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36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make


36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Creating your own blends and getting to experiment right in your own home is part of the fun of being an essential oil enthusiast. But, what do you do when you run out of a particular essential oil that you can’t do without in your recipe? Or, how about when an oil is too expensive for your limited budget?

Luckily, some oils can be substituted for others. Because essential oils have their own unique properties, swapping out substitutes won’t give the same exact effect but it is often close enough to make it worth trying.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of applications and can address issues ranging from skin conditions and hair loss to alleviating pain and deal with colds/flu symptoms. On an emotional level, essential oils uplift the spirit, warm the soul, invigorate the senses and stimulate memory. In addition to relieving stress and balancing emotions, many essential oils can address physical discomforts to further create a sense of harmony and well-being.

These healing plant oils can be inhaled through the nose and are carried through the olfactory nerves to the limbic system of the brain, or absorbed by the skin and lungs, passing directly into the bloodstream for immediate and effective results. The more I use them in my day-to-day life, the more I fall in love with these little powerhouses. I hope you will too. Each one contains a world of uses.

In the next section, you’ll find some examples of essential oils and their recommended substitutes. I’ve broken down their properties too so that you get a good idea of their therapeutic effects and how best they’ll work with your essential oil recipes. Read on as I take you on a journey towards natural living…36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

1. Tea Tree Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Used in Australia for over 100 years to treat a variety of medical issues, tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, as well as antimicrobial properties that make it a popular and natural wound disinfectant. Did you know that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex cannot go without one of these little precious treasure bottles as part of her beauty regimen.

If you run out (let’s hope not), a favorite substitute of mine is to mix equal parts Camphor and Lavender essential oil. These two oils mix well and both have anti-inflammatory properties when used in a bath or rubbed on your skin.


Lavender essential oil has several clinically supported and documented health benefits. It has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, carminative and sedative properties. Additionally, it’s also good for soothing insect bite irritation and itching and skin burns. It can help boost circulation by increasing blood flow and in turn, you’ll experience reduced inflammation and discomfort in affected areas.


The essential oil of Camphor has several documented health benefits and it mixes well with lavender. This essential oil has powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can give your immune system a boost, and it’s been used to help alleviate the effects of several medical problems including cough, congestion, infections, sore muscles and body aches.

To use these two oils as a tea tree substitute, you can combine equal parts of the camphor and lavender essential oils and use them as you would for the tea tree.

If used in skincare, a great substitute for tea tree would be geranium.

2. Clary Sage Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Clary Sage essential oil has been in use for hundreds of years for various medicinal reasons including as an antidepressant and for women experiencing cramps or hormone imbalances during their menstrual cycles.

If you can’t find / don’t have this oil, you can make a blend of your own by adding equal parts nutmeg and sage essential oils. They are typically less expensive, and both these essential oils have great health benefits. As a massage oil, nutmeg has properties that can help to treat muscle spasms, inflammation, and swelling. It’s also used to treat menstrual cramps, just like clary sage.


Nutmeg is a well-known spice that it little-known for its health benefits. It is a good choice for fighting bacteria, improving your circulatory system, stimulating and helping your digestive tract, acting as a sedative, and reducing anxiety symptoms.

When you choose to use it as a massage oil, nutmeg has properties that help to treat muscle spasms, inflammation, swelling, whilst promoting good circulation. It can also help treat those painful menstrual cramps, and it is commonly used as a natural painkiller.


Sage oil has been studied and tested in various clinical settings, and it has proven to be a good concentration aid. It works to bind nicotine receptors in your brain, and this can potentially help slow the process of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

It has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and has been in use for decades to treat skin infections and is often used in anti-aging skincare products.

3. Patchouli Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Patchouli comes from an evergreen perennial that is native to Southeast Asia. For thousands of years, various cultures have used this oil as a digestive stimulant, for skin and hair problems, wound healing, and scar reduction. It’s also used as a base in the perfume industry because its scent can last for days. Vetiver makes a good substitute for patchouli.


Vetiver oil is commonly used in the perfume industry due to its long-lasting scent, and it’s known for having a very grounding or calming effect, especially for people with ADHD.

