Move over tea tree and eucalyptus—these underrated oils are about to become staples in your wellness routine.
Unique Essential Oils & How to Use Them
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ICYMI, essential oils may have some wonderful health benefits—whether you're just inhaling their scent or actually applying them topically. While you're likely familiar with essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and rosemary, there are a plethora out there that have probably never crossed your path.
Here, some unknown essential oils expand your natural healing horizon—plus recipes for how to use them in your own aromatherapy and DIY beauty experiments.
Photo: Aura Cacia
Carrot Seed Essential Oil
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Sure, carrots are great in your salad—but have you ever thought about harnessing the power of their seeds? Carrot seed essential oil is a powerful clearing oil—both topically and emotionally, says Charlynn Avery, aromatherapist and national educator for Aura Cacia. "It's used in topical beauty formulas for anti-aging as it helps regenerate the skin and prevent wrinkles," says Gabrielle Francis, a naturopathic doctor, owner of The Herban Alchemist in New York City, and author of The Rockstar Remedy. "Because it's a strong antibacterial agent, it can be useful for acne and skin infections too."
Black Pepper Essential Oil
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Black pepper essential oil is distilled directly from the dried berries (a.k.a. peppercorns) of the pepper plant, according to Avery. "It's good for indigestion because it helps the stomach produce Hydrochloric acid, the enzyme that helps digest protein and fats and absorb B vitamins and minerals," says Francis. Because it's a strong anti-inflammatory, it can also be used for muscle and joint pain and soreness. (Try this recipe for black pepper massage oil for your post-workout DOMS.)
Atlas Cedarwood Essential Oil
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Cedarwood essential oil may help bring on an overdue menstrual cycle, according to Francis. "It's also helpful for pain and cramps associated with PMS," she says. Plus, you can use it as a DIY bug repellant (like these other natural ways to stave off bugs). It can also help cleanse your scalp and hair, according to Avery. (Try this scalp and hair oil treatment.)
Fresh Ginger Essential Oil
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This magical root is chock full of health benefits, like aiding digestion and reducing post-workout soreness. The essential oil is no different; ginger essential oil is best known for its usefulness in nausea and indigestion, says Francis, and can be used topically as a muscle warming agent and anti-inflammatory. Try this ginger foot soak recipe to ease your aching arches after a long run or day in unforgiving shoes.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
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"Helichrysium essential oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory and has natural steroid-like properties," says Francis, which makes it a useful remedy for scar tissue and muscles adhesions. Sourced from the French island of Corsica, helichrysium is super soothing for the skin, says Avery. (Try this helichrysum massage oil recipe for preventing scars or this helichrysium bath oil for your next soak in the tub.)
Nutmeg Essential Oil
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Nutmeg might feel more Christmas vacay than 9-to-5, but the essential oil is good for your focus, according to Avery—making it great for workspaces. "It can help symptoms of poor memory, fatigue, and depression," says Francis. Try spritzing a homemade nutmeg oil body spray before a study sesh or tough project.
Cardamom Essential Oil
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Warm and spicy cardamom is great for spiking mental focus in a calm way, says Avery. Plus, it's used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures, according to Francis. These properties make it great for home diffusions like this cardamom diffuser recipe. (Need a straight-up energy boost instead? Try this energy-boosting essential oil mix.)
Myrrh Essential Oil
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Myrrh might seem a bit mysterious (after all, it is a resin extracted from a small, thorny tree species... not exactly something you'd buy at the grocery store). But the essential oil is a "powerhouse of support for the body," says Avery. Because it's a potent anti-inflammatory, it can be used for pain and injuries and may even help heal skin infections and open wounds, according to Francis. (Try it in this meditative oil diffusion.)
Lime Essential Oil
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Don't just save lime for your margaritas—this citrus essential oil is high in antioxidants and may have some anti-aging and brightening skin benefits, according to Francis. It can be used on varicose veins as well—though you have to be careful using the oil (when it's a cold-pressed version) in direct sunlight, says Avery. Just the smell of the lime oil can also encourage bright and happy emotions (just like those margaritas). (To score a get-happy boost around the clock, clean your house with energy-boosting essential oils like lime.)
Vetiver Essential Oil
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You may not know it, but vetiver essential oil is popular in many fragrance blends, according to Avery. Vetiver essential oil promotes relaxation and rest, and can be used to help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia, according to Francis. Avery recommends settling in with vetiver before bed or using it in a massage oil to really chill out.