Essential oils have many health benefits, but anxiety management is where they really shine.
Like a bullet straight to the heart of your biochemistry, their phytochemicals can swiftly enter the bloodstream and relieve anxiety fast.
Here are the four best essential oils for anxiety:
What makes these essential oils so effective at calming the nervous system?
Keep reading to find out.
Essential oils are extracted from the roots, stems, flowers, leaves, and bark of certain plants.
Their therapeutic compounds can promote relaxation, improve mood, reduce anxiety, and ameliorate depression.
Most compounds have to be digested or injected in order to enter the bloodstream.
However, the phytochemicals in essential oils, like linalool and linalyl acetate, are small enough to pass through the skin and nasal cavities.
From there, they can readily travel across the blood-brain barrier to potentially relieve anxiety.
People with anxiety often have concurrent digestive issues that inhibit nutrient absorption, making essential oils an especially valuable treatment.
Essential oils can be ingested, applied topically, or inhaled.
Aromatherapy massage, however, can provide particularly fast-acting relief.
A 2008 study found that aromatherapy hand massages with a blend of bergamot, lavender, and frankincense can effectively reduce anxiety, pain, and depression in hospice patients better than regular massage alone. The essential oil blend contained a 1.5 percent dilution of essential oils, using sweet almond oil as a carrier oil.
However, oral lavender oil can be effective as well.
A 2009 study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology found that oral lavender oil capsules can reduce anxiety in participants watching stressful film clips.
Essential oils can reduce stress hormone production and boost calming neurotransmitters.
Here’s a closer look at the four best essential oils for anxiety:
Lavender is the queen of anti-anxiety oils, and there’s a mountain of evidence to prove it.
Over the years, lavender essential oil has been studied as a treatment for wounds, burns, and seizures, but recent research suggests that it may also have potent anti-anxiety, mood stabilizing, and sedative effects.
It can also be consumed as a lavender tea.
Here’s what the research as to say about lavender essential oil for anxiety:
Although the FDA does not officially recognize lavender oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) does.
Recent research shows that lavender oil may also reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and slow heart rate.
Bergamot is another widely-researched essential oil that may reduce anxiety, pain, stress, and inflammation.
According to a 2011 rodent study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, “Both BEO [bergamot essential oil] and diazepam [prescription medication] exhibited anxiolytic-like behaviours and attenuated HPA axis activity by reducing the corticosterone response to stress.
In other words, bergamot treated stress and anxiety by calming the stress response.
Human studies are also promising.
A 2017 pilot study found that bergamot oil aromatherapy can enhance positive feelings in the waiting room of a mental health treatment center.
Studies show that rose essential oil may balance hormones, reduce stress, and treat anxiety.
Here’s what the research has to say about the health benefits of rose essential oil:
Rose essential oil also contains eugenol: one of the strongest antioxidants in the world.
Chamomile tea is widely used as a natural sleep aid, and that’s because the plant contains several therapeutic phytochemicals, including the soothing compound chamazulene.
Both chamomile aromatherapy and oral chamomile appear to be equally effective.
In one 2009 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested the effects of oral chamomile capsules on 57 patients with mild generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Compared to the placebo, participants experienced a statistically significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.
According to the study’s authors, “These results suggest that chamomile may have modest benefits for some people with mild to moderate GAD.”
At the same time, a 2013 aromatherapy study found a significant difference in the anxiety scores between the chamomile group and the control group.
To top it all off, chamomile contains several terpenes and flavonoids that may treat gastrointestinal inflammation and reduce pain.
Other anti-anxiety oils to check out include, sage, frankincense, geranium, and orange oil.
It’s also a good notion to never ingest essential oils without first making sure they’re food-grade. Many oils are manufactured with synthetic perfumes that can upset and irritate the stomach.
If you have a history of serious medical conditions or are currently taking prescription drugs, make sure to consult a specialist before adding essential oils to your regular health practice.
All in all, many people have found aromatherapy and other essential oil applications to be very beneficial in the reduction of anxiety—and you might too.