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What is a synergy in essential oils

Essential oil, How to use

Synergy or combining of essential oils works wonders because it makes them more efficient when they work together. As a result, with only a few number of oils, it is possible to soothe many ills by using these principles of association.

EO= Essential Oils / VO = Vegetable / carrier oil

What is a synergy of Essential Oils (and what’s the use of it) ?

The word « Synergy » defines a phenomenon through which several factors act together in order to obtain a more favourable global effect.

An aromatic synergy is therefore a combination of essential oils of which the formula will produce a better result to answer a precise problem than would be reached if using only single essential oils. Indeed, a mixture will produce several advantages:

  • Enjoy the benefits of several essential oils in one take (and as a result, avoid an overdose) ;
  • Benefit of the complementary properties of each essential oil to act simultaneously on different organs or different body systems (nervous system, immune system, circulatory system…) ;
  • Increase the aromatic efficiency of the mixture, as some essential oils present a more potent effect when mixed with others rather than on their own.

The steps:

  1. Define the objective of the synergy and the user
  2. Determine the molecular families of the EOs to know their action and chose 3 to 5 EOs
  3. Determine the ratio of dilution depending on the application route and the user
  4. Check the ratio of potentially allergenic or toxic molecules

All that remains then is to define what VO to use.


1- Define the objective or aim of the synergy

The first criteria to consider is to know for what use you are making a synergy of essential oils:

  • Increase the sought after efficacity
  • Mix several different molecules that will then provide a complementary activity
  • Bring a pleasant scent to your cosmetics…

EXAMPLE 1: “Sleeping” synergy

In order to «favour » sleep, it will be necessary to act on the nervous system. The properties to consider:

  • Relaxing ;
  • Calming ;
  • Sedative ;
  • Moderating and rebalancing of the sympathetic and central nervous system.

EXAMPLE 2: “Muscular pain” synergy

In order to ease muscular pain, you will chose in preference essential oils with the following properties:

  • Anti-spasmodic ;
  • Anti-inflammatory ;
  • Analgesic and pain relief ;
  • Calming ;
  • Decongesting…
  • Blood liquifying.

2- The number of EOs

To start, chose 3 to 5 EOs following their molecular family whose properties are complementary and likely to answer your aimed objective.

For example, if you are trying to obtain an anti-inflammatory effect, you will begin with 2 essential oils containing aldehydes.


3- Dilution, formulation and application


The total percentage will be the sum of percentages of the number of EOs used in the synergy. To begin, the simplest thing to do is to use equal parts of each.

The measuring of the drops of EO to use will also depend on:

  • The dilution retained ;
  • The volume of the containing oil ;
  • The number of essential oils in the synergy.

* Application and dilution

Certain type of usages are better suited than others, depending on the situation.


diffusionBy olfactive route, using an inhaling stick, a diffuser or just by breathing in from the bottle itself.

Why: in cases of infection of the ENT and respiratory routes, to favour relaxation or create a relaxing environment.

How: a few drops in a diffuser, on a handkerchief or in an inhaler. The synergy does not need to be diluted in a VO.




  • By cutaneous route, meaning, on the skin by massage diluted in a vegetable oil. Hence the need to know the correct dosage of essential oils and vegetable oils.

How: the synergy has to be diluted in a vegetable oil.



For a cutaneous usage, the dosage of essential oils will depend on the targeted organ and the usage. Traditionally, it is accepted to use the following dilutions:

  • 1 % :   Dermo-cosmetic application
  • 3 % :   Tegumentary repair (nasal/joints)
  • 5 % :   Action on the central nervous system (stress/wellbeing)
  • 7 % :   Circulatory massage (blood and lymphatic)
  • 10 %:  Muscular massage, tendons, joints
  • 15 %:  Sport (preparing for physical effort, repair)
  • 20 %:  Systemic application (or local) on small areas
  • 50 %: Therapeutic action on very small areas, meaning a dilution at 50 % (dermo-caustic EOs), or pure (no dilution).

synergy of essential oil1

4- The choice of EOs best suited for the purpose

There are 2 possible options:

– carry out an existing synergy, from an established formula made by an aromatherapist or found in a book on aromatherapy

– create your own personalised synergy by seeking documentation on internet sites or in reference books on the topic. To do this, you need to ask yourself a few questions before getting started

  • Which essential oil is suited to my problem?
  • What is its  action?
  • How should I use it ?
  • Is there a risk of  toxicity?
  • What are the precautions to use?

