You may not be aware of it but you’re likely to be cooking with essential oils in some way on a daily basis.
Essential oils are made from an array of plant material that contain highly scented volatile parts. This could be eucalyptus leaves, cardamom pods, lavender flowers or rose petals. To make them into an essential oil the plant material goes through a process called distillation. This involves steam passing through and releasing those molecules then capturing the oil as the steam turns back into water.
There are many plant materials containing essential oils that are commonly used during cooking and when you apply heat to them this releases those oils that make for delicious smells in your kitchen:
Spices: When you heat up seeds like coriander, cumin and fennel, in preparation for something like a curry or a tagine, it makes for a mouth-watering atmosphere. The essential oils also have an effect on your digestive system by stimulating digestive juices, (hence the ‘mouth-watering’). Try this Garam Masala Recipe to experience the affect of releasing essential oils when preparing a spice mix.
Herbs: With some herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, the heat on a sunny day will be enough to initiate a waft of essential oil as you pass by, and on cooler days you may need to rub the leaves with warm fingers to release the scent.
Flowers: You can use many flowers in food for their perfume and delicate taste such as roses, orange blossom, geraniums and of course lavender.
I have been experimenting with cooking with essential oils and scented plant materials recently and it can be as simple as sprinkling some rose petals on your meal or adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your bottle of olive oil for dressing salads. I sometimes sprinkle fresh or dried lavender flowers on meat or fish when baking them in the over, and it smells amazing! It doesn’t take much for a magic touch*.
A change of season means a change of wardrobe, what ever side of the planet you’re on you are bound to be experiencing the change in seasons, whether it’s time to pack away your warm jumpers and winter coats or say goodbye to summer dresses and cool T-shirts, essential oils are a sweet smelling and practical way to look after your clothes.
If you’ve ever experienced an attack of moths on your favourite cashmere jumper then you will be sure to take extra care when you store your knitwear and silks away for several months. Here are a few tips to help protect your clothes and ensure they reappear in one piece, smelling fresh when you unpack next Spring/Autumn…
It’s advisable to give everything a wash before you pack them up and as a side note, if you haven’t worn them all season, consider getting rid of them, there are so many benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe! I add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my washing powder for a little touch of freshness and since lavender oil deters moths it is a great smelling start to the process.
I then take several lavender filled bags or pillows that contain dried lavender flowers, if the scent has faded I add a few drops of lavender oil to freshen them up. I also sprinkle a few drops of cedar wood essential oil as this is another oil that deters moths, (cedar wood oil is dark brown in colour, so you may want to avoid staining the material on the lavender bags, in that case just add a few drops to tissues). Tuck the lavender bags evenly among the clothes in their suitcase or storage bag and close securely.
I don’t think anyone likes the smell of mothballs and even if you’ve never had moths this is still a worthwhile ritual as it keeps your clothes fresh and smelling lovely when you bring them out next season…
If you don’t have any lavender bags you can sprinkle the oils onto tissues and place them in the storage bags. Alternatively, you can purchase some from Mayfield Lavender.
These ones are way too pretty for me to pack away so I generally keep them in my draws, with my bed linen or on hangers in my wardrobe so I can appreciate them daily.
Since lavender has so many other amazing properties including supporting a restful night sleep, I also hang a lavender bag on my bedpost, or under my pillow so that I breathe in the scent as I lay down to sleep.
I once had a peppermint bath, ‘once’ being the appropriate word here: it was at a friends house and there was a bottle of bubble bath in her bathroom that had peppermint essential oil listed as an ingredient, happy to have found an essential oil bubble bath, I poured some in and lay down into the bubbles. A very strange sensation then came over me. My skin was cool and tingling, even though the water was hot. It felt really weird, a bit unpleasant and I haven’t used peppermint essential oil in a bath blend since.
However, this cooling effect of peppermint essential oil is extremely useful in many other circumstances, it’s refreshing in tooth pastes, and tingling in lip balms but it really stands out as an effective ingredient in aftersun lotion and for treating sun burn.
This is a simple recipe for a very effective, cooling gel for sun burn. It is blended with lavender, which is very effective for treating serious burns and pain relieving (it is actually used in hospital burns units), as well as German chamomile which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. These three essential oils blended in a base of aloe vera gel which is hydrating, soothing & helps heal wounds, make for a powerful treatment for sunburn.
