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Updated Reference Guide for Essential Oils: 2017 Edition

Since first being published in 1996, the Reference Guide for Essential Oils has been updated many times to stay the most up-to-date reference guide in the essential oil industry. This latest edition includes many improvements, not only to the design, but also to include new products, essential oils, and information.

Now 688 pages, this definitive guide is a great resource for essential oil beginners and experts alike. If you use essential oils, you’ll want to have this book in your personal library!

Here are some of the features you’ll find in this edition:

ah_rg2017_cover_tocNew design and images throughout the book. The Reference Guide for Essential Oils just got even more beautiful with full-sized images for section headers and additional images for essential oils, oil blends, personal care products, and supplements! You will love how colorful this book is now!

Easy-to-understand information about the science behind the essential oils and how to use them. In Science & Application section, you can learn about the basics of essential oils and more advanced scientific information such as the chemical constituents that make up essential oils and why the constituents make essential oils beneficial for our health. Among other topics addressed in this section, you can also learn about the 3 different application methods—aromatic, topical, and internal—and various practical ways to apply the oils to yourself or others.

ah_rg2017_singleoilsDetailed information for over 100 single essential oils. Each essential oil in the Single Oils section outlines information about the oil including botanical family, extraction method/origin, chemical constituents, properties, common primary uses, folklore, historical uses, other possible uses, body systems affected, aromatic influence, application, oral use as a dietary supplement, safety data, blend classification, and other oils it blends well with. The newest addition to this section is Juniperus oxycedrus.

ah_rg2017_oilblendsDetailed information for commercially available essential oil blends. In the Oil Blends section, you’ll learn about what single oils make up each blend and their purpose in the blend, the body systems each blend affects, its aromatic influence, application, safety data, companion oils, frequency, and other pertinent information. A new blend was just added to this edition.

ah_rg2017_personalcareDetailed information for commercially available essential oil personal care products. Under each product, the Personal Care Products section lists the ingredients, essential oils and their purpose in the product, suggested use, and body systems affected. Various new personal care products have just been added to this section.

ah_rg2017_supplementsDetailed information for commercially available essential oil–inspired supplements. In the Supplements section, you will find information about each supplement such as ingredients, essential oils and their purpose in the supplement, suggested use, safety data, body systems affected, companion products, companion oils, frequency, and additional comments. Various new supplements have been added to this edition.

ah_rg2017_notesA place to keep personal notes. As you use essential oils, you will inevitably have information you want to write down such as personal experiences of oils that have worked for you, diffuser blends, new products, ideas, protocols, suggestions from others, etc. The Notes & New Products section gives you a place to keep all these thoughts together.

ah_rg2017_personalguideOver 600 conditions/ailments with suggested essential oils, oil blends, personal care products, and supplements to try. The Personal Guide is the most-used section of the book because it is the easiest way to find what essential oils you may need to help your health condition. This section outlines the primary essential oil recommendations in purple and the secondary essential oil recommendations in green. You will also find recommended application methods (A=Aromatic, T=Topical, I=Internal). If there are personal care products or supplements that may help, they will be listed under the condition as well. You may also find essential oil recipes, protocols, and others’ personal recommendations.


Easy-to-reference charts and graphs. This book includes additional information, charts, and graphs in the appendix of the book for easy reference.

References to scientific research studies. Hundreds of footnotes throughout this book lead to summaries and references for more than 300 published research studies on essential oils and essential oil constituents.

This book’s unique color-coded system makes it simple for anyone to quickly find—and confidently use—recommended essential oils, oil blends, and essential oil–inspired supplements for hundreds of different health and wellness conditions.

Join the millions of individuals who are rediscovering the natural healing powers of essential oils with the Reference Guide for Essential Oils!

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Melissa

Melissa essential oil, also known as lemon balm, is steam-distilled from the leaves of the Melissa officinalis plant in the mint family.

Melissa is one of the earliest known medicinal herbs. Historically, it was used for nervous disorders and many problems having to do with the heart and emotions. It was also used to aid fertility.

It has antibacterial, antidepressant, sedative, and other qualities that make it useful in a wide variety of applications. It is helpful in relieving anxiety, asthma, colic, depression, indigestion, insomnia, nausea, fevers, throat infections, and vertigo.

Aromatically, melissa is delicate and lemony. It is calming and uplifting and may help balance the emotions.

