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The 8 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety & Stress Relief

Did you know that the most common mental health issues in the U.S. are anxiety disorders? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affects 18.1% of the U.S. population, with women being 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime.

And these are just the diagnosed cases. We can’t know the true level of people living with anxiety who haven’t sought professional help. Those simply holding on by their fingernails, getting by. Then of course there are those who suffer periodic anxiety due to specific events, or certain stressors in life. Trips to the dentist, being in labor, workloads, surgery, family problems… Anxiety is rife in today’s modern world.

Whatever the case or reason, the fact is anxiety costs the U.S. over $42 billion a year! That’s from patients seeking treatment through traditional health care, mainly the cost of repeated visits. This would seem to indicate that whatever the docs are doing and/or prescribing… isn’t working so well!

Here’s the next question… Did you also know that for centuries, essential oils have been used effectively for anxiety?

If you look at the growing library of research on these powerful plant oils (that are some 40-50% more powerful as extracts than the plant themselves), it’s no wonder. What a gift to have bona fide science finally backing up what traditional practices have known for thousands of years. Literally!

If you’re looking for an essential oil for anxiety, here are 8 of the best options according to science…

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender - Best Essential Oil for AnxietyHistorically oil of lavender has been used for everything from perfume to healing, from embalming to insect repellent.

Among its benefits, lavender has been shown to offer pain relief, and even antibiotic characteristics. Add to this list burn healing, allergy support, and being anti-fungal. She’s the queen of essential oils, for sure!

When it comes to oils for anxiety, lavender is the best essential oil for anxiety across the board. In fact it’s been put into capsule form and sold as a natural anti-anxiety supplement. It’s non-sedative, and has been compared to traditional prescription meds as “an effective substitute,” while being non-addictive. In fact one study that elicited anxiety responses in rats (alarm periods) went so far as to say, “lavender oil increased the response rate during the alarm period in a dose-dependent manner in the same manner as diazepam.” [Note: Diazepam was first marketed as valium and is a drug commonly used to treat anxiety disorders.]

A 2013 paper published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine stated that studies on both animals and humans provides growing evidence that “lavender oil may be an effective medicament in treatment of several neurological disorders.”

It’s not just for anxiety disorders, though. Lavender essential oil has been studied for use in operations and dental work, showing great effect at lowering stress and anxiety during these often fraught situations.

When using lavender to help with anxiety, don’t be fooled by imitations: there is only one “true” lavender that has the most potent effects: Lavandula angustifolia.  

You can use lavender essential oil in a variety of ways to address anxiety: as aromatherapy via inhalation, ingestion (see cautions further below), as well as applying to the skin. In the case of skin applications, you can apply it directly or use a carrier oil (organic, cold-pressed coconut, avocado, or olive oil are all good options) and it will absorb and be at its peak of efficacy after about 20 minutes.

Lemon and Orange Oil

Lemon and Orange Essential Oils for AnxietyWhen it comes to the wonders of both lemon and orange essential oils, it’s all about the phytochemical (plant chemical) limonene. There is extensive research on limonene, including over 200 studies on its anti-cancer benefits. The levels of limonene in citrus plants will vary depending on the trees themselves, but in general lemons contain 59-73% limonene, and orange oil 85-96%.

In a 2006 study, lemon oil was found to possess “anxiolytic [anti-anxiety], antidepressant-like effects.” In one study between the essential oil of lemon and other oils, “lemon oil had the strongest anti-stress effect.”

Orange essential oil has been studied in a variety of anxiety-causing circumstances, most notably dentistry, surgery, and women in labor. All research points to the positive effect orange oil had on the anxiety levels of patients.

Both lemon oil and orange oil can be used via inhalation, and skin application. You can also add a few drops to your water, for added flavor and health benefits.

Rose Essential Oil

Rose Essential OilThis essential oil has been used for everything from cooking to perfume. Though it has always been highly revered in traditional healing practices, not everyone realizes the health benefits this fragrant oil hides as well.

The key components of rose oil are the phytochemicals citronellol and geraniol. Depending on the plants, soil, and harvesting of the flowers, rose oil contains 34-44% and 12-28% of these powerful chemicals, respectively.

