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Recently, I sent out a question to the wonderful readers on my newsletter list asking what overwhelms them most when it comes to wellness and essential oils. I got some really great questions, but the one that came in time and again was:

What are the top essential oils that you use on a regular basis? The numbers ranged from 5-10.


The thing I emphasize at Tiny Apothecary is simplicity. And I practice what I preach. When it comes to essential oils (and so many other things), I’m a big believer in the less is more approach.

Yes, I have more than 10 essential oils. Many of those oils get used very infrequently, but there are some that I replace often in my Loyalty Rewards orders.

These are the top 10 essential oils I always have on hand (and the ways I use them):

1. DigestZen

I love this oil not only because it’s so freaking effective, but because it’s the one that finally convinced my husband that essential oils aren’t voodoo witch doctor snake oils. (He’s a paramedic, what can I say?)

Too many margaritas = sad husband. DigestZen = happy husband.

This is the #1 most used oil in our home and the one we share most frequently with others – you should hear how emphatic he is with his coworkers about using it.

I keep it on our nightstand, in my purse, in my travel kit and have an extra in the living room. It’s just so handy.

DigestZen is a doTERRA-specific digestive blend that’s ok for internal use. Other companies have similar blends, but I don’t have any experience with them.

To use, put a drop under the tongue (sublingual). Handy when your stomach hurts because you ate something you shouldn’t have or had too many margaritas. Also handy when your stomach hurts for any other reason, including car sickness.

You can also rub a drop on the belly (I use a doTERRA’s pre-diluted DigestZen Touch in a roller bottle for my kiddos) or add a drop to 4 oz. water and drink that.

2. On Guard

Another doTERRA-specific blend, On Guard is the great immune system supporter. I’ll put a drop under my tongue (careful, it’s spicy) or roll some onto the bottoms of my feet if I’m starting to feel off.

This is one we’ll roll on the kids before we travel or for at least the first week of school (again, in the pre-diluted Touch bottle).

I also love it for cleaning. It’s been proven to be super effective at cleansing the air and surfaces so I use doTERRA’s On Guard cleaner concentrate to clean just about everything.

I squirt some directly into my toilet bowl (or rather, my kids do because they clean the bathrooms and using one thing makes it muy simple for them) and mix some with water in a glass spray bottle for everything else.

I use On Guard detergent for most of my laundry (though Rockin’ Green’s Active Wear detergent is the BEST for stinky activewear) and the On Guard hand soap at my kitchen sink.

Plus the On Guard toothpaste is the bomb.

We also keep some on the toilet and put one or two drops in the water as a super simple “poo-pouri.”

3. Lavender

This is actually my travel “poo-pouri” oil. Not the first thing you were expecting to hear about lavender, eh? But seriously, it’s awesome, especially if you hate doing your business away from home like I do.

I share a lot here for such a private person …

I do like lavender for it’s traditional calming properties and will sometimes put it on myself or my kids before bed. However, I use it much more often in my relaxing bath salts and in the kitchen.

I don’t know about you, but I am really good at accidentally touching hot cast iron pans. You’d think I’d learn, but no. Whenever I do that, I quickly put on a drop of lavender (or The Balm, which has lavender, frankincense and melaleuca in it) for pretty instant relief.

4. Frankincense

If in doubt use frankincense because it does all the things. But I use it mainly for bites and stings when we’re out and about. It brings near-instant relief from fresh bee stings and really helps curb the itching on mosquito bites.

I sometimes rub a drop into my wrists if I’m feeling particularly stressed out. Or I sometimes do the same before meditating – it’s a great spiritual oil.

Lastly, if something hurts and I don’t have any of The Balm with me, I rub on a drop of frankincense.

5. Peppermint

Oh so many uses for this one and it smells amazing! I mainly use peppermint as a breath freshener or to flavor my chocolate protein powder. One drop takes it from meh to delicious.

