5 Essential Oils You Should Always Have In Your Medicine Cabinet

The most effective and versatile essential oil picks for everyday ailments.

April 11, 2017
essential oil in medicine cabinet

If you like the idea of using more natural remedies, at some point, you’ve probably wandered over to the display of essential oils at the health food store.

Those dark, tiny bottles pack some potent stuff. The right essential oil can affect your mood, tackle first aid problems, help you lose weight, and even make you less miserable when you’re in the throes of a cold or allergies. But which one does which?

Figuring out which essential oils to stock can be a little overwhelming. The good news: You don’t actually have to begin with buying every single bottle on the store shelf all at once. We spoke with natural health expert Elizabeth Trattner, AP, DOM, on her top 5 essential oils to keep on hand for everyday ailments. Consider these picks your essential oil starter kit.

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get clever kitchen tricks, gardening secrets, and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

lavender essential oil

You might’ve already heard that lavender’s calming properties can soothe stress and help lull you to sleep. Those things alone make the floral essential oil worth having around. 

But lavender also boasts analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties that could ease muscle pain. It’s also a valuable part of your first aid kit: Lavender’s antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial properties can help burns heal faster, Trattner says. It’s also effective for bee stings, keeping inflammation and infection at bay. To try it, add a few drops directly to the affected area. (Here are 7 cool things we never knew lavender could do!)

Find Aura Cacia lavender oil at Amazon.com

eucalyptus essential oil
JGI/Jamie Grill/getty

Keep this oil around to cope with a cold or sinus infection. Eucalyptus’ fresh, minty scent does wonders for clearing mucus and congestion so you can breathe easier. Try adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of hot water, draping a towel around your head, and inhaling the steam, Trattner recommends. Or, infuse rooms with the scent of eucalyptus by using an essential oil diffuser. Just avoid applying eucalyptus essential oil directly to your skin—it can create an uncomfortable burning sensation. (Here are 6 more times you should never use essential oils.)

Find Aura Cacia eucalyptus oil at Amazon.com

mint essential oil
Catalina-Gabriela Molnar/getty

Make this cool, refreshing oil your go-to for headaches and tummy troubles, suggests Trattner. Applying a peppermint essential oil to the forehead and temples could be as effective at easing tension headaches as taking 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, according to German research. But before you do, we recommend diluting it in a carrier oil like grapeseed oil first (about 12 drop of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil) to help prevent any potential skin irritation. Drinking peppermint tea can also calm the muscles of the stomach. Peppermint’s anti-spasmodic properties enhance digestion by boosting the flow of bile, and also ease bloating by allowing digestive gases to pass. (Check out these 7 surprising health benefits of mint.) 

Find Aura Cacia peppermint oil at Amazon.com

tea tree oil
IMAGEMORE Co, Ltd./getty
Tea Tree

Tea tree oil’s antifungal, anti-inflammatory properties make it a true multi-tasker. Findings suggest that tea tree oil may help keep acne and blemishes at bay, fight nail fungus and athlete’s foot, speed wound healing combat head lice, and even ease itching caused by yeast infections. Tea tree oil is highly volatile, so it’s important to use it with a carrier oil and avoid applying it directly to skin, Trattner says. Don’t ingest it either, since it can be toxic if swallowed. (Here are 8 cool ways to use tea tree oil).

Find Aura Cacia tea tree oil at Amazon.com

rosemary essential oil

Keep rosemary essential oil on hand to give your brain a boost. The invigorating, piney scent acts as a stimulant to help fight fatigue, Trattner says. It could even improve memory and cognition, according to British research. Try adding a few drops to a spray bottle filled with distilled water along with freshly grated lemon and orange zests, Trattner recommends. (Or you can use it in this 3-ingredient room spray.) Whenever you need a perk, just spritz and sniff.   

Find Aura Cacia rosemary oil at Amazon.com

Related: How To Make A Healing Body Oil In Your Slow Cooker