritis, bronchitis, cough, depression, exhaustion,
indigestion, muscle cramps, muscle tone, nausea, rheumatism,
stiffness, stomach cramps
Also used as an aphrodisiac
Amyris Anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress
Also used as an antiseptic, sedative, and fixative (for stabilizing
oil mixtures)
Anise Bronchitis, cold, cough, colic, flu, indigestion, rheumatism,
stomach cramps
Atlas cedar Acne, arthritis, bronchitis, cough, cystitis, dandruff,
dermatitis, stress
Basil Bronchitis, cold, cough, depression, infection, insect bites,
muscle fatigue
Also used as an insect repellant
Bay Circulation issues, dandruff, hair care, neuralgia, oily skin,
sprains and strains
Bergamot Acne, bad breath, depression, eczema, fever, infection,
tension
Note: Increases sensitivity to sunlight
Black pepper Arthritis, circulatory problems, heartburn, indigestion,
infections, loss of appetite, nausea
Camphor Acne, arthritis, bronchitis, cold, cough, fever, flu,
inflammation, muscle aches and pains, nervous depression,
rheumatism, sprains and strains
Cardamom Colic, flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, impotence,
low sexual response
Also used as a laxative and expectorant
Carrot seed Arthritis, bronchitis, cold, edema, flu, gout, rheumatism, and
skin conditions, including dermatitis, eczema, and rashes
Also used as a detox agent for liver and digestive system and to
strengthen mucus membranes in the nose, throat, and lungs
Cassia bark Cold, diabetes, diarrhea, gas, infection, nausea
Note: May be very irritating to the skin
Chamomile Abscesses, allergies, arthritis, boils, colic, cuts, cystitis,
dermatitis, earache, flatulence, headache, insect bites, insomnia,
nausea, neuralgia, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rashes, rheumatism,
skin irritations, sprains and strains, stress, teething, wound
care
Also used as an anti‐allergenic, antiseptic, sedative, and
digestive tonic
Cinnamon Anxiety, bladder infections, cardiovascular health, circulation
problems, cold, depression, diarrhea, flu, gas, indigestion,
infections, low libido
Also used as an antioxidant and to support the immune system and
metabolism
Citronella Cold, flu, minor infections
Used most frequently as an insect repellant
Clary sage Cramps, dandruff, depression, hot flashes, infection, menstrual
problems, oily hair or skin, painful periods, stress
Clove Acne, arthritis, asthma, bad breath, bronchitis, bruises,
burns, cuts, diarrhea, exhaustion, flatulence, respiratory
conditions, toothache, tuberculosis, ulcers, vomiting
Coriander Arthritis, cold, digestive problems, fatigue, flu, low blood
glucose, nausea, muscle spasms, rheumatism, stomach cramps
Cypress Arthritis, bronchitis, circulation issues, hemorrhoids,
menopause symptoms, insect bites, oily skin, relaxation,
rheumatism, varicose veins, water retention, wound care
Also used as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic agent,
and as an astringent, deodorant, and diuretic
Eucalyptus Bruises, burns, colds, concentration, fever, headache, wound
care
Also used as a disinfectant
Fennel Aging skin, water retention, indigestion, lymphatic system
Frankincense Anxiety, blemishes, dry skin, ganglion cyst, wound care
Also used as an anti‐aging agent
Geranium Bruises, burns, diarrhea, insect bites
Ginger Constipation, cramps, indigestion, motion sickness, muscle
aches, nausea, sore throat, toothache, vomiting
Grapefruit Cold, detoxification, stiffness, stress, water retention
Helichrysum Burns, bruises, colds, lethargy, scars, stretch marks, sunburn,
wound care
Hyssop Anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, nasal congestion, cold,
cough, low blood pressure, fatigue, flu, respiratory conditions,
sore throat, tonsillitis, viral infections, water retention
Jasmine Depression; sexual issues, including impotence, premature
ejaculation, and low libido; respiratory issues, including cough,
hoarseness, and laryngitis; skin issues, including dry, greasy,
irritated skin, stretch marks, and scars; muscle pain, sprains, and
strains
Also used to induce labor
Juniper berry Acne, anxiety, arthritis, cellulite, cystitis, dandruff,
eczema, gout, kidney stones, menstrual cycle regulation, mental
exhaustion, obesity, painful periods, psoriasis, rheumatism
Lavandin Muscle stiffness, aches, and pains; respiratory issues,
including cold, cough, and flu
Lavender Abscesses, acne, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, boils, bronchitis,
bruises, burns, cold, colic, flatulence, headache, insect bites and
stings, insomnia, laryngitis, lice, migraines, nausea, oily skin,
psoriasis, rheumatism, sunburn, vomiting, whooping cough, wound
care
Also used as an antibacterial agent and antiseptic and as an insect
repellent
Lemon Arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cellulite, circulatory
conditions, constipation, flu, high blood pressure, nose bleeds,
oily skin, rheumatism
Also used as an astringent, diuretic, and laxative
Lemon eucalyptus Insect repellant
Lemongrass Digestive disorders, dry skin, excessive sweat, hair care,
headache, jet lag, stress
Lemon verbena Digestive disorders, cramps, indigestion, liver detox,
stress
Lime Boils, cold, corns, cramps, cuts, fever, nosebleed, oily skin,
warts
Marjoram Constipation, cough, cramps, migraines, muscle aches, nervous
system disorders, rheumatism
Melissa Cold, cough, cramps, menstrual pain, nausea, stress
