About Essential Oils

Swindon Pulse has a good range of essential oils in stock, and others can be obtained within a week or two, depending on availability. Prices range from £3.50 for most of the common oils and up to £30 for some of the more specialist ones.

This is not supposed to be a definitive guide on how to use essential oils, just some general information on their uses and more importantly when not to use them. If in doubt about any medical condition always consult a doctor and if you wish for more specialist information or have pre-existing medical conditions that require medication always consult a qualified aromatherapist. Not all oils are safe for all people regardless of state of health and your existing medication may contra-indicate the use of some oils. Essential oils are a complementary therapy, not an alternative to medication from your GP. However most oils will be ok for most people, most of the time, as long as you are sensible about their use. Nearly all oils are harmful when you are pregnant, so always consult a qualified aromatherapist if you are pregnant or trying to be so.

If your interest is sparked by this guide there are many good books on essential oils, two of which are quoted in this guide and of course, further education colleges often run courses on aromatherapy, from one day taster courses to full qualification.

There are many more oils than are sold by Swindon Pulse, although we have a large range compared to many shops, if you wish for a particular oil that we do not stock, please ask and we will be happy to get it for you if we can, also larger quantities of both essential and base oils.

    BASIL Could be helpful for sinus problems, headaches and deep muscle aches. Also good for insect bites, bee and wasp stings. Avoid when pregnant, as it can cause miscarriage. Can be a soporific when used to excess.   BENZOIN Can be helpful for wind, helps skin retain its elasticity, and helps ease congestion due to colds. Is also used as a mild calmative Avoid when you need to be awake and alert, could make you drowsy when driving!   BERGAMOT Can help digestive problems, is an excellent insect repellent and helps to keep animals away from your plants. Can be calming and refreshing, helpful with stress related skin problems and acne. Avoid if going out into the sun as it can make you more likely to get burned, can irritate sensitive skins.   BLACK PEPPER Helpful when you have a cold, pulled muscles and just about anything that needs warming. Good for digestion and bruises. Could over stimulate the kidneys and cause skin irritation.       CAJUPUT Helpful for colds and flu, aches and pains, insect bites and spots. May irritate the skin if used in high concentrations   CAMPHOR Can be used for colds and flu and also for muscle aches. Insect repellent. This oil is harmful in the environment and to marine life. Avoid when pregnant, overdosing could cause vomiting and even convulsions.   CEDARWOOD Some find it helpful for oily skins and dandruff. Is said to help nervous conditions and to be calming. Helpful with colds and flu. Best avoided during pregnancy, may irritate some skins if used in quantity.   CELERY SEED Appears to be useful for acne and eczema, insect bites, sensitive skin, arthritis, muscular aches and pains, sprains, dyspepsia, indigestion and nausea, stress related headaches and migraine. Causes dermatitis in some people.   CHAMOMILE Many people find it helpful for sleep problems, aches and pains, soothing to the skin, helpful for premenstrual irritability and the menopause. Avoid when pregnant as it can cause bleeding.   CITRONELLA Citronella is mostly used as an insect repellent, found in candles and incense made especially for the purpose. It can also be used in oil burners. Some people find citronella to be irritating to the skin.   CLARY SAGE Clary Sage is most often used to aid relaxation and sleeplessness. Some women find it helpful for period pains, as it is for any other cramping aches. Avoid if driving, Clary Sage can be very sedative. Do not drink alcohol when using this oil. Some people find this oil can give them headaches especially when used to excess.   CLOVE Clove oil is most commonly used for toothache, whilst it is helpful for other conditions it is best applied locally to a small area. Can be a skin irritant, best not used for massage except with the advice of a qualified aromatherapist.   CORIANDER Coriander has a warming effect on the stomach and may help to increase the appetite. It is mildly antispasmodic as well as giving an uplifting feeling. Can irritate some sensitive skins and be stupefying in large doses.   CYPRESS Calming and soothing, may be useful when feeling irritated due to PMS. A good insecticide. It also has some deodorant qualities. Do not use when pregnant.   ELEMI Seems to have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of colds, is said to stimulate the immune system and help the lungs to expel phlegm. It appears to have an uplifting effect on the mind. Can irritate sensitive skins.   EUCALYPTUS Said to be soothing to the respiratory tract, hence it often being used for colds and hayfever. Seems to have of benefit to some rheumatic conditions. May affect homeopathic remedies. Use in small quantities only. Do not use if suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy.   FENNEL Said to be a good digestive, relieving wind and indigestion. Said to be helpful for the effects of indulgence of all kinds, including hangovers. Avoid if suffering from epilepsy, avoid if pregnant. May cause skin sensitisation over a period of time.   FRANKINCENSE Calming to the mind, allegedly good for mature skins, and is said to be soothing for head colds and other catarrhal conditions. There are no known side effects, but do not overindulge and check with an aromatherapist if you are pregnant.   GERANIUM Said to be good for oily skins and the circulation. Avoid when pregnant.   