An essential oil is a concentrated liquid generally removed from plants by distillation and containing intense aromatic properties. Essential oils are the primary tools in an aromatherapist’s arsenal. The medicinal effects of essential oils are widely debated, but I’ve chosen to write about their use in folk medicine to induce dreaming.

Many plants have supposed relaxing properties on the body and mind, making them popular in teas (some of the most commonly seen being lavender and chamomile). Some can be ingested safely raw, while others require other methods of use, like aromatic baths, skin oils, incense, and diffusion.

These essential oils are commonly used to induce sleep:

Lavender

Chamomile

Geranium

Jasmine

Lemon Balm

Rose

Neroli

Sandalwood

Marjoram

Ylang Ylang

These essential oils are recommended for inducing lucid dreams and improving dream recall:

Rose

Sandalwood

Patchouli

Clove

Mugwort

Clary Sage

Anise

Rosemary

Cedarwood

These essential oils are used to ward against nightmares:

Bergamot

Sandalwood

Tangerine

Blue Tansy

Rosewood

Orange

Lemon

St. John’s Wort

Lemon Balm

Chamomile

If you are considering adding essential oils to your dreaming tool kit, look around for local health food stores (Whole Foods carries a nice selection) or metaphysical shops. They typically come in small bottles, but rightly so–essential oils are highly concentrated, and can be extremely dangerous in large doses. When taking an essential oil, always make sure you are not allergic to the oil by dabbing a drop of oil onto your inner arm and observing for a reaction for two to three days.

To make skin oils, combine 2-3 drops of an essential oil (or several different oils) to a stock bottle of carrier oil (ie. Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Grapeseed). To make an aromatic bath, use around ten drops of an essential oil and mix into bathwater. Many diffusers are on the market these days for essential oils. Some require a traditional candle flame, others use electricity. It is easy to simmer oils in a pot to fill a room with the fragrance, but never use a pot used in cooking! Remember, it is almost always unsafe to ingest essential oils. Always consult an aromatherapist before using essential oils in teas. It is typically safer to steep dried herbs in water to create dreaming tea mixes. You can find dried herbs at your local health food store (again, my recommendation is Whole Foods).

Many of these oils have sedative effects, so use them around bedtime when you are ready to go to sleep.

Try using these remedies, comment, and tell me your results!