If you already own a few essential oils, Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Sweet Orange and Lemon are probably among them. Those individuals with a slightly larger set may include Rosemary, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Pine and Bergamot as part of their collection. All of these oils are very popular and undeniably useful, however you won’t find them on this list.
Since we started working with them, we’ve tried and experimented with over 50 different essential oils (and the number is still growing!) As a result, we’ve have discovered dozens of oils encompassing a wide array of intriguing uses, solid health benefits and mesmerizing aromas which don’t receive nearly the attention they deserve. For a few minutes, let us set aside the familiar to take a closer look at 10 of these most underrated essential oils and find out why no collection is complete without them!
Birch oil is distilled from the bark of the Appalachian mountain native Betula lenta, also known as the sweet birch or cherry birch tree. Due to its high concentration of methyl salicylate, birch essential oil has many of the same properties as wintergreen oil, including but not limited to its sweet and mild minty fragrance.
Topically, birch oil can be used as a warming agent or to cool feverish skin. Like peppermint and eucalyptus, birch oil is also a natural pain reliever, however it is far more gentle making it ideal for people with sensitive skin. Also, because of its mild fragrance, birch oil offers a more relaxing aromatherapy experience than other more potent mint oils.
Dilute 1 – 2 drops of Birch essential oil with one ounce of carrier oil like sweet almond or coconut to make a soothing pain relief balm for sore muscles and joints. Rub a drop or two of similarly diluted birch oil behind your ears or over your temples to ease a tension headache. You can also enjoy the mood elevating and calming properties of birch oil in your essential oil diffuser with Sleeping Roots, one of the recipes from our collection of fall diffuser blends:
3 drops Bergamot
2 drops Ginger
2 drops Frankincense
2 drops Birch
70 ml of water
Or make your own diffuser blend by combining birch oil with your favorite citrus, floral or woody essential oils.
If you’re ready to try Birch oil, you can purchase it here.
A Note of Caution: Methyl Salicylate – the primary constituent in Birch (and Wintergreen) essential oil is almost chemically-identical to the active ingredient in aspirin. A 5 ml bottle of either of these essential oils contains around 7000 mg of salicylate (about 20 regular-strength aspirin tablets) and can be fatal if swallowed. For this reason and due to their candy-like aromas, Birch and Wintergreen oils should always be kept well out of reach of children.
Just like the spice, cardamom essential oil comes from the seeds of the tropical perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Well known for both its unique flavor and potent health benefits, the dried spice has been a popular ingredient in Asian and Middle-eastern cuisines for thousands of years. While cardamom essential oil is far less common, it is certainly just as useful as the solid form of the herb.
When added to diffuser blends, Cardamom oil enhances memory and concentration. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety without making you feel tired. If you’re prone to indigestion or nausea, cardamom oil has a calming effect on the digestive tract as well.
For wintertime cold or flu bugs, diffusing Cardamom essential oil can help to clear your head and nasal passages. Also, unlike some other decongestant oils (eucalyptus, peppermint, etc) Cardamom is gentle enough for use with children.
Cardamom essential oil blends well with floral, citrus, spicy, and sweet oils.
Try it out in our Warm Chai diffuser blend from 10 Essential Oil Blends To Make Your Home Smell Like Fall.
3 drops Cardamom
2 drops Cinnamon
1 drop Clove
1 drop Nutmeg
2 drops Ginger
70 ml of water
You can purchase Cardamom essential oil here.
3. Carrot Seed
Carrot Seed oil is distilled from Daucus carota, the wild carrot (also known as Queen Anne’s lace) from which our domesticated carrots were originally cultivated. This herbaceous and earthy oil has a long list of uses, making it one of the best and most underrated on our list.
Carrot Seed oil can be used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and clear your mind. It is also a powerful depurative, having a cleansing effect on just about every organ in the human body – including but not limited to the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, skeletal-muscular system and the skin.
Carrot Seed oil is anti-microbial in addition to being cleansing. If you catch a cold or if you have problems with air-borne allergens, try diffusing a blend of 2 drops Carrot Seed with 1 drop each of Frankincense and Grapefruit essential oils to detoxify your environment and your lungs. (natural techniques to help you breathe easier here.)
Most notably, Carrot Seed is one of the absolute best oils when it comes to healing and rejuvenating skin, as well as for treating conditions like psoriasis and eczema. (Read more about it in 17 Anti-Aging Oils For Beautiful Skin which includes some great recipes to try!)