Melissa blends well with geranium, lavender, and other floral and citrus oils. It is a good oil to diffuse or to use externally on the area of concern.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about melissa essential oil and many other pure essential oils.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition, pp. 98–99.



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Make & Take Classes

Corporate Seminar Conference Team Collaboration Concept

Corporate Seminar Conference Team Collaboration Concept

Hosting make-and-take classes is a great way to teach about essential oils and how they can be used. It is also a great way to get the guests involved while creating something to take home with them that will serve as a reminder of what they learned. Make-and-take classes may seem like an ordeal, but they can be fun! This post offers tips on how you can have a successful make-and-take class.

When planning for a class, you will need to do the following:

  • Plan a convenient date, place, and time for those you want to attend.
  • Invite people, and send them a reminder a few days before the class.
  • Order your materials. Abundant Health has a lot of ingredients and containers that are great for essential oil DIY projects.
  • Gather your materials. Print any instructions, handouts, and labels as needed for your make-and-take project.

After you’ve gathered your supplies for the make-and-take portion of the class, prepare a short lesson. Keep your lesson to less than 30 minutes; you should leave enough time for questions and your make-and-take project. Here are a few ideas for lesson topics:

  • the basics of essential oils
  • how essential oils support a specific body system
  • the most common essential oils and how to use them
  • essential oils for specific purposes

Use the Reference Guide for Essential Oils for ideas and information to share with your class.



These are a few other things you will need to consider when preparing for your class:

  • Decide if you want to keep the lesson education-based or open up the discussion for business opportunities. If you want to market a specific essential oil company, be careful not to make any health claims about the essential oils, but speak in general about possible health benefits.
  • Decide if and how you want to charge for the make-and-take project. Some charge a flat fee for their classes; others give their attendees 1 free item and charge for extras; and some provide (or charge for) materials but not the essential oils.
  • You may want to prepare a sample ahead of time so you can show the finished product.
  • Figure out how to set up your make-and-take stations. Make sure to have at least 1 station and arrange it so the attendees can either all make the project at the same time or walk down a line to put together their item depending on the kind of project you have chosen.
  • Other optional suggestions include holding a drawing to get contact information, offering refreshments, and providing additional handouts or prizes.

Check out some of these Abundant Health Essential Ideas for topics and class ideas.

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From the Reference Guide: Energy


It’s the time of year to bundle up. During the winter months it’s easy to feel sluggish and fall into a health slump. With more sickness going around, colder temperatures, and the loss of sunlight come feelings of exhaustion. Getting more sleep and ample hydration during the winter months is vital to keeping your energy levels high. There are also some great ways to energize your mind and body with essential oils.

The following essential oils can give you that much-needed pick-me-up:

  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Myrtle
  • Nutmeg
  • Orange
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

These oils may help stimulate the endocrine system, increase energy, improve circulation, and combat fatigue.

Essential oils can be inhaled directly or applied to a cotton ball or handkerchief. You can also diffuse essential oils in your home and in your work space. Diffusing oils produces positive ions that help increase your energy. A nasal inhaler recipe is great to take on the go to use whenever you experience a dip in energy or brain fogginess.

Adding these essential oils to your bathtime or personal care routine can give you a surge of energy to start your day. Try adding a few drops of essential oils to your lotion, or apply directly to your wrists and behind your ears. Mix a blend of oils with a base oil, and massage into the feet, the base of the neck, and on the temples help to gain the energizing benefits.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about how essential oils can be used to increase your energy levels.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition, pp. 176, 426–27.


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10 Ways to NOT Use Essential Oils

We often hear about the benefits of essential oils and how you can use them for practically anything, but it is also a good idea to learn about the ways you shouldn’t use essential oils. Here are 10 ways you should not use essential oils:

1. Do NOT put essential oils directly in the eye.

Essential oils may be beneficial for some eye problems such as conjunctivitis or cataracts, but the oils should not be applied directly in the eye. Instead, you can rub the oils around the bone that surrounds the eye. Make sure to dilute the essential oil and keep a carrier oil (such as olive oil, coconut oil, or fractionated coconut oil) on hand to further dilute the essential oil if you happen to get any in the eye. One of the best ways to dilute essential oil that has gotten into the eye is to pour a little carrier oil onto a tissue and use the tissue to dap at the eye. Remember to not use water to wash out the oils. Water and oil do not mix and using water will actually drive the oils in deeper. Be very careful when applying essential oil around the eye and never apply the oil directly in the eye!

