The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Use Essential Oils for Wellness

Dr. Josh Axe Contributes to Vitacost Blog |

by | Read time: 4 minutes

Although they’ve been used for their therapeutic properties for thousands of years, the popularity of essential oils is reemerging today. People love using this natural approach to supporting wellness, strengthening their skin and even cleaning their homes.

But to use essential oils effectively, you’ll need to be aware of the right (and wrong) ways to use them aromatically, topically and internally.

Woman in Striped Shirt Standing at Counter with Herbs and Bottles Wondering if She is Using Essential Oils Safely |

Best Essential Oils for Wellness

Each essential oil is unique in its fragrance and health benefits, but some are more versatile and user-friendly. Because of their mood boosting, antioxidant and immune-supporting effects, these are some of the best essential oils for wellness.

  1. Frankincense: Frankincense oil works to support immune function, reduce inflammation, ease anxiety and promote skin health. It’s been used for thousands of years for its healing properties.
  2. Lavender: Best known for its sedative effects, lavender oil is commonly used to reduce stress and improve mood. It also works as an antioxidant, relieves pain and headaches, promotes healthy skin and boosts brain health.
  3. Lemon: Lemon oil is best known for its powerful antioxidant properties, and its ability to cleanse toxins from your body and home. Taking it internally can help purify the body and using it on surfaces of your home will help to fight germs.
  4. Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil is often used to relieve respiratory conditions, like sore throats, cough, headaches and even allergy symptoms. It works as an expectorant, cleansing the body of microorganisms, and it stimulates the immune system.
  5. Oregano: Best known for its ability to fight bacterial infections, oregano essential oil can be used to help manage earaches and toothaches, common colds and digestive problems. It also has strong antibacterial properties.
  6. Peppermint: Peppermint oil works as a natural pain reliever and muscle relaxant. It also helps to clear your sinuses, boost energy levels and improve your exercise performance.
  7. Tea Tree: Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties that work to fight acne and other skin issues; it boosts dental health and can help disinfect your home.
  8. Myrrh: Myrrh oil has relaxing, skin-healing, antibacterial and antioxidant effects. It can also be used to promote respiratory wellness, reduce swelling and improve digestive issues.
  9. Rosemary: It’s known to boost hair growth and is often used as a natural hair loss remedy, but rosemary oil also helps to improve memory, relieve pain and reduce cortisol levels.
  10. Ginger: Ginger essential oil is often used to relieve digestive issues, such as indigestion, diarrhea, spasms, stomach aches and colic. It may also help improve respiratory issues.

A Guide to Using Essential Oils Safely

It’s important to be aware of the basic dos and don’ts of essential oil use in order to use them safely and effectively. Here’s a breakdown of the right (and wrong) ways to use essential oils at home.



  • Inhale essential oils directly from the bottle or using a diffuser.
  • Add 5 drops of oil to a diffuser or inhale it from the bottle for five seconds.
  • Diffuse essential oils for about 30-45 minutes at a time.
  • Read the diffuser directions carefully and use the appropriate amount of water.


  • Diffuse oils around infants, babies, toddlers, pregnant or nursing women or pets (unless you’re familiar with essential oil safety for pets).
  • Diffuse oils that cause skin irritation, respiratory issues or allergy symptoms.
  • Leave the diffuser plugged in overnight.
  • Add essential oils to a humidifier.



  • Perform a small patch test to ensure that the oil will not cause any skin irritation.
  • Use caution when using essential oils that cause photosensitivity, or increased sensitivity to the sun. Of the best essential oils for wellness, this includes lemon and oregano.
  • Dilute oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, especially if you have sensitive skin.


  • Apply essential oils to areas of damaged, wounded, burned or infected skin.
  • Use any essential oils that cause skin irritation or allergy symptoms.
  • Apply essential oils to your eyes or ear canals.



  • Ask your doctor about any potential safety concerns or medication interactions.
  • Read the label carefully and be sure that it’s 100 percent pure, labeled as a dietary supplement and USDA organic.
  • Take only very small amounts – about 1-2 drops at a time, no more than three times daily.
  • Take essential oils internally with food.
  • Keep an eye out for any adverse side effects, such as throat irritation, rash, dizziness and nausea.


  • Use an essential oil internally if you experience mouth or throat irritation, or any other allergy symptoms.
  • Take essential oils internally with prescription medications, unless it’s under the care of your doctor.
  • Take essential oils during pregnancy before consulting your doctor.
  • Keep essential oils in an area that’s accessible to children.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.