Top Note Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

Top note essential oils are popular in aromatherapy use because of their power to uplift and restore emotions. However, they have other therapeutic properties too. A lot of top note essential oils do not have a long shelf life because they evaporate quickly. They are relatively easily to extract from plants and consequently are economical in price. Many of the citrus essential oils are top note oils.

How Top Note Essential Oils Are Extracted

There are two main traditional methods of extracting top note essential oils for therapeutic aromatherapy use. Firstly, essential oil molecules can evaporate during a distillation process of heat, water and steam. The most volatile and smallest molecules are called top notes. Secondly, many citrus essential oils are obtained from plants through a process called expression. Expression extracts essential oils directly from the rind or peel of the fruit.

How to Use Top Note Essential Oils in Aromatherapy

Some top note essential oils, such as grapefruit and mandarin, are popular for treating children’s ailments due to their gentle nature. In addition, children like the sweet, uplifting fragrance of top note oils. Top note essential oils are also used in aromatherapy in skincare, to treat digestive disorders and to heal emotionally. Several top note oils are used to treat the symptoms of colds and flu and many have antiseptic and bactericidal properties.

Types of Top Note Essential Oils

Top note essential oils are extracted from the fruit, leaves, seeds and flowers of plants. Some top note oils may overlap with middle note oils. Examples of top note essential oils include:

  • lemon
  • lime
  • bergamot
  • orange
  • clary sage
  • eucalyptus
  • grapefruit
  • lemongrass
  • mandarin
  • peppermint
  • petitgrain
  • tea tree
  • lemon verbena.

Cautions for Using Top Note Essential Oils in Aromatherapy

Top note essential oils are sometimes used to adulterate more expensive essential oils. Citrus top note essential oils may be phototoxic and should be used with caution in ultra-violet light. Most top note essential oils will oxide easily due to their high volatility; store in a cool, dark place to maximize shelf life.

Blend top note essential oils with a carrier lotion or base before using them on the skin. Add top note essential oils to a blend with base note essential oils to “lighten” up an aromatherapy blend and to maximize synergistic therapeutic properties. Check individual essential oil profiles for cautions for use with regard to pregnancy, elderly, use with children or use with specific health conditions. Consult a qualified aromatherapist for further advice on the use of top note essential oils in aromatherapy.