Elizabeth Danu

The Self Care Specialist

Aromatherapy Alternatives to Lavender

from the Yahoo Voices Alternative Health Featured Contributor Archives

Sometimes Lavender is not the best choice, or you may be tired of it since it is everywhere. Try these equally soothing alternatives.

When you think of aromatherapy, perhaps Lavender comes to mind. It’s been called “the universal balm” by aromatherapists for years. It is good for anxiety, promoting peaceful sleep, has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it smells good too. Lavender has become very popular, and you will find it in lotions, soaps, shampoos, stuffed animals, and pretty much anything else you can think of. This is great if you love the smell of lavender, but essential oils are medicine, and they lose their effectiveness after two weeks of use. Lavender is not recommended for breast cancer patients or survivors, because it has been shown to stimulate mammory tumor growth in breast cancer patients whose cancer responds to estrogen. Tea Tree has similar effects and should likewise be avoided.

Not to worry, there are a number of wonderful smelling, effective alternatives. Here are some excellent choices you may not have tried.


This smells divine. It is very expensive, which is why it is usually sold diluted. It is still very effective this way. It is an uplifting fragrance, good for fighting depression and easing anxiety. If you can’t sleep, try some on your wrist where you can inhale the fragrance and quiet your mind. This oil is also good for your skin and can be added to your usual body lotion.


This is especially good for use with kids, because it seldom irritates, is light and pleasant, and very calming. It has many of the same properties as Lavender, so it is good to alternate with lavender for consistent results.


This is good medicine for a busy brain. It is also a light, uplifting citrus fragrance. Bergamot and Geranium smell wonderful combined. Be careful of sun exposure immediately after using it on your skin, as Bergamot is phototoxic.


This sweet, tropical scent is a euphoric, which means that it will elevate your mood. Because depression and anxiety can cause sleep problems, ylang-ylang, like neroli, can be very helpful for overcoming insomnia.

Aromatherapy oils are not meant to be used undiluted on the skin. If you are going to use it on your body, try it in a carrier such as almond or jojoba oil, and test it before using it extensively. Putting oil on your body is only one of many ways to get the benefits of aromatherapy.

A drop or two of any of these oils in your bath at night can help you sleep well. Add some Epsom Salts for aching muscles, and you will emerge from your bath very relaxed.

An aromatherapy diffuser can make your home smell inviting, and the benefits of the scent can touch everyone in it. The cheapest and easiest is an unscented votive candle with a couple of drops of oil on it. The ceramic rings that go on a lightbulb work well also. They diffuse the oil as the ring heats up with the light. Be careful when purchasing the pretty diffusers with the receptacle over the flame. If they are not close together enough, the oil won’t heat.

Try some ylang-ylang or neroli in your home if your family is under stress or your children can’t seem to stop arguing. A little Bergamot diffused in your study could help you concentrate a bit better if anxiety is keeping you from thinking clearly.

Lavender is popular for good reason. It smells good and has wonderful therapeutic properties. Any of these four alternatives can provide the same benefits, so you have even more ways to use fragrance to enhance your health.


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