Vetiver has several skin benefits including age spot reduction, scar reduction and it helps to tighten and smooth the skin. Vetiver has antioxidant properties which can help with minimizing wrinkles, crows feet, and sagging skin around the neck.

The essential oil of Vetiver can help regulate the digestive tract and when used as a massage oil acts as a stimulant for the circulatory system.

4. Sandalwood Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

There are three different types of Sandalwood oil, with Indian Sandalwood considered to be the best. You will often find sandalwood as a key ingredient in beauty and skin treatments, soaps, and much more.

It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory that works on internal and external inflammation including the circulatory system, skin, joint, muscle, nerve, and digestive system. You can get similar health benefits by mixing equal parts Benzoin and Cedarwood essential oils, and the scents complement each other wonderfully.


Benzoin essential oil has been in use for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It has proven to be very beneficial in treating a variety of skin and scalp conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It has soothing properties that can help to calm itchiness and inflammation.

It’s also popular in the perfume industry and for treating dark spots, particularly on the face and hands. It can make an effective toner for the face when diluted in water or in a carrier oil.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Benzoin essential oil works well for arthritis and muscle inflammation.


Cedarwood essential oil helps increase overall mental focus as well as lower stress levels. It can help with the digestive system and is an excellent oil when it comes to hair growth / hair loss.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used to help deal with muscle pain and inflammation that typically comes with arthritis.  It’s a natural deodorizer as well, and this makes it a great room freshening agent.

5. Spearmint Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Spearmint is a popular essential oil, best known for being a milder version of its cousin – peppermint oil due to its lower menthol content. It has a cool, fresh scent and is used in aromatherapy to help alleviate fatigue, headaches, migraines, nervousness, and digestive problems.

If you don’t have spearmint oil on hand, you can substitute it for peppermint oil because it has similar properties and benefits.


Peppermint oil can help decrease the pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as help regulate the digestive system.

This essential oil has powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities which can boost the immune system and help your body fight infections. It’s a natural bug repellent and can help to relieve pain associated with burns or bites.

You can use peppermint essential oil as an alternative therapy method to help treat and control the symptoms associated with sinus congestion, sinus headaches, nausea, and more.

6. Bergamot Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Everyone knows bergamot as the citrus fruit; the oil comes from the rind. It has a sweet lingering smell, and it’s a great oil for anxiety and depression, helps with circulation, digestion, headaches, and skin infections. If you’re running low on bergamot essential oil, you can substitute it for grapefruit essential oil.


Grapefruit oil carries a fruity, citrus scent and is packed full of antioxidants including a high amount of Vitamin C which can give your immune system a boost and help to fight cell-damaging free radicals.

You’ll also get stimulating components with this oil that work on both the mind and the body to help with hormone imbalances and depression / anxiety. Grapefruit essential oil can also help fight off infections and is a good disinfectant for wounds.

7. Jasmine Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Jasmine essential oil has a strong, yet sweet floral scent. This scent can stimulate your senses and help fight anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute it for Ylang Ylang.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang oil has a soft and sweet floral fragrance; it’s a very popular essential oil used in aromatherapy, including massages. It can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

This oil has also proven to help with allergies and it can work as a disinfectant for wounds. This makes it a great choice to help with both wounds and various inflammatory conditions like eczema and other skin problems.

However, if your intent was to use it in skincare, Myrrh is an excellent option in-lieu of Jasmine.

8. Myrrh Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Myrrh essential oil has a warm, earthy scent. It has powerful cleansing properties, it can help with digestive issues and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for the skin.

For over 5000 years, myrrh essential oil has been used in religious settings around the world; its scent promotes well-being and emotional balance. You can substitute myrrh with jasmine essential oil.

9. Juniper Berry Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Juniper Berry essential oil has a light floral and slightly woody scent. It has antiseptic properties and antimicrobial properties, therefore you can use it for boils, to cleanse cuts, wounds, etc. The oil also acts as a stimulant and will help you feel refreshed throughout the day.

You can substitute it with eucalyptus essential oil.

