Top 7 Essential Oils For Relieving Anxiety


set of mental illness affecting your normal life or daily functioning is anxiety. People suffering from anxiety constantly keep worrying or are afraid of the unknown and resultantly are not able to carry out their daily chores properly. Anxiety disorder includes social phobia or social anxiety disorder wherein you unnecessarily feel awkward in daily social situations; panic disorder characterized by palpitations, chest pain etc.; generalized anxiety disorder wherein you tend to worry excessively without any specific reason; and specific phobias which is related to any particular situation or object. A combination of factors result in anxiety which include genetic predisposition, alterations in brain and stress.

Symptoms Of Anxiety

The common symptoms include:

  • Problems in getting proper sleep
  • Inability to be stay calm
  • Fear, panic
  • Uneasiness or restlessness
  • Numbness, sweating or tingling sensation in hands or feet
  • Breathlessness and palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Muscular tension
  • Dizziness
  • Dryness of mouth

Conventional Treatment For Anxiety

The conventional remedy involves the following:

1. Medicinal Drugs

Anxiolytics like clonazepam and alprazolam are used to lower anxiety especially for generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia as well for panic attacks. Few anticonvulsant drugs and antipsychotic medicines in low doses are also used. Anxiety disorders are also handled by prescribing antidepressants.

2. Counseling Or Psychotherapy

Under this, a specialist of mental health counsel you to understand your emotional response to anxiety and ways to deal with it. A particular type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is used to train you to identify and change your thought process and personal conduct that induces anxiety. [1]

Top 7 Essential Oils That Can Be Used For Anxiety Include 

A blend of essential oils is said to be a natural and effective method in lowering anxiety. Extracted from plant roots, barks, leaves or flowers they can bring about substantial relief. A study revealed that when a blend of three essential oils was diluted with little bit of sweet almond oil and massaged on the hands of hospice patients with terminal cancer once daily for a week, there was reduction in depression and pain. Equal quantities of lavender, bergamot and frankincense were used. Some of the best anxiety relieving essential oils are: [2]

1. Rose Essential Oil

A study done on nulliparous women reported that rose oil footbath and aromatherapy for ten minutes helped them reduce anxiety. Rose oil is said to be helpful in relieving panic attack, depression and anxiety and its usage for this purpose is quite popular.

2. Lavender Essential Oil

It works against anxiety by inducing a pacifying and soothing effect, relaxes the nerves, promotes sleep and inner peace as well as reduces irritability, panic attacks, restlessness etc. Many clinical trials have shown that lavender essential oil can bring down anxiety and stress. It has been found to be reducing anxious feelings in coronary artery bypass surgery patients as well as in dental patients. Lavender oil capsules when administered orally to people watching a film provoking anxiousness, was able to induce anxiolytic effects. As compared to the placebo group, the lavender oil group’s heart rate variation enhanced substantially.

3. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

It helps in reducing anxiety by uplifting and calming you. It helps you control your feelings of fear and make you feel cheerful and optimistic. As it has sedative properties, Ylang Ylang oil helps to deal with anxiety related sleeplessness. It also works on palpitation, an anxiety disorder person may experience. A study done on essential hypertension patients had shown that when a combination of Ylang Ylang oil, Lavender and Bergamot was used for aromatherapy it reduced their blood pressure, levels of serum cortisol and mental stress responses. Aromatherapy was done once daily for 4 weeks. But, you have to be careful while using it as it can irritate your skin and do not use it if you suffer from hypotension.

4. Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile capsule was found to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety in a study published by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Another study conducted at University of Pennsylvania depicted that it possesses antidepressant properties along with being an anxiolytic agent. Its calming fragrance may help reduce excessive thinking, irritability, worrying and anxiousness. People who are allergic to ragweed have to be cautious with chamomile as it may cause allergy in them.

5. Vetiver Essential Oil

This oil serves as a tonic for our nervous system, reduces oversensitivity, jittery feeling and works to lower panic attacks. It has a tranquilizing effect and is useful for enhancing calmness, awareness of oneself and stabilizing. It was found to lower effects of anxiety in rats.

