Eight Essential Oils for Health and Wellness

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When it comes to treating minor ailments, nothing seems to beat the effectiveness of essential oils.  I say this not as a healthcare professional for surely I am not, but as someone who recently dumped two drawers filled with over-the-counter remedies in favor of essential oils.  To say I am pleased would be in understatement and while a bit of experimentation has been involved, each day my confidence in these miracle-worker oils grows.

Eight Essential Oils for Health and Wellness

In the past, I have written about the amazing uses for Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Clove oils.  If you have followed closely, you will have seen patterns where the solution to some ailment may be positively treated by more than one essential oil, either singly or in combination.

The reason for this is that many essential oils have common properties, such as Antiseptic, Anesthetic, Antibiotic, Anti-Bacterial, Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Depressant.  Most essential oils will have at least two or three of these properties and sometimes more.

The goal today is not to confuse you with the various oils or combinations of oils that are out there to help with first aid and other minor health concerns.  Instead, I want to boil it down and give you a nice chart that you can keep with your medical supplies so you can easily jump to the right solution to what ails you.

But first, how do essential oils work?

How Do Essential Oils Work

The actual science behind the effectiveness of essential oils is best described by Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD as follows:

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances extracted from a variety of different parts of a plant, including the flower, bark, roots, leaves, wood, resin, seeds, or the rind (in the case of citrus fruits). The oils contain healing vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics and represent the “life force” of the plant.

Scientists agree that essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant’s immune system. In other cases they may simply be end products of metabolism. Essential oils are said to be healing because they contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins, and other natural elements that work on many levels. For example, essential oils can be sedative or stimulating. Some are antispasmodic, and most are antibacterial.  Essential oils are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs.

When you think about it in terms of gardening, this makes sense.  You plant a seed, it germinates, a plant grows, and more seeds are created.  Each plant has its own circle of life.  So, from a non-scientific and non-technical perspective, to transfer the essence of a plant to the cells of a human body means we are taking advantage of this essence for a mostly if not completely positive outcome.

Okay, enough science.  Here is the chart I have put together for you.  This is my go-to chart when I don’t have time to look something up in my essential oil bible (The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy) or online.  And don’t worry, I have created a download link for you so you can easily print out a copy for reference purposes.

8 Essential Oils for Your Health and Wellness Kit

Here they are, the 8 essential oils you need to cover a wide range of maladies,  Except for Frankincense, all are very inexpensive ($5 to $8 max) and will serve you well for a variety of conditions.


Athlete’s Foot
Insect Bites


Muscle Aches
Dry Scalp
Circulation Problems
Dry Skin
Strengthen Hair
Stress and Anxiety
Joint Pains and Arthritis
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Bad Breath
Mental Clarity


Digestion Problems

Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Respiratory Ailments and Bronchitis
Fungal, Bacterial or Viral Infections
Chicken Pox
Cold Sores
Cold and Flu
Corns and Warts
Minor Cuts and Scrapes
Insect Bites
Ring Worm
Athlete’s Foot
Head Lice
Dry Scalp


Athlete’s Foot
Colds and Flu
Cold Sores
Warts and Skin Tags
Minor Cuts and Wounds
Dull Skin
Oily Skin
Varicose Veins
Mood Enhancement
Hard Water Stains
General Cleaning Solutions
Remove Sticky Labels


Insect Stings/Bites
Skin Irritations
Diaper Rash
Gum Soreness and Infections
Digestion Problems
Menstrual Issues
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Gas and Bloating
Mild Fevers
General Cleaning Solutions


Respiratory Issues
Stress Relief
Stretch Marks
Dry Skin
Menstrual Issues
Emotional Issues
Cold and Flu

Clove Bud

Sore Gums and Throat
Insect Repellent
Tension Headache
Stress Relief
Pain Relief

A Note About Quality

There are many companies that make and sell essential oils. It is beyond the scope of this article to evaluate the effectiveness of one brand over another however I do have my favorites.  First let me say this: there is no official system that grades essential oils as A, B, C or therapeutic grade. That is bogus and if any website claims their essential oil is “FDA” or otherwise approved, run for the hills since it is marketing hype and not fact.

On the other hand, a company may legitimately indicate that their oils are of a “therapeutic grade” (without reference to certification) which will likely mean it is manufactured according to strict standards of purity.  That may also mean that under certain conditions, the essential oils may be taken internally (not something I have tried).

So here is the scoop.  For wellness purposes I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  There are a lot reasons the most important being their commitment to both quality and value.  I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical-grade purity.

For cleaning solutions and DIY household products, I tend to use essential oils from NOW Foods (available at Amazon).  They are inexpensive to the point of being downright cheap and they work.  I use and recommend both brands.

Note: If you do decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, you will receive a 10% discount by using the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.  I do earn a small commission on your purchases.

Please keep in mind that I am not a healthcare or medical professional and when in doubt, consult with your own physician regarding the use of essential oils for a particular ailment.