Among the benefits of rose essential oil are (in alphabetical order):

  • acting as an antidepressant
  • antiphlogistic (preventing/relieving inflammation)
  • antiseptic (preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms)
  • antispasmodic (relieving spasms)
  • antiviral
  • aphrodisiac
  • astringent
  • bactericidal
  • cholagogue (promoting beneficial discharge of bile)
  • cicatrisant (forming healing scar tissue)
  • depurative (purifying/detoxifying)
  • emmenagogue (stimulating menstrual flow)
  • haemostatic (stopping bleeding)
  • hepatic (helping keep the liver strong)
  • laxative
  • nervine (calming the nerves)
  • stomachic (promoting appetite/assisting digestion)
  • uterine (regulating menstruation)

Several studies have shown rose oil to posses the power to “significantly lower” anxiety. This includes a study where blood pressure, breathing rate, and oxygen saturation were notable affected. It’s also been used as an essential oil for depression.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium Essential OilYet another powerful flower! Although geranium oil is actually distilled from the leaves and stems, as opposed to the flower petals as is rose oil.

Because geranium oil is significantly less expensive to produce, it is often used in place of rose oil. However, the essence of geranium should not be dismissed. It contains its own depths as a natural healing aid, with some 65 phytochemicals, as well as being rich in antioxidants. Little wonder then it has been long used for a wide variety of health benefits, including possessing anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-hemorrhagic, and antiseptic benefits. Geranium oil has many anti-cancer benefits as well.

Studies have also shown geranium oil to relieve anxiety, and bring higher levels of wellbeing. A 2015 study reported, “The mean anxiety score decreased significantly after inhalation of the aroma of geranium essential oil. There was also a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure.”

You can use geranium oil in a variety of ways. Try rubbing it on your skin (either directly or with a good carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil) or using a cold diffuser. Even placing some drops on your hands and rubbing them together as you inhale has positive effects. The FDA has deemed this oil safe for consumption, so you could try adding a couple drops to a drink, sweetening (if desired) with a healthier sweetener such as organic honey or green stevia.

Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils

These are two essential oils that, while well known, have not been commonly connected to anxiety relief. First, let’s look at peppermint oil…

It may surprise you to learn that this “spicy” oil has been found to have anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) benefits, as well. It’s true, this oil is more commonly known for its other qualities, including being antiseptic/antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, offering pain relief, and acting as an amazing digestive aid and for calming a nervous stomach. In addition, researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that peppermint oil has “a calming, soothing effect on anxiety and depression.”

Several other studies have been done and continue on the benefits of using this plant powerhouse for anxiety.

Another essential oil that’s not often been connected to anxiety relief is eucalyptus. A 2014 study reported that “1,8-Cineole, a major constituent of eucalyptus, was effective in decreasing anxiety,” in fact, significantly more than the other components being tested.

Of course this oil is better known for its use in cold medicines. It’s also used as an insect repellent, is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory. It’s even good for pain relief, helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. It will be exciting to see the research connecting eucalyptus essential oil to anxiety grow as time goes on.

Frankincense Essential OilFrankincense Essential Oil

Last, but far from least, is the essential oil of frankincense.

Substantial research has been done on this medicinal gift from the Boswellia tree, largely due to its long history and use in ancient healing traditions. Among its known healing benefits, frankincense oil has been shown to help with arthritis pain, balancing hormones, encouraging skin health, providing neurological support, and aiding digestion.

Frankincense’s cancer benefits are wide-ranging, too, being reported to be anti-inflammatory, to boost immune function, and improve circulation, among others.

With regards to anxiety specifically, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology reported frankincense “causes behavioral as well as anti-depressive and anxiolytic effects in mice” containing “an arsenal of bio-active small molecules with a considerable therapeutic potential that is far from being utilized.” Science continues to study this plant extract across the gamut of health issues, but, as in a 2004 study on its use in the labor room, the use of oil of frankincense has been “favourably reported” as one of the top essential oils for “relief of anxiety and fear.”

You can use oil of frankincense on your skin, directly or with a carrier oil. Try putting some behind your ears, or at the base of your throat. You can also use a cold diffuser (heating kills many of the benefits of essential oils), and pure, top quality frankincense oils are ingestible.