2. Do NOT put essential oils directly in the ear.

Essential oils may help with ear infections and tinnitus, but as with essential oils in the eye, you should NOT put essential oils directly in the ear. You can instead rub essential oils around the ear or place a drop or two on a cotton ball, then place the cotton ball just inside the ear to help with ear problems.

3. Do NOT use a lot of essential oil.

Essential oil is very concentrated and should only be used in small doses. In fact, a drop or two is usually sufficient and may even need be diluted with carrier oil (especially for hot oils or for use on children, elderly, or those with sensitive skin). If, for any reason, you need a stronger dose, it is better to keep the dosage small, but apply more frequently instead of using more drops per application.

4. Do NOT use essential oils on young children without dilution.

As mentioned above, essential oils are very concentrated and should be diluted if using them on children, elderly, or those with sensitive skin. Click here for more information on diluting essential oils and the recommended dilution ratios.

5. Do NOT use essential oils internally for young children.

Caution must be used when using essential oils with young children. Children under the age of six do not need to take essential oils internally. The exception to this rule of thumb is when essential oils are used in cooking because oils used this way are often diluted enough for children. For therapeutic use, topical application (diluted, of course) is usually sufficient for the needs of young children.

6. Do NOT keep essential oils within reach of children.

Children are very curious and like to imitate the things they see. They watch you apply essential oils to yourself or to them and will attempt to do it themselves if they can get a hold of essential oils. I’m sure you can already imagine potential problems with this especially if you have been reading the above cautions with using essential oils on children.
Here are a few things you can do if you find the following situations:

  • Child has poured a bunch of oil on their skin: Rub as much off with a paper towel as possible, then rub on carrier oil to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child got essential oils in their eyes: Saturate a tissue with a carrier oil and dab their eyes to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child has taken the essential oil internally: Give the child milk, yogurt or, if older than 12 months, honey to help dilute the ingested oil. You also may want to call poison control to see if they have any further instructions.
  • Child got oil on clothes, fabric, wood, or furniture: Soak up as much as possible with a paper towel, then treat as you would a grease stain.

Essential oils are expensive, so aside from the concerns of children using the oils on themselves, you will also want to keep them out of reach of children so the oil isn’t wasted.

7. Do NOT use essential oils with plastic or styrofoam.

Some essential oils, especially citrus oils, when undiluted will eat away at plastic which can destroy the oil and create holes in the plastic, so it is best to avoid using plastic with essential oils. If the oils are heavily diluted, such as in creams or lotions, they can be stored in plastic containers that use stronger types of plastic like PET or HDPE. Click here to learn more about the different types of plastics we use in our containers.

8. Do NOT put oil directly on finished wood surfaces.

Just as with plastics, essential oils can eat away at the finishing on wood surfaces. Be careful when using essential oils around finished wood pieces and remember to clean up immediately after noticing any essential oil has spilled on your wood surface to avoid any disfiguring.

9. Do NOT apply citrus oil while sitting in the sunshine.

Some essential oils (typically citrus oils) are photosensitive and contain natural substances called furanocoumarins. Furanocoumarins can react with ultraviolet light to create substances that may cause hyper pigmentation or burning on the skin. While these essential oils have any beneficial properties, care should be taken after applying these oils on the skin to protect these areas from direct, prolonged ultraviolet light exposure for 1–3 days.

10. Do NOT leave your oils in the cabinet unused.

Even though we have talked about the various ways you should use caution when using essential oils, we hope we haven’t scared you into not using your oils at all. Essential oils, when used appropriately, can be very beneficial to the health and well-being of our bodies. If you have essential oils, don’t let them sit untouched in your cabinet—use them! A great resource to help you learn how to use essential oils is the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley.

Disclaimer: The essential oil bottles in these pictures were filled with water rather than essential oils. No children (or adults) were harmed while taking these pictures. We do not recommend trying any of the photographed situations at home.


Essential Oils for Back to School


The lazy days of summer can make going back to school hard for kids! Time to use that brain power again at a time when cold and flu season can really do a number on the immune system. Essential oils can help your child concentrate, fortify the immune system, and calm stress.


It’s easy for a child to feel fidgety and distracted in class. This can make it difficult to retain information and understand what is being taught in the classroom.  According to the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, some essential oils can help with that.

