The small evergreen lemon tree has serrated oval leaves, stiff thorny branches and fragrant white or pale pink flowers. The round or oval green fruits of Citrus limon or Citrus limonum turn sunshine yellow when ripe. A native of India and Asia, this member of the Rutaceae family grows about eighteen feet tall. Lemon trees grow wild in Mediterranean climates and are cultivated in Guinea, Israel, Italy, and North and South America.
Cold expression of the fresh peels of the fruit renders a pale greenish yellow oil. Its scent is fresh and light, slightly sharp but sweet, with the tart and tangy smell of fresh lemons. About 1,000 lemons will yield one pound of oil.

Beauty Benefits
Lemon oil balances overactive sebaceous glands that lead to oily or blemished skin, helps clear acne and controls oily hair and dandruff. It revitalizes underactive and mature skin and helps with cellulite by improving circulation and encouraging the elimination of wastes. Lemon oil encourages the exfoliation of dead skin and enlivens the complexion. Long-term treatment with lemon oil reduces broken capillaries and varicose veins, softens scar tissue and minimizes warts and corns. Lemon oil can also strengthen brittle nails.

Emotional Effects
Lemon oil is cooling, refreshing and uplifting. It encourages clarity, concentration and recall. It can calm or prevent emotional outbursts. It fights depression, eases fear, strengthens resolve and assists in communication and decision-making.


Smooth and shiny oblong leaves, fragrant white flowers and sweet tasting nutritious fruit adorn the bounteous orange tree. The bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium, yields orange oil from its fruit, neroli oil from its flowers and petitgrain oil from its foliage. The sweet orange tree, Citrus sinensis, yields orange oil from its fruit and occasionally an oil called neroli Portugal from its blossoms.
Cold-expressing either whole oranges or orange peels, by hand or machine, yields a yellow or orange oil with a zesty, refreshing, slightly green-smelling and very citrusy aroma. Some orange oil is steam-distilled from fresh orange peels. Approximately fifty oranges render one ounce of orange oil.

Native to China and India, the orange tree belongs to the Rutaceae family. Oranges grow abundantly in the Americas, Israel and Mediterranean countries. Brazil, Cyprus, Israel, Mexico and the United States are the primary producers of orange oil.

Beauty Benefits
Orange oil restores balance to dry or oily skin. It maintains healthy youthful skin by promoting the production of collagen. It reduces puffiness and discourages dry wrinkled skin. Orange oil stimulates circulation to the skin surface and softens rough skin. It also clears blemishes and improves acne-prone skin. It tends to increase perspiration, thus assisting the release of toxins from dull or blemished skin. Orange stimulates the circulation of lymphatic fluids and helps relieve tissue swelling and fluid retention. It improves cellulite, which is sometimes called orange-peel skin.

Emotional Effects
Orange oil balances the emotions, either relaxing or stimulating as needed. It revitalizes and energizes when boredom and lethargy set in. Orange oil has a warm, happy and light influence that prevents extreme seriousness. It calms the nerves and can combat anxiety and insomnia. Orange oil brightens gloomy feelings, dissipates depressing thoughts and subdues tension and stress, particularly in wintertime or if the stress is related to premenstrual syndrome or menopause. It eases fear of the unknown and encourages a more adventuresome attitude. It brings a more positive outlook, replacing sadness with warmth and happiness. Orange oil awakens creativity, inspires harmony and promotes self-awareness.


Sweet basil is a tender annual herb with dark green, pointed oval leaves that may be fuzzy. It bears whorls of green, white or pink flowers. The entire basil plant, Ocimum basilicum, emits a fresh, sweet herbaceous scent. Steam-distilling the flowering herb produces an oil that can be colorless, pale yellow or pale green. Basil oil has a light spicy smell with a balsamic or camphorlike undertone.
Native to tropical Asia and Africa, this member of the Lamiaceae family is cultivated throughout Europe, in the Mediterranean, on islands in the Pacific and in North and South America. Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, South Africa and the United States all produce basil oil.

Beauty Benefits
Because basil oil has the ability to stimulate circulation, it enlivens dull-looking skin, improves skin tone and gives the complexion a rosy glow. It helps to control acne. It also adds a luster to dull hair.

Emotional Effects
Basil oil possesses both sedative and stimulating actions. Its sedative action wards off anxiety attacks and nervous tension, and helps to vanquish insomnia; its stimulating action fights mental fatigue and strengthens mental functions. Basil oil increases concentration, sharpens the senses, clarifies thoughts and clears the head. As a nerve tonic, basil oil can calm nervousness. In Europe, psychologists and physicians use it to treat melancholy and depression. Basil oil can minimize fear and sadness while fortifying weak nerves.


Compact serrated leaves on short square stems contrast with the long spearlike spikes bearing the tiny purple, pink or white flowers of the peppermint plant. Originally native to Asia and Europe, this member of the Lamiaceae family is now grown commercially in humid regions of Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Japan, Morocco, Spain and the United States, which is the primary producer of peppermint oil.
Steam-distilling 1,000 pounds of mature Mentha piperita plants in full bloom will produce about one pound of peppermint oil. This clear or pale yellow oil emits a strong, sharp menthol aroma that is pungent and powerful, even overwhelming.

Beauty Benefits
Peppermint oil fights bacterial infection and reduces the oiliness present with acne and blemishes. It stimulates circulation and helps enliven dull dry skin. Peppermint oil leaves skin feeling soft and silky. It also regulates and normalizes oily skin and hair. It constricts capillaries and minimizes the redness of broken capillaries and varicose veins.

Emotional Effects
Peppermint oil cools emotions and dissipates anger, hysteria and nervousness. It energizes and relieves mental fatigue. It diminishes depression. Peppermint oil increases alertness and improves concentration. It awakens the central nervous system, stimulates the brain and clarifies thought processes.

Reprinted from Aromatherapy for Vibrant Health and Beauty by Roberta Wilson with permission of Avery Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright 1995 by Roberta Wilson.