An article about my best aromatherapy oils for common conditions. Compiled by professional aromatherapist and author Sharon Falsetto.
Everyone has their favorites – and aromatic opinion on what constitutes as a good carrier oil in aromatherapy practice varies widely. Several factors dictate why you would use a specific carrier oil – including age, condition, availability, cost, and contra-indications – but there are some carrier oils which win out, in my opinion, for various conditions time and time again. Here’s my best aromatherapy oils for common conditions!
Best Aromatherapy Oils for Bruises: Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is actually an infused oil. The flowers are infused in another carrier oil base, such as sunflower (Helianthus annuus) to obtain the therapeutic properties contained within the plant. The blossoms contain ingredients such as an essential oil, carotenoids, saponins, flavonoid glycosides, and other components. However, the chemical components of the final infused oil will depend upon the type of vegetable oil used in the infusion process. Calendula oil is usually orange-yellow in color.
Calendula has historically been used for healing for centuries. Some of its historic uses have been for bed sores, wounds, burns, varicose veins, and as an astringent. It has been noted for its anti-inflammatory, emmenagogic, and antispasmodic properties. It is very good for the skin and I can personally vouch for its effectiveness in healing bad bruises. Simply apply daily over the bruise and watch the healing begin! This is also a child-friendly oil to use for little ones.
This study, The Impact of Aloe vera and Calendula on Perineal Healing after Episiotomy in Primiparous Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial, showed that the use of “Aloe vera and Calendula ointment considerably increases the speed of episiotomy wound healing.”1
Best Aromatherapy Oils for Pain (Inflammation): Apricot Kernel (Prunis armeniaca) Oil
Apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) oil was one of the very first carrier oils that I learned to work with. It quickly became a favorite of mine due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The carrier oil is obtained from the cold expression of fruit of the apricot tree. Its closely related to cherry and peach kernel which also produce a carrier oil.
Apricot kernel oil contains oleic acid (over 50%), linoleic acid (over 25%), small traces of palmitic acid, stearic acid and other components. It is pale yellow in color. Apricot kernel oil is excellent for skin care because it is a nourishing oil and an emollient. It is suitable in use for sensitive and dry skin, in addition to being of benefit to mature skin; apricot kernel oil can also help relieve skin conditions such as eczema. For me personally, it ranks as one of my favorite carrier oils as I can personally attest for its use in pain caused by inflammation. In this study, Anti-inflammatory effect of Prunus armeniaca L. (Apricot) extracts ameliorates TNBS-induced colitis in rats, it was found that: “These data suggest that apricot kernel extracts (with or without oil) can be introduced for further mechanistic and clinical studies as a complementary medicine for inflammatory bowel disorders.”2
Apricot kernel oil can be used in conjunction with a suitable essential oil blend to further enhance its effects on pain and inflammation.
Best Aromatherapy Oils for Aging Skin: Rosehip (Rosa canina L.) Oil
Rosehip (Rosa canina L.) oil is one of those carrier oils that you want to combine with others in a blend. Two reasons: It’s expensive and less-is-more with this one due to its richness. I have memories of rosehips in gardens and hedgerows growing up in England, long before I knew its value as a carrier oil in aromatherapy.
The rose hip – the red berry of the rose – is the valuable component of the carrier oil and it is the presence of carotenoids which gives the rose hips their bright red color. Rosehip oil is golden red in color and is composed of principal chemical components of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid; remaining constituents include palmitic acid, oleic acid, and stearic acid, among others. Rose hip oil is particularly useful in skin care. It can be used for burns, eczema, wounds, scars, wrinkles, sun damaged skin, and to hydrate and nourish skin.
In this study, The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity, it was found that the “intake of the standardized rose hip powder (Hyben Vital®) improves aging-induced skin conditions. The apparent stabilizing effects of the rose hip product on cell membranes of stored erythrocyte cells observed in this study may contribute to improve the cell longevity and obstructing skin aging.” Moreover, “the rose hip group showed statistically significant improvements in crow’s-feet wrinkles (P<0.05), skin moisture (P<0.05), and elasticity (P<0.05) after 8 weeks of treatment.”3 Good news for women of a certain age, demonstrating that rosehip oil really is a girl’s best friend!
I recommend using a small amount of rosehip oil on its own, as an ingredient as part of a recipe for a lotion or cream base, combined with another carrier oil, or in combination with an essential oil blend.
Aromatherapy Oils for Common Conditions
- Eghdampour F, Jahdie F, Kheyrkhah M, Taghizadeh M, Naghizadeh S, Hagani H. The Impact of Aloe vera and Calendula on Perineal Healing after Episiotomy in Primiparous Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Caring Sci. 2013 Nov 30;2(4):279-86. doi: 10.5681/jcs.2013.033. PMID: 25276736; PMCID: PMC4134148.
- Minaiyan M, Ghannadi A, Asadi M, Etemad M, Mahzouni P. Anti-inflammatory effect of Prunus armeniaca L. (Apricot) extracts ameliorates TNBS-induced ulcerative colitis in rats. Res Pharm Sci. 2014;9(4):225-231.
- Phetcharat L, Wongsuphasawat K, Winther K. The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity. Clin Interv Aging. 2015;10:1849-1856. Published 2015 Nov 19. doi:10.2147/CIA.S90092
About the Author:
The author of this article has been working in the health care industry since the 1990’s and in the aromatherapy industry since the 2000’s. She is UK-certified aromatherapist and a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and life-long herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She has taken the online Master Gardener short course series with the University of Oregon. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she gardens and distills plants from her own aromatic gardens, surrounded by natural fauna and flora on an original pioneer homestead property.