If you are a fan of essential oils, there might come a time when you want to make your own blends. One of the most important things to remember when making blends is that you need the scents to complement each other. An easy way to figure this out is by choosing essential oils based on the aroma family.

There are 6 main aroma families, including:


Keep reading to find out more about these main 6 aroma families and what essential oils are included in each one.


The first aroma family available with essential oils is the citrus family. Naturally, this is the aroma family with scents like lemon and orange. The citrus essential oils tend to have a bright and clean aroma, many of which are added to blends to help with deodorizing or working as an antiseptic. They also can be added to blends with other aroma families, such as the woody or floral families.


Lemon is definitely one of the more popular essential oils in the citrus aroma family. It is unique that it is not from a flower or plant, but the actual rinds of the lemons. The essential oil is extracted through a cold process, which is how it smells just like ripened lemon fruit.


Orange and sweet orange essential oils are favored by many people. They are also extracted from the rinds of the oranges, as well as from parts of the plants they grow on. Sweet orange is often used in seasonal blends, including fall and winter blends. Traditional orange essential oil also provides a variety of health benefits, including being a sedative, antiseptic, and tonic.


Floral is definitely one of the more popular aroma families not just for essential oils, but for other scented and perfumed products as well. This is the aroma family with the popular lavender and beautiful jasmine scents.


First up is your geranium essential oil. This is extracted from the geranium plant, a type of perennial shrub with leaves that come to a point and delicate pink flowers. Geranium essential oil naturally has a pretty, floral scent. It is often combined with other floral scents in blends, and has some benefits including helping to balance out hormone levels and reduce inflammation. It is often frequently used in essential oil blends to help with mental health, such as anxiety and depression.


Another of the essential oils in the floral aroma family is jasmine. The jasmine essential oil comes from the exotic jasmine plant with its large, white flowers. This is also used in many floral essential oil blends, helping with things like depression, uterine conditions, and working as an aphrodisiac.


Who doesn’t love lavender? This is probably at the very top of the list for most people in terms of which essential oils they use the most. The reason is not only the scent of lavender, but the many health benefits. Lavender has such a subtle, sweet scent that reminds you of your favorite flowers. It is often used in beauty and skin care products, as well as bath salts, bath bombs, candles, and much more. It is great for your skin, soothing enough to help you sleep, and is wonderful for anxiety and depression.


Another popular essential oil that is naturally in the floral aroma family is rose essential oil. Rose can also be used for various health remedies, including as a laxative, uterine treatment, antiseptic, antiviral, and antidepressant. You might find rose in blends with other florals, but sometimes even with woody or earthy scent blends as well. This is a very versatile floral scent.


The earthy aroma family is one of those categories that isn’t as easy to figure out. This is where you are going to get a lot of the more masculine scents, as well as fragrances used in blends for home use and sometimes personal perfume. Here are the essential oils included in the earthy aroma family:


The first essential oil in the earthy aroma family is patchouli, which should not be too much of a surprise. Patchouli essential oil comes from a tropical plant also called patchouli. It is extracted from various parts of the plant, and still has quite a strong aroma. This is used in men’s or unisex perfumes, as well as many wonderful blends.


The vetiver essential oil is also known as an earthy aroma. You may sometimes see this essential oil labeled as ‘khus’, which is another name for the type of plant oil. Vetiver is often combined with patchouli in blends since they both smell very similar, but vetiver has a bit of a lemon scent as well. This is a calming and grounding scent, so it has some healing benefits as well.


Valerian root is a very popular herb used in natural medicine, so naturally the same herb provides an amazing essential oil. Valerian essential oil is one of the earthy aromas with a long list of health benefits. This is often used alone or in blends to help with heart palpitation, skin conditions, blood pressure, anxiety, and sleep disorders.


If you have ever used essential oil blends with sandalwood or cypress, you probably know some of the oils included in the woody aroma family. However, some might surprise you. Here are the essential oils included in the woody family.