10. Rose Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Rose oil has multiple medicinal properties and is an effective essential oil for fighting depression, anxiety, bacterial infections, inflammation, skin issues such as acne and is often used in skincare products. You’ll get an instantly recognizable light, lingering, floral scent with this oil.

However, if you find yourself running out of your favorite rose oil, you can swap it out for geranium essential oil. Geranium has a floral scent, and it’s effective against depression, anxiety, inflammation, and acne.

11. Balsam Fir Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

You’ll enjoy a fresh, woody scent with this Balsam Fir oil along with several health benefits. It’s a natural pain reliever, and it can help to prevent infections, improve respiratory functions, eliminate body odor, and act as a detoxing agent.

Blue Spruce essential oil makes a good substitute. Its scent is very close to balsam fir’s and it’s also used as a natural pain reliever and can help eliminate body odors.

12. Rosewood Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Rosewood oil is popular in aromatherapy because it has a very mild floral scent with hints of spice and sweetness. This oil acts as an antidepressant, a mild analgesic, an antiseptic, and it can rejuvenate your skin and hair. As the Rosewood tree is on the IUCN List of Threatened Species, it is best to avoid using rosewood essential oil as much as possible, unless it comes from an approved plantation/source.

Ho Wood essential oil makes a good substitute; it has a light floral and spicy scent, and it has antidepressant, antiseptic, and analgesic properties.

13. Marjoram Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Marjoram oil has a long history, and it’s traditionally been used to calm the nervous system, support the respiratory system, soothe tired or sore muscles, and it can act as a mild sedative. It has a fairly strong scent that varies between spicy and sweet.

Clary sage essential oil is a good substitute if you find yourself out of marjoram oil. It supports your nervous and respiratory systems, can help with tired or sore muscles, and it has mild sedative properties.

14. Thyme Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Thyme oil has a light herbal, medicinal scent. One of the main benefits of this essential oil is that it can improve circulation in the body and speed up the healing process. It’s a great oil for your cardiovascular health, for reducing your chances of blood clots and for fighting off bacteria and viruses.

A good substitute for thyme oil is basil. They’re both herbs that have light and lingering herbal scents. Basil oil has analgesic properties and has been shown to improve circulation and support cardiovascular health.  In addition, it has anti-viral / anti-bacterial properties and can help fight off a cold.

15. Neroli Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Neroli oil has a very refreshing and uplifting scent. It has a calming effect on your brain / nervous system and it has been proven to help with anxiety and depression.  Due to its antiseptic properties, it can help wounds heal promptly and is an excellent oil used in anti-aging recipes.

Neroli oil can be one of the most expensive essential oils . If you are looking for a less expensive substitute and depending on what you are going to use it for, you can use Bergamot, Geranium or Lavender essential oils.

You could also use Petitgrain or Ylang Ylang in the place of Neroli in skincare.

16. Ylang-Ylang Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Ylang-Ylang oil has a delicate and light floral scent and is a favorite go-to oil for aromatherapy. It can be used topically as it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm skin conditions like rosacea, scalp dermatitis or eczema.

Jasmine oil is a good substitute for ylang-ylang. They both have a floral scent, although Jasmine is slightly stronger. Jasmine comes with several health benefits including balancing hormones, fighting depression and anxiety, and is a great addition if you want to use it for skin disorders.

Another great, yet very expensive alternative that you could consider is Helichrysum.

17. Eucalyptus Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Eucalyptus is an Australian native plant, and it has a very distinct, fresh scent. It’s found in a variety of rubs, mouthwashes, lotions, and rash creams. Eucalyptus has antimicrobial properties that are effective for combating respiratory tract infections and colds and flu.

Cedarwood oil is a good alternative to eucalyptus oil. One of the main benefits of cedarwood is that it can help with inflammation and itching caused by skin problems like eczema. It also helps to stimulate your immune system and fight respiratory infections.

18. Lavender Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Lavender oil is one of the most well-known and versatile essential oil in aromatherapy. It has a floral, fresh, herbaceous scent which can be slightly camphorous. Most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the body, it is also well known for its ability to help promote sleep and for its skin-healing properties. It is generally used for cuts, bruises and burns.

