Friday, 2 May 2014

Wellbeing at home: Diffusing essential oils for wellbeing

I find scents exceptionally helpful in all sorts of situations. Essential oils can uplift, calm and energise you, they can even help you with a horrid cold or offer wonderful variety as perfume oils. Wanting to know more about how to use essential oils for wellbeing at home, I asked a professional. That professional happens to be the lovely Katharine over at Poppy KB who kindly wrote this wonderful guide, enjoy.

Diffusing essential oils at home can be a brilliant way to enjoy, and benefit from, essential oils’ therapeutic properties. I think it’s one of the most effective and pleasurable ways to use essential oils - I highly recommend you give it a try if you’re not already diffusing essential oils!

The benefits of using an essential oil diffuser? 

When you diffuse an essential oil, or perhaps a blend of different essential oils, the beauty is that you are not only creating an aromatic atmosphere that can help improve your mood. If you choose to diffuse essential oils that have strong antimicrobial, antiseptic or antiviral properties, for example, the oils will be purifying the air as their molecules are gently dispersed into the air by the diffuser. It’s an excellent way to help support your physical wellbeing! 

So exactly what is an essential oil? 
An essential oil is a natural extract from an aromatic plant. Essential oils occur widely in the plant kingdom, for example in plants’ flowers, leaves and fruits, and also in stems, roots and other parts of plants. However not all plants contain essential oils.
Extracted from a single botanical source, essential oils are highly complex substances. An essential oil can contain over 100 different naturally occurring chemical constituents (such as aldehydes, ketones, esters...). It is the combination of these different constituents which give an essential oil its unique therapeutic properties and odour.
 And did you know that despite being called essential ‘oils’ their consistency is more like water than oil? They are also volatile - they easily evaporate

"instantly create a lovely mood-boosting atmosphere, whilst also improving the quality of air in your home"


My top 5 essential oils for diffusing at home to support wellbeing
So. What oils to use if you want to purify and freshen the air in your home to support your wellbeing? I recommend the following oils:
  1. Lemon (Citrus limonum) - a brilliant antiseptic, antimicrobial oil (excellent to diffuse at the first symptoms of a cold. Also highly uplifting & energising. Lemon oil is obtained from the peel of lemons by a process known as ‘cold expression’)
Lemon is a highly uplifting and cleansing oil, with a fresh, sweet and citrussy aroma. It blends well with many other essential oils, especially all citrus oils. 
  1. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) - another great antiseptic, antibacterial essential oil (with a refreshing & revitalising effect. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the herb of Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is an incredibly revitalising and stimulating oil, with a fresh, pungent and minty aroma. An excellent choice of oil to refresh, focus concentration and help you feel re-invigorated. 
  1. Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) - antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal (an excellent oil to diffuse to purify air. Tea tree oil is steam or water-distilled from the leaves and twigs of Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree is a stimulating oil with a fresh, strong aroma - an excellent, revitalising oil to diffuse which also blends well with other strongly antiseptic oils such as lemon and eucalyptus. 
  1. Eucalyptus radiata (Eucalyptus radiata) - this has antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral properties (the oil is steam-distilled from the fresh or partially dried leaves of Eucalyptus radiata)
With a fresh, gently herbaceous and woody undertone, Eucalyptus Radiata is refreshing and has a softer and warmer aroma than 'Eucalyptus globulus' - the variety of eucalyptus that is most commonly used. 
  1. Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) - antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral (also an excellent oil to diffuse, especially at the first symptoms of a cold. The oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the ravensara tree)
Ravensara is a stimulating and warming oil with a fresh, warm aroma - an excellent tonic. A great, revitalising oil to diffuse whenever you feel in need of a pick me up. 

Choosing a diffuser:
 If you’re wanting to start diffusing essential oils at home, I highly recommend investing in a diffuser that has a speed functionality. With this, you will be able to control the speed and strength at which the essential oil(s) are diffused.

How to use a diffuser:
Wanting a gentle, soft effect? Diffuse the oils at a low speed.
Want a strong, powerful effect? Turn the diffuser up to full speed! 

There are many different types of essential oil diffusers on the market. A quick search on Google will bring up hundreds of hits. As an aromatherapist, I have tried quite a few! My particular favourite one to use is called an Aroma Stream (pictured). Why? It’s highly effective and super-simple to use. You just need to sprinkle a few drops of your favourite essential oil(s) onto a pad (pictured), twist it into the base of the unit, and switch ‘on’ (I tend to leave my diffuser on for 20-25 minutes max). And that’s it! You’ll instantly create a lovely mood-boosting atmosphere, whilst also improving the quality of air in your home. 

Do you diffuse essential oils at home? Do you have an all-time favourite essential oil whose aroma you absolutely love?

About the author: super-passionate about the therapeutic properties of essential oils, Katharine Buckley is a Member of the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists and co-founder of Poppy KB - a small, independent aromatherapy & wellbeing business founded in 2013. She was trained in aromatherapy & essential oil science by the brilliant tutors at Neal’s Yard Remedies School of Natural Health. Follow Katharine on Twitter (@PoppyKB_London) + on her blog! (


  1. Lovely post Liz, I love using aromatherapy too and citrus oils are my favourite, along with geranium (so balancing). I spent a long time living in the Middle East where it's common to use cardamom and ginger essential oils in a carrier of nigella seed oil as a chest rub for coughs and colds - works a treat! x

  2. I have always just used an oil burner, but am wondering whether this may be more effective x

  3. I don't diffuse them but I like to use lavender, tea tree and orange oils!

  4. It's my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your awesome posts here. I like that a lot.

    essential oils, baby

  5. Tea tree oil is a great general disinfectant and can be effectively used to treat genito-urinary tract infections such as thrush, vaginitis, cystitis and pruitis.
    Tea tree oil has properties that act as a immune booster. It helps equip the body to fight off a host of infections. Using tea tree oil is particularly effective if the body is already in a weakened condition due to illness, stress or prolonged treatment-involving antibiotics that lead to a reduction of the body's natural resistance.scalp treatment

  6. i love lemon oil the most. it really good for my health
    Lucy @Diffuser Expert

  7. Just bought new Oil diffuserI have been waiting for you to talk about essential oils! Thank you so much. I feel like all the information out there is either too liberal or too conservative. I would absolutely love to hear more if you’re willing to write about oils with children, babies

  8. I love the different blends of essential oils. My last discovery - it isop and rosmary. Thank you very much.