How to use essential oils effectively for maximum effects

essential oils

How to use essential oils effectively?

How to use essential oils effectively and how can you maximise the benefits of essential oils when you use them?

Dr Valerie Ann Worwood, one of the world’s leading aromatherapists and author of The Fragrant Pharmacy” and “The Complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy” explains the importance of synergy, adaptogens and chemotypes in her books. These books are must reads if you would like to learn more about the effective uses of essential oils.


What makes aromatherapy both fascinating and perplexing is that it doesn’t play by nature’s rules. Two plus two might equal four but in the essential oil world, it could equal six or maybe ten! By mixing two or more essential oils in a blend, you create a unique chemical compounded mixture. This combination is different to any of the constituent parts, and these synergetic blends can have a very powerful effect.

By adding several oils to the mix, you are potentially increasing its vibrancy, dynamism and potency. This is great because you don’t need to apply more to achieve the effect you want. For example, chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that are supercharged when mixed with lavender! Just remember – when making an essential oil blend it’s important that the proportions are correct. Even the smallest amount of essential oil diluted with a carrier oil can have a potent effect when the ratio is right.

When the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts, we call it a ‘synergy’. Some essential oils, when combined, will enhance the blend, while others may inhibit each other. A combination of mutually enhancing oils is called a synergy.

Creating a synergy requires a deep understanding of how to use essential oils

Creating a synergy is the most important part of blending. It requires a deep understanding of how to use essential oils, lots of experience and intuition. Intuition and experience, in particular, are essential, as synergies depend mainly on the person who is using them. For example, a combo of oils may create an excellent synergy for one person, but not for another. Let’s discover below how to essential oils effectively.


Some oils are good at balancing the effects of an essential oil mix. These oils are known as adaptogens, and they can help achieve balance in the body. For example, peppermint oil can be used as a relaxant or a stimulant – both which have opposite effects. This contradiction might seem confusing, but if you understand that it is an adaptogen, it will make it clearer.


When grown in different conditions a plant can produce many types of essential oils, each with a different component. These conditions can range from the type of soil used, to the climate or altitude it’s grown in. For example, Thyme Linalool is the only chemotype that can be used to treat children. Just one plant can be broken down into many chemotypes with different medical properties.

Quality control of essential oils

No matter how great your essential oil smells if the quality is not high enough it will do little but give you a pleasant scent. Pure essential oils are created through natural plant essences. The oils are extracted through steam, distillation, solvent extraction, expression, maceration or enfleurage. Anything less will have no medicinal benefits.

The perfume industry continues to ignore this by creating sub-standard versions for the mass market – so don’t be fooled into thinking cheaper versions are just as good. This can be confusing as mainstream products continue to market their products as ‘essential oil blends’, so make sure you always read the label.

There are also essential oils, which when mixed with another essential oil, mimic the scent of something completely different. Carnation oil, for example, is costly so manufacturers will combine black pepper and ylang-ylang to create an artificial scent similar to carnation. This might be okay if you just want to smell nice but what if you actually need pure carnation oil for medicinal purposes?

Be wary of some manufacturers who will claim to sell you an essential oil only to dilute most of it with an unscented carrier oil, causing the medical benefits to be lost. You can spot a fake by looking the base oil which may be oily, while real essential oils aren’t. Pure essential oils, when dropped on blotting paper, will impregnate, then evaporate and disperse, leaving no oily patch.

Conclusions on how to use essential oils effectively

This is just an introduction to the world of essential oil blending – there’s so much more that I could share with you about notes, classifications, scent classification, effect classifications, and so on.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time or pages to really dig into this exciting and varied topic

– perhaps in a future book 🙂 For now, we will look into the basics of making blends, particularly for hair and beauty, and how it can instantly transform the way you look and feel.

When I first discovered the world of essential oils and aromatherapy I instantly fell in love with it – my wish is that you do too!

Essential oils by effect

Energising: Peppermint, Spearmint, Tea tree, Cypress, Pine, Lemon, Basil, Grapefruit, Ginger, Rosemary, Clary sage, Bergamot, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus

Calming:    Neroli, Jasmine, Melissa, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Lavender, Geranium, Mandarin, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang

Detoxifying:  Lemon,    Patchouli,  Hyssop,   Helichrysum,   Peppermint,     Juniper, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Laurel, Mandarin

Anti-anxiety: Sandalwood, Valerian, Bergamot, Jasmine, Black Pepper, Tangerine, Orange, Melissa, Lavender, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Marjoram, or Lemon Balm

Essential oils by scent type

Flowery: Palmarosa, Rose, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender

Citrus: Lemongrass, Lime, Melissa, Neroli, Orange, Petitgrain, Tangerine, Bergamot, Citronella, Grapefruit and Lemon

Spicy: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pepper

Woody: Cedarwood, Coriander, Cypress, Fir, Helichrysum, Juniper, Myrrh, Frankincense, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Herbal: Basil, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Marjoram, Oregano, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme

Recommended reading essential oils

For more detailed information about this ancient art, I recommend Marcel Lavabre’s Aromatherapy Workbook and the books of Valerie Ann Worwood are very interesting.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless also provides much greater detail including safety information, therapeutic actions and aromatic descriptions for over 100 oils.

Do you want to read more about this article?

Healthy kisses #sandrabloom

    We’d love to hear from you!

    Please feel free to get in touch using the form below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you may have!