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Essential Oil Benefits and Therapeutic Properties

Essential oils can have many benefits, and many have been used for thousands of years for therapeutic purposes. There is little scientific research on aromatherapy, and so most information about the benefits of essential oils comes from more informal sources, including historical records, the professional experience of aromatherapists, and anecdotal evidence.

Many essential oils are purported to have therapeutic properties, such as killing viruses, soothing skin, or reducing nausea. However, essential oil companies are not able to legally claim these benefits. This is because products that claim to treat or prevent a disease are classified as "drugs" by the FDA and must be evaluated for safety and efficacy. Most essential oil companies are not able to invest in FDA approval for their oils, and thus cannot vouch for their efficacy in treating various conditions.

It is thus best to use caution and common sense when using essential oils for therapeutic purposes. If you are intending to support treatment of a disease with essential oils, please seek the care of a qualified medical professional as well as a trained aromatherapist, and be sure to communicate any alternative treatment to your conventional healthcare provider. Some essential oils can have dangerous interactions with conventional drugs.

Property Description

Analgesic essential oils are noted for their ability to help the user manage pain, often by exhibiting a nerve-numbing effect.


Anti-inflammatory essential oils can help to reduce inflammation in the body.


Antibiotic essential oils are helpful in assisting the body to combat bacterial infections.


Antidepressant essential oils can help to lift the spirits, providng support in times of emotional difficulty.


Antiemetic essential oils can help to alleviate nausea and vomiting.


Antiseptic essential oils are able to combat harmful bacteria, helping to control infection.


Antispasmodic essential oils can help to relieve cramping in the intestines or uterus.


Antisudorific essential oils can help to reduce excess sweating.


Antitoxic essential oils can help to support the body's natural processes in eliminating toxins.


Antiviral essential oils are capable of killing or inhibiting the growth of certain viruses, helping to prevent or combat infection.


Aphrodisiac essential oils stimulate sexual response. Although you won't find any Love Potion #9 on this list, aphrodisiac essential oils are noted for creating warm, intimate feelings and opening the user to sensual experience.


Astringent essential oils can help to tone the skin and tighten pores.


Carminative essential oils can help the body to expel gas from the intestines.


Cholagogue essential oils stimulate bile production in the digestive system.


Deodorant essential oils reduce unpleasant odors, making them useful in cleaning and home care applications.


Digestive essential oils promote proper digestion, and can help to ease upset stomachs.


Expectorant essential oils can help the body to expel excess mucus from the lungs.


Fungicide essential oils can help to kill fungus.


Galactagogue essential oils encourage milk production in nursing mothers.


Hepatic essential oils stimulate liver function.


Immunostimulant essential oils help to strengthen the body's defenses against infection.


Nervine essential oils strengthen the nervous system.

None Known

Some essential oils and absolutes do not have any known therapeutic properties, but are used in natural perfumery for their fragrance.


Rubefacient essential oils increase blood flow when applied to the skin, producing redness and warmth in a localized area.


Sedative essential oils alleviate stress and calm the nervous system.


Stimulant essential oils create energy and may increase function of glandular systems.


Stomachic essential oils promote healthy digestive function.


Sudorific essential oils increase sweating.


Tonic essential oils are strengthening, either to the entire body or to a specific system of the body.


Uterine essential oils tone and fortify the uterus.


Vasoconstrictor essential oils cause small blood vessels (capillaries) to contract.


Vasodilator essential oils cause small blood vessels (capillaries) to expand.


Vulnerary essential oils can help to aid wound healing.