You hear about essential oils being used to heal, but what are they, exactly? Essential oils are oils distilled from plants or other sources, and they have the characteristic scent of their source. They help with many health issues ranging from the common cold to depression to insomnia. Try nature’s medicine by using essential oils to cure, relieve and cleanse. No prescription necessary! Just make sure to read labels carefully, since some oils are ingested or inhaled, while others are applied to the skin or wound.

Though there are literally hundreds of essential oils, the list below are commonly used and helpful essential oils. I use at least a handful of them, including lavender and lemon!

Lavender: Known as the Swiss army knife of essential oils. Lavender relieves insomnia, reduces stress, heals cuts, and bruises, and relieves burns. It also soothes earaches, skin irritations and alleviates depression. Lavender can also help you wind down before bed.

Lemon: This amazing antiseptic essential oil is a must-have when dealing with colds and flu. Lemon improves the digestive system and liver function, too.

Peppermint: This oil is effective when treating digestive issues, menstrual problems, allergies, nausea and fever. Need to focus? Peppermint increases alertness and focus.

Oregano: Not just for Italian dishes, oregano treats yeast and bacterial infections, relieves joint and back pain, muscle inflammation, and the common cold.

Melaleuca: This plant-oil can be used as a first aid ointment but it also fixes bug bites, skin irritations, athlete’s foot, eczema and psoriasis. Also, it aids in immune function and fights against respiratory and throat pathogens.

Helichrysum: This effective oil stems bleeding, and can be used for painful bruising, sprains and swelling. Helichrysum is excellent for treating wounds because it reduces pain and speeds healing.

Myrrh: Good for pain relief, antiseptic needs and swelling, bruises or wounds caused by cuts, this miracle oil can be applied directly onto open wounds. It also stimulates the whole immune system, circulation and promotes regeneration of the tissues.

Clove: With its analgesic and antibiotic properties, clove relieves headaches, toothaches and other kinds of pain. Use it to remove infections and toxins from the body.

Frankincense: This catalyst oil improves other oils’ effectiveness. It also relieves headaches, soothes restlessness and facilitates focus and clarity.  With its regenerative properties, frankincense is important to keep in your emergency toolbox.

Find these (and others) at health food stores, Whole Foods or online.