Essential oils have been used since historic times to cure a wide variety of ailments. One of the best ways to naturally cure anxiety is by using essential oils. When it comes time to choose an essential oil for anxiety there will be many choices. We tested 30 different essential oils and narrowed it down to the top 18 that actually had some kind of relaxing effect.
Make sure to read until the end to learn not only which products are worth your money, but also how these essential oils help with your anxiety in the first place.
18 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety (2024 Update)
In aromatherapy, one of the most common essential oils is Lavender. It’s known to calms anxiety. This happens because it is said that this oil impacts the limbic system. This system is that part of the brain which controls emotions.
Usage directions: Mix some drops of this popular essential oil with a bath gel that has no fragrance or with a teaspoon of some carrier oil. Add this to your warm bath and stir it well just before getting into the bath. This way you will get to enjoy your bath and it will be very relaxing too.
This oil has a beautiful floral scent. Jasmine oil when inhaled promotes a sense of romance and well-being. It is not similar to other oils that are used to control anxiety. The jasmine oil does have a calming effect on the nerves but it doesn’t make one sleepy.
Usage directions: Open the lid of the bottle containing jasmine oil and inhale it. You could also let the scent to spread in the room using a diffuser.
Tulsi or in other words holy Basil is not the same basil that we use to make lasagna. Though it belongs to the same plant family, they are different. Holy basil contains eugenol, which is a compound giving a minty, spicy aroma. This herb is adaptogenic which helps in treating mental and physical stress.
Usage directions: Eugenol has a very strong fragrance. Using just a little of it, will do the job. Take and add few drops of it to the aromatherapy diffuser, and inhale once the oil starts dispersing in the entire room.
This essential oil is derived from the same herb used to make the marinara sauce. Sweet basil oil is said to have a calming effect on the mind and also relieves stress, in aromatherapy.
Sweet Basil essential oil has phenol compounds that help relieve anxiety. It is less sedating as compared to diazepam which is a medication used to treat anxiety.
Usage directions: If you have a room diffuser, you could add some drops of this oil to it or you could inhale it using an inhaler tube.
Since ages Valerian has been used as an essential oil. It is an herb that is said to have compounds that help one to sleep and calm their nerves. This herb can act as a mild sedative when used on the body.
Usage directions: Take few drops of this valerian oil to add to an aromatherapy diffuser. And then, inhale it. You may feel relaxed or sleepy on inhaling this essential oil.
Another essential oil from the valerian plant family is Jatamansi. It helps you to sleep and keep your mind calm. As per a study conducted on mice in 2008, depression may be relieved by Jatamansi. This may happen because this essential oil decreases MAO receptors and GABA neurotransmitters in the brain.
Usage directions: Dilute the Jatamansi oil and massage it into your forehead or temples.
This essential oil has a citrus scent that is invigorating. It is derived from bergamot oranges. Your mood is improved and anxiety is relieved when the bergamot essential oil is used. This oil increases sensitivity to the sun when used topically.
Usage directions: Apply few drops of the bergamot oil to a handkerchief or on to a cotton ball. Inhale its aroma 2-3 times. This will help to relieve anxiety.
The Chamomile essential oil is very famous for its sedating and relaxing properties. Its scent is also known to be intoxicating. Not much research has been done on this oil with regards to anxiety. However, a study has proven that the supplements of chamomile may help people having general mild to moderate anxiety disorder.
Usage directions: Dilute the chamomile oil and massage it on your skin. Or, you could add few drops of it to your warm bath.
This is a floral scented essential oil. It promotes relaxation when used in aromatherapy. When a combination of oils including ylang-ylang, bergamot is inhaled, anxiety and street levels, serum cortisol, blood pressure, and heart rate were lowered.
Usage directions: Dilute this oil and apply it to your skin. You could also, inhale it directly or add it to your room diffuser.
Boswellia tree resin helps derive the frankincense oil. This essential oil has a sweet, musky aroma that helps ease anxiety. When a hand massage is done using frankincense, bergamot, and lavender oil, it helped improve depression, anxiety, and pain.
Usage directions: Dilute this oil and rub it on your feet or hands. Adding few drops of this oil to your diffuser will also help.
This oil is not similar to the herb that is used in making the Thanksgiving stuffing. Its odor is herbal and woody. Clary sage is mostly used for its abilities to calm you and as an aphrodisiac.