The first two essential oils that are considered woody aromas are frankincense and myrrh, which are often put together. Frankincense comes from the boswellia tree, and is used very frequently in aromatherapy. Not only does this woody aroma work great in blends, but it helps with things like digestive issues and working as an antiseptic.


The next is myrrh, another essential oil in the woody aroma family. There is a tree that grows in Africa and the Middle East called the commiphora myrrha, where myrrh essential oil is extracted. This works very closely with frankincense and is often used in the same blends.


You may also be interested in the sandalwood essential oil, which is another woody aroma. This oil is extracted from sandalwood trees, the older the better. It can come from trees as young as 40 years old, but those 80 years old or older are preferred. This is typically done through a steam distillation process of wood from this tree. With the older trees, the aroma of sandalwood essential oil is typically stronger.


Fir or fir needle essential oil is not only often in blends with other woody and earthy scents, but frequently in Christmas and holiday blends as well. This has a fresh scent, so it is a little lighter than traditional woody aromas. The fir essential oil can also help with conditions like fatigue and arthritis.


Another woody essential oil in this aroma family is cedarwood. The cedarwood is of course a type of tree, and one that grows better in colder climates. Cedarwood essential oil can be used for its scent in blends, but is most often used when trying to help with certain health issues like for oral health and helping with hair growth.


The second to last aroma family we are going to discuss is the herbaceous family, or the herbs. These are versatile essential oils used for their scent, flavor, and their healing benefits.


As you might have guessed, the herbaceous aroma family is used often for its flavor, unlike many other essential oils. This is true for the oregano essential oil, which comes directly from the oregano herb. However, it can also be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin. Some of the health benefits of oregano oil include antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


Rosemary essential oil is another one that some people put in the floral aroma family, but this is not the same thing as rose. Rosemary is actually a type of fragrant and delicious herb. This oil might be used for cooking, but also for its healing powers and aromatherapy. Rosemary essential oil helps with stimulating hair growth, dry scalp, and various other benefits.


Basil essential oil comes from the basil herb, and can be used in cookies when you don’t have dried or fresh basil herb available. The aroma of basil also helps with fatigue and muscle pain.

Tea Tree

Last but definitely not least is tea tree essential oil, which is probably an oil you know well. Tea tree oil is a type of volatile essential oil that comes from the melaleuca plant found in Australia. Tea tree oil is not a pure essential oil, similar to vanilla, but still has many healing powers.


The last aroma family of essential oils is the spicy category. Don’t let the name fool you – we are not talking about spicy as in jalapenos and peppers. This is more for the ‘spices’ that you find in seasonal blends, such as those for fall and winter. Here are the essential oils in the spicy aroma family.


Nutmeg is one of the more popular essential oils in the spicy aroma family. Nutmeg is often found in spice blends to smell like seasonal things such as fall treats like pumpkin pie and snickerdoodle cookies, or in blends for the holiday season, such as Christmas blends. It goes great with cinnamon, ginger, clary sage, orange, and lavender.


Cinnamon is very similar to nutmeg and often found in the same seasonal blends. This is unique in that it is sometimes found not as a pure oil, but one in a dropper where you can use it directly on your skin for various healing benefits. As an essential oil, you can use it alone or with blends.


The next essential oil in the spicy aroma family is clove. Clove essential oil has a lot of antioxidants, so it is used for many healing powers. You can also use clove oil to help with toothaches and other oral health issues.


Like many essential oils, ginger is very versatile. It can be used as medicine to help with pain and menstrual disorders, or used for its scent in seasonal and specialty blends. Ginger, like others on this list, is a type of spice.


The last essential oil that is in the spicy aroma family is cardamom. This is most often used for its healing benefits as opposed to its aroma. It can help reduce nausea, work as an antiseptic, and help with chemotherapy side effects.

You now understand what the 6 aroma families are, and what essential oils go in each one. Use this information to figure out what scents go well together in various blends.

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