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By Liivi Hess
Long before the essential oil craze took hold of the Western world, alternative health practitioners were using essential oils for aromatherapy. Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils extracted from the flowers, bark, stems, leaves or roots of a plant. The oils are used to enhance psychological or physical well-being.
Diffusing essential oils through aromatherapy is arguably the most effective way to reap the health benefits of these potent natural concoctions. When placed in a diffuser, these oils are ejected into the air along with a fine mist of water vapor. One inhaled, you’re ingesting a small amount of the plant’s healing essence into your respiratory system. From there, it gets passed into your bloodstream, making it’s way around the body and working its wonders.
The result is something truly magical. Diffusing essential oils can result in a wide range of beneficial health effects. These include elevated mood, improved brain function, reduced infection, relaxed mind and body and supported respiratory health. We also bust out our essential oil diffuser whenever we’re traveling and staying over in questionable accommodation. Diffusing oils like melaleuca or lemon can help kill off mold and purify the air of harmful pathogens and particulates.
When it comes down to it, the sky’s the limit when it comes to which essential oils you can diffuse. But some work a whole lot better than others. Here are 27 of our top picks for essential oils to diffuse.
Let’s kick things off with easily one of the most popular essential oils in the business. We always have at least a few bottles of therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil lying around the house. It’s just so darn versatile!
In my opinion, however, lavender is best put to use in the diffuser. I like to place three to four drops of lavender essential oil in my diffuser an hour before bed. This creates a calming atmosphere conducive to better sleep. Don’t believe me? Lavender essential oil has received considerable scientific research. For example, a 2008 study found that lavender aromatherapy had strong relaxation effects. It even positively impacted coronary circulation as a result. Another study found that lavender oil had a beneficial effect on patients suffering from insomnia.
Lemon is another great go-to essential oil for the diffuser. It smells great and it’s purifying. Diffuse a few drops of lemon essential oil when you want to deodorize your home or remove potential pathogens from your living spaces. Because lemon is strongly anti-microbial, it’s a good one to have on hand.
Many believe that diffusing ylang-ylang essential oil helps to balance male and female energies. Diffuse ylang-ylang to restore balance in your life, such as boosting energy levels when they’re flagging or positivity when it’s falling.
Not only does peppermint essential oil add an amazingly cool, fresh scent to your home, it can also provide a wide range of health benefits. The obvious time to diffuse peppermint is when you’re feeling stuffy or you’re having problems with blocked respiratory areas. This could be from seasonal colds or allergies. Peppermint will clear that right up!
More than that, however, diffusing peppermint essential oil may even alleviate headaches, improve mental focus and fight depression. Studies also show that peppermint essential oil may help with digestive issues, too. So consider diffusing some peppermint oil in the living room while you eat!
Lemongrass is an excellent essential oil to diffuse on its own due to its fresh scent and natural insect repelling abilities. It can also help you to feel more awake — it’s a great one for diffusing in the morning. Subsequently, you’ll feel a whole lot happier!
This lesser-known essential oil has notable antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. This makes it a great way to cleanse the air in your living areas or bedrooms. Throw this one in the diffuser if everyone around you is starting to sniffle and sneeze.
Cedarwood essential oil is a favorite of mine on account of it’s rich, earthy scent and calming effect on my mood. It is rich in sesquiterpenes, compounds which can positively affect the emotion centers of the brain. Research has even shown that sesquiterpenes could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, diffusing some cedarwood essential oil when you need to chill out or unwind before bed is an excellent idea.
Frankincense essential oil may be expensive, but it’s also anti-inflammatory and amazingly beneficial for your health. Not only that, diffusing frankincense can help you to stay focused, make guided meditation easier. It can also lift your spirits if you’re in a slump.
The essential oil of clary sage is thought to be beneficial for hormone balance, insomnia and certain symptoms associated with PMS. You’ll receive all of these benefits when diffusing clary sage, along with a feeling of calmness and balance.
Cinnamon essential oil easily makes the top 10 of diffusible essential oils on account of its amazing smell and even more impressive health properties. It can fill a room with a rich, slightly sweet, earthy scent that’s inviting and comforting at the same time.
With Christmas around the corner, mixing some cinnamon along with clove essential oil in your diffuser can make your house seem that much more festive. Added to that the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-depressive and anti-parasitic properties of cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Diffusing this essential oil blend will have your home smelling like you’ve just given it a thorough spring cleaning — even if it’s a touch on the dirty side! Sprinkle one to two drops of each essential oil into your diffuser and wait for the spring cleaning to begin.
