By Eric Madrid MD

In this article:

Time to bust out the diffuser.

For centuries, people across the globe have understood the benefits of essential oils. There is evidence they were utilized as far back as ancient Egypt in mummification and ceremonial celebrations, and these highly revered oils have even been used as currency throughout history. 

Essential oils are still in use today for many purposes. Their pleasant aromas make them ideal for fragrances and perfumes, and they are still prized for their potential health benefits. Diffusers are a popular way to experience essential oils, along with topical and internal usage. 

Note: it is very important to always read the label as some oils cannot be taken orally or used directly on skin. 

Here are the top 9 essential oils for 2019.

Lavender

Lavender’s sweet smell makes it one of the most well known and recognized of all essential oils. Its distinctive purple color makes lavender a favorite in home gardens, and its leaves are also frequently collected, dried, and used for a variety of purposes. These days, it is a common additive in both foods and cosmetics. 

Part of the mint family, lavender and its oil has been used for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. Scientists have extracted over 100 phytochemicals from the lavender plant. 

While its earliest recorded use was by the Greeks and Romans, lavender has traditionally been used to help reduce anxiety and as an antiseptic. 

Lavender can be used for the following:

Lavender essential oil blends well with clove and rosemary oils. Note: some people may experience sensitivity to topical application as it may elicit an allergic response. 

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba (simmondsia chinensis) oil is a waxy substance that comes from the seed of the drought-resistant perennial plant of the same name. Native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, Jacobs has been prized for its oil for centuries. The oil has traditionally been used topically to treat wounds and sores, and it can also be used in a diffuser or even mixed with other essential oils to create a custom relaxing aroma. It is also frequently applied topically.

Jojoba oil is known for the following properties:

Mixes well with eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, and lavender oils.

Tea Tree

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca tea tree. It is mostly found in Australia, where it has been used as a medicine by the Aborigines for hundreds of years. The aroma of tea tree is described as medicinal and fresh by some, and similar to camphor by others. The name is attributed to British sailor Captain James Cook and has no relation to the beverage. 

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Tea tree has many benefits:

CAUTION: Do not ingest tea tree oil orally due to risk of serious side effects, such as confusion and loss of muscle control. Some can also be sensitive to topical application.

Tea tree blends well with lavender and myrrh oils.

Peppermint 

Peppermint is a well-known herb and essential oil. A hybrid of watermint and spearmint, its smell is sharp and fresh, and it’s one of its main components is menthol. In recent times, peppermint has been used as a flavoring in chewing gum, and it is still well regarded for its numerous health benefits. 

Peppermint can aid with the following: 

Peppermint blends well with lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus oils.

Lemongrass

Although similar in name, lemongrass essential oil and lemon essential oil come from two different plants. Lemongrass oil comes from the perennial cymbopogon plant and can be ingested orally, applied topically, or used in a vaporizer. It is also commonly used for flavoring. Its active ingredient is limonene. 

Benefits of lemongrass include:

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a genus that consists of over 700 species, most of which are evergreen. The plant, which is covered in oil glands, is native to Australia, where the Aborigines have used eucalyptus as a medicine for almost a thousand years. The herb is commonly found in gums, toothpaste, and cough drops. 

The oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves has antiseptic and disinfectant properties. If the leaves or oils are consumed in large quantities, they can be toxic. However, Koalas and opossums are able to safely consume the leaves and rely on them as a primary food source. Note: Avoid oral consumption of the essential oil. 

Benefits of eucalyptus oil include: 

Eucalyptus blends well with lavender and lemon oils.

Orange Essential Oil

The orange is one of the most common citrus fruits and subsequently one of the most popular essential oils. A hybrid between two other citrus fruits, a mandarin and pomelo, the orange’s origins go back to ancient China, where it was first mentioned in literature around 314 BCE. 

The Spanish are believed to have brought the orange to North America and likely planted the first tree in Hispaniola, the island of modern-day Haiti and Dominican Republic. Oranges became popular amongst sailors once it was realized that the vitamin C in an orange could help prevent the dreaded scurvy. 

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As an essential oil, its sweet, relaxing, and familiar scent creates a pleasant environment. It can be applied topically, diffused, or consumed orally. The oil is extracted from the rind.

Orange oil is known for its many benefits:

Blends well with cinnamon. 

Lemon 

Lemon is a familiar scent, sour and sweet at the same time. The tree is native to South Asia, specifically North East India. Lemon entered Europe around 200 AD, and its use can be traced to Egypt around 700 AD. 

The lemon fruit is rich in vitamin C. Extracted from the peel, its oil has many uses and is widely featured in beauty products due to its antioxidant properties. Additional, a 2014 study concluded, “Lemon scent can be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.” 

It also has many other benefits:

Lemon oil blends well with eucalyptus oil.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a common perennial herb whose flowers vary in color from white, purple, and blue, to sometimes pink. The flower normally blooms during spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere and is native to the Mediterranean region. The name is Latin in origin and translates to “dew of the sea”.

Rosemary was first written about by the Egyptians as far back as 5,000 BCE. In addition, the Egyptians used this herb in their burial ceremonies. It appears that rosemary was brought to China sometime around 200 AD and Europe in the 1300s.

Rosemary contains polyphenols, which have antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering and glucose-stabilization properties.

Rosemary has been shown to have many health benefits and, according to an article in the New York Times, rosemary plays a big part in the diet of one of the world’s healthiest and oldest living populations, those who reside in Acciaroli, Italy. Rosemary can be used for the following:

CAUTION: Some may be sensitive to this essential oil and a few have had skin reactions.

Rosemary blends well with lavender and peppermint oils. 

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