The 12 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety
Essential oils are plant extracts obtained through distillation from various plant parts like leaves, flowers, and roots. Besides being used in scents for products, some have health applications in aromatherapy. This involves using essential oils for anxiety and well-being purposes.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 31% of US adults will experience an anxiety disorder. Managing anxiety can be done through various methods like therapy, meditation, breathing exercises, and even aromatherapy. Recent studies suggest that essential oils may help ease anxiety symptoms. While scientific evidence for these uses is still being studied, ongoing research aims to understand the potential benefits of essential oils.
In aromatherapy, essential oils manage pain, aid digestion, and reduce stress. Using essential oils with a diffuser is best to avoid skin irritation. If you want to apply them to your skin, mix them with a carrier oil like coconut oil, but be cautious—test a small area first to check for reactions. Also, the FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils, so research and consult your doctor, especially if your anxiety is severe. Only ingest essential oils if they’re food-grade and approved by your doctor.
Here are our top choices for essential oils to bring a bit of calm into your life.
Lavender oil is well-liked for calming anxiety as it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and may improve sleep quality. Its soothing aroma is often used in aromatherapy to create a calm atmosphere. Some studies suggest that inhaling lavender oil may help reduce mild anxiety symptoms.
Although lavender oil is generally safe, some people may experience skin irritation, so a patch test is recommended before applying it.
Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult a healthcare professional before using lavender oil. While research supports its anxiety-relieving benefits, it’s not a replacement for professional mental health care, as individual responses can vary.
Chamomile oil is often considered a natural remedy for anxiety and is known for its calming properties. Its mild, pleasant aroma is commonly used in aromatherapy to create a serene environment. Some studies suggest that chamomile may have an anxiolytic effect, helping to ease feelings of tension and worry.
Chamomile, a daisy-like herb, produces a sweet-smelling essential oil extracted from its flowers through steam distillation. In a 2-week clinical trial cited by the National Cancer Institute, using Roman chamomile oil in massages for people with cancer showed a reduction in anxiety and other symptoms compared to massage alone.
3. Ylang Ylang
Ylang-ylang oil, derived from the flowers of the Cananga tree, is often considered for its potential to ease anxiety and promote relaxation. It is known for its sweet floral scent, which can have a calming effect and may help alleviate stress and tension.
In a small 2015 study with 34 nurses, researchers found that while ylang-ylang aromatherapy didn’t significantly reduce anxiety, it did improve the participants’ self-esteem.
Bergamot oil, from the peel of the bergamot orange, is known for possibly easing anxiety and lifting mood. It has a citrusy scent that’s believed to have calming effects, making it popular for stress reduction in aromatherapy.
Some studies suggest inhaling bergamot oil may help reduce anxiety. However, be cautious as bergamot oil is photosensitive, increasing sensitivity to sunlight and possibly causing skin irritation or sunburn. Use it diluted on the skin and avoid sun exposure.
While research supports its anxiety-relieving potential, individual reactions vary, especially for those with sensitive skin or citrus allergies. Please consult a healthcare professional before relying on it as the sole solution for severe anxiety.
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Frankincense oil, derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree, is often explored for its potential to manage anxiety. With a woody and earthy aroma, frankincense oil is believed to have calming properties that may help alleviate stress and promote a sense of tranquility. Some aromatherapists and users find that inhaling the scent of frankincense oil induces relaxation and emotional balance.
While there is anecdotal evidence supporting its anxiety-relieving effects, more scientific research is needed to establish its efficacy conclusively. As with any essential oil, it’s necessary to use caution, and individual responses can vary.
Rose oil’s sweet and floral aroma is believed to have calming effects, promoting relaxation and emotional well-being. Some research on animals indicates that essential oils from rose flowers might help with anxiety.
In a 2015 review, studies with mice using conflict tests and mazes suggested that essential oils from Rose centifolia and Rose damascene could have a relaxing effect. However, another mice study had different results, contradicting these findings. Moreover, more research is needed to establish its efficacy conclusively in humans.
Geranium oil is thought to have potential benefits for anxiety, although scientific research on this specific essential oil is somewhat limited. Some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that geranium oil’s sweet and floral aroma may have calming effects, promoting relaxation and reducing feelings of stress.
Aromatherapy with geranium oil is commonly used to create a soothing atmosphere.
8. Clary Sage
Clary sage is a herb thought to relieve anxiety. In a small 2013 study with 34 females experiencing urinary incontinence, participants inhaling clary sage oil during a bladder examination had significantly decreased blood pressure and respiratory rate compared to lavender and almond oils. The study suggests that inhaling clary sage oil may help people relax during a bladder examination.
Vetiver, sometimes called khus oil, comes from the vetiver plant native to India. Despite being less known, it’s effective and has a sweet, earthy scent. Vetiver oil can calm the nervous system, aiding sleep and potentially easing stress and anxiety.
While research on vetiver and anxiety in humans is limited, studies on animals show promising results. A 2015 study on rats found vetiver oil in aromatherapy relaxing, with anti-anxiety effects similar to diazepam. Another study in mice also discovered anxiety-reducing properties in vetiver extract comparable to diazepam.
Lemon oil is often researched for its potential to uplift mood and reduce stress. Derived from the peel of lemons, this essential oil has a bright and citrusy aroma that is believed to have refreshing and invigorating effects. Some people use lemon oil in aromatherapy to create a positive and energizing atmosphere, which may contribute to a sense of well-being and relaxation.
Patchouli oil, derived from the leaves of the patchouli plant, is often considered for its potential to manage anxiety. With its rich, earthy, and musky aroma, patchouli oil is believed to have grounding and calming effects on the mind and body. Some people use patchouli oil in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and alleviate feelings of stress and tension.
