There are a number of essential oils that are currently in use as aromatherapy agents to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, and often improve sleep too. Here is some feedback from individuals who use essential oils and share some of their favorites and some ways that they use them.
Tana really likes myrtle and a combination product called Peace and Calming:
My favorite for anxiety is Young Living Myrtle. I originally bought it to use for thyroid support and found it really helped when I felt anxious. Now I wouldn’t be without it. Another favorite of mine is Peace and Calming [which contains tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli, vetiver, bergamot and some others]
Drew likes to use a blend of oils:
I diffuse a blend of oils including lavender around bed time in my LUMIE Bodyclock Iris 500 which helps create a wonderful calming sleep haven. Low level warm lighting switched on too.
Joy uses her essential oils in candles, incense, or in a homemade spray and shares that she:
loves lavender oil and sandalwood oil for relieving anxiety. I either have them in candles, incense, or in a homemade spray.
Laura has great way of using her essential oils when she is out and about. She shares:
I love lavender, frankincense and geranium (rose geranium when I can find it). I use them in our home and I like to put a couple drops on cotton balls to carry in a sandwich bag. There are times when I like to take them with me.
Evan’s son uses essential oils for anxiety and insomnia:
My son uses Peace & calming with lavender in the diffuser and/or Valor (sometimes vetiver) on his wrists for anxiety and sleepless nights.
There is, of course, research supporting how many of these essential oils help to reduce anxiety. This paper looks at myrtle and the GABA connection: Anxiolytic-like effects and mechanism of (-)-myrtenol and states that:
results suggest that MYR [myrtle] presents anxiolytic-like activity and that effect can be mediated by GABAergic transmission
Here are a few of the many papers supporting aromatherapy for anxiety and stress:
- Bergamot: Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application
- Lavender, ylangylang, and bergamot: The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension
- Lavender, rose, orange, bergamot, lemon, sandalwood, clary sage, Roman chamomile, and rose-scented geranium: Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy
Here is systematic review published October 2015: A Systematic Review of the Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Essential Oils in Animal Models
The essential oil with the best profile is Lavendula angustifolia, which has already been tested in controlled clinical trials with positive results. Citrus aurantium using different routes of administration also showed significant effects in several animal models, and was corroborated by different research groups. Other promising essential oils are Citrus sinensis and bergamot oil, which showed certain clinical anxiolytic actions; along with Achillea wilhemsii, Alpinia zerumbet, Citrus aurantium, and Spiranthera odoratissima, which, like Lavendula angustifolia, appear to exert anxiolytic-like effects without GABA/benzodiazepine activity, thus differing in their mechanisms of action from the benzodiazepines.
Have you used any essential oils for anxiety? I’d love to hear which are your favorites and how you’ve used them? Do you/did you use only essential oils or other approaches to help your anxiety too? Do you continue to use them? Do you recommend them to clients or patients?
I love lavender (it’s in my facewash) and neroli (I use this as a spray instead of using perfume). I also travel with lavender essential oil in case sleep is an issue in noisy hotels.