I’ve had recent feedback from a few people who say they are allergic to lavender essential oil. You can use rosemary essential oil as a substitute for it. Rosemary has a woody, evergreen like scent and is known to boost brain function, support the healing of nerve tissues, soothe digestive uses and relieve muscle aches and pains. More recently, it has become a popular ingredient in many skin and hair care products due to its antiseptic properties.

Other essential oils you could use in-lieu of lavender when used for stress relief and calming include petitgrain, bergamot, clary sage and roman chamomile.

If you want to substitute lavender in skincare, use rose or sandalwood instead. In haircare, use tea tree or roman chamomile if you happen to run out of lavender.

19. Roman Chamomile Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Roman Chamomile has a crisp, sweet, fruity and herbaceous aroma. It’s one of the few essential oils that most would agree is safe to use with children when well-diluted. Its warmth and gentleness can help create a relaxing and calming atmosphere as it supports calming effects on the body and mind. Soothing to all types of skin, it’s often used in skin and hair products and also for headaches.

If you don’t have Roman Chamomile, you could use Lavender or Bergamot as a substitute. Both Lavender and Bergamot are known to dissipate anxious feelings and provide calming and relaxing properties, which may aid in alleviating insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, and stress.

For a skincare substitute, go with clary sage.

20. Helichrysum Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Helichrysum essential oil (Helichrysum italicum) is one of the most expensive and scarce oils out there. This is due to years of overexploitation of the wild helichrysum harvest. It has a fresh, earthy, herbaceous aroma and is referred to as “The Everlasting Flower” because of its rejuvenating benefits and endless applications it holds to improve skin complexion.

Needless to say that it is often used in anti-aging skincare products, such as in the L’orpur Premium Age-Defy Oil. Other benefits include supporting heart and liver function, improving blood circulation, relieving stomach aches and digestion and boost immunity.

It is hard to find one substitute for this amazing essential oil; so depending on what you are using it for, substitutes include sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, frankincense. If you are using it on your face though, I highly recommend giving neroli, myrrh, clary sage or ylang ylang oil diluted in a carrier such as rosehip a try. It can help reduce your wrinkles and lines, firm up your skin, and make it clearer and brighter in the process. If you don’t believe me, try doing facial gua sha for a month. I guarantee that you will see results before the month is over!

21. Birch Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Also called sweet birch essential oil for its odor that is at once sweet, pungent, fresh and uplifting, the medicine-like quality of the aroma and the therapeutic properties of the oil are attributed to the significant quantities of methyl salicylate in it.

In fact, along with wintergreen, it was once among the only two sources of the salicylic acid ester till they started whipping it up synthetically. Because salicylic acid is an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory agent, birch oil has long been used to treat muscle soreness and fatigue.

Few know that this aromatic extract derived from trees of the Betulaceae family is also a powerful detox agent that stimulates the circulatory and the lymphatic systems and works as a diuretic. Moreover, the oil is an excellent skin toner and astringent that is surprisingly effective on psoriasis. It is hard to find an exact substitute for it, but wintergreen essential oil is a close match.


The all too familiar medicinal aroma and the soothing heat of pain liniments and balms is attributed to this oil. Although the odor is strikingly similar to that of birch, it has a distinct minty quality to it. A numbing agent that counters skin irritation and inflammatory swelling, the effects of wintergreen oil are often likened to those of cortisone.

Applied topically, the oil offers quick relief from acute joint and muscle pain. When diffused, the distinctive aroma of the oil improves alertness, while steam inhalations with the oil help to ease respiratory issues and even works against infections, flu and fever.

22. Cajuput Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Although it is a relative of the famed tea tree oil from Australia and even finds a mention in Ayurveda, cajeput/cajuput oil seldom gets the attention of the other aromatic extracts in its family. But make no mistake; this oil is every bit as potent when it comes to killing germs, and even more so, when you are tackling pain and inflammation.

The intense heat offers quick reprieve even from chronic pain of conditions like arthritis and neuralgia. In terms of its antimicrobial properties, this oil is second to none, offering help against critters that cause influenza, cholera and tetanus.