After Sun & Sun Burn Gel (2.5% blend strength)
50ml aloe vera gel
5 drops peppermint essential oil*
15 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops German/blue chamomile essential oil – you can leave this out if it’s just for after-sun, and replace it with Roman chamomile essential oil which is more gentle, the scent is more pleasing and less intense.
Instructions: mix them all together and apply to the affected area.
Cooling Foot Gel
That cooling sensation is also really welcome for tired & weary feet, you can use the same recipe above as a cooling foot gel.
A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).
To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.
I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.
Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength.
Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.
Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.
Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.
Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women. Read more on using geranium oil here: How to Use Geranium Essential Oil to Support Women’s Health
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. Since lavender is so versatile, there are several blogs on using lavender to help you make the most of it:
Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.
Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.
Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.
Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children. Click here for the stretch mark balm recipe including mandarin oil: How to make a Stretch Mark Balm
Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds. Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.
Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.
Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.
Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm. Read more on using peppermint oil in a digestive massage here: Digestive Massage with Essential Oils
Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.
Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin. Rose is one of my favourite oils so here are a few blogs to learn more on this exquisite oil:
Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.
Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.
Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.
Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.
Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. Check out my own range of carefully sourced essential oils from organic farmers and artisan distillers: Essential Oils by Laura Hoy
Gargling with an essential oil is useful for helping various oral health issues, but it’s important that the essential oil is diluted in olive oil (or another base oil) before being added to the water as the essential oil doesn’t dilute in the water itself and is too concentrated to be in direct contact with the delicate lining of your mouth.
There are two recipes here, one is for acute oral health conditions, where you would use a higher dilution for a period of a few days while the condition clears, for example: sore throats; coughs; chest infections; mouth ulcers; laryngitis; gum disease; halitosis and oral thrush.
If you want to use the gargle as part of your day to day mouth care routine, then use the lower dilution recipe, this would be suitable to use after cleaning your teeth for general mouth health & fresh breath.
Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for intense treatment:
All you need is a trusty egg cup (or any little container to hold enough water for a mouth full),
two drops of myrrh essential oil (or lavender essential oil – or one of each)
half a tea spoon of olive oil (3ml)
some water (enough for a mouthful),
Add two drops of myrrh to the olive oil and blend evenly. Fill the egg cup or small container with water, and add the mix of olive & essential oil, then take the water into your mouth, and gargle for as long as you can. Do not swallow.
Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for general every day use:
Use the following recipe for a natural mouth wash after cleaning your teeth:
one drop of myrrh or lavender essential oil – use peppermint essential oil for an extra fresh feeling.
Lavender essential oil is often used to help with sleep problems, it has a very clearing effect in general which is useful as quite often people struggle to sleep because they are stressed, tense or their mind is racing, and lavender can help to clear and ease these symptoms.
There are some great ways to use lavender as part of a wind down routine before bed, to support the body in preparing for a restful night.
You could simply use lavender oil in a burner to scent your bedroom before you get into bed;
taking a bath with lavender oil in the evening is a great way to really relax your body and let go of any tension held from your day;
it can be as simple as sprinkling a few drops of essential oil onto your pillow at night or on a tissue placed under your pillow.
It’s more about the way you do it, rather than what you actually do -so having a bath isn’t going to be better than a drop on your pillow, it’s all about the quality. The preparation for bedtime before your head hits the pillow, will support the body greatly, compared to an evening of distraction (TV, computer, etc.), and waiting until you feel really tired and then getting into bed and hoping you’ll sleep because you’re so dog tired.
Bringing lavender into your evening rhythm can be much more effective at easing the stress of the day, and a busy mind. It’s worth experimenting to see how you like to use it:
it maybe that you use it in a face cream that you apply in the evening and this is the way you really love to use it,
or you might have a lavender bag that you hang by your bed, and you sprinkle a drop on each night so you can enjoy the scent.
It’s important that it is something for you, rather than something you ‘do’ to try and make you sleep ‘better’… if you’re intention becomes about supporting yourself, rather than to fix the sleeping issue, it can be so much more effective, especially in the long term.