6. Frankincense Essential Oil

It is beneficial against anxiety and depression as it has tranquilizing and calming potentials. Used in aromatherapy, it soothes the mind and help you in meditating better.

7. Bergamot Essential Oil

As this essential oil has calming effects it used for people suffering from depression. It also helps induce sleep thereby reduces agitated behavior associated with anxiety and lets you relax. In rat studies, it was found to bring down corticosterone response to stressful situation. Though the essential oil is considered to be safe but it may make your skin photosensitive i.e. enhance your chances of getting a rash or sunburn. Post exposure to the sun, you should wait for at least 12 hours before you use it.

How To Use Essential Oils For Anxiety

Following ways can be used to put the above essential oils to use against anxiety:

1. Topical Application

Prior to topical application, you need to blend essential oils with a carrier oil like avocado, olive, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond etc. This can be then massaged directly on the sides of your ears, bottom of your feet, hands, etc. or can be added to your bath.

2. Aromatherapy

This is a commonly used method to tackle anxiety as inhalation of essential oils tends to activate positive emotional reaction. Our olfactory sense has an impact on the limbic region of the brain wherein processing of emotions takes place. So, as the fragrance of an essential oil moves through the nasal cavity, activation of mental responses take place and resultantly regulation of calming and stress responses take place. It positively affects blood pressure, patterns of breathing, rate of heart beat and hormone production. Direct inhalation, aromatherapy diffuser, humidifier, perfume etc. can be used to serve the purpose.

3. Oral Administration

For oral consumption, take a glass of water, your favorite beverage or a teaspoon of honey and just put a drop of the essential oil and consume it. One or two drop can also be placed under the tongue for consumption as blood capillaries are present nearby. This will help the essential oil to get into the bloodstream more quickly. Capsules can also be used.

DIY Essential Oil Recipes For Anxiety

The following are the do it yourself essential oil recipes for mitigating anxiety:

1. Anti-anxiety Blend Of Essential Oils

Ingredients Required
five drops each of cedarwood, lavender and frankincense essential oil
three drops each of ylang ylang and bergamot essential oil
two drops of vetiver
two tbsp of fractionated coconut oil

Combine all the essential oils in a bottle and then fill it with the coconut oil. Give it a gentle shake and it is ready for use. [3]

2. Myrrh And Frankincense Essential Oil Lotion For Anxiety Relief

Ingredients Required
A quarter cup each of coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, shea butter
twenty drops each of frankincense and myrrh essential oil
two tablespoons of vitamin E
a bottle that can dispense the lotion

Take a glass bowl, add beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil and put it over saucepan having water. On medium heat keep mixing the ingredients. Solidify these by keeping the content in a refrigerator. Now beat it with a mixer to make it frothy. Now add vitamin E and all the essential oils. Transfer the content into the dispensing bottle. It needs to be stored in a cool place. [4]

3. Essential Oil Cologne For Anxiety Mitigation

Ingredients Required
You need 2 drops of sandalwood essential oil
five drops of cedarwood essential oil
three drops of bergamot essential oil
300 ml of vodka
glass spray bottle or roll on tube

Just mix the ingredients and store in the spray bottle. [5]

4. Lavender Essential Oil-based Soap Bar

Ingredients Required
A soap base
3 drops of vitamin E
approximately 30 drops of lavender oil
a soap mold

Take a glass bowl and place the soap base in it. Keep it over a saucepan with water and melt it. Once it starts cooling, add vitamin E and lavender essential oil and combine them well. Pour it in the soap mold and let it cool. Take it out and use it. [6]

Natural Methods To Reduce Anxiety

Other natural methods you should follow to keep anxiety at bay: [7]

1. Dietary Intervention

Avoiding processed foods and a diet high in sugar; keeping yourself well-hydrated; and consuming a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates and lean protein is beneficial for keeping the causes of anxiety under control. Dehydration, low levels of sugar in the blood and preservatives, artificial flavorings etc. in food may alter mood and temperament. So, keep a watch if certain eating habit induces anxiety in you.

2. Deep Breathing

Anxiety often results in fast breathing and this can result in feeling dizzy, lightheaded, getting a panic attack or even your heart rate may increase. Practicing deep breathing can help ease anxiety by normalizing your pattern of breathing