GINGER A warming oil said to be good for colds and flu. Helpful to the digestion and for calming and uplifting the mind. Can irritate sensitive skins.   GRAPEFRUIT Said to be helpful with acne, slightly stimulating to the mind. Can be helpful for PMS and migraine. Avoid strong sunlight if using this oil.   HYSSOP Apparently helpful for coughs colds and sore throats, tonsillitis, catarrh, indigestion, fatigue and stress related conditions. Avoid when pregnant or if epileptic. Use in small quantities only.   JASMINE Said to be good for throat infections such as laryngitis and coughs and colds. Can be used to help feelings of listlessness and apathy. Seems to be ok for most people, some may have a skin reaction.   JUNIPER Said to useful for relieving the rheumatic disorders, colds, flu and infections, acne and oily complexions. Also calming anxiety and stress related conditions. Must not be used when pregnant or by those who have kidney problems. Use in moderation at all times.   LAVENDER Can be helpful for acne, dandruff, insect bites and stings, sunburn, muscular aches and pains, catarrh, nausea, cramps, flatulence, flu, PMS, headaches and stress related conditions. Avoid if you have low blood pressure and in the first months of pregnancy.   LEMON Said to helpful in relieving acne, greasy skin, arthritis and rheumatism, catarrh, colds and flu. Do not use on skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight. May cause some to have a skin irritation.   LEMONGRASS An insect repellent. Helpful for acne, muscular pain, stress related conditions and headaches. Some people may become sensitised to it over time, others may have skin irritation.   LIME See lemon   MANDARIN Can be used for acne and oily skins, dyspepsia, nervous tension and restlessness. Maybe phototoxic, do not go out in strong sunlight after using.   MARJORAM Can be used where there are feelings of cold and stiffness in the joints, congestion with head colds, period pain, stress relief. Can cause drowsiness, avoid when pregnant.   MELISSA Also known as lemon balm, can be helpful for insect repellent, headaches, period pain, nausea and flatulence. Avoid when pregnant, can irritate sensitive skin.   (PEPPER)MINT Can be used for acne, toothache, muscular pains, sinusitis, dyspepsia, flatulence and nausea, mental fatigue, migraine and stress. Use in moderation, otherwise appears to be non toxic or irritating.   (SPEAR)MINT Similar to those of peppermint, but milder.   MARIGOLD Said to be very helpful in aiding the healing of skin conditions such as burns, cuts, eczema and insect bites.   MYRHH Can be used for mature complexions, chapped skin, arthritis, catarrh, coughs, gum infections, mouth ulcers, dyspepsia, and flatulence. Do not use when pregnant.   NEROLI Reputedly good for dry and mature skins, wrinkles and stretch marks. Headaches and tearfulness and irritability due PMS and menopause. Calming to the mind. As it is calming, be careful if driving or doing other things which require concentration.   NIAOULI Can be helpful for acne, insect bites, muscular aches and pains, sinusitis, catarrhal conditions, Colds and flu.   NUTMEG Can be used to help with the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism, muscular aches and pains. Also can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of indigestion and flatulence. Do not use this oil without consulting a qualified aromatherapist.   ORANGE Seems to be a good general skin tonic, can be helpful for indigestion and also appears to be calming for the mind. Can be phototoxic so do not use this oil if going out in the sun. Use in moderation, can irritate sensitive skins with overuse.   PALMAROSA Calming and uplifting to the spirits, and a good digestive, said to be good for aging skins.   PATCHOULI Can be helpful to rough cracked and aging skins. It is claimed to be deodorising and good for water retention. Can be soporific at low doses, be careful when using this oil, if you need to drive or operate machinery.   PETTIGRAIN Said to be good for stress, a deodorant, and a good tonic for both skin and hair.   PINE Refreshing to the mind, good for getting rid of fleas, it is said to be antibacterial and is helpful for sinusitis and nasal congestion. Use in small doses only, may cause irritation of the skin.   ROSE Good for raising the spirits, aging and mature skins, sore throats and coughs. Avoid when pregnant.   ROSEMARY Said to be good as a tonic for dandruff and for the hair in general, muscle aches and digestive problems may also benefit from this oil. Do not use when pregnant or if suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy.   ROSEWOOD Can be used as an insect repellent, is said to help the body recover from infections, good for rehydrating the skin, good for overburdened and vexed minds.   SANDALWOOD Calming to the body and mind, may help with heartburn and is said to be helpful with dry coughs and sore throats. Avoid if feeling depressed.     TEA TREE This oil is said to be antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral and also good for colds and flu. Can help acne and warts. For sore throat, add a few drops to some warm water and gargle. Some sensitive skins may react badly with this oil.   VALERIAN Reputedly useful for insomnia. Use in moderation, as it can cause drowsiness. Can cause skin irritation in some people.   VERTIVERT Can be used to help the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism, relaxing to the body and relaxing and uplifting to the mind.   YLANG YLANG Said To be useful in balancing sebum production in hair and scalp. Do not use for long periods as it may cause headaches and nausea.         Two books have been used for information in compiling this short guide. The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless, Element Books 1992 The Directory of Essential Oils, by Wanda Sellar, Daniel Books,2001