The Final Word

Once you start using essential oils, it is easy to get downright evangelistic about them even to the point of becoming preachy.  That said, they really do work and can play a vital role in a potential survival situation where over the counter remedies are in short supply or non-existent.  The beauty of essential oils is that they take up little room, store well, and perhaps best of all, a little bit goes a long way.

A printable chart showing the 8 essential oils for health and wellness can be downloaded here.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Spotlight Item:  After a ton of research, for wellness purposes I am now using essential oils from Spark Naturals.  There are a lot reasons the most important being their commitment to both quality and value.  I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical grade purity.

One of my favorite SN products is the Health and Wellness Kit which includes all of my favorites all of those referenced in this article but Clove Bud.   Be sure to use the discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL to receive a 10% discount.


Bargain Bin: Here are some things to get you started with using essential oil plus the items you need to make your own scrubs, salves, lotions and potions including Miracle Healing Salve.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: I first became interested in aromatherapy and essential oils in the early 90s which was before they really became mainstream. I read every book I could get my hands on and dabbled at creating synergy’s (a combination of two or more oils that create a chemical compound that is greater than the some of its individual components). My bible then, and even now, is this book.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price from Amazon.  Here are a few to get you started:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These are what you need for the Miracle Salve: Lavender essential oil,  Rosemary essential oil, and Peppermint essential oil.  For the DIY scrub, you can use just the Peppermint or any combination of E.O.s that are pleasing to you.

Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil:  Once you start using coconut oil, you will be hooked.  This is the fractionated coconut oil I used in my scrub (mixed with a bit of olive oil).

White Plastic Jar with Dome Lid 2 Oz (12 Per Bag):  I chose to use these small ointment jars rather than Mason jars for my salve.  I also have similar jars in the 1 ounce size.

Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz:  I ordered the white pastilles but have since learned that the natural yellow pastilles are better.  That said, the difference may not be discernable – just be sure that what you purchase is cosmetic grade.

Glass Droppers, Pack of 6: I bought a package of these and loved them.  When I went to re-order, I accidentally ordered plastic instead glass droppers.  Learn from my mistake.  The price is the same so get the glass ones.

Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:  So far I am pleased with the Nutiva Coconut Oil.  It is pure-white, USDA-certified-organic, extra-virgin coconut oil that is cold-pressed from fresh coconuts within two hours of chopping. No refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees. I was able to easily liquefy a small amount and put it in a 4 ounce squeeze bottle where I re-liquefy by putting this smaller bottle in a glass of hot tap water.  I paid $26.99 which included free shipping.

ZAQ Dew Aromatherapy Diffuser:  This essential oil diffuser uses water and essential oils to make make a mist of micro-particles and disperse them into the air. No heating or burning means the properties of the oil are not broken down. Low energy use. The really cool thing is that the light (which can be turned off) changes colors all by its own self.  Very soothing and I love it!


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Eight Essential Oils for Health and Wellness — 19 Comments

  1. Do you know of an eo that would be good to put in a room humidifier? Since the humidifier works by evaporation I would think the eo would need to evaporate at about the same rate and not leave any residue. I usually wake with a sinus headache when the humidity is low and thought an eo in addition to the humidifier would possibly help even more.

    • Jim – I use EOs in a diffuser and they do leave a bit of an oily residue. I would check with the manufacturer before using them in a humidifier. On the other hand, a diffuser puts out a good amount of steam and you could use it on your nightstand. They really work well and are intended to be used with essential oils so there is little likelihood of damage. You just need to wipe our the inside with a rag periodically.

    • I put the oil on a cotton ball and just stick the ball in the slits. Just enough to hold the ball in. I don’t use a humidifier but have done this with swamp coolers, ACs, and an air purifier. Hope this helps.

        • Jim – I have read that Eucalyptus is good for a sinus headache although I have not used it for that purpose myself. The old standby E.O.s for headaches are lavender and peppermint. All three are inexpensive allowing you to experiment to see what works best for you.

  2. Thank you Gaye for getting deeper into issues we are looking for. An old friend came by yesterday and when 2 old people get together, we talk of health problems. She said her doc had taken her off her arthritis meds as it was killing her. She had been off for some time but the alternative meds were not doing the job, so she told her doc she didn’t care about the side effects, she needed relief and put her back on the meds that killed the pain.
    You list Rosemary as a help for arthritis. How do you use it? Just make the salve with EVOO, coconut oil, and bees wax and rub on the effected area? With her it would be a body rub.

    • I use the salve for everything! Sometimes, instead of making up a new salve (plain ole salve – I still nee to write about it) I simply add extra drops of the desired oil to the Miracle Healing Salve. So in the case of your friend, I would probably add 10 more drops of the Rosemary to the basic salve and see how that worked.

      For awhile I was using Spark Naturals Amend on Shelly’s arthritis (hands). It is expensive (the Amend). He said the Miracle Salve worked just the same so I went back to that. Sometimes I use Eucalyptus and Marjoram – I tend to switch things around but a variation on the basic salve seems to be the best.

      BTW, I purchased some of those 1/2 oz jars at Amazon (10 for about $5) so I make up special blends (Miracle Healing Salve + extra drops of this or that).

