Oils are priced based on a number of factors including the extraction process, their availability and the amount of plant material required to produce a particular quantity of oil.
The great news is, there is often a lower priced alternative, so you can enjoy the innumerable benefits of essential oils without compromising on quality.
One of my favourite swaps is Cedarwood for lavender. It is incredibly helpful for calming and is half the price of lavender, an oil which requires 27 square feet of plant material to produce a 15 mL bottle of oil.
Geranium v Rose
Distillation practices and the amount of plant material used impact pricing in a big way. A great example of this is geranium v rose.
This isn’t surprising when you consider that it takes almost 10 kilograms of rose petals to produce a 5 mL bottle of rose essential oil. On the other hand, geranium essential oil can be extracted from the petals, stems and leaves so there’s a LOT more plant material that can be used.
Geranium essential oil has many of the same properties and applications as rose essential oil but costs a fraction of the price to produce and is therefore often referred to as the poor man’s rose.
It’s a great rose alternative if you’re looking for a lower-priced essential oil with similar benefits.
*International Trade Centre 2015 pricing information intracen.org
Peppermint/Wintergreen v PanAway
Peppermint and Wintergreen are both incredibly useful for muscle relief and are lower-priced than specific muscle rub blends.
There are a tonne of other uses for peppermint too. It’s one of the most recognisable and well-rounded of all the essential oils and if you’ve ever had a headache relieved instantly with a whiff of peppermint, you’ll probably not want to be without this little bottle of goodness.
Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. Almost half a kilo of peppermint plant is required to make one 15 mL bottle of peppermint essential oil so a little really does go a long way. Literally: a drop is often all it takes to make a difference.
Here are some ways to incorporate peppermint into your day:
🌱 Traditionally used in aromatherapy as an analgesic, to decrease headache symptoms, as a cough suppressant and to relieve colic and abdominal pain
🌱 Constituents such menthol and menthyl acetate cause a cooling sensation when applied topically or inhaled, so it’s a great one to use during exercise and for post-workout muscle relief
🌱 Keep pests at bay in the garden
🌱 Add delicious flavour to baking
Safety notes: oils that are rich in menthol should not be used on the chest and head area in children under 3.
Peppermint and wintergreen are considered “hot” oils so it is important to dilute prior to applying topically.
Cypress v Frankincense
Tree oils are firm favourites around here.
I gravitate to them constantly, particularly for diffusing, as I find them incredibly grounding. Cypress is one that’s had a particular work-out recently as I ran out of frankincense and it wasn’t quite in the budget to refresh straight away. But I had cypress.
Historically, the Phoenicians and Cretans used cypress wood for building ships and bows, and the Egyptians for their sarcophagi. Ancient cultures used various parts of the tree and its oil in skin tonics, burials and home remedies.
Beyond diffusing, cypress can be applied topically (dilution not required, except for sensitive skin), used for massage, to help ease chest discomfort, and in skin care. If you don’t have a real Christmas tree, you can diffuse cypress to enjoy some of the same incredible benefits.
Like all tree oils, it contains the compounds pinene and limonene, which have been linked to increased immune function (PubMedCentral: PMC2793341), so it’s a great one to have around and use regularly and at a quarter of the price of frankincense, is kind of a no-brainer if you want to enjoy some of the same incredible benefits as the “king of oils”.
Lemon essential oil is a third of the price of the Thieves blend and is a great household cleaning and respiratory support alternative. With such an enormous range of uses, from cleaning label sticky off old jars to flavouring for lemon meringue pie to diffusing and chest rollers… and at less than $20 for a 15 mL bottle, lemon essential oil is one that you can reach for daily without guilt.