Easy Essential Oil Substitutions


One of the greatest benefits of essential oils is that their uses and benefits tend to overlap. If you look at the doTERRA Oil Chemistry Wheel, you can easily see different oils that share key similarities. This is a great resource for finding oils to try based on the emotional or physical benefit you desire. In situations where your go-to is not readily on hand, or during times when you want to try something else for a different aroma, you can try substituting different oils for some of our most popular oils and blends.

It is good to keep in mind that, although oils can share key benefits, there are still tradeoffs. No two oils are going to be exactly the same. With this in mind we’ve listed the main substitute first, but followed this with additional suggestions for substitutions based on other benefits you may be trying to achieve.

Lavender: Petitgrain

Sleep and Calming: When it comes to assisting with your sleep, Lavender is the most common go-to. For an easy substitute, try Petitgrain,which possesses a soothing and calming aroma with a less floral scent (it has been nicknamed the “manly” Lavender.) Similar to Lavender, it can help calm your nervous system and ease feelings of tension.* Perhaps for these reasons, it also helps prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.* Other oils that can be used for calming include Bergamot, Clary Sage, and Roman Chamomile.

Other Lavender Uses and Substitutes

  • Skin Imperfections: Rose or Sandalwood oil
  • Maintaining Hair and Scalp: Melaleuca or Roman Chamomile oil

Peppermint: Spearmint

Digestion and Aroma: Despite the fact that they’re chemically different (Peppermint contains mostly menthol, while Spearmint is mostly carvone), Spearmint is an excellent substitute for Peppermint. It has a milder aroma, is less sensitizing than Peppermint for delicate skin, and possesses digestive benefits when used internally.*

Other Peppermint Uses and Substitutes

  • Bug repellant: Arborvitae, Lemongrass, or Geranium
  • Energizing: Fennel or Dill

Lemon: Any Citrus

Invigorating and cleansing: This substitution list might seem like a no-brainer, but citrus oils are pretty interchangeable. Though each citrus varies in some way (Bergamot, for example, possesses calming properties), all are equally uplifting to your mood and cleansing for your body.* Citrus oils aside from Lemon include: Bergamot, Wild Orange, Grapefruit, Lime, and Tangerine. If you are going for a wonderful citrus aroma, Citrus Bliss® is an incredible blend to try for an emotional uplift.


Frankincense: Helichrysum

Restoring: To enjoy the emotional and physical benefits of essential oils, few are better than Frankincense. But, give Helichrysum oil a try and it may surprise you. There are many ways that these two oils match up. Both are great for your skin, and helpful for blemishes. Both can be massaged into the skin for soothing relief. But, most impressive is the list of body systems they both support, namely the digestive, immune, nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems and cellular function.* Finally, both Frankincense and Helichrysum also support liver health.*

Other Frankincense Uses and Substitutes

  • Urinary tract function: Juniper Berry*
  • Blemishes: Arborvitae, Basil, Coriander, Cypress, Fennel, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Immortelle, Jasmine, Juniper Berry, Lime, Melaleuca, Melissa, Patchouli, or Wintergreen.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree): Geranium

Skin: Many essential oils are valuable to add to your skincare routine, and Tea Tree is definitely one of them for its cleansing and rejuvenating effects on your skin. But, Geranium is also a dream oil to add to your moisturizer. It has a smoothing effect on the skin, and helps to keep it looking health. It is also highly useful for your hair, adding it to your shampoo or conditioner gives it a healthy, vibrant glow.

Other Melaleuca Uses and Substitutes

  • Environmental threats: Arborvitae, doTERRA Breathe®, Clove, or Coriander
  • Purify and cleanse the air: Purify, Eucalyptus, or Juniper Berry

doTERRA Breathe®: Eucalyptus or Cardamom

Feelings of clear airways: doTERRA Breathe is a popular option for diffusing when you need to maintain any feelings of clear airways and easy breathing. But, when you need to turn to an alternative both Eucalyptus and Cardamom are good options. Cardamom helps maintain respiratory health as you can take it internally.* Though you can't take Eucalyptus internally, it does have an invigorating vapor when applied topically to the chest.

Other doTERRA Breathe Uses and Substitutes

  • Seasonal threats: Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca, TriEase® Softgels, Arborvitae*

DigestZen®: Ginger

Digestion: When it comes to occasional stomach discomfort and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract, DigestZen is your blend.* When it comes to single oils however, Ginger is also perfect for the same purposes. Put simply, Ginger on its own may support healthy digestion, and may also help to relieve bloating, gas, and occasional indigestion.*

Other DigestZen Uses and Substitutes

  • Soothing Massage: Fennel, Frankincense, or Grapefruit

doTERRA On Guard®: Melaleuca, Oregano, or Thyme

Immune System: The doTERRA On Guard blend is formulated to support your immune system. Melaleuca oil, Oregano, and Thyme have all shown strong benefits to the immune system when taken internally.* However, in this case there are almost endless substitutions you can make. Other oils that also support the immune system include: Basil, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cassia, Cilantro, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Coriander, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium, Helichrysum, Juniper Berry, Lime, Marjoram, Melissa, Myrrh, Petitgrain, Roman Chamomile, Tangerine, Vetiver, and Wild Orange.*

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