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Essential Oils Classification And Where To Use Them

Essential Oils Classification And Where To Use Them

You got skin complaints? Use essential oils. Cold sores? Again, essential oils. Wanna ease a hangover. Essential oils all the way. I’m pretty much obsessed. They are a magical cure-all and have been used as a remedy for health problems as well as for spiritual rituals for thousands of years in many cultures.

They’re mostly used in aromatherapy, but you can also find them in personal care products and home cleaning products. And did I mention there are more than 90 commonly known essential oils out there?! Yeah, follow us to indulge in the world of essential oils.

essential oils
Credit: Unsplash/ Kelly Sikkema

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that come from herbs, flowers, fruits, and many other plants that give them unique scents. The oils absorb the plant’s ‘essence’ – the flavor and scent, says Healthline.

There are a few different extraction methods to obtain essential oils, and while it depends from the oil from which part of the plant they get the essential oil, usually, it’s from the most aromatic part of the plant. According to Natural Healthy Concepts, methods of obtaining essential oils include:

  • hydrodistillation
  • steam distillation
  • solvent extraction
  • extraction under pressure
  • other mechanical ways of extracting the oils from various parts of the plant like roots, leaves, seeds, peels, bark, or blossoms

Most essential oils have to be diluted before use as it helps spread the aromatic, concentrated molecules over a larger area and so the body can absorb it better. The oils can be inhaled, or diluted with water or carrier oil and be applied to the skin directly. However, they are not meant to be ingested, unless they’re food-grade quality.

According to NHC, you can blend a few drops of food-grade lemon or peppermint oil into a glass of water for potential internal support. Peppermint oil is also known to soothe an upset stomach.

essential oil
Credit: Flickr

How are essential oils classified?

If you want to use the essential oils, it’s important to know the properties of each one of them. However, classifying them into their families will also help as you can recognize them better and know how they work, according to Escents.

Floral Oils

This category includes some of the most popular essential oils. They’re best known to help with depression, cultivate romance, and balance hormones which make them ideal for cramps and other hormonal issues. Additionally, floral oils are excellent for skin care as they are known to soothe irritated skin and balance oil production. However, pregnant women should avoid florals as they have quite a strong effect.

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Rose
  • Jasmine
  • Geranium
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Neroli
  • Lavender

Tree Oils

According to Escents, not all oils that derive from trees are part of this family, but most of those that belong to this category (all evergreens), share some common qualities. When inhaled, tree oils bring a cooling sensation to the chest, as well as at the bridge of the nose, which means they’re great remedies for cold, allergies and other respiratory problems. They’re also antibacterial and prevent wound infections, making them the best choice in treating acne.

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree
  • Cedarwood

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Citrus Oils

Citrus oils help with mood disorders and lethargy as they tend to be detoxifying and energizing. They smell fresh and ‘clean’, and that’s why you’re more likely to find them in cleaning products. They’re antibacterial and it’s pretty easy to make a cleaning spray with water, vinegar, and essential oils. However, most of the citrus oils have phototoxic properties which means if you apply them and go out in the sun, it can irritate the skin and cause rashes.

Read also: The Best Weight Loss Detox Water

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Bergamot
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin
  • Lime

Herbal Oils

Not all herbs are included in this category but those that are, have a bracing scent that might feel similar to oils of the tree family. They’re antibacterial and antifungal and a good remedy for respiratory complaints. Note that herbal oils help with concentration, memory retention as they tend to be energizing.

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Sage


They are pretty easy to recognize with either a grassy scent or a sweet one. Their oils are usually dark and thick, sometimes even too thick to get out from the bottle. If you’re looking for something to relieve stress, anxiety, and panic attacks, give these oils a try. They are very likely to slow racing heartbeats, calm racing thoughts and deeply relax you, claims Escents.

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Frankincense
  • Vetiver
  • Oakmoss
  • Myrrh


They’re easily recognizable scents as they’re spicy and give a warm, tickling sensation at the back of the throat. Spice oils are best known to help with digestive problems, however, if they’re undiluted or not diluted enough, they can cause burns or rashes.

Most commons oils included in this category are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ginger
essential oils
Credit: Unsplash/Katherine Hanlon

While essential oils can be quite helpful, sometimes their effectiveness is exaggerated. You can use them for minor health issues, however, if you’re taking medications or have a serious health condition, it’s better to check in with your doctor before using them.


Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.

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