When you’re ready to try it out for yourself, you can purchase Carrot Seed essential oil here.
A Note of Caution: Because it is known to stimulate muscle contractions, Carrot Seed oil should not be used by pregnant women.
Just as with cardamom, dried cloves are far more common than the essential oil. However, in this case the oil is actually more useful than the spice itself.
Topical application of diluted Clove oil is an effective treatment for acute aches and pains – most notably as a natural treatment for toothache.
Because Eugenol, the active ingredient in Clove oil is a powerful deterrent against ants and other insect pests, it is a common ingredient in many natural repellent recipes. Clove oil is even used in veterinary medicine to anesthetize fish. (Do not try this at home!)
If you like the taste of cloves in your cooking, you’ll most likely love the scent of Clove essential oil in your diffuser as well. Because of its natural warming effect, Clove oil is an excellent choice for cold-weather blends. Mix in a drop or two with your favorite sweet, spicy and citrus oils to create your own unique aromatherapy experience, or try it out in English Pomander from 10 Essential Oil Blends To Make Your Home Smell Like Fall.
3 drops Sweet Orange
1 drop Bergamot
1 drop Cinnamon
2 drops Clove
2 drops Sandalwood
70 ml of water
If you’re ready to add Clove oil to your collection, you can purchase it here.
While Frankincense resin is well-known with a documented history dating back to around 3000 BC, the essential oil is surprisingly not. With its impressive checklist of healing powers and the fact that Frankincense is one of the few base notes which mixes fair to excellent with just about any other aroma, this essential oil should be a staple in every collection.
Frankincense essential oil is distilled from olibanum, the aromatic resin produced by trees in the Boswellia genus. It’s many health benefits include the ability to reduce inflammation, relax tense muscles, soothe pain and itching, cleanse skin and speed the healing of wounds.
In aromatherapy, Frankincense essential oil acts a base note – meaning that it harmonizes with and stabilizes other more volatile oils – and can be used to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate and balance mood, encourage better sleep, open blocked airways and stimulate the immune system.
Pure Frankincense essential oil has a fresh, earthy and slightly balsamic aroma. It is subtle, as far as base notes go and mixes well with just about everything. (For those of you who are new or new-ish to mixing essential oils, pick up a little Blending 101 – including the difference between tops, middles and base notes – as well as some excellent essential oil recipes in this great article!)
If you’re only going to pick up one new essential oil from this list (and assuming that you don’t already own a bottle), “Frankie” is the one! You can order a bottle of 100% pure Frankincense essential oil here.
Further Reading: 14 Genius Uses For Frankincense Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil is distilled from the fresh rhizomes of one of our favorite herbs: Zingiber officinale. (It’s just so fun to say!) The oil has a mild, sweet and slightly earthy aroma as well as some powerful health benefits which make it perfect for a wide range of diffuser blends.
In aromatherapy, Ginger oil offers a warming, mood-elevating and energizing experience. It is also considered by many to be an aphrodisiac.
Topically, you can use Ginger oil to aid digestion by massaging a couple of drops over your stomach or into the soles of your feet.
Either added to your diffuser or applied topically at a low dilution, Ginger essential oil is one of the best natural remedies for reducing morning sickness and other forms of nausea.
Ginger oil mixes well with piney, earthy, sweet, citrus and spice oils, as well as some floral oils.
Try it out in our Warm Citrus diffuser blend – a new twist on the old favorite Orange Spice recipe:
4 drops Sweet Orange
2 drops Ginger
1 drop Patchouli
70 ml of water
When you’re ready to try it out, you can order Ginger essential oil here.
Grapefruit essential oil is another highly underrated and under-used essential oil with very potent healing powers. The oil is cold-pressed from the rind and carries the same crisp, sweet citrus aroma that you get from a freshly sliced fruit.
Topically, Grapefruit essential oil is wonderful for skin and hair health. It can be used to clarify skin and scalp conditions, remove build-up of hair care products, balance an oily complexion, and aid in flushing toxins out of the body. Used as a muscle rub, diluted Grapefruit oil works to ease stiffness and cramping. Similarly, Grapefruit essential oil is known to effectively alleviate the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
In aromatherapy, Grapefruit oil is refreshing and exhilarating. Use it in your diffuser to increase both your mental and physical energy levels, ward off depression and improve brain function. Grapefruit oil is also cleansing and stimulating to the immune system, making it a welcome addition in anti-cold and flu diffuser blends such as our Autumn Sunrise:
2 drops Grapefruit
2 drops Sweet Orange
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Ginger
2 drops Eucalyptus
1 drop Cinnamon
1 drop Clove
70 ml of water
You can also make your own blend by combining Grapefruit with your favorite spicy, minty, piney, floral and earthy essential oils.