CAUTION: Using Essential Oils Carries Risks
Essential oils are powerful. Despite their natural origins they should be used with care. To receive the most therapeutic benefits use only the highest quality, organic essential oils such as those sourced by Organixx.

Sources:

  1. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults
  2. The Metabolic Responses to Aerial Diffusion of Essential Oils
  3. Bergamot: A Powerful Mood-Booster
  4. Behavioral effects of plant-derived essential oils in the geller type conflict test in mice.
  5. [The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension].
  6. Lavender and the Nervous System
  7. Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art
  8. Comparison of antispasmodic effects of Dracocephalum kotschyi essential oil, limonene and α-terpineol.
  9. 6 Ways to Use Citrus Essential Oil for Cancer Prevention
  10. Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice.
  11. Health Benefits of Orange Essential Oil
  12. The effect of aromatherapy by essential oil of orange on anxiety during labor: A randomized clinical trial.
  13. Health Benefits of Rose Essential Oil
  14. The Magnificence of Rose Essential Oil for Health & Beauty
  15. Comparing the effects of aromatherapy with rose oils and warm foot bath on anxiety in the first stage of labor in nulliparous women.
  16. The effects of prolonged rose odor inhalation in two animal models of anxiety.
  17. Anxiolytic-like effects of rose oil inhalation on the elevated plus-maze test in rats
  18. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study.
  19. 17 Healing Uses of Geranium Essential Oil
  20. An In Vitro System Comprising Immortalized Hypothalamic Neuronal Cells (GT1-7 Cells) for Evaluation of the Neuroendocrine Effects of Essential Oils.
  21. Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial
  22. Peppermint Oil for Anxiety & Depression
  23. National Center for Biotechnology Information – Peppermint Anxiolytic
  24. The Effect of 1,8-Cineole Inhalation on Preoperative Anxiety: A Randomized Clinical Trial
  25. Effect of Echinophora platyloba, Stachys lavandulifolia, and Eucalyptus camaldulensis plants on Trichomonas vaginalis growth in vitro
  26. The Powerful Protective Properties of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  27. Frankincense−therapeutic properties.
  28. The Anti-Inflammatory and Healing Power of Boswellia Serrata
  29. Boswellia resin: from religious ceremonies to medical uses; a review of in-vitro, in-vivo and clinical trials.
  30. Non-pharmacological pain relief in labour.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Now that I have my essential oils from you, I need to know how to use them! I assume I can put them directly on my skin, but only one drop at a time, right? Can I put more than one oil on during the same day or should I use only one oil at a time? Should I use a carrier and how much essential oil should I mix with it? I’m excited to get started using my oils but feel like I don’t really know much about exactly how to use them or what each one is best used for. Please help me!!

    • Hi Jerilyn,
      Thank you for your comment. In this article it refers to some ways that you can use our essential oils. If you have further questions please consult with a qualified professional. They will be able to help you further.

    • Jerilyn,
      My reflexologist/aroma therapist (certified)usually suggests to use one drop per TEASPOON of carrier oil and for certain oils i.e. Lemongrass, 3 drops per teaspoon for a problem you trying to treat, rubbed on 2 times a day. It depends on the problem and the oil. Usually one drop of oil per teaspoon carrier is enough. I melt my coconut oil in a jar sitting in a bowl of very warm water, then put the drops in and stir.

    • I suggest you go to Dr. Eric Zielinski’s website or to Dr. Josh Axe’s website. They have a lot of info. on the subject.

      • I agree both of these men are proven experts in the field of essential oils. Dr. Axe has an amazing book called Essential Oils Ancient Medicine that is extremely helpful and so worth getting.

    • You can use more then 1 oil at a time. But to check if you are not allergic to them. It is better to test it on the inner side of your arm with one drop and wait 24 hours. If no reaction then you can assume you are safe. Also if you get by accident essential oil in your eyes, always rinse with a vegetable oil instead of water. Water will just risk making it worse.

