Missing an Oil? Essential Oil Substitutes & Substitution Chart

Out of one of your main essential oils and need a substitute? Many essential oils have similar properties and can be used as a substitute for other oils, but sometimes it's hard to keep them all straight. In this blog, we'll cover some of the best substitutes, then give you an essential oil substitution chart to you can use to help!

Essential Oil Substitutes

Many essential oils share similar properties and aroma families, which makes it easy to substitute one for another. If you run out of tea tree oil, for example, you can use eucalyptus instead. Both share a similar aroma and properties (e.g. antibacterial). 

We’ve broken down our essential oil substitutes by effect, so you can easily find a substitute that meets your needs.

Scent

Scents are the easiest to substitute because you’re not necessarily concerned about the oil’s effects. While there are many different types of scents, these are the most common aromas that people are looking for.

missing an oil essential oil substitutes substitution chart close up of white flower in bloom blurred background

Floral

Derived from flowering plants, if you’re looking for a floral scent, any one of these oils will work:

Earthy/Woody

These are more masculine scents that are fresh and natural. Feel free to mix and match these woody, earthy essential oils:

  • Cypress
  • Cedarwood
  • Clove
  • Balsam fir
  • Pine
  • Blue spruce
  • Patchouli
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree
  • Ginger
  • Basil

Citrus

Citrusy essential oils are uplifting, refreshing, sweet and purifying. If your recipe calls for a citrus-based oil, here are some substitutes:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet orange
  • Bergamot
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass 
  • Mandarin
  • Tangerine

Camphoraceous

Essential oils that fall into this category have a potent scent that’s best described as medicinal. Camphoraceous substitutes include:

Relaxation missing an oil essential oil substitutes substitution chart close up of lavender flowers in a lavender field essential oil for relaxation

Many essential oils have relaxing effects. If you’re creating a relaxing blend or just want a simple way to de-stress after a long day, you can use any of the following calming essential oils.

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Clary sage
  • Ylang ylang
  • Vetiver
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Lemongrass
  • Yuzu
  • Orange
  • Frankincense

Anxiety and Depression

Millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression, but aromatherapy may help. Many essential oils have active compounds that can help uplift your mood and keep worries at bay. 

Any one of these essential oils may help with anxiety or depression symptoms:

  • Lavender
  • Holy basil
  • Lemon balm
  • Bergamot
  • Valerian
  • Jasmine
  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Marjoram
  • Geranium
  • Orange
  • Fennel

Antibacterial and Antiviral

Fighting bacteria and infections is important at any age. Moms know all too well how kids can get cuts and scratches that need to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure they don’t get infected. Essential oils offer potent antibacterial and antiviral properties.

The four main essential oils that fall into this category and can be swapped out for one another are:

  • Cinnamon Oil - Cinnamon offers a potent taste and can be added to many dishes. The essential oil was the focus of one study that wanted to determine the oil’s efficacy for stopping bacterial growth. The study, done on patients with root canals, found that one to two weeks after the procedure was performed, cinnamon oil was able to eliminate bacterial growth.
  • Oregano Oil - Studies have been ongoing on the ability of oregano oil to fight bacterial infections. Oregano has been mixed with colloidal silver to help fight drug-resistant bacteria strains.
  • Tea Tree Oil - One of the best-known oils for fighting bacteria, tea tree oil is effective when applied topically. Research shows the oil’s ability to fight against e. coli, staph infections and can be combined with eucalyptus to help eliminate chest colds. When applied topically, the benefits of tea tree oil work very well when mixed with either honey or coconut oil.
  • Thyme Oil - Drops of thyme oil placed on bacteria, in this case, salmonella and bacteria found in milk, were able to stop the bacteria from growing. Researchers concluded that thyme oil acts as an antimicrobial preservative and can also help protect against bacteria growth.

Pain

Experiencing sore muscles and pain but ran out of peppermint oil, which is often a go-to option because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties? Don’t worry, there are a lot of other oils that can help.

If you’re experiencing pain, the following essential oils can be used:

  • Arnica
  • Black pepper
  • Chamomile (Roman and German)
  • Clary sage
  • Clove
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Helichrysum
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Yarrow

These potent oils can help alleviate pain, reduce swelling, ease bruising, reduce muscle tension and spasms, warm sore muscles, and more! Of course, they can also be used alongside peppermint oil for even more potent benefits.

Essential Oil Substitution Chart

Essential oil substitutes can be confusing and difficult to remember. The following chart can help you make sense of these substitutes:

missing an oil essential oil substitutes substitution chart

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