How Do I Know Which Oil To Use?

When my Home Essentials Kit first arrived in June 2015, I opened maybe two or three of the bottles. I lined them up in my empty medicine cabinet...and admired them. I hadn't used over the counter medicine in over a decade.

I knew I wanted these amazing new creatures. But, I had NO idea what an EPIC game changer they would be. Two years later, I've become an avid user, sharer and educator.

In the beginning it's normal to feel like you're not using all of your oils, or not using them enough, or feeling overwhelmed at the thought of learning HOW and WHEN to use each of them.

Over the following months, I familiarized myself with each oil. And before I knew it, I began to turn to them on the regular without even realizing a transformation had happened. It was then that I truly began to understand the power of these incredible natural remedies.

all oils bring balance to the body

Essential oils, to the best of their ability, move us into a balanced state, helping our body achieve homeostasis more efficiently.

All essential oils do this for us. They are fat soluble, and our body readily delivers them to all organs, including the brain. They are then metabolized by the liver and other organs. And, as you likely already know, one drop of essential oil can contain over a hundred compounds, with millions of molecules. One drop is indeed very potent. In fact, if one single drop of grapefruit essential oil was evenly shared amongst all of the cells in our body, each cell would receive about 6.1 million molecules. Now before you spit out your water with grapefruit oil in it, keep in mind each cell typically has around 2 trillion molecules at any time. Still, given that info, it's easy to see what such a small amount can go such a long way. Of course, the oils have to be top quality; synthetic and adulterated oils do not support our body in this beautiful way.

As with everything in life, the better our foundation of nutrition, exercise and sleep, the more impact oils can have on our systems. They will always help, but oils are absorbed disproportionately by our damaged cells. Meaning, the less damage or chaos in our body, the more oils can work to moving us into a higher state of being, as opposed to responding in crisis mode.

there is a learning curve

Enjoy the process of getting to know the personality of each of your oils. Take the cap off an oil, place a drop in your palm, rub your hands together and inhale deeeply the aromas as they are evaporating thanks to your body heat (don't do this with oregano! ;) Then take a moment to reflect on how you feel. You are creating positive effects in your body almost instantly (as quickly as 15 seconds for aromatic use, or inhalation) just by rubbing your hands together and taking a few deeps breaths. With each breath you're taking in therapeutic compounds that immediately start to positively influence your brain chemistry.

Remember: There is no wrong choice. You've got a myriad of choices to help you achieve the results you’re looking for, simply learn and follow the basic safety precautions (e.g. not putting oils IN your eyes, ears, nose, genitals; not using ‘hot’ oils undiluted, not using citrus oils before tanning), and you'll feel confident and creative in no time!

your resources + tools


By far the simplest method of selection is your own intuition. Even the Essential Life book lists intuition as the MOST POWERFUL tool we have at our disposal. Intuition is like a muscle; you’ve got to use it, and strengthen it, to really hear it and be able to tune into it at any moment. Simply stop and listen to your inner voice, then, act on it before the mind jumps in to start contradicting and questioning everything. The voice of the mind you will hear high in your head; the voice of your heart you hear + feel in your chest.


Another selection tool, and tied to our intuition. Sometimes, an oil that normally works for me, I just don't want to smell at that moment; it doesn't appeal to me. I honour that, and tune into the other selection(s) I’m being guided to make. Take a moment in front of your oil box or case...and ask yourself: "What do I feel like / need right now?". You will surprise yourself with what you already know and intuit.


Sometimes, we simply have to go with what we have one hand. The Essential Life book, and other aromatherapy texts, offer multiple suggestions for a single ailment. This doesn't mean you need every single one of those oils to provide relief. It means that any of those oils contain compounds likely to be effective for that particular need/symptom.

Many oils share lots of the same compounds, and although their overall effects and applications vary, different oils provide support for similar issues. This is a HUGE benefit and a unique trait of each essential oil. Since all of us differ in our body chemistry, what works for some/many/most, might not work for another. The variety and versatility of each essential oil is a wonderful benefit that empowers each of us to tailor a response that is unique to our own needs. As your collection grows, you’ll discover more about what works best for you and your family.


Like intuition, the value of smelling an oil to discover if it's the right choice at this moment cannot be overemphasized. We each naturally gravitate towards certain oils and favourites. That is our body's way of guiding us. Follow this feeling.

Selecting by aroma is both traditional and scientific; every oil has a unique chemistry and hence a unique aroma. Smelling oils prior to selection is natural; even animals and small children quickly identify their favourites and what their body needs. Try asking your kids to smell some oils and identify their favourites. You can also check out Janet Roark’s video (the EO Vet) as she lets her kitty smell oils to determine her reaction to each - it’s quite telling!


Palm scanners like iTovi are the latest in technology that can give us a read on what our body needs. They’re pretty cool but can get pricey with monthly subscriptions. Each time I’ve used a scanner, the answers reflect how I’m feeling; there is merit to them, but I feel their biggest value is in simplifying the process and basically telling us what we already know.

the written resources

Of course, there are lots of other resources at your disposal, just be mindful of the sourcing and references. There is a LOT of misinformation online, which mostly comes from people regurgitating things they don't understand.

As you know by now, the Essential Life book is my favourite, as it's a complete and thorough aromatherapy textbook (as well as the basis for this entire discussion) but it’s not the only book out there. The Modern Essentials book is a popular one, I just don’t find it to be as beautiful or well-organized as the Essential Life. Both books are available as an app, and a website to help you easily navigate even without the book.

Another favourite of mine is The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. This book will appeal to those who like to fully understand the mechanisms behind how the oils operate in our body, but it also tackles a lot of the misinformation that permeates the web, which I love.

Whichever resource or method you are choosing at any given moment, I encourage you to always consult your own inner voice. Reason, logic, emotion and intuition are all powerful and valuable tools we’ve been given and should utilize to the best of our abilities.

Mel, xo

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* All statements are my own, not endorsed by any organization or institution.

** Please take care to note: I'm not a health care practitioner. I'm simply sharing the experiences and results I've had on my personal, natural health and healing journey. You should always consult a trusted health care practitioner for advice specific to your body, well being, and needs.

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