Because it is a carminative, it is also used to beat down tummy troubles. Cajuput oil is a potent expectorant that melts mucus plugs in the nose and the lungs when inhaled. Above all, its piercing fresh aroma is capable of cleaning those mental cobwebs and literally sending the pests from your house packing.


Call this a perfect substitute if you will because camphor oil offers the exact same therapeutic benefits as you would expect from cajeput oil. It has carminative, analgesic, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that make it a worthwhile addition in any blend made to address infections, inflammation and pain.

23. Cinnamon Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

This oil comes in two versions; the more fragrant extract derived from the bark of the tree, which has a greater potential for causing skin irritation and a milder version that is derived from the leaves of the plant.

Cinnamon bark oil has a warm, festive, woodsy and stimulating aroma that can be used to chase away fatigue and mental blues. It also boasts of antispasmodic and anesthetic properties.

The leaf oil does not smell as good but it can do much for your skin if used in the right dilution, given its superlative antioxidant properties and its ability to brighten the skin tone. It is also a potent germ killer that works well even on skin parasites like scabies, mites and lice.


I would call this oil the poor man’s cinnamon oil because it sure is more affordable than the former but its therapeutic properties stop me from terming it as such.

At par with its more expensive counterpart, cassia not only smells almost as good as cinnamon bark oil but also offers all its therapeutic benefits, and why not, it is after all a close cousin of cinnamon.

In fact, chances are that the cinnamon powder or even sticks in your pantry are actually Cinnamomum cassia and not Cinnamomum zeylanicum.


In terms of its aroma, this oil is close to cinnamon leaf oil but its therapeutic properties are similar to those of cinnamon bark oil. A frequent addition to dental care products, almost everybody has firsthand experience with the tooth pain numbing effects of this oil.

So, its anesthetic properties can be used in lieu of those offered by cinnamon bark oil in a blend meant to help with acute pain. Both clove and cinnamon oils can be used interchangeably in dental care and tooth ache blends although clove works better when you are dealing with the throbbing pain of a cavity or dental infection.

All three oils can cause skin irritation and should be used with extreme caution. The recommended dilution rate (Tisserand et al) is:

  • Cinnamon bark: 0.07%
  • Cinnamon leaf: 0.6%
  • Cassia: 0.05%
  • Clove: 0.5%

24. Cypress Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

The aroma is surprisingly herbaceous and fresh with just a hint of wood and an evergreen quality that is sweet and uplifting and very effective when you need a mental boost. Steam inhalation with cypress oil offers exceptional results against respiratory congestion and infection.

But I personally love this oil for its skin benefits. The ability of this oil to tighten and tone the skin are simply unparalleled. Be it age related sagging, wrinkles and fine lines or varicose veins, this oil can handle them all and more. Because it is an astringent, it can also be used for oil control and to clear congested pores.


The woody notes are quite pronounced yet the overall aroma of cedarwood oil is soft and sweet, which makes it a perfect addition to a blend meant to deal with nervousness, anxiety and tension.

Topically, cedarwood can easily be a substitute for cypress when you need an ingredient that will help with cough and lung congestion. In fact, it is very effective when used against chronic bronchitis.

As far as skin care concerned, the astringent properties of cedarwood are second only to those of cypress. It yields remarkable results on oily and acne prone skin and also works on dermatitis.

25. Frankincense Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

If I were allowed to use only 5 essential oils for the rest of my life, frankincense would undoubtedly make it to the list; it is literally that amazing. And that is the reason why a substitution with just one oil would be practically impossible.

Frankincense essential oil has a unique woody, spicy and fruity aroma with a distinct balsamic tone. Mixing basil, sandalwood and cypress would get you close to it. Emotionally, the aroma of Frankincense helps to calm and relax the mind and therapeutically, the oil helps to deal with anxiety and negativity and boosts cognitive functions.

When used topically, frankincense oil works as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compound as well as a healing agent. It is frequently used in skincare blends for its ability to regulate sebum levels and its astringent properties that tone the skin and erase wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, frankincense is an adaptogen that improves immune function and strengthens the body from the inside out.


