Essential Oils And Their Actions On The Systems Of The Body

Posted: October 16, 2017 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

Here’s comprehensive information of how essential oils work on the different systems of the body. If you’d like to keep a quicker reference guide, get your aromatherapy charts here.


Essential oils have a positive effect on the Immune System due to their bactericidal and anti-viral properties. As well as treating infections they can work as a preventative.
Bactericidal and antiviral oils include basil, bay laurel, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and tea-tree.
Oils for reducing temperature and fever include basil, bergamot, eucalyptus, hyssop, lemon, lemongrass, niaouli, patchouli, peppermint and tea-tree.


Respiratory infections which include throat, lung and nose problems respond positively to Essential oils. Inhalation is a particularly useful method for these conditions.
Antiseptic oils for sore throats, flu, colds etc. include cardamom, cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, hyssop, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, sweet marjoram, niaouli, pine, peppermint, thyme and tea-tree.
Antispasmodics for asthma, coughs etc. include basil, bergamot, cardamom, cedarwood, blue chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, hyssop decumbens, lavender, sweet marjoram and neroli.
Expectorants for coughs and catarrh include basil, cardamom, cedarwood, eucalyptus, fir, sweet fennel, frankincense, helichrysum, hyssop, laurel bay, pine, peppermint, tea tree, thyme and sandalwood.


Although essential oils used externally have a limited effect on problems in this area compared to herbal remedies which are taken internally they never the less can be beneficial when you dilute essential oils in a Carrier Oil and apply topically with massage on the abdomen.
Antispasmodic oils for indigestion and spasm include black pepper, blue chamomile, sweet fennel, lavender, orange, mandarin, sweet marjoram, neroli, peppermint and spearmint.
Aperitifs to help appetite loss and anorexia etc. include bergamot, cardamom, sweet orange and ginger.
Carminatives and Stomachics to help flatulence and nausea include basil, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, laurel bay, blue chamomile, cinnamon, sweet fennel, frankincense, ginger, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, litsea cubeba, mandarin, sweet marjoram, sweet orange, peppermint, rose, rosemary and, spearmint
Cholagogues to stimulate the gall bladder and increase flow of bile include blue chamomile, helichrysum, lavender, sweet orange, peppermint and rosemary
Hepatics which help liver congestion include blue chamomile, cypress, helichrysum, lemon, peppermint, rose and rosemary.


This system can be affected by Essential oils in numerous ways. They can be absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream as well as through hormonal change. Certain oils have an affinity to the reproductive system such as jasmine and rose. Some plant hormones mimic human hormones with certain oils such as sweet fennel containing a form of oestrogen.
Antispasmodics to help menstrual cramp include blue chamomile, clary sage, cypress, jasmine, lavender and rose
Antiseptics for thrush, vaginal pruritis etc. include bergamot, blue chamomile, laurel bay, geranium, rose and tea-tree.
Aphrodisiacs for frigidity and impotence include cinnamon, clary sage, jasmine, neroli, patchouli, rose, sandalwood and ylang-ylang.
Emmenagogues for lack of periods etc. include basil, blue chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, sweet fennel, frankincense, juniper, lavender, sweet marjoram, peppermint, rose and rosemary
Uterine tonics for PMT, excess menstruation etc. include clary sage, frankincense, geranium, jasmine


Skin problems can be an indication of underlying deeper problems such as emotional states, hormone imbalances or toxins in the blood.
Essential oils can be very beneficial in this area working on all levels of the body.
Antiseptics for spots, bites etc. include cedarwood, eucalyptus, juniper berry, lavender, lemon and tea-tree.
Anti-inflammatories for bruises, eczema etc. include chamomile, helichrysum and lavender.
Cicatrising or healing oils for cuts stretch marks etc. include bergamot, blue chamomile, cypress, frankincense, geranium, hyssop, lavender, neroli, niaouli, patchouli, rose and tea tree
Fungicidal oils for athletes foot, candida etc. include lavender, lemongrass, patchouli and tea-tree.
Insect repellents for lice, fleas, mosquitoes etc. include eucalyptus, cedarwood, lemon, geranium, lemongrass, litsea cubeba, niaouli, pine, spearmint, tea tree and citronella.


Essential oils are often described as being sedative or uplifting and this can be somewhat misleading as some oils are adaptogens which means they have a normalizing or balancing effect on the bodies systems. For example geranium can be uplifting or sedating depending on the individual.
The terms uplifting and sedating are often to do with an emotional reaction rather than a physiological one but the two can be interrelated. Therefore oils such as bergamot can be a sedative to the nervous system but uplifting to the spirit.
Nerve tonics for generally strengthening the nervous system include bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, lavender, lemon, pine and rosemary.
Sedatives for stress, insomnia etc. include bergamot, cedarwood, blue chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, lavender, lemongrass, mandarin, sweet marjoram, neroli, sweet orange, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang ylang.
Stimulants for weakness and nervous fatigue include basil, cardamom, cinnamon, fir, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, litsea cubeba, niaouli, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint and thyme.


Essential oils can be easily absorbed through the skin and pass into the blood stream thus affecting the circulation. Oils which have a warming effect not only improve local circulation but also affect inner organs. These particular oils can ease local inflammation by releasing mediators in the body which cause blood vessels to expand, causing blood to flow more quickly and thus reducing swelling.
Antitoxic oils for arthritis, gout etc. include sweet fennel, juniper and lemon.
Circulatory oils for inflammation, varicose veins etc. include cypress, helichrysum, tea tree and lemon.
Hypertensive oils for chilblains, poor circulation etc. include eucalyptus, hyssop, peppermint and rosemary.
Hypotensive oils for high blood pressure, palpitations, stress etc. include lavender, lemon, sweet marjoram and ylang-ylang.
Lymphatic stimulants for water retention, obesity etc. include grapefruit, sweet fennel and lemon.
Rubefacients or warming oil for joint rheumatism, muscular stiffness etc., include black pepper, eucalyptus, fir, ginger, juniper, lemon, pine and rosemary.
Anti-inflammatory or cooling oils for inflammation and pain include: chamomile, lavender and sandalwood.
Analgesic essential oils that help with rheumatoid arthritis and aches and pains in general are fir, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, lemongrass, sweet marjoram, niaouli, peppermint and rosemary.

For a quick reference guide about the actions of essential oils and their actions on the systems of the body, we recommend you get our Aromatherapy Charts.

Reference: The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
© 2017, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.


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