Lemon, jasmine, vetiver, cedarwood, and lavender oils are known to heighten the senses and aid in memory recall. Try diffusing these oils while your child studies, and then send him or her to school with a nasal inhaler made with the same oils. Click here for 6 Nasal Inhaler Recipes to Take to School.

Immunity Boost

During the colder months of the fall and winter, there are all kinds of bugs to be passed around. The crowded classrooms and gyms of schools are a breeding ground for sickness.

There are many essential oils that are powerful antibacterial agents. Oregano, cinnamon bark, ravensara, and peppermint are said to be more powerful as antibacterial agents than penicillin or ampicillin. One study showed that cinnamon bark, lemon-grass and thyme tested the highest out of 14 oils for inhibitory effects against respiratory tract pathogens Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, including some penicillin-resistant strains.

Diffuse these oils in your child’s room when they sleep, and make sure they are getting plenty of rest and healthy food.

Calming the Stress

Being in school can be stressful! Studying for a test, getting homework done, pleasing the teacher, and worrying about a social life can really add stress and worry to a child’s life.

Lavender, clary sage, bergamot, basil, chamomile, and tangerine are some of the many essential oils that have a calming and uplifting effect. While you cannot remove stress from your child’s life, you can help soothe the stress by spending quality time with your child. Try diffusing some calming oils while you sit and read with your child.

With the use of essential oils, along with proper rest, nutrition, and quality time, you can prepare and support your children as they face the challenges of getting back into the swing of things at school.

Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition.

Shigeharu Inouye, Toshio Takizawa, and Hideyo Yamaguchi. “Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils and Their Major Constituents against Respiratory Tract Pathogens by Gaseous Contact.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 47, no. 5 (May 2001), 565–73.

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Clary Sage

Clary sage essential oil is steam-distilled from the Salvia sclarea plant of the mint family. Its spicy, hay-like aroma brings a sense of calm and euphoria.

Historically, it was nicknamed “clear eyes” and was well known during the Middle Ages as a successful treatment for eye problems. It was also widely used for female complaints, inflammation, and wounds.

The French use clary sage to treat a variety of ailments, including bronchitis, cholesterol, hormonal imbalance, impotence, PMS, and weak digestion.

Clary sage may also be used for kidney disorders, cell regulation, depression, circulatory problems, insect bites, dry skin, infections, and whooping cough. It may help balance the body’s hormonal system.

It can be applied topically, diffused, or taken orally if diluted in honey or milk.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about clary sage essential oil and many other pure essential oils.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition, pp. 60–61.

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Clove

fresh clove spice

Clove essential oil is steam-distilled from the flower buds of a tree in the Myrtaceae family. Its spicy, warm, and woody aroma is said to be a mental stimulant.

Historically, clove was used for skin infections, digestive upsets, intestinal parasites, childbirth, and toothaches.

The French use clove for impotence, intestinal parasites, memory deficiency, pain, plague, toothache, and wounds. The Chinese also use cloves for diarrhea, hernia, bad breath, and bronchitis.

Clove oil is believed to support the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, and respiratory systems. It may also be used to treat arthritis, insect bites, rheumatism, and warts. Clove is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.

Used aromatically, clove may influence healing, improve memory, and create a feeling of courage. It is regarded as safe for human consumption by the FDA and can be taken internally or used topically.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about clove essential oil and many other pure essential oils.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition, pp. 61–62.

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Essential Oils: A Recipe for Health

For thousands of years, people have been using essential oils to improve their health and heighten their senses. Topical and aromatic use are certainly great ways to enjoy the healing benefits of essential oils, but what about putting their powers to work from the inside out?

In addition to spicing things up in the kitchen, the internal use of essential oils can offer potent therapeutic benefits. They’re known to support the body’s organ systems and may help balance the metabolism and diminish the harmful effects of chronic stress. Relaxation, exercise, and a wholesome diet are all important components to our overall health. But, with the high stress and toxic environment of modern life, we can all use a little extra boost. How about at meal time?

First, are essential oils even safe to ingest?

Check if a particular essential oil is certified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA. If the oil is on this list, it’s safe for internal use.

Also, consider the quality of the oil. Most essential oils are made for the perfume industry. They may smell great, but they are often adulterated with chemicals and fillers to manipulate the odor and extend shelf life. Beware of unsubstantiated terms like “natural” that have no measurable meaning. Go with brands that are trusted and guaranteed for their purity. Use caution with certain oils when giving them to children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. Check the label for warnings and recommended use. When in doubt, consult a healthcare professional.