The aroma is sweet, slightly camphorous and herbaceous and incredibly invigorating. Basil oil is an antimicrobial agent and a powerful expectorant. So, you can use it instead of frankincense for treating bronchitis, flu, cough and sinusitis. Like frankincense, this oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits that can be used against rheumatic, muscular and gout related pain.


If you are making a skincare blend and have run out frankincense, cypress makes for a good substitute given its ability to tone and tighten the skin. Like frankincense, cypress too helps to regulate sebum secretion while its antimicrobial abilities kill acne causing germs.

Juniper Berry

In terms of its aroma, juniper berry oil offers the same relaxing and calming effect as you would get from frankincense. It is a fantastic replacement for frankincense in stress-relief blends that soothe without making you feel sleepy.

In terms of therapeutic benefits, juniper berry offers the detox effects of frankincense along with its anti-inflammatory properties. It will prove to be effective in blends made to treat gout and rheumatic pain as well as in inhalations meant to deal with cold, flu and fever.

Tea tree

Although a more powerful antimicrobial agent than frankincense, the anti-inflammatory effects of tea tree oil are not nearly as potent. It is, however, an extraordinary astringent that helps to tone the skin and controls the activity of the sebaceous glands.


This oil helps to make up for the anti-aging benefits of frankincense in a skincare blend. Just like frankincense, patchouli oil helps to restore balance. The soothing and healing properties of this extract are beneficial for all skin types, including oily and acne prone skin. Emotionally, this oil is just as grounding and calming as frankincense, both of which are often used in meditative blends.


A soothing oil with a woodsy, earthy and sweet aroma, sandalwood is one of the closest substitutes for frankincense both in terms of aromatherapy benefits and topical healing effects. It can be used in a diffuser blend to calm frayed nerves and in a skincare mix to deal with oxidative stress as well as inflammation.

26. Lemon Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Lemon essential oil is among the most popular and in-demand aromatic extracts, and for good reason. The zesty, robust, fresh and sharp citrusy aroma of this oil simply has no other match. The energetic scent chases away negativity, depression, lethargy and fatigue and ushers in the sunny feel of happiness and hope.

When used topically, among its foremost benefits is its ability to increase skin permeability. The limonene in lemon oil not only gives the oil its trademark aroma but also its dermal benefits, including its skin lightening and tightening effects.

Lemon essential oil can be used to treat a range of health issues including dermal dullness, oily skin and acne, varicose veins, large pores, corns, warts as well as gastritis and gastric disorders.

Unfortunately, not everybody can stand the sprightly scent nor can all skin types tolerate the high limonene content. So, if this oil isn’t for you aromatically or therapeutically, opt for its close cousin, lime. You get all the dermal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiaging benefits of lemon oil with this fruity-smelling oil.  But, it’s gentler on the skin and its fruitiness makes it more appealing for the schnozz.

27. Lemongrass Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Although it is no way associated with citrus fruits, lemongrass oil has a distinctive lemony-citrusy aroma that energizes both the mind and body. When brain fog and mental fatigue weigh you down, this is the oil to turn to. It has also been credited for the flawless and nearly pore-less skin of Thai women.

Lemongrass essential oil has multiple therapeutic properties – It is an excellent astringent that removes excess sebum and reins in wayward sebaceous glands; it is also a potent antimicrobial substance that works against acne causing bacteria; it is often used for steam inhalations in a bid to melt phlegm buildup in the respiratory tract and the lungs.

A lot of people don’t want to have too many citrus oils since they all offer almost the same health benefits.

If you want to include the skin toning effects of lemongrass in your blend but don’t have the extract on hand or have run out of it, use the limonene-rich lemon essential oil as a substitute.

28. Mandarin Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Of all citrus oils, Mandarin essential oil has the most fruity and sweet aroma that gives it a very bright quality. When depression, nervousness, anxiety and other negativities threaten to drown you, use the cheerful aroma of this oil to get yourself back on track.

When used topically, the limonene content of this oil works as it does in case of all citrus oils. It helps to clarify and rejuvenate dull and sallow complexions and aids in removing dark spots. It is also an effective astringent that tightens the pores and lifts sagging skin.

