Have you ever wondered how to pronounce some of the weirder looking essential oil names? Me too! So I finally decided to look them up. Below you’ll find an alphabetical list (you’re welcome) of the oils I hear mispronounced the most, the oils that aromatherapists often struggle with, and a few oils that I’d never heard of before researching this article but looked like they’d be problematic.
For the most part I’m just going to tell you how to pronounce them, but on occasion I may give an interesting fact about one or dispel a myth about it.
Bergamot – BER gah mot
Cajeput – KA je put (the a in KA is pronounced like the a in mad)
Cassia – CASH ah
Chamomile – KAM ah mile
Copaiba – CO pie bah
Elemi – EL eh mee
Fragonia – frah GO nee ah – Fragonia is an Australian oil that’s related to tea tree but it has a rather lovely smell rather than the strongly medicinal smell of tea tree. In addition to being antimicrobial like tea tree it’s also very balancing to the emotions.
Guaiac wood (sometimes you’ll see it as one word guaiacwood)- GWHY ack wood
Helichrysum – hell ih KREES um
Hyssop – HISS up
Inula – IN yeh leh
Kunzea – KOON zee ah
Litsea – LIT see ah
Manuka – man OO ka – There is a suburb in Australia with the same name but it put the emphasis on the first syllable (and adds an R – “Marn” – weird ).
Myrrh – mer
Niaouli – nee OW lee
Petitgrain – PEH tee grain
Plai – Ply (as in plywood)
Thyme – Time
Ylangylang – EE-lang EE-lang or EE lan EE lan
Zdravetz – DRAH vets – this is a Bulgarian oil that’s relatively new in America. It’s an oil from the Geranium genus of plants but it’s NOT related to geranium or rose geranium essential oils, both of which are in the Pelargonium Genus.