How do I start using essential oils internally?

Many people will add a drop of essential oil to whatever they are drinking, which can be a great way to introduce essential oils into your diet. But remember that oil and water don’t mix. Because oil does not dissolve in water, it’s best to mix your oil with an oil-soluble drink such as soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk so you don’t get a too-concentrated dose in your stomach. Even distribution is important for absorption. Essential oils can also be added to your favorite recipes. Culinary uses are a great way to introduce oils into your diet, dispersing them with the fats in your food.


Why use oils in my cooking?

Aside from the multiple health benefits of incorporating essential oils into your diet, essential oils can deliciously boost the flavors of your food using only a tiny amount. You can substitute the use of expensive fresh herbs with just a drop of oil and have a vast array of difficult-to-find herbs available to you regardless of the season.

How do I use essential oils in my recipes?

Essential oils that come from spices, herbs, or citrus fruits are commonly used in cooking and are the best ones to use in recipes. Essential oils are very concentrated; typically a drop or two is all you will need. Heating essential oils changes their molecular structure, so it’s best to add them to food after it has finished cooking or heating up. You can also use essential oils to flavor cold foods like salad dressings and smoothies.

Easy Ways to Make Your Food Alive with Flavor Using Essential Oils

  • Add a couple drops of orange or cinnamon oil to pancake batter or oatmeal.
  • Add a drop of lemon to your yogurt or a smoothie.
  • Add a drop of lemon or dill to add tang to spreads and dips.
  • Add various herbs, like rosemary, plus some lemon to olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a salad dressing or bread dip.
  • Add a drop each of basil, rosemary, and thyme to your tomato-based pasta sauce to really punch up the flavor.
  • Add a drop of dill to your potato salad.
  • Add 2 drops of lemon per can of tuna to your tuna salad.
  • Add your favorite flavor oil to boiling water before adding rice.

Tips on Using Essential Oils in the Kitchen

  • Citrus oils are pressed from the peel, so they can substitute for the zest but not the juice.
  • To have better control over the amount of oil you add to a recipe, place your drops on a spoon before stirring them in.
  • Substitute 1 drop of oil for 1–2 Tbsp. of dried spice or herb and 1 drop of oil for 1–2 tsp. of fresh spice.
  • Some oils are really strong, and a toothpick dipped in the oil, then stirred into your mixture, may be sufficient.
  • Use glass or stainless steel mixing bowls. Oils can damage certain types of plastic.
  • Keep your oils away from heat, light, and humid conditions to maintain a long shelf life. Refrigerator storage is fine.
  • Don’t forget to recap your bottles so the oils don’t evaporate out.
  • Because oils are altered by heat and may evaporate, it is always best to add the oils at the end of cooking if possible.
  • Oil flavors tend to get stronger the longer the food or beverage sits. So add oils later if it will be awhile before you will be serving the food.
  • Keep your oils out of children’s reach.

Remember, the most important thing about cooking with essential oils is to go easy at first and have fun experimenting. Keep tasting as you go. You’ll learn that a little goes a long way in flavor and in healthy benefits.

Check out some of our delicious recipes using essential oils.

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Spearmint

Fresh mint on a wooden table. The rustic style. Selective focus

Spearmint essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of the Mentha spicata plant. Its pleasant, minty, and slightly fruity aroma is milder than peppermint.

Historically, spearmint was used to relieve hiccups, colic, nausea, indigestion, flatulence, headaches, sores, and scabs.

The French have used spearmint to relieve bronchitis, candida, cystitis, and hypertension.

Spearmint may help support the body systems when trying to balance and increase metabolism and burn fat and toxins in the body. Spearmint has also been said to aid the glandular, nervous, and respiratory systems. It may act as a natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and stimulant. Spearmint has commonly been used to to help support the digestive system and bring emotional balance.

The fresh aroma of spearmint makes it an ideal mood lifter, relieving mental strain and fatigue. Its hormone-like activity may help to open and release emotional blocks.

Other common uses of spearmint essential oil are as an insecticide and as relief for acne, eczema, migraines, nausea, bad breath, and menstrual symptoms.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about spearmint essential oil and many other pure essential oils.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2016 Edition, p. 123.