If I’m too hot, whether from a workout or the heat, I’ll roll diluted peppermint on the back of my neck because it’s so cooling. Or I’ll smell it if I feel queasy. I’ll also rub a drop into my temples if my head starts to hurt.

6. Lemon

I’m spoiled because our tap water comes direct from an aquifer that provides some damn good water. Because of that, I’m a water snob and can’t stand the taste of most water when I travel. So I stir in a drop of lemon (or orange) essential oil. Not only does it make it taste better, but lemon is a gentle detoxifier as well. You can also use peppermint to flavor water.

At home, I use it a lot as a degreaser and deodorizer. Put a drop directly onto a greasy dish or your dishwater and it gets that stuff right off.

Put lemon in a diffuser in a room that smells funky and it makes a huge difference – my 13-year-old actually put a drop on the fan in his room and it worked wonders on the teenage boy smell.

Or, when you or your husband forgets to rinse the shaker bottle after a protein shake, adding a drop of lemon and filling the bottle up with water really helps with that nasty smell. Just let it soak for a few hours.

It’s also a great mood lifter so you can just smell it or put it in a diffuser to get those benefits.

7. Wild Orange or Tangerine

These oils are very similar to lemon and you could probably do without them. But why would you? Wild Orange or Tangerine are great for the same reasons as lemon but it’s nice to have a little variety with citrus oils.

8. Cardamom

I like this a lot for its emotional benefits and it just plain smells amazing, especially when mixed with just lavender or lavender and orange. If you’re feeling frustrated or angry, open the bottle and gently waft it toward your nose. Take a few slow, deep breaths. It helps calm you down.

Cardamom is also used for respiratory support so it’s a great one to put in your diffuser if you’re feeling a bit stuffy.

It’s also fantastic in apple pie.

9. Balance

Balance is yet another doTERRA oil that rocks my world. Or rather, it calms me down when I feel like everything is shaky. This grounding blend is a must-have when you’re feeling frustrated, stressed, or just have a really bad case of PMS.

It’s also great for cramps, which I found out accidentally by rubbing a drop into my lower abdomen after I had a feeling it would help. Who knew?

10. Melaleuca (tea tree)

This was the original oil I got because I heard it was a great natural cleaner. And it definitely is. Before I switched to the On Guard concentrate I made an all-purpose cleaning spray with lavender, lemon and melaleuca that did a fantastic job – and smelled amazing.

Emotionally, melaleuca is considered the oil of energetic boundaries. Which means if you’re sensitive to other people’s energy, like I am, it’s a good idea to rub a drop into your wrists or behind your ears before you go somewhere with lots of people. I don’t know how it works, but after having lots of experience with it, I know it does.

It’s also great to rub on your feet if you spend a lot of time in sweaty socks. Or you can make this blend.

A note on safety

Though it may seem like I use lots and lots of oils every single day, I don’t. There are days when I don’t use any, except for the tiny amount that’s in my soap when I wash my hands or take a shower.

Some days I use one. Some days I use a handful, depending on what I’m doing, where I’m going and how I’m feeling.

All that to say, I don’t follow a rigid schedule when it comes to using my oils. I go for a more intuitive approach because some days they definitely feel necessary and some days they don’t.

I say this because it’s easy to get overzealous with these things because they’re so awesome. And they’re natural so even better. But. There is such thing as over use. You can use essential oils so much that they begin to build up in your body and your liver can’t process them quickly enough (why I take a milk thistle supplement sometimes) which will make you sick.

You can get too much of a good thing.

So when it comes to using essential oils my rule of thumb is: keep it simple and use the minimal amount that you need to get the job done. You don’t need to run a diffuser on your desk, sip on water with essential oils in it and roll on a focus blend just to sit down to work. Pick one.

Less truly is more.

Need oils?

doTERRA’s Home Essentials Kit (which comes with most of these oils and a free diffuser) is 20% for the month of September. Many of their other kits are as well if you’d like something a little different. Click here to purchase or contact me if you have questions.