If you run out of this fruity oil, your next best choices are orange and tangerine. You will find the aromas of orange and mandarin particularly close with their sweet fruitiness and wonderfully invigorating quality.

29. Tangerine Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Another bright orange fruit, the peels of tangerine produce an oil that has a more intense aroma and flavor than those of sweet orange. But, in terms of quality, the scents are strikingly similar. I believe that both essential oils have the sweet, fresh and citrusy aromas that are representative of the nectarine and juicy goodness of the fruits themselves.

When used in aromatherapy, tangerine oil helps to ward off depression, nervousness, insomnia caused by stress, fatigue, brain fog, lethargy, sadness and emotional blockages. Applied topically, it offers modest antibacterial power but brings noteworthy skin regeneration and rejuvenation properties to the equation.

If you don’t have this oil or have just used your last drop, orange essential oil makes a good substitute.

30. Manuka Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Think of all the therapeutic benefits that you can get from manuka honey; multiply them several times over and you get manuka essential oil.  Derived from a plant native to New Zealand, this oil is fast catching up with the star status enjoyed by another offering from Oceania – tea tree oil.

Manuka oil is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-allergenic agent that works on health problems, small and big. From dandruff to festering wounds and from bee stings to dermal inflammation, this oil can be used against them all and others.

The closest substitute to manuka is tea tree oil because it offers the same antimicrobial benefits as the former. However, if you also want the anti-inflammatory effects of the oil, mix tea tree with palma rosa/rose geranium and use in place of manuka.

31. Melissa Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Melissa officinalis has long held a place of reverence in folk medicine. The oil extracted from the plant is rich in citral, which is responsible for its wonderful lemony aroma and therapeutic benefits that are at par with those of most citrus oils.

Melissa oil is a strong antimicrobial agent that can be used to treat fungal, bacterial and viral skin infections. Aromatically, this oil helps to deal with nervousness, depression, stress and grief. Its lemony aroma also makes it an effective cure for nausea.

Given its unique herbaceous but lemony scent, the closest substitutes for this oil are lemongrass and litsea cubeba.

Also known as May chang, Litsea essential oil has a similarly complex citrusy aroma that has a conspicuous lemony tone to it. The sharp scent of this oil also comes courtesy of citral and just like Melissa, litsea oil too can be used to treat skin diseases, viral infections and pulmonary infections.

32. Peppermint Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

There simply isn’t another oil out there that offers the same, icy, minty coolness as peppermint essential oil. In fact, the intense cooling is what makes this oil an invaluable edition to pain relief blends. The menthol in peppermint oil is a counter irritant that helps to stop the transmission of the pain impulse.

It also contains methyl salicylate which is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound. Peppermint oil is frequently used as a dietary supplement for irritable bowel syndrome and for its fresh and sprightly aroma that can infuse energy, alertness and stamina in the user. An exceptional anti-allergenic agent and expectorant, peppermint oil is often used to relieve sinus congestion and asthma.

Although few other oils have such a long list of health benefits as peppermint, if you run out of this energizing oil, opt for the extract that comes from its close, minty cousin – Spearmint.

Due to its lower content of menthol, spearmint oil has neither the “in your face” minty-ness nor the pain relieving properties of peppermint. But on the plus side, you can use this oil at a higher concentration, and it works well for even those who have very sensitive skin.

If both oils are not available, opt for wintergreen if you are whipping up a pain relief blend and use a 1:3 combination of geranium and lemongrass essential oils if the mix is meant to shoo away bugs.

33. Petitgrain Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

This oil is extracted from the leaves of the bitter orange plant, so the citrusy undertone in its aroma comes as no surprise. Petitgrain essential oil works just as well as neroli, lemon or orange oil on emotional wellbeing.

It is an uplifting and invigorating oil that is very effective against depression, stress, tension headaches, anxiety and insomnia. When used in skincare blends, petitgrain oil helps to curb sebum secretion and breathes new life into fatigued, congested and aged skin.

