Choosing an Essential Oil for Your Driving Needs


If car scents are something you enjoy, you are most likely one of the millions around the world using commercial car air fresheners. We’ve covered here how hazardous it is and its negative impact on your health. 

Instead of breathing in over 100 chemicals for the singular purpose of having an aroma in the car, essential oils are all-natural, and have various properties that will benefit your commute when chosen wisely. 

Choosing an Essential Oil to Suit Your Driving Needs

Image by Plant Therapy

Image by Plant Therapy

  1. Alertness

    While nothing can replace being well-rested, some oils can help with mental clarity. Essential oils that boost cognitive alertness include Peppermint, Cinnamon, Spearmint, Basil, Rosemary, and citrus oils such as Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit. You may also try Basil, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass as they have invigorating properties too, while Cinnamon is used for concentration.

  2. Motion sickness

    If any of your passengers are prone to car-sickness, Ginger is well known as a panacea for motion sickness, but its scent may not be enjoyable to everyone. A sharp, citrus scent like Orange can cut through the cloying feeling of nausea. Peppermint, Fennel and Lemongrass have anti-nausea properties too.

  3. Calmness

    Need some help with road rage? Mandarin is calming for adults, but can have a sedating effect on children, which makes it a good option if you have restless kids in the back seat on a long drive. Bergamot, Rosewood and Geranium are other calming options you may explore.

  4. You may also experiment with mixing a blend of oils—there is no rule that limits you to just one oil at a time! For example, you may try treating nausea with 1 drop of Ginger mixed with Lemongrass, or mix a blend of Ylang ylang, Bergamot and Lemon for a calm drive.

    Precautions to Take While Using Essential Oils

    In general, inhalation is considered to be a very safe delivery method of essential oils and pose a low level of risk. Avoid diffusing oils around newborns, infants, children, pregnant or nursing women, and pets unless you are completely convinced of its safety. If you use a diffuser, limit its use to 30 minutes at a time. Leaving a drop or two of oil on a DIY cotton ball or vent clip is likely the safest way to reap its benefits while creating olfactory novelty. Overexposure can stress your body, so less is definitely more when it comes to essential oils.

    It is advisable to start out small—a single pound of essential oil is distilled from mind-bogglingly enormous quantities of plants: 10,000 pounds of rose petals, 250 pounds of lavender, 1500 lemons, you get the idea. A single drop of oil or two is enough for the close confines of your car. 

    Keep allergies and cautions in mind when selecting your oil or blend. Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Rosemary should not be used with young children in the car as they contain compounds that can cause respiratory issues. Eucalyptus may lead to clinical interactions with drugs used for seizures, narcolepsy and ADHD, and can provoke asthma attacks. Some oils may trigger seizures in those suffering from epilepsy. It would be prudent to do some research if you are on medication or have health conditions.

    Pregnant or nursing mothers should take extra cautionary measures before using essential oils. A non-exhaustive list of oils considered unsafe during pregnancy are Aniseed, Angelica, Basil, Black pepper, Camphor, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Clove, Fennel, Fir, Ginger, Horseradish, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Mustard, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Wintergreen.

    Avoid oils that induce drowsiness, such as Lavender, Chamomile, Vetiver, Marjoram, Cedarwood and other relaxing oils which are best limited to indoor use for stress relieving.

    This only serves as a general guide, as essential oils affect people in different ways, so practice vigilance and always test your oils indoors in small quantities initially.

    To find out more about how to diffuse essential oils in your car, and more important tips on its usage, read here.

    Happy experimenting!