Patchouli can be used alone or mixed with oils like lavender. People believe it promotes calmness and relaxation, but most evidence is from personal stories rather than scientific studies.
Research has found that inhaling orange essential oil benefits pregnant women, reducing stress and anxiety during labor. For added benefits, orange oil can be combined with other oils, such as sandalwood.
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How to Properly Use Essential Oils for Anxiety?
Using essential oils for anxiety involves several steps to maximize their effectiveness:
- Choose Appropriate Oils: Select oils known for their anxiety-relieving properties, such as lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang.
- Select a Delivery Method:
- Aromatherapy: Use a diffuser to disperse the scent into the air.
- Topical Application: Dilute the essential oil with carrier oil and apply it to pulse points or areas with tense muscles.
- Inhalation: Inhale directly from the bottle or add a few drops to a tissue.
- Create a Relaxing Atmosphere:
- Diffuser: Add a few drops of the chosen essential oil to a diffuser and let the aroma fill the room.
- Bath: Mix a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil or Epsom salts for a soothing bath.
- Practice Mindful Breathing: Inhale Deeply. Take slow, deep breaths while inhaling the aroma directly or using a diffuser.
- Blend Oils for Synergy: Try to mix and match—experiment with blending different oils to create a personalized scent that enhances relaxation.
- Be Consistent: Use essential oils consistently to build a routine that signals relaxation to the mind and body.
- Ensure Safety:
- Dilution: Always dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin to avoid irritation.
- Consultation: If pregnant, nursing, or under medical care, consult a healthcare professional before using essential oils.
- Adjust to Personal Preferences: Try different oils and methods to discover what works best. Pay attention to how your body responds to each oil and adjust accordingly.
Remember that individual responses to essential oils can vary, so finding the approach that suits your preferences and provides the desired calming effects is crucial.
Aromatherapy, theorized to stimulate smell receptors and impact the nervous system, is commonly used for natural stress and anxiety relief through inhalation and topical application of essential oils. However, ingesting essential oils is not recommended due to insufficient research on safety, as each oil varies, and some can be toxic.
The FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils, so it’s crucial to use therapeutic-grade oils from trusted sources and consider individual restrictions for children, pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, and pets, consulting medical professionals when needed.
How to Choose Essential Oil Blends for Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
When selecting essential oil blends for anxiety and panic attacks, focusing on calming and soothing scents known for their relaxation properties is necessary. Lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are popular choices for their stress-relieving effects. Consider blends that combine these oils to create a synergy of calming aromas. Opt for blends from reputable brands that use high-quality, pure essential oils.
Please read product descriptions and user reviews to ensure the blend aligns with its intended purpose of promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. Dilution is also vital—blends should be appropriately diluted to ensure safe topical application. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals, especially if you have specific health conditions or are under medical care, to ensure that the chosen essential oil blends suit your needs and well-being.
Do you have questions about using essential oils for anxiety or anxiety treatment in general? Call our helpline 24/7.
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Are Essential Oils for Sleep and Anxiety Safe?
Essential oils for anxiety and stress are, but it’s best to be cautious. Essential oils vary in quality since they’re not regulated. Diffusing them, even at home, can affect people differently. For instance, while peppermint oil helps with headaches, it can agitate babies under three years old. Consult your primary doctor for the best essential oil for you.
Essential oils for sleep and anxiety are considered safe when used correctly. However, some oils may cause skin irritation, and not all essential oils are suitable for everyone, especially pregnant individuals, breastfeeding parents, or those with specific health conditions.
Following proper dilution guidelines is important, as undiluted essential oils can be too potent and cause adverse reactions. Also, inhalation methods, such as using a diffuser, are generally safe but ensure proper ventilation, especially in shared spaces. While essential oils can be a natural and effective option for anxiety, consulting with a healthcare professional before use, especially if you have specific health concerns, is advisable to ensure safety and efficacy.
What is the Best CBD Oil for Anxiety?
The use of CBD oil for anxiety is gaining recognition as an emerging and potentially effective natural remedy. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant, and it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood.
Determining the best CBD oil anxiety therapy can be subjective and depends on individual preferences and needs. Looking for high-quality, third-party-tested CBD products from reputable brands is essential. Full-spectrum CBD oils, containing a range of cannabinoids and terpenes, are often recommended for their potential entourage effect, enhancing the overall therapeutic benefits.
While research on CBD and anxiety is still in its early stages, some studies suggest that CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. Many individuals report positive experiences with CBD in managing symptoms of anxiety. Still, it’s crucial to approach its use cautiously, consulting with healthcare professionals to ensure safety and suitability for individual circumstances.
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Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression Therapy
Mental health inpatient treatment centers may incorporate aromatherapy and essential oils as complementary therapies to support overall mental well-being. Experts recognize the potential benefits of aromatherapy in creating a calming and soothing environment for individuals undergoing mental health treatment. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are often used for their reported stress-relieving properties.
However, the approach to aromatherapy and essential oils may vary among treatment programs. Some may integrate these practices into relaxation sessions or offer them as optional therapy components, considering individual preferences and sensitivities. The emphasis is typically on providing a holistic and supportive environment to enhance the mental health treatment process. It’s advisable for individuals considering or undergoing inpatient mental health treatment to inquire about the specific approaches and options available at the particular center they are engaging with.
If anxiety is making it hard for you or someone you know to get through the day, We Level Up Florida Mental Health Treatment Center is here to help. Our experienced team offers personalized care. Take the first step toward feeling better—reach out for help. Call We Level Up FL now. Each call is free and confidential.
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