If you’re ready to try it, you can order Grapefruit essential oil here.
A Note of Caution: Grapefruit oil – as with any citrus oil – will increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid exposing treated areas to direct sunlight for several hours after application.
8. Juniper Berry
Juniper Berry essential oil is distilled from the fruit of Juniperus communis, the common juniper. The berries of this wide-ranging temperate evergreen have long been used by many different cultures around the world for their healing and purifying effects, as well as their potent flavor. The essential oil, however does not get the attention which it deserves.
Juniper Berry is a powerful cleansing and purifying oil. When added to your essential oil diffuser, it can help to ward off sickness by killing harmful airborne microbes. Topically, apply a dilution of Juniper Berry essential oil to skin affected with acne in order to cleanse pores and reduce the severity of blemishes.
In aromatherapy, Juniper Berry oil reduces stress, improves mental clarity and can help to balance negative moods such as those caused by emotional trauma or abrupt life changes.
Juniper Berry blends well with citrus, piney and floral oils. Try mixing Juniper and Grapefruit essential oils together in your diffuser for an extra kick of air-purifying power during cold & flu season. You can order Juniper Berry essential oil here.
Myrrh essential oil is distilled from the aromatic resin of trees in the genus Commiphora (in the same family as Bosweilla from which Frankincense is derived). Much like Frankincense, the resin Myrrh has been in use for thousands of years and is very well-known for its healing powers. However, the immensely useful Myrrh essential oil is surprisingly absent from many collections.
Topically, Myrrh oil is antiseptic and can be used to disinfect small wounds and promote faster healing. It may also be used as a soothing balm to relieve muscle and joint pain. Myrrh oil is cleansing and it’s antioxidant, making it ideal for clarifying and rejuvenating skin, especially areas affected by conditions like eczema
When used in an essential oil diffuser, Myrrh oil eases cold and flu symptoms such as cough, congestion and sore throat. It is also calming for the nerves, promotes emotional well-being and provides relief from digestive issues.
Like Frankincense, Myrrh essential oil is a warm, earthy base note which blends nicely with many other essential oils. Try mixing Myrrh with your favorite spicy, earthy, herbaceous, woody and citrus oils to impart its balancing and cleansing properties to your diffuser blends.
When you’re ready to try Myrrh essential oil, you can order it here.
Neroli essential oil is my absolute favorite out of the over 60 essential oils in my collection. While it is also the most expensive, just 1 – 2 drops added to an ounce of carrier creates a skin-healing body oil with an absolutely heavenly floral aroma.
Distilled from the delicate blossoms of Citrus aurantium (aka the Bitter Orange tree,) Neroli oil not only smells amazing, it also possesses many potent healing properties.
Topically, a low dilution of Neroli essential oil can be used to reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles, calm inflammation, relieve tension, balance digestion, stimulate the circulatory system and promote faster cellular regeneration.
In diffuser blends, Neroli oil reduces stress and anxiety, balances moods and promotes better sleep. It is also known for its abilities to treat hypertension and reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the blood.
Try a diffuser blend of 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Chamomile, 1 drop each of Ylang Ylang and Neroli essential oils for a truly relaxing aromatherapy experience.
To create your own anti-aging oil blend, add 1 – 2 drops of Neroli, Frankincense, and Carrot Seed essential oils to 1 ounce of a skin-nourishing carrier oil like Apricot Kernel, Rosehip Seed or Sweet Almond and apply daily. Also, be sure to check out our 17 Anti-Aging Oils for Beautiful Skin to pick up more great tips and ideas.
When you’re ready to experience the magic of Neroli essential oil for yourself, you can order it here.
If you don’t own an essential oil diffuser or if you aren’t sure that you really need one, here are 10 reasons why we think everyone should own a diffuser. Then, let us help you find your perfect diffuser with our Five Best Essential Oil Diffuser Reviews.
Also, be sure to peruse these 50 Aromatic Essential Oil Recipes to get some great ideas for year-round diffuser goodness!