It also said that in women, cortisol levels can be controlled by using this oil. Cortisol is the name given to the stress hormone. So when the levels of cortisol are high, this could increase depression and anxiety.
Usage directions: When feeling very anxious, directly inhale the Clary sage oil, or dilute it and massage it on your skin so your skin absorbs it.
Rose petals are used to extract this essential oil. The floral enchanting scent of roses is known to help the senses relax. During labor, pregnant women can fight anxiety by having aromatherapy rose foot bath.
Usage directions: Fill warm water in a basin and place your feet in it to soak. Dilute the rose oil and add a few drops to the water. Another way of using the rose essential oil is by adding it to shea butter or a non-scented moisturizer that is your favorite. After mixing it, massage it on your skin.
This essential oil is not so popular but it is effective. The grassy vetiver plant helps derive the vetiver oil. This is an Indian plant. This oil has an earthy sweet scent. It can also be used as an aphrodisiac. Vetiver essential oil abilities are similar to the diazepam, a drug used for anti-anxiety.
Usage directions: You could enjoy a nice relaxing massage using the diluted version of vetiver oil. Or, you could also add its few drops to a diffuser.
Patchouli is musky and is used as a medicine in Ayurveda. It is believed to help relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. This essential oil is mostly used by mixing it with other oils. It is believed to help one to be calm and relaxed.
Usage directions: Directly inhale this oil to relieve anxiety, or dilute it and add it to your room diffuser or warm bath.
The geranium plant helps distill the geranium oil. In 2015, a study conducted on women who were in their 1st stage of labor showed that when this oil was inhaled by them, anxiety levels were reduced during labor. It also states that diastolic blood pressure could decrease if this oil is used.
Usage directions: pour few drops of the geranium oil on to a cotton ball and then waft it a few times under your nose.
This is popular as a spice used for cooking that has an anise aroma. Side effects of anxiety, such as digestive problems are treated by using this oil. Also, anxiety caused by menopause and few other conditions, is treated by using this oil. Supplements of fennel helped side effects of menopause like hot flashes, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.
The aroma of a lemon balm is uplifting and fresh. In aromatherapy, this considered to have a restorative, soothing effect. People who took lemon balm capsules were helped for moderate anxiety disorders. It may help improve sleep too.
Usage directions: Lemon balm oil can be added to your diffuser to fill the room with its scent. It could be directly inhaled too.
Another name given to this essential oil is oregano. The sweet marjoram oil is said to help calm anxiety and nervousness. Also, it is used to relieve headache which is a common anxiety symptom. There is not much evidence scientifically to support this. But still, many aroma therapists use it nevertheless to treat anxiety.
Usage directions: Blend this oil with any carrier oil in order to dilute it. Rub this mixture on to your temples. It is also okay to apply it on your wrists. You could a few drops of it to your diffuser too.
What to do before using essential oil for anxiety
When essential oils are applied directly to the surface of the skin, there could be an allergic reaction sometimes. So, to avoid this from happening, before using any of the essential oils, a patch test should be done first on a small part of the skin.
To do the test, dilute the essential oil and place few drops of it on your elbow or wrist. After that, take a bandage and cover this area. Let 24 hours pass. If there is any rash, itching, or redness in that area, then it means that that particular essential oil does not your skin. Hence that oil is not safe for you to use topically.
Not everyone can use essential oils. Hence consult your doctor before using any essential oil, especially if you have some underlying medical condition, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Even when using these oils on children, consult a doctor first. Children’s skin is more sensitive than adults.
Please note: In the market, not every essential oil is created in the same way. Hence, buy them only from a known reputable source. FDA does not monitor essential oils.
What Should You Look for When Buying Essential Oils for Anxiety?
Always make sure that you are only using essential oils that are 100% pure. When you go to buy the oil, you will see the plant species name on the label of the bottle. This will tell you from which plant the oil is derived from.
Buy essential oils only from reliable sources that sell organic products only. This way you will be sure that the oils do not have toxins and chemicals. Also, do ensure that the products are not diluted and filtered. Choose only non-GMO oils and be alert about genetically modified ingredients.
The Bottom Line
Stress and anxiety can be relieved by essential oils that help calm the body and mind. These oils are use as natural remedies. There is however no fixed prescriptions or recipes on how and how much on the oil or oils need to be used. Every individual may have a different response to oil or a combination of them. Try and experiment with different essential oils and simultaneously observe your body. By doing this you will come across the right blend of oils that works great on you.
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