Essential Oils for Beginners: Photo Credit, Fotolia
Essential Oils for Beginners: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Essential oils are complex substances and, before you use an essential oil for the first time, you should understand both its potential benefit and the potential cautions associated with it. It can be confusing for the beginner to aromatherapy to know where you start. In addition to reading some quality aromatherapy books, it is advisable to take a course in aromatherapy to fully understand the subject of essential oils. Here are three alternate essential oils you may wish to consider as a beginner to aromatherapy.

Spearmint Essential Oil

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil is a popular essential oil that is often used by beginners to aromatherapy. However, peppermint essential oil actually contains some volatile chemical components and should not be used with, or in the vicinity of, babies and children under five years of age. Breathing difficulties may occur in the underdeveloped lungs of this age group. In addition, peppermint essential oil can cause sensitivity.

An alternative to peppermint essential oil is spearmint(Mentha spicata) essential oil. Spearmint essential oil has a less sharp aroma than peppermint essential oil, more reminiscent of a popular brand of chewing gum!Spearmint essential oil contains a less percentage of menthol, which causes possible sensitivity. Spearmint and peppermint essential oil have similar therapeutic properties. However, both essential oils should be avoided in pregnancy.

Rosalina Essential Oil

Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia) essential oil is a relatively new essential oil to the market but it can be used for similar purposes as tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil. As it contains more alcohols, it maybe more suitable for use with children. However, it is still potent enough to tackle symptoms of colds, flu, and respiratory problems.

Rosalina essential oil is not as common in usage as its more popular cousin, tea tree, but it can handle similar sorts of problems, and maybe a good alternative for beginners to aromatherapy.

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a confusing essential oil for beginners; not only is it available in various chemotypes, but the plant produces two different types of thyme essential oil: white thyme and red thyme. White thyme essential oil (high in alcohols) is considered to be the more “gentle” essential oil and is probably the best essential oil for beginners to aromatherapy. One of the most popular white thyme essential oils that is high in alcohols is usually labeled as Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool and is one that I would recommend for beginners to aromatherapy. However, there are many different chemotypes of thyme; for further reading see Shirley and Len Price’s book, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 4th Edition (2012), pp. 8 – 10.

Both white and red thyme essential oils have similar therapeutic properties.

Aromatherapy for Beginners

If you would like to learn more about essential oils, and how to use them both safely and correctly, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more.


  • Caddy, Rosemary, 1997, Essential Oils in Colour, UK: Amberwood Publishing Ltd

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

  • Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  • Price, Shirley, Price, Len, 2012, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published aromatherapy author, an approved NAHA provider, an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor of the NAHA Journal.

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