Lavender Scented Bedding
The cleansing action of lavender makes it very appropriate to use in washing powder and fabric conditioner. Just add a few drops (5-10) of lavender essential oil with the fabric conditioner to the washing machine (you can also add it to the washing powder/liquid if you prefer) and your wash will come out smelling heavenly. It’s such a simple touch but actually brings plenty of health benefits as well as the lovely smell, because lavender essential oil has an anti-microbial action, your lovely smelling bed sheets and clothes will also be fighting off germs as you wear them.
You could also add lavender floral water into the iron rather than just water when ironing bed sheets, this is such a treat when you get into bed and your whole body feels lovely under the sheets. Make sure you don’t use the essential oil in the ironing water, as the oil may leave a stain on your clothes. Floral water has had the essential oil filtered out so it won’t leave any marks.
Make sure you use a good quality essential oil and not just a perfumed synthetic oil. You can still enjoy benefits and effects from the perfumed smell, but a good quality essential oil will be more beneficial, (a synthetic version will not have anti-bacterial properties) and the natural scent will probably smell much nicer.
I had a lovely email from a friend last week who was inspired by a previous blog (‘Lavender, Essential First Aid‘) to use lavender essential oil when suffering symptoms of hay fever. I asked if I could post it here since it was so timely for me, as I’m sure it will be for others, so thank you Catherine Jones for sharing your experience.
‘I felt to share how lavender oil is helping me right now, as it has taken me by surprise. I have hay fever, and so have very itchy eyes, an itchy & runny nose, and my face is generally congested and reactive all over. I don’t have any drugs yet, and last night I felt to try dabbing some cool wet cotton wool on my eyes to calm them down. I added a drop or so of lavender oil, and it made such a difference. I used it a few hours ago, pretty much all over my face, but paying attention to the area around my eyes, and across my cheeks, and down the gall bladder lines from nose to chin. It was amazing. I often use lavender in things, but it had never occurred to me that it might ease an allergy. Right now I am not sneezing, nor itching, and I am breathing freely. ‘
Her message inspired me, as I was experiencing similar symptoms at the time, and I have since tried the same technique using roman chamomile essential oil, as it is specifically good for allergies and particulary soothing and calming. For more details on chamomile essential oil see ‘Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions’.
I had a request to write a blog on skin conditions from a friend recently, and when I began to consider this, I immediately thought of chamomile, so I decided to focus this particular post on using chamomile essential oil to treat a variety of skin conditions, although there are many other oils that are incredibly useful, I will bring focus to them another time.
There are two main types of chamomile essential oil: one is called Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) which is the oil I would recommend here for use with skin conditions, it has a fresh, smooth, appley, summery scent. The other type is known as German or Blue chamomile (Matricaria recutita) which is more intense, inky blue in colour and incredibly anti-inflammatory.
Skin conditions can be unpleasant, annoying and stressful. I experienced eczema as a child and again more recently as an adult, so I have a good understanding of the issues surrounding this condition. Many other conditions that affect the skin, for example psoriasis, insect bites, rashes such as those caused by measles and chicken pox, will show the same or similar symptoms, and it is the symptoms that chamomile is particularly appropriate for alleviating. Chamomile is very soothing and calming on a physical level and really helps with symptoms like itching, inflammation, pain, weeping, redness, irritation. Chamomile also soothes and calms your disposition. It has a strong anti-inflammatory action and anti-allergic action, so it is ideal for things like bites, spots and rashes. The symptoms themselves in turn cause a feeling of stress and discomfort and general irritation, so chamomile is perfect to help calm and soothe these internal feelings as well as the outside physical ailments. Chamomile is also very gentle, and does not have any contraindications, so this makes it appropriate for use on delicate skin, that may be damaged or sensitive, and for young children (please note that it must be diluted before skin application).
Top Tip: One very annoying symptom of skin conditions is the itching sensation, and of course the worst thing to do is to scratch, yet scratching seems to be the only thing to bring relief. Alas, the after effects usually mean your skin is left in a much worse state. I remember being able to resist the urge to scratch more easily during the day, but in the night, I wouldn’t really be conscious enough to have control, and I would scratch until I drew blood. One of my best pieces of advice here is to cut your finger nails down to the absolute minimum which will help minimise damage. I did consider scratch mitts, but the lack of finger nails really made a difference.
Many skin conditions can leave the skin very dry, so it is important to keep the skin hydrated, hydrated skin will bode better under a scratch attack than dry. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.
