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Essential Oil Groups - their Properties & Aromas

September 27, 2023

When you're looking for essential oils, you should consider two things - their scent and their therapeutic benefits. Maybe you’re looking for a light summery aroma for your home, in which case scent will take the lead, or if you’re in need of mood boost, therapeutic properties will probably matter most to you.

Essential oils from the same part of a plant or group often have similar therapeutic properties, so you can easily find an essential oil with a scent you love and the benefits you need.

Essential oils can be broken down into six groups - Wood & Resins, Leaves, Flowers, Spices, Roots and Fruits. Let’s take a look at the key properties and aroma of each of these groups and some pre-prepared blends that boost the benefits


1. The Woods & Resins

Properties: Soft, warm, and comforting, wood and resin essential oils may help us feel supported and strong, much like the trees they come from.  They’re considered grounding and strengthening and are often used as skin tonics.

Essential oils:
Sandalwood – sweet, woody, soft.
Frankincense – warm, oriental.
Myrrh – swarm, spicy, woody.
Cedarwood – warm, woody, sweet.
Patchouli - woody, musky, earthy


Blend: Comforting Bergamot and Sandalwood or try in a body cream


2. The Leaves

Properties: Like the wood group, leaf essential oils may have emotionally strengthening properties. Their fresh green aromas can make them naturally energising. Many of the leaf essential oils can act as decongestants, anti-microbial, and expectorants (which clear mucus).

Essential oils:
Cypress – warm, sweet, smoky.
Eucalyptus – sharp, clearing, green.
Tea Tree – fresh, medicinal, strong.
Juniper Berry - fresh, green, woody


Blend: Happy Vibes 


3. The Flowers

Properties: Flower essential oils are usually more expensive, but because most are ‘base notes’, you only need a drop or two for the floral note to shine through. They’re thought to reduce states of anxiety and are often cited as euphoric, balancing, and calming. They’re all nourishing for the skin too.

Essential oils:
Lavender – floral, fresh, powdery.
Rose – floral, musky, rich.
Jasmine – heady, exotic, sensual.
Neroli – rich, floral, citrusy
Geranium - sweet, soothing, rosy


Blend: Real Calm


4. The Spices

Properties: All spice essential oils bring warmth to the body, which makes spice-based blends helpful for muscular aches and pains. They’re also supportive of the digestive system, bringing warmth to an uncomfortable tummy when a blend is applied to the abdomen. Emotionally, they can be stimulating and invigorating.

Essential oils:
Black Pepper – warm, pungent, spicy.
Ginger – spicy, rich, sharp.

Blend: Muscle Ease

(Note: Some of the spices may be irritating to sensitive skin, so always check the ‘safety notes’ on each individual essential oil.)


5. The Roots

Properties: Root essential oils are emotionally sedative, bringing a state of calm and relaxation to most situations. The root oils bring our energy down away from our busy heads, instilling a sense of peace and quiet.

Essential oils:
Vetiver – rich, earthy, smoky.

Blend: Restore Balance


6. The Fruits

Properties: Bright, sweet, and uplifting; all the citrus essential oils fall into this category. Bringing summer holiday feelings, they’re the perfect essential oils to bring joy to your day. Some are zingy and sweet, whilst others have a drier, more mellow aroma – there’s sure to be one you love.

Essential oils:
Bergamot – citrusy, soft, sweet.
Orange – light, soft, citrusy.
Lemon – zesty, bright, sharp.
Grapefruit – zesty, sharp, sweet.
May Chang - light, sweet, fizzy
Lemongrass - sweet, zesty, herby
Lemon Tea Tree - lemony, fizzy, bright
Lime - strong, green, citrus
Roman Chamomile - sweet, fruity, herbaceous


Blend: Energy Boost


Key Takeaway

When choosing your essential oils for a blend, always look at both the properties, what it can achieve, and a scent that resonates with you.