For aromatherapy, the best substitute for petitgrain oil would be litsea cubeba. For skincare, go with neroli and sweet orange essential oils.

34. Spikenard Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

Also known as jatamansi oil, this aromatic extract has the same earthy quality to it as frankincense and vetiver oils. It offers centering and grounding effects that are integral to get to a meditative state, hence it is often used in meditation blends, on its own or along with vetiver and frankincense.

Spikenard essential oil is incredibly beneficial when used in massage blends as it helps to heal tired muscles and is effective against painful muscular spasms. If used in skincare, it is exceptionally potent as an anti-aging ingredient. The oil is also frequently used to treat nerve pain.

The closest substitute is the anti-inflammatory and analgesic frankincense oil.

35. Vetiver Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

The scent is calming and soothing to the point where it can lull you to sleep or at least into an extremely relaxed state. If you are battling anxiety, fear, nervousness or are in the clutches of a panic attack, this oil will provide the grounding and healing touch you need.

When used topically, the extract provides the same cooling and calming effect to the skin and inflamed tissue as it does to the mind. Vetiver essential oil helps to rejuvenate tired and age ravaged skin and boosts cellular regeneration, which makes it extremely effective against all types of age related skin concerns.

In skincare blends, cedarwood can be used instead of vetiver for its anti-aging and astringent benefits.

36. Grapefruit Oil Substitute

36 Essential Oil Substitutes You Can Make Essential Oil Benefits

This is one of my personal favorite oils for diffusing. Although the citrus tone of the aroma is hard to miss, this oil combines tangy tartness with fruity sweetness that gives it a unique appeal.

Since grapefruit oil has antioxidant properties just like some of the other citrus oils such as lemon, you can expect to get the same therapeutic value from this oil.

When inhaled, it helps to lighten up dreary days and compels you to see the silver lining around the dark cloud. It is a wonderful day-time aroma that will get you off to a flying start. Like other citrus oils, grapefruit oil offers fabulous results when used on dull and tired skin.

It is a potent detox agent that helps to improve circulation and lymphatic movement. In turn, this aids in the faster removal of toxins and offers relief from water retention.

The obvious choice as a substitute for grapefruit oil is lemon essential oil.

Happy Substituting!

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Rating: 5


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021


Thank you for this wonderful list of options. I have a question about Wintergreen substitutes. Unfortunately, the smell of wintergreen literally makes me nauseous and gives me a headache. My mom, who has arthritis, tries using other substitutes for her pain when around me. When she uses birch oil I had a similar though less intense reaction. What would you consider a good substitute in this area?

Thank you, Alyssa


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Hi Alyssa,

You can use peppermint, spearmint or helichrysum.

Regards, Olivia

Dolores Castillo

Sunday 11th of July 2021

Wat oils can I make for my neuropathy on my hands shoulders and espically myfeet. Plus wat can I us for osteoarthritis on both of my knees. The pain is unbearable.


Monday 12th of July 2021

Hi Dolores,

You can read more about neuropathy here:

Essential Oils For Neuropathy: Everything You Need To Know For Neuropathic Pain Treatment

And arthritis here:

19 Best Essential Oils for Arthritis Treatment

Regards, Olivia

Martha Morrison

Monday 31st of December 2018

What a wonderful article! Everywhere I look lavender is top rated with a wonderful fragrance. To me it smells like skunk spray so I am glad to see some subs for it. I am wired differently on several things like this. Definitely not one of the pack. Is there a way to print your articles or buy them?


Tuesday 1st of January 2019

Hi Martha,

Thank you. You can print any article using the print button on the top right hand side at the top of each post.

Regards, Olivia


Monday 2nd of July 2018

Would black spruce be a good substitute for balsam fir, white fir, or blue spruce?


Monday 2nd of July 2018

Hi Tatiana,

I'd use black spruce if it is being used for respiratory issues; blue spruce is more for mind and body relaxation.

Regards, Olivia

Emily Johnson

Friday 29th of June 2018

The best article about oil substitutes I ever read! Thanks!


Friday 29th of June 2018

Hi Emily,

You're welcome.

Regards, Olivia