  2. As a person suffering from the after effects of traditional Cancer Treatment x two,for Breast then 18 months later Throat, I would say the info that you are disseminating is great. I wish that I had not been scared into Chemo & Radiation.
    I now follow a good semi vegetarian diet, meditate, have eliminated most toxins from my immediate environment, partly by moving to half an acre of nature still close enough to Perth,( Australia)to get to Hospitals, Physio and so on. But still so many weird symptoms after ten years, atypical Psoriasis started with 5 yrs. of Temoxifen(oestrogen blocker) disfiguring and maddeningly itchy, the Lymphoedema getting worse particularly in Breast reconstruction area, all nails (fingers and toes) corrugated, sack of fluid hanging off vocal chord. Luckily I got smart and started to refuse further surgery, managed to get Dr’s to do regular, non invasive(fibre optics) checks instead.
    Thanks for the info, keep up the good work, help people to stop being tortured and killed by the disjointed medical system and money hungry Pharmaceutical
    Companies, it is a lot worse I hear in the USA, at least here you get Cancer Treatment even if you do not have money. The healthy way is expensive but worth it for HEALTH.
    With Love and Light Phoebe

      • Hi, it’s important to know anad pass on that there are many cures for cancer – refer the caner tutor. The cheapest, fastest acting (takes 2 weeks) is the sodium bicarbonate protocol – refer pH KILLS CANCER web site. Cancer cells dead in a fortnight must be very heartening for cancer sufferers. Must be followed by detoxing and healing the body nutritionally – 7 parts to the cure.

    • Hi, actually it’s not true that cancer treatment in Australia is free. The Govt pays for it and now and again refuses to pay for cancer-type specific treatment not on the NHS. I know because I’ve signed a number of petitions begging the Govt to reconsider and the patients have died waiting, sadly.

  3. The sources cited are only other articles about the topic. I would expect to see the sourczes cited to be those of formal scientific and studies. I also appreciate epirical studies, as case studies show results various individuals experience.

  4. how to consume these oils?
    daily or once a week?
    is it recommended that you use all the oils or chose from the eight?

    I have been really stressed for the past two to three months with relationship complications. I had shingles and started feeling really exhausted recently and started losing a few lbs I use to weigh 140lbs then I went to 132lbs but I now maintain a weight of 127.7 – 131.9 lbs depending on the time I weigh.

    I follow your emails regularly and I was wondering what advice would you give because I believe I don’t have acute but chronic stress that doesn’t seem to fade away. I also started getting back pain and other body pain.

    please give me some feed back.

    thanks in advance for your assistance.

    • Hi Renese,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Please consult with a qualified professional to figure out what the best way to take these oils would be for you personally. In the article it does have a few suggestions that you can apply with your use of our oils.

  5. Yeah but how do you use them properly?
    I need very specific recipes in; therapeutic, no-toxic applications.
    I’ve wasted enough money buying essential oils and not knowing how to use them.

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thanks for your comment. Please refer to the suggestions in this article. Another thing you can do is consult with a qualified professional about the best ways to use the oils for you personally. Best wishes!

    • Essential Oils Pocket Reference
      by Life Science Publishing is the most wonderful source for all things essential oils. Highly recommended!

    • I purchased the 500 page ebook entitled, Essential Oils, Ancient Medicine coauthored by Dr. Josh Axe, Jordan Rubin and Ty Bollinger
      It has really helped me use the oils efficiently and safely.

    • Hi Daniel Halley, it depends on what you problems are but you can put oils on your bottom’s off your feet twice a day you just put 1 drop of oil on each foot rub it in then go on to the next & just keep going like that until you have used them all it only takes a few seconds to get into your skin & 2 minutes into the blood stream we tell any new people to use Frankincense,Peppermint, & On Guard at leased morning & night & then start using all the other oil that you have BUT DON’T use Oregano straight it is an hot oil & need to be dilute with Fractionated Coconut oil 1 drop Oregano to 5 drops FCO I hope this has helped you out

    • Hi Jo Souza,
      Thanks for your comment. In the article there are some suggestions on how to use the essential oils. This is also something that you can consult a qualified professional about. They would be able to help you with your specific needs.

    • Hi Jo,
      essential oils have a multitude of healing benefits, and along with that they also can be harmful if not used with caution. If your concerned about using them “properly” you should contact a registered essential oil therapist in your area. You may contact NAHA for a listing of practitioners in your area. M

  6. Thanks for the info. Amid all the new marketing of essential oils, the companies that WILL be survivors, will be the ones that are serve their clients well. Please share the specifics of your quality, compared to the competition. There are many choices. I want the oils that are true to what they should be. Not taking advantage of the $$ that is on the table now because of the newness. I have used your turmeric, frankensence and myrrh blend and it is good.
    Thanks

  7. We don’t need sources if these are in the Bible. That should be your only source that is 100% reliable. Let the fruit be your food and the leaves your medicine…….