In general, ALWAYS chose an EO that you are familiar with and that you have used a lot, or at least an EO known for its low risk of toxicity.


EXAMPLE 1: “Sleeping” synergy

Choice of 3 adapted essential oils:

  • Roman chamomile EO (Chamaemelum nobile): soothing and rebalancing properties of the central nervous system ;
  • Lavender fine EO (Lavandula angustifolia ssp. Angustifolia) : soothing properties, sedative, and moderator of the sympathetic nervous system ;
  • Mandarin essence (Citrus reticulata): soothing properties, relaxing and sedative.

Usage: no dilution, the mixture will be used in a diffuser or pure on a handkerchief. To be used in aerial diffusion.

Mixture: pure (no dilution) in a 5ml bottle

Quantity of EO: you divide the volume by the number of EOs, here 5ml / 3 = 1.7ml


recipesIn practice (1ml EO = 25 drops):

Roman chamomileLavenderMandarin : 43 drops of each


EXAMPLE 2: “Muscular pain” synergy

Choice of 3 adapted essential oils:

  • Eucalyptus citriodora EO (Eucalyptus citriodora) : anti-inflammatory, soothing, analgesic and anti-spasmodic ;
  • Wintergreen EO (Gaultheria procumbens) anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-spasmodic  and  vasodilator ;
  • Helichrysum EO (Helichrysum italicum) blood and lymphatic fluidizing, venal decongestant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic

Usage: dilution at 10% in a vegetable oil for a skin application and a local massage

Mixture: 10% in a 50ml bottle

Quantity of EO: 50ml * 10% = 5ml of EO. Here, there are 3 EOs (so, like above 5ml / 3 = 1.7ml)


recipesIn practice (1ml EO = 25 drops)

WintergreenEucapyptus citriodoraHelicrysum: 43 drops each + complete with a VO to fill the bottle (= about 45ml)


EXAMPLE 3: “Acne” synergy

Choice of 3 adapted essential oils:


By combining these different properties, this synergy will help getting rid of the pimples, will cleanse the skin and heal it.

Usage: dilution  at 1 % in a VO suitable for skin application

Mixture: 1% in a 50ml bottle

Quantity of EOs: 50ml * 1% = 0.5ml of EO. There are 3 EOs (so, 0.5ml / 3 = 0.2ml)


recipesIn practice (1ml EO = 25 drops)

Spike lavenderTea treeRosemary : 5 drops each + complete with a VO to fill the bottle (= about 49.5ml)



In a bottle with dropper or a pump bottle:

  • Pour the drops of EO in a bottle, in preference with a pipette so as to allow an accurate count of the drops.
  • Fill the bottle with vegetable oil to the top.
  • Once the synergy completed, close the bottle and shake well.
  • Remember to label the synergy on the bottle as well as the date at which you have prepared it


On an inhaling stick:

  • Remove the cotton to imbibe from the inhaler stick
  • Pour the drops of EO on the entire length of the cotton.
  • Replace the cotton in the stick and close at the base.
  • Your stick is no longer smelling enough? Remove the base of the stick delicately and add a new amount of drops as required on the cotton.


-in a dark glass bottle (EOs are sensitive to ultraviolet rays. They modify their biochemical structure). Away from heat.

-keep the bottle tightly closed (EOs are very volatile and would progressively loose their properties).

By following these rules, you can keep your synergy of pure EOs for 1 year.

A synergy of mixed EOs and added VO can be kept in general for 6 months.


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