Also used as an insect repellant
Myrrh Amnesia, bleeding gums, cracked and dry skin, dysentery,
gingivitis, hyperthyroidism, memory loss, mouth ulcers, sore
throat
Myrtle Acne, asthma, bladder infection, bronchitis, diarrhea, hormone
imbalances, hypothyroidism, insomnia, lung infection, oily
skin
Also used as an astringent, sedative, and expectorant
Neroli Anxiety, colitis, depression, diarrhea, insomnia,
post‐traumatic stress disorder, shock, stomach cramps,
stress
Nutmeg Arthritis, circulatory issues, constipation, digestive issues,
fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, neuralgia, rheumatism
Orange Cold, constipation, digestive issues, flatulence, flu,
gingivitis, stress
Also used as an antidepressant, antiseptic, and detox agent, and in
household cleaners
Oregano Boils, bronchitis, Candida yeast overgrowth, cold,
digestion, fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot and jock
itch), insect bites, pancreatitis, parasites, plantar warts,
respiratory ailments, ringworm, staph infection, strep throat
Also used as an antimicrobial and antifungal agent, and as a muscle
relaxant
Palmarosa Acne, anorexia, dermatitis, digestion issues, exhaustion,
fever, gastrointestinal infection, scarring, sore muscles
Patchouli Acne, anxiety, burns, clogged pores, depression, dermatitis,
eczema, fatigue, fungal infections (athlete’s foot, jock
itch, ringworm), insect bites, substance abuse/addiction, water
retention, wrinkles, wound healing
Also used as an antifungal and antibacterial agent, a diuretic, and
as a uterine tonic and insect repellent
Peppermint Acne, asthma, bronchitis, colic, congestion, depression,
dermatitis, flatulence, gallbladder issues, headache, indigestion,
insect bites, migraines, motion sickness, muscle aches and pains,
nausea, painful periods, pneumonia, pruritus (anal itching),
ringworm, scabies, spastic colon, stomach cramps, stress, sunburn,
tuberculosis
Peru balsam Bronchitis, chapped skin, circulatory issues, cold, cough,
eczema, flu, rash, respiratory conditions, rheumatism, sensitive
skin, stress
Petitgrain Anger, insomnia, muscle spasms, panic disorders, stomach
pains
Pine Asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, circulatory issues, cold, cough,
cuts, cystitis, excessive perspiration, fatigue (mental, physical,
sexual), flu, gout, laryngitis, lice, muscle aches and pains,
neuralgia, prostate problems, rheumatism, scabies, sinusitis,
sores, urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Red cedarwood Acne, congestion, dandruff, respiratory conditions, UTIs
Also used as an antiseptic and astringent
Rose absolute Anger, anxiety, arrhythmia, depression, eczema, fear, grief,
dry wrinkled skin, menopause, menstrual conditions, stress
Rose otto Anger, arrhythmia, depression, eczema, fear, grief, dry
wrinkled skin, menopause, menstrual conditions, stress
Note: Preferred over rose absolute for topical
applications
Rosemary Arthritis, circulatory issues, dandruff, gout, greasy hair,
hair loss, headache, memory loss, migraines, muscle cramps and
aches and pains, nervous disorders, rheumatism, wound care
Rosewood Acne, cold, dry skin, fever, flu, headache, oily skin,
scarring, sensitive skin, stress, stretch marks
Also used as an aphrodisiac
Sandalwood Asthma, bronchitis, chapped skin, congestion, cystitis,
depression, diarrhea, dry skin, laryngitis, nausea, oily skin,
scarring, sensitive skin, stress, stretch marks, UTIs,
vomiting
Spearmint Acne, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, constipation, dermatitis,
diarrhea, exhaustion, fever, flatulence, headache, hiccups,
migraines, nausea, pruritus, scabies, sinusitis, sore gums,
teething, vertigo
Tangerine Constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, stretch marks, water
retention
Tea tree Acne, asthma, bronchitis, blisters, catarrh, chicken pox, cold,
cold sores, congestion, corns, cough, cuts, cystitis, diaper rash,
fever, flu, fungal infections (athlete’s foot, jock itch,
ringworm), gingivitis, insect bites, itching, migraine, oily skin,
sinusitis, sores, tuberculosis, warts, whooping cough, yeast
infections (Candida yeast infection and vaginal
thrush)
Also used as an antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and
antiviral agent
Thyme Atherosclerosis, bacterial infections (including MRSA), blood
clots, bronchitis, cold, cough, croup, diarrhea, dry skin, fungal
infections, hair loss, oily skin, pneumonia, psoriasis, sciatica,
scoliosis, snoring, sore throats, tuberculosis, whooping
cough
Also used as an antiseptic and antifungal agent
Vanilla Depression, fever, high blood pressure, cancer prevention,
inflammation, insomnia, low sex drive, menstrual regulation
Also used as an antidepressant, an antioxidant, an aphrodisiac, and
a sedative
Vetiver Anger, anxiety, arthritis, exhaustion, insomnia, muscle aches
and pains, scars, stings, stress, wound care
White fir Anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bronchial obstructions, cough,
fever, flu, rheumatism, sinusitis, sore muscles, UTIs, wound
care
Also used as an anti‐inflammatory, anti‐arthritic,
anticatarrhal agent, and as an expectorant and stimulant
Wintergreen Arthritis, bleeding gums, bronchitis, circulation disorders,
insect bites, itching, joint stiffness, migraine, toothache
Ylang ylang Anger, anxiety, arrhythmia, depression, hypertension, insomnia,
stress
Also used as an aphrodisiac