      For a whole body massage, you could also add the oils to fractionated coconut oil. Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory so that might help as well.

      Shelly tells me that the benefit of the E.O.s is cumulative but I have not researched that point. He also wants to start taking oregano oil internally. That is a topic for some other time.

    • I am far from an expert on them, but I think they are mostly used for aromatherapy or as a body rub, to be applied topically, more than a drink or food additive. There are some that can be taken internally, but use caution and make sure they will not cause more harm. Gaye has several posts about using eo’s and recommends some reading for more information.

  3. Hello,
    I love the whole essential oil suggestion and appreciate your guide listing the proposed ailments/indications and which oils or combos might be used to treat it.
    Now, can we take it even further and imagine ourselves really in a survival situation (one where there is no mail order oils to send for) where all we have is the dried leaves or plants. Shouldn’t we look into the idea of how we can extract the essential oils from the dried form of whatever we have or whatever we know is abundant in our area, like Rosemary or Eucalyptis, so we might be able to create our own? Or at least get close. For example, if we wish to make it consumable maybe we could use some kind of liquor as a solvent to pull the oils from the rosemary and soak, strain and use as directed.
    Maybe for topical applications we could use isopropyl rubbing alcohol as our solvent for those things that are soluble, or perhaps even water if applicable.
    Thanks for any information you might add and for all that you’ve provided thus far.

  4. I was so pumped about making your Miracle Salve in an attempt to help heal my eczema which has suddenly re-erupted about being primarily dormant for 25 years. I made it as directed and even had my son using it on his heals after a lot of running (he’s 9 said it helped some) and my husband to help with inflammation on his bone spur (he said it was ok–but I’ll bet it helped with those dry feet). Unfortunately, me not so much. My eczema actually got worse and is dry and cracking and pretty painful. I stopped using the Miracle Salve but respect the healing components of it’s ingredients. Long story to get to my question and here it is: I have noticed over the years that when I use anything with an “oil” base, I have problems–typically big problems. I have never been able to use Vaseline or anything with lanolin. So, is there a “recipe” that creates a cream/lotion versus the coconut/olive oil based salve? I really want to get this healed but nothing seems to work. Can I mix the essential oils in with my lotions? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks–love your site and have shared it with many.

    • I was just reading about EOs and the best ones for eczema.. Your right that you shouldn’t be using any oil base. Use aloe versa gel.. for dry eczema use two parts geranium and spike lavenderwith one part calophyllum inophyllum into an aloe gel at 2%. For weeping eczema use rock rose, rosemary verbenone and one part calophyllum worked into the gel at 2% for eczema with pustules use .Eucalyptus corridors,lentiscus pistachius,thyme thuyanol,and laurus nobilis two parts the oil blend with the one part calophyllum in the aloe gel so that it is 2% blend into the aloe

  5. Love your blog and the great ‘prepping’ information you provide for us all! I can’t think of any other ‘prepper’ blog that I’ve read that includes the use of essential oils as important health preparation for emergency AND every day use! Quality is so important! I’ve mostly used, and love, Spark Naturals EOs. Though I’m sure I will still use theirs for things I can’t find elsewhere, I have found a new line of EOs that is launching on Sept 25th and will be the only “Clinical Grade” EOs available with proven, patented technology from a Harvard PhD who developed the science behind the oils and will finally be able to SHOW proof of how the oils interact with our body and cells. I’m excited to get my hands on more than just the samples of Améo EOs I have now. Thanks again for all of your great Prepping Resources!

  6. Just wondering, in how large of a room can I use the above-named diffuser? I would like do use one in my living room as well as in my bedroom, both of which are very large.

    • The diffuser in my bedroom is about eight feet away from my bed. What I find is that depending on what oil or oils are used, sometimes I can barely smell them. My nose may be becoming immune; hard to tell. In my research, I have read that physical proximity to the diffuser is not critical since the oils are dispersed into the air throughout the room. Still, if I am going to spend the money on good oils, I want to smell them in addition to reaping their healing benefits.

      One thing I have noticed is that stronger oils carry further. I can “smell” Shield from ten feet away but lavender not so much.

      For that reason (becoming immune to the smell), I tend to mix things up using one oil one day (or night) and another the next. In my office, a diffuser sits on my desk perhaps three feet from where I sit. I am positive that I am getting maximum benefit with the diffuser being that close. I tend to mostly using the ZEN blend while working and when I am super stressed, I become calm, relaxed and focused. I also use a combination of Rosemary and Peppermint for the same reason.

      My advice is to do some trial and error to see what works best. I have 3 diffusers and plan on getting a 4th this week while they are on sale.

  7. I have read some post about essential oils and one of the popular types is lavender. It smells comfortably. I think the knowledge about many types of essential oils to cover and mix them to use for particular favorite is very important. 8 essential oils that need to cover a wide range of maladies is very helpful.

  8. There’s nothing more comforting or invigorating than a home scented with essential oils. I am a huge fan of lavender essential oil. Thanks for 8 essential oil chart. btw, thanks for sharing your food book too Gaye:)

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