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By: Sarah Hofstedt, CSUN Public Health Intern

Aromatherapy is an inexpensive, low-commitment way to support wellness; it can bolster healthy sleep, aid in relaxation, and improve mood. It can be as easy as pouring a few essential oil drops onto a cotton ball, or you can buy a diffuser. However, the amount of information online about essential oils and aromatherapy is overwhelming, and using essential oils incorrectly is potentially dangerous. This can be an obstacle for someone who is just starting to be interested in aromatherapy, and may scare them away from the subject entirely. Even beginner guides expect readers to already own essential oils or have enough money to buy a bunch of them at once. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the nuances of chemical energetics or the endless lists of blends, I have identified the four most essential of the essential oils.


More specifically the oil from Lavandula angustifolia, this floral oil is popular for its soothing and relaxing properties. Lavender essential oil is used in aromatherapy to help with sleep, relaxation, and soothing headaches. It is a pleasant addition to the bedtime routine and can help ease insomnia.


This oil is concentrated and has a very powerful scent. Peppermint oil is popular for soothing tension headaches, stimulating the mind, and alleviating nausea. Because of its energetic properties, it is recommended that you avoid peppermint oil before bedtime. A little goes a long way with peppermint, as it can easily overpower other scents.


Lemon oil, and its cousins lemongrass oil and lemon myrtle oil, has a powerful citrus scent that is commonly used to boost mood, ease anxiety, and improve memory. Lemon and rosemary oil make a great blend for study sessions.


The most herb-y smelling of the group, rosemary oil has a reputation for improving focus and alertness. It pairs well with most other scents. Fun fact: rosemary oil was used to ward off evil and the plague in the Middle Ages.

Personal preference determines how you may or may not want to mix your oils, and how you diffuse them. If you are not sure whether a particular blend is suitable for you, do some research. Make absolutely certain that no one in your household (especially your cat) is consuming the oils internally. Hopefully this helps narrow down the choices of oils for aromatherapy; comment below with your aromatherapy tips or questions.

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