Theses are all quite potent essential oils, so don’t go pouring them into your diffuser willy nilly! This heady combination will help you to attain better mental clarity and focus — great if you need to get some work done or have an assignment due. Two drops of peppermint, two drops of cinnamon and one drop of rosemary should do the trick.
If your family is starting to sound like the cold has worked its way into your household, this essential oil blend is just the thing. Diffusing these oils together will clear out blocked air passages and relieve congestion. One to two drops of each oil is more than enough.
If you’re not big on mornings, having wild orange and peppermint essential oils ready in your diffuser for when you wake up might be a good idea. Together, these oils help to increase alertness and banish grogginess — the sworn enemies of people who hate early mornings.
If you or your family suffer from seasonal allergies, this essential oil blend is just for you. Diffusing this essential oil recipe can help to keep your airways clear and diminish your allergic response to many common allergens. Sprinkle three drops of peppermint, three drops of lavender and three drops of lemon into your diffuser.
If you’re looking to herald in those lazy, hazy days of summer, this essential oil blend will at least make your house or patio smell like it! Diffuse three drops of grapefruit and lavender along with two drops of lemon and spearmint for that quintessential aroma of summer.
If your home seems cold, drab and energy-deflating, try adding some wild orange, lemon, bergamot and grapefruit to your diffuser. These guys should bring a little sunshine into your gloomy household.
If you struggle getting to sleep, or struggle getting your little tykes to go to sleep, this is a great essential oil recipe to have on hand. Blending three drops of lavender, three drops of Roman chamomile and two drops of wild orange will have your whole family yawning and heading for their beds in no time.
It’s that time of year again. You and your family are starting to come home with sniffles and snuffles. If you or your loved ones appear to be coming down with a cold or flu, try diffusing some ginger, lemon and melaleuca (tea tree) essential oils. They’ve all been shown to kill harmful pathogens (such as those associated with the common cold) and simultaneously help you breathe easier. Sprinkle in two drops of lemon, one drop of ginger and two drops of melaleuca.
All of the above essential oils have been scientifically proven to help calm a troubled mind and soothe stubborn headaches. So, if you suffer from migraine headaches or simply can’t get rid of a stock standard headache, try diffusing these potent essential oils. Sprinkle one drop each of peppermint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and lavender essential oils into your diffuser and breathe deep.
If your house or patio is overrun by biting bugs and other unpleasant creepy-crawlies, try diffusing this potent anti-annoyance blend. Four drops of citronella, two drops of lemongrass and two drops of peppermint will not only send those pesky insects running for cover, it may even soothe what insect bites you’ve already received.
We’ve already discussed the mood-elevating and mind-calming effects of lavender, cedarwood and ylang-ylang. Combined together in your diffuser along with wild orange, this is a great essential oil blend to de-stress and unwind after a long, hard day.
If you’re suffering from a mild case of the midweek blues, or are planning on having guests over for dinner or a party, this is a great combination of essential oils for your diffuser. Sprinkling in three drops of bergamot, two drops of geranium, and two drops of lavender will elevate the mood of your place and get that upbeat party atmosphere flowing.
If you’re tossing and turning at night, or simply can’t seem to fall asleep no matter how many sheep you count, roll over and place a few drops of cedarwood and lavender essential oil in your diffuser. To really welcome the sandman in, also try rubbing a little lavender and cedarwood on your feet along with a carrier oil.
Diffusing these essential oils when the weather outside turns frightful is a great way to bring some winter coziness into your home. The wild orange, cinnamon and ginger essential oils combine to make your house smell deliciously like spiced cider. And is there any more homely smell than that? Use four drops of wild orange, three drops of cinnamon and three drops of ginger for best effect.
If you’re looking to spice things up a little in the bedroom or simply make your space a bit more sensual, the combined aroma of sandalwood, vanilla and jasmine essential oils will help you do just that. To create the perfect romantic atmosphere, diffuse five drops of sandalwood, two drops of vanilla and one drop of jasmine essential oil.
With fall in full swing, align your senses to the seasonal change by using this delicious essential oil blend. Add three drops each of wild orange and cassia essential oils to fall in love again with autumn.
If we’ve got your essential oil juices flowing, you might be interested in 59 ways to use them.
— Liivi Hess