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your comment. We currently do not have information about pet health that we can refer you to at this time. Please contact a qualified professional or vet to receive help with this question.

    • Hi Beth,
      We do not have a set that sells exactly these oils. If you purchase the 12-pack of our essentials oils you will have all the oils that are mentioned in this article.

  8. are all these safe to use for someone who has breast cancer or could ones like Lavender which have been noted to be more phytoestrogenic be bad for estrogen fed cancer??

    • Hi Lana,
      Thanks for your comment.
      This is something that you should talk with a qualified professional about, as they will be able to give you more personal/professional advice.

  9. I so appreciate all that you have shared concerning essential oils. I am new to them and eager to learn. It was excessive medications that almost took my life. I have found new friends who have the answer. Thank you so much.

  10. Is there a chart that shows how to mix these? All together? Each one separate or a few together? With or without carrier oils? How many drops of each one? I need more information! 🙂

    • Hi Mildred,
      Thanks for your comment! We currently do not have this sort of chart. I will suggest it as something that we can provide in the future.

  11. Essential oils are fantastic for anxiety. I am off anxiety medications and diffuse lavender daily in my home. Even my 2 dogs have benefited from the lavender being diffused so much so that my son asked me why the dogs were so calm. (maltese breed). I also put a dab behind each ear & the back of my neck. It works for me. There are books on how to use EO’s. Modern Essentials is one good book & Dr Josh Axe has just announced his new release of a book on essential oils written with Jordan Rubin & Ty Bollinger. . Check his website. Draxe.com. Hope this helps.

  12. I agree with a lot of the comments made on how to use EO’s – topically, diffused, ingested (which I’m told is not a good idea overall) or how? Just saying these are good essential oils to use isn’t helpful without being specific in how to use them. A chart would be very helpful especially for how many drops and in what combo to use and what application to use. Thanks for your help as I continue to learn. P.S. – saying “Ask your doctor” is pretty useless. Even though I go to one of the few Integrated medicine doctors in the area, she don’t know much about this.

  13. I love these articles! Keep them coming. Could you include recipes to make your own at home? Like how many drops of each to blend and with how much of a carrier oil. I have roller balls and would love to mix up a little batch but it’s hard to find a trustworthy source for recipes. Thanks!

    • Dawn, there are books on Aromatherapy as you see just above your comment, for instance by Dr. Josh Axe.There are older books as well that give you the ratios, and recipes. You can likely find one in your local library to get you started, while waiting for the Dr. Axe’s book to arrive.

  14. Hello,

    I was so excited after reading all your informative articles on essential oils that I ended up buying the oils. My question is where do I find a qualified professional to guide me in using the essential oils? I appreciate the articles that you are posting on the internet but there is no follow up in guidance once we purchase the oils. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • yax there are so many books out there on essential oils and one or two have been recommended on this site. Just google.

  15. Disappointed to see a typo in bold in the first paragraph. ” … women being 60% per likely”. Is that meant to read, “women being 60% more likely”?

  16. What oil ( oils ) do you recommend for ongoing body pain, & recently, tooth pain for a bad cavity? What is your opinion on root canals?

  17. I would love to know how to order these oils individually, rather than part of a grouping. Where can I get information on how to do so? I was hoping the answer to my question would be included in this email.

  18. It might help if a practice by J. Valnet – France, called ‘aromatagram’ was renewed … he was one of the main protagonists after WWII for essential oil use.

  19. Is there an essential oil that can be used internally for some one who has inoperative tumors behind both eyes . Might go blind in the future.. one of Your seminar doctors did mention something in the past about healing essential oils but can’t remember which one.

    • Frankincense.One drop on tongue ,moved up to mouth ceiling until completely gone. 2 to 3 times a day for as long as it takes and check back w your doctor to see if improvement.It was in the truth about cancer for cancer survivors who were told to get their affairs in order because their rare brain tumor was untreatable.They research essential oils and tried using Frankincense the best way they could, creating their protocol based on their research of the use of this oil.

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