Spice Essential Oils for the Holiday Season: Photo Credit, ISP
Spice Essential Oils for the Holiday Season: Photo Credit, ISP

As Holiday season gets underway, we often start to think of spice essential oils! Spice essential oils invoke a feeling of warmth and health and are often a great addition to add to your Holiday diffuser. However, spice essential oils are more than this – they have therapeutic properties too. Five popular spice essential oils that you can use during the Holiday season include black pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.

Black Pepper Spice Essential Oil

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) has been used for over 4,000 years in traditional medicine. According to Lawless, Indian monks used to swallow between seven and nine grains of pepper a day to help them maintain the endurance needed to walk the daily distances that they covered.

Use black pepper essential oil for:

  • arthritis

  • poor circulation

  • nausea

  • flatulence

  • colds and flu.

Cinnamon Spice Essential Oil

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), an ancient Eastern traditional medicine, has various parts that can be used for medicinal purposes (however, see cautions below). Both the leaves and the bark of the tropical cinnamon tree are used for therapeutic purposes. And produce two different essential oils.

Cinnamon essential oil has the following therapeutic uses:

  • digestive complaints

  • colds and flu

  • nervous exhaustion

  • rheumatism

  • diabetes – some clinical studies show that the use of cinnamon is valuable to regulating blood sugar levels in people who suffer from diabetes (note: this is the use of the plant, not the essential oil).

Clove Spice Essential Oil

The clove plant (Eugenia caryophyllus) also produces various parts that are used for therapeutic purposes; the buds, leaves and stalks of the tropical, evergreen tree are all used in traditional medicine (however, see cautions below). As an essential oil, you will usually find clove bud or clove leaf essential oil.

Use clove essential oil for the following therapeutic uses:

  • digestive complaints such as nausea and dyspepsia

  • asthma

  • colds and flu

  • acne.

Ginger Spice Essential Oil

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) was one of several valued spices that was traded on the spice routes out of Asia and ended up in Medieval Europe. Ginger, as a plant, is used for both culinary and therapeutic purposes. The medicinal part of ginger is extracted from the rhizome root of the small, perennial herb. Medicinally, ginger has been used in Arabic, Indian and Asian traditional medicine for centuries.

Some of the therapeutic properties of ginger essential oil include:

  • nausea and vomiting – including pregnancy related nausea and travel sickness

  • indigestion

  • arthritis

  • rheumatism

  • catarrh.

Nutmeg Spice Essential Oil

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is another of the spices that is frequently used in culinary dishes. The nutmeg tree, which grows up to 65 feet in height, produces seeds that, once dried, are used for therapeutic purposes. Nutmeg, as a plant, is primarily used for digestive complaints (such as nausea, indigestion and flatulence). Therapeutic properties of nutmeg essential oil include:

  • arthritis

  • rheumatism

  • digestion.

How to Use Spice Essential Oils for the Holiday Season

You can use essential oil in various ways. These include:

  • in an aromatherapy diffuser – consult the instructions for use on your diffuser before using. Each diffuser varies

  • diluted in a carrier oil, lotion or other skin care base for application to the skin. However, you need to understand the safe quantity for use (and possible side effects), before applying (see additional cautions below).

Cautions For Using Spice Essential Oils

Several of the spice essential oils mentioned in this article (in particular, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon) are made up of what can be described as “hazardous” chemical components. You need to understand the plant profile of each spice essential oil – and when and how it can (or cannot) be used. This is particularly important if you are pregnant, breast feeding, a child, are taking certain prescribed medications or have a medical condition. Consult a qualified health care practitioner and/or a certified aromatherapist for further advice.

Learn How to Use Essential Oils Safely and Effectively

If you would like to learn more about using essential oils, consider one of the courses in the Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Aromatherapy Course Program. To learn more, visit the courses home page.


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

  • University of Maryland Medical Center, Diabetes, accessed December 2, 2013

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist.

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