What are Essential Oils Good for?

Essential oils are highly concentrated and volatile plant extracts that, despite being totally natural, can offer a versatile range of benefits.

There is a wide range of essential oils on the market, each offering their own benefits and uses. Let’s take a look at what some of our favourite essential oils can be used for…

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oils can be great for many uses and have been used for centuries both medicinally and as a fragrance. It is the number one essential oil used, and it certainly lives up to its status.

Here are some of the common uses:

1. As a relaxant – The soothing properties of lavender can be used in a bath, as a massage oil or on a handkerchief to ease away daily stresses.

2. Headaches and migraines – A few neat drops of lavender oil massaged onto the temples can help reduce headache pain, as it is a mild analgesic.

3. Skin irritations – Lavender oil is antibacterial and antifungal, so can be used to cleanse the skin to prevent spots and irritations.

4. Respiratory problems – By adding a few drops of pure lavender oil to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam can help with respiratory problems.

5. Burns and sunburn – As an anti-inflammatory, lavender can be used to relieve burns and help them heal by adding a few drops of oil to the affected area. For an added cooling effect, add the oil to a water spray.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of physical and psychological conditions.

Rosemary essential oil offers a whole host of benefits for both the body and mind. Here are some common uses of Rosemary:

1. As a stimulant – Rosemary has been shown to be an effective physical and mental stimulant. Try adding to a bath or into shower gels to lift your spirits and cure lethargy.

2. Defence against infections – A good antiseptic, research has shown that Rosemary has anti-oxidant and antibacterial properties.

3. As a decongestant—Inhaling Rosemary oil can help to clear congestion, as well as tiredness and headaches.

4. Muscle pain and stiffness – Massage Rosemary oil into aching, tired, or strained muscles to eliminate stiffness.

5. To boost hair growth – Adding Rosemary oil to shampoo or conditioner can help to boost hair growth, prevent excessive oil production, and reduce dandruff on the scalp.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Originating in Australia, Eucalyptus has been distilled since the 1800s, when it was used to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.

Eucalyptus essential oil has a number of uses, including:

1. As an antiseptic – When inhaled as a vapour or a scent, Eucalyptus is a great antiseptic remedy for colds, coughs, sinusitis, and catarrh.

2. To relieve muscle and joint pain – Eucalyptus oil can be used to relieve rheumatic and muscular pain, as well as poor circulation.

3. To promote healing – Thanks to its antiseptic properties, Eucalyptus can be used to help heal burns, blisters, bites, cuts, and wounds without the risk of infection.

Can I Use Essential Oils On My Pet?

There are a number of differing opinions on whether you can safely use essential oils on pets, and I think that it’s safe to say that the jury’s out until further study can be made into the effects. However, there have been some small scale studies and a growing amount of anecdotal evidence to say that some essential oils can be used safely on or around your pets.

Just as with human application, different essential oils carry different levels of safety to your pets and there are some essential oils that should never be used including Tea Tree, Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen or Yarrow.

However, there is an increasing body of evidence that essential oils, especially lavender essential oil, can be both safe and beneficial for your pets. One thing to bear in mind especially is to ensure that you only use the purest and highest quality essential oil. These are unlikely to be the cheapest options, as lower-priced essential oils are more likely to be diluted with a range of other chemicals to make the expensive natural product go further. When choosing an essential oil for use on yourself, your home or your pet, ensure that it is clearly labelled as containing ‘100% pure essential oil’ or similar.

So what are the dos and don’ts of using essential oils on pets?


– Use only 100% pure essential oils
– Dilute the oil. The general rule of thumb is to start with a 50% dilution of the recommended adult human dose, and then if a necessary increase to up to a 25% dilution.
– Introduce essential oils gradually and carefully monitor your pet. Remember that your dog can’t tell you if something is wrong, so keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour including excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining.


– Do not ever use essential oils on or around birds, as they are extremely sensitive to scents. There have even been cases of pet birds dying after exposure to essential oils, such as a well-meaning cockatiel owner who applied a drop of tea tree oil to an abrasion on their birds’ foot and, even with veterinary intervention, the bird died within 24 hours.
– Use essential oils on puppies under 15 weeks old.
– As with humans, sick, frail, older or pregnant pets should either avoid essential oils all together or use them in a much greater dilution than for a healthy animal.

For further information, we recommend that you consult one of the specialist reference texts available, such as Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.


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