The Top 3 Essential Oils

From Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS

Nowadays, you can rarely visit a health site or listen to a wellness podcast without hearing something about essential oils. And chances are, you probably know someone who swears by their ability to heal everything from the common cold to constipation.

So why the explosion in popularity of these wonder oils? I think it’s simply a matter of modern cultures beginning to understand what ancient civilizations knew a long, long time ago. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are composed of tiny molecules that are small enough to penetrate the skin and internal cells, making them super effective in treating a host of health conditions.

In fact, the history of essential oils dates back more than 5,000 years, and in addition to being used as all-natural medicinal aids, essential oils were also used for relaxation and beauty treatments. Essential oils are still effective in the same applications today, and thanks to modern advancements, we now have easy and affordable access to them.

If there is a problem with modern essential oils, it’s that there are so many available that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know which ones to purchase. The good news is that many oils have multiple uses and by starting with just a few, you can cover nearly all of your health, home and beauty needs. Following is my list of the three essential oils every woman needs—plus, how to use them.


I believe that frankincense is one of the most powerful oils available, and it’s one that I use on a daily basis. After all, there’s a reason that the wise men presented baby Jesus with frankincense just after his birth. It has been shown to be effective in multiple uses, including boosting the immune system, fighting cancer naturally and decreasing inflammation throughout the body.

For many women who are juggling work, family, friends and still trying to enjoy themselves in the midst of it all, frankincense can be great for all-natural stress relief. It has been shown to lower heart rate and high blood pressure, and it has anti-anxiety and depression-reducing benefits. I love adding a few drops to a hot bath for stress relief. And as an added bonus, your skin will improve while you soak, as frankincense has the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, thus healing scars and blemishes and fighting the effects of aging.


Have you noticed that lavender is a common ingredient added to lotions, creams and other beauty products? This practice is far from new. Ancient Egyptians used it as a perfume, while the Romans loved to scent the air with its fragrance. But lavender doesn’t just smell good—it’s a powerful healing oil as well.

Having trouble falling asleep at night? A study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine found that lavender oil can bring immediate improvement to those struggling with insomnia (try diffusing it in your bedroom; rubbing a few drops on your neck, chest and temples; or rubbing some directly onto your pillow.) Lavender is also great for treating headaches, healing cuts and burns, improving mood and relieving stress. It’s also great for protecting against neurological damage. Studies have even shown that it can reduce the symptoms and development of Alzheimer’s disease.


Lemon oil is one of the most popular essential oils available today – and for good reason. It’s a potent anti-microbial that can cleanse toxins throughout the body and is a great detoxification agent. Throughout the day, I love to drink a glass of water with a drop or two of lemon oil added. And in addition to cleansing the body, lemon oil can stimulate digestion, calm the stomach, ease nausea, and promote weight loss.

But the benefits of lemon oil aren’t just confined to personal use. Lemon oil is a great oil to have around the house because it can literally replace so many of the toxic, hazardous cleaning solutions that you may be using on a regular basis. You can add a few drops of lemon oil to your laundry to keep it from smelling like mildew if you leave it in the washing machine too long. A cloth soaked in lemon oil is great for cleaning wood as well as tarnished silver and jewelry. And if you add 40 drops of lemon oil, 20 drops of tea tree oil and a tablespoon of white vinegar to a 16-ounce spray bottle filled with water, you’ll have an inexpensive and highly-effective all-natural cleaner.


Want more from Dr. Axe? Learn to break your weight loss plateau and which foods encourage muscle growth. 

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