Dear Lavender,

You stink and I cannot love you.

In a strange world, far far away, where people had to write letters to essential oils…some people would write this. (I may or may not have just made that up.) But really, some people just can’t stand the smell of Lavender. It seems to be one of those love it or hate it scents. I do actually love Lavender, but I often encounter people who don’t want any part of it. In life before oils (LBO, ha!), I personally would not have picked Lavender anytime I had other scent options, but I associated it with that fake lavender scent that is used in commercial lotions and room sprays. I was so surprised when I smelled actual 100% pure Lavender oil! Lavandula angustifolia, in case you are one of those who geeks out on the science. Right there with ya, friend!  These days, I love Lavender and it’s my most frequently reordered oil at our house.

Sometimes though, getting pure oils…just isn’t enough.   There are still people who have the legit pure oil, but do not like the smell. Everyone is different!  Good news though…there are other options that will still offer you the calm and relaxation those Lavender Lovers keep posting about on social media.

The therapeutic benefits come from the chemical constituents in the oils. Lavender has high concentrations of linalyl acetate and linalool. There are some other oils that also have these high concentrations and will provide us with similar therapeutic benefits!

Ah, that’s what I’m talking about…options!

Let’s take a peek at two different oils that are very close to Lavender in their chemical constituents, but smell completely different!

Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium)
Petitgrain oil is steam distilled and can come from the leaves and twigs of several different citrus trees: sweet orange, mandarin, lemon, and even grapefruit. The Petitgrain oil from the bitter orange tree is very calming, harmonizing, comforting, and promotes relaxation…just as we would expect from Lavender! Petitgrain smells herbaceous and woody with a spicy undertone. It has been nicknamed the manly Lavender. Don’t worry though, it won’t put hair on your chest! Petitgrain can actually offer a more intense outcome because it has nearly four times less chemistry than Lavender. It is simple and focused.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
This is a scent that pulls me in, every time! It is an earthy, nutty, herbaceous scent that is also slightly fruity and floral. Clary Sage is a biennial or perennial herb that grows up to six feet in height. The oil is steam distilled from the flowers and leaves. With both linalool and linalyl acetate components, Clary Sage makes another great alternative to Lavender. This one is known for helping along contractions, so you might not choose this as your Lavender substitute while pregnant. Great to use for that extra support when it is time for delivery!

P.S. Girlfriend, Clary Sage is really a rock star when it comes to menstrual cycle relief and it makes your hair look great when you add it to your shampoo!

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is a light citrus oil with a spicy and slightly floral scent. It has a more diverse chemical profile containing linalool, linalyl acetate, and quite a bit of limonene, plus a couple others. This combination gives it a unique ability to be both uplifting and calming, making it a powerhouse when it comes to dealing with feelings of sadness or anxiousness. The limonene adds additional purifying and cleansing properties .

You can also use Bergamot to make Early Grey tea. Add a drop to your tea bag before brewing and sip to calm and relax yourself. (Not all brands of oils are suitable for internal use. Be sure to check your labels.)

I really love diffusing Bergamot. Try a mix of Bergamot, Cedarwood and Lavender in your bedside diffuser tonight and enjoy a restful sleep. This combo smells amazing!

Please note: Bergamot is known to increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun when applied topically. Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after applying this to your skin.

Want to learn more about substitutions?

Check out this great Wheel of Chemistry Fun to see what other oils have similar properties, in case you need to do your own substitutions.

  • Have a recipe that calls for Melissa, but haven’t gotten that one off the wish list yet? Try a Lemongrass substitution!
  • Looking for respiratory support for a little one, but prefer not to use Eucalyptus? Try Cardamom instead!
  • From this wheel, we can see that Geranium has similar chemistry components as Rose and could be a great substitute for it’s more expensive floral sister.

doTERRA Chemistry Wheel, Essential oil substitutions

Happy blending!


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Amy Godwin
Amy Godwin

Amy Godwin teaches families to manage their health and wellness by empowering them with essential oils and other natural solutions. Click Here To Learn More

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