Treatment & Application: I would recommend applying chamomile essential oil diluted in either a simple cream, lotion or in a plain aloe vera gel, as they are easy to apply, address the hydration issue, and can feel soothing and cooling in themselves when massaged into the affected area. See my recent blog on ‘Blending Every Day Products with Essential Oils’ for details on mixing and the appropriate number of drops to use when blending yourself, my recipe for making your own natural cream, or see some recommendations for products below. Make sure you use a base that is very natural and avoid harsh products with nasty chemicals, as they can sting, or cause the skin to react and make it worse. A cream can be applied to large areas of damaged or affected skin, or just dabbed onto spots or bites. I would recommend using this for acne when it is very sore, red and inflamed, although treating only the spots first with lavender or tea tree would be more suitable because of their powerful anti microbial and cleansing effects, chamomile would then be ideal to apply afterwards for it’s more soothing gentle action.
An important point to note is that a lot of skin conditions that are not caused by an obvious outside influence (a wasp sting, nettles or allergies) are caused by stress. Stress is a word that can literally mean anything, so it needs to be looked at on a personal level. Some might experience stress in traffic on their journey to work, or when trying to get the lid off a jar that is really stiff; some may be dealing with a life crisis for example the death of someone close or a relationship breakdown. What ever the situation is, the body can still be reacting in the same way, and often it can be several months after the upheaval that the skin condition arises. It may be worth keeping a diary so you can become more aware of your symptoms, and notice what has an effect on them. Although there may be many things that effect it such as foods, or products that your skin comes into contact with, there is usually an emotional issue which is the root cause.
It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with a friend that I made the emotional connection. I was struggling to manage eczema at the time and she asked me a question about an uncomfortable subject for me at the time -relating to a difficult relationship. Whilst I was speaking, she said to me “Do you realise that you started scratching when I asked you about…..” It was a real ‘ah ha’ moment, and has now become a great marker for me, as whenever I begin to scratch my skin, I know that I must be feeling stressed about something, and having that awareness helps me to question what is going on. When I notice this, I know I need to be more gentle with myself, and look at what is happening in my life to make me feel stressed or overwhelmed. I also like to make time to massage a little chamomile cream into the area on my body that is itching. At the moment, I often get an itch and a little patch of eczema on various parts of my hands, so I have a bottle of chamomile cream by my bed, and massage it into my hands at night, which helps calm and prepare me for sleep too.
If you are not confident blending your own essential oils into a base of cream or aloe vera gel, or it isn’t convenient, then you can contact me to order a bespoke blend: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather just recently, and decided to write this post after realising I had used lavender essential oil three times for supporting myself when feeling unwell in one morning. When I’m run down, my glands generally start swelling up, I get achy and tired and sometimes a headache. On this morning I applied some lavender oil to my tender glands on my neck, gargled with a drop of lavender oil, to ease my sore throat, and rubbed a little around the top of my neck that was aching a lot. Later that day when carelessly getting up off the floor and scratching my knuckle with my own fingernail, I applied a drop to the cut as an anti-septic and to help the pain. Since it was in an awkward place, I then applied a plaster, but put a drop of lavender oil on the padded section first.
I suspect that I’m renowned by my friends and family for saying “you should put some lavender on that” if I happen to see them with a cut, burn or spot, or if they mention an array of other ailments. Sometimes they will roll their eyes, but sometimes they will try out my advice, and give me positive feedback, along with a little surprise.
Lavender really is the most useful of all essential oils, for one thing it is generally a very safe essential oil to use on your skin, although in the past it has been thought ok to use neat on your skin* I would use lavender essential oil blended in a base oil for all skin applications (5 drops in 10ml base or 2 drops for children & sensitive skin).
Some of the reasons that lavender is helpful in these situations is because it is antiseptic, pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and helps skin to heal. Here is a list of common minor complaints that lavender can be really handy and effective for. Please note that for anything more than a minor condition, you should see your doctor or seek further professional advice.
Athletes Foot – you can either mix 1 drop of lavender into enough skin cream or lotion to massage into your foot. Do this every day until clear. Alternatively, make up a batch to use in advance so if you have 100ml of cream/lotion add 250 drops of lavender (this is quite strong so only use it for the athlete’s foot).
Burns – Lavender is actually used to treat burns in hospitals so it is perfect for burns. After you have held the burn under cold water for 10 minutes you can apply lavender essential oil mixed in aloe vera gel as this will help to heal the skin and reduce scarring. Do not use lavender blended in a base oil initially as you want to avoid any fatty oils while there is still heat in the area.
Cuts, Grazes, Scratches -any little nicks to the skin – apply lavender oil to the affected area, as it has a cleansing action and acts as an antiseptic. If it needs a plaster, you can put a drop of lavender blend on to the soft part that goes over the wound before applying. You could also spay lavender flower water to the area.
Ear Ache – roll a small piece of cotton wool up, apply 1 drop of lavender oil, and place just inside your ear, do not push it deep into the ear, and remember to remove it.
Fungal nail infections – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected nail, ensure that it also covers the skin just below the nail, as this is where the new nail is growing from, and you want to be treating this part too.
Head Ache – apply a drop of lavender oil blend to the temples and gently massage with your fingertips. If you feel the ache somewhere specific like around the back of the neck or in the centre of your forehead then I would apply the oil and gently massage this area instead.
Insect Bites and Stings – apply 1 drop of lavender blend to the affected area.
Spots – apply a drop of lavender blend after cleansing morning and evening, do not pick or squeeze, you can use cotton wool pads or buds to apply.
Thrush/ CandidaGenital – for females, put one drop of lavender essential oil blend on a panty pad and attach to underwear as you would during your cycle. Change it regularly, applying a drop to each new pad. I have had some great feedback when suggesting this and it is very simple and non-invasive.
Thrush/ Candida Oral – use an egg cup full of water, add 1 drop of lavender blend to it, and gargle with it in your mouth for as long as possible (at least 2 minutes) but do not swallow. Do this 2 to 4 times a day.
Veruccas – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.
Warts – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.
Lavender essential oil really is an essential addition to your first aid kit!
Note:Tea tree is very similar in action to lavender, so you can use tea tree in place of lavender for any of the above remedies, however my preference is for lavender as the smell is less medicinal and less aggressive. I would recommend lavender over tea tree in the case of minor burns.
Caution: There are many types of lavender oil on the market, so please make sure you use a good quality product, from a trusted supplier that is actually pure, undiluted lavender essential oil with the botanical or latin name ‘Lavandula angustifolia’. Some other types of lavender oil may be either too harsh due to different chemistry, or may just be a lavender scented product made from synthetic chemicals, which would not have the healing benefits and may irritate the area instead. Click here to purchase lavender essential oil.
I noticed my car smelt a little damp when I got in the other day. This is not surprising considering the weather in the UK the last few months -which seems like constant rain, and my car is just a little old thing so it doesn’t cut me off from the environment outside.
Anyway, I decided that apart from a clean it needed a little freshening up with some essential oils. When I first bought the car, I didn’t like the smell, so I chose some strong, fresh, cleansing scents -Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemon -because I wanted something to overpower the current smell and to make an impact. I literally just sprinkled drops of each oil throughout the various surfaces of the car. The beauty of these oils is that as well as the refreshing aroma, they will have a cleansing and anti-microbial action in the car. Later on I got a little lavender bag to hang from the mirror, this is a bag filled with lavender flowers which hold essential oil in them and produce a beautiful scent). When I turn the car enough for the bag to swing, I get a little whiff of lavender from it.
After quite a while I stopped noticing the scent, so I sprinkled some lavender essential oil on to the bag to refresh the smell. Every so often, as the scent fades, I repeat this and will generally choose different essential oils depending on how I feel. I keep a couple of bottles of essential oil in the glove box and on a long journey I might sprinkle 2 or 3 drops of peppermint or eucalyptus on to the bag, as this will keep me refreshed through the drive.
Caution: Make sure you avoid any essential oils that have a sedating properties as this will obviously not support driving, avoid valerian, carrot seed, clary sage and vetiver. And if lavender essential oil makes you feel sleepy, avoid this too and try lemongrass or thyme.
Using essential oils to freshen the smell of your car is a lovely way to look after you and your environment, and I would say it’s preferable to the usual car trinkets as some of the ingredients I have come across include nasty chemicals.
You can also use lavender bags to freshen and scent your home; I have them in my wardrobe, and various draws and cupboards throughout the house. Use the same technique of adding drops of essential oil every now and then to freshen them up. For more details read my blog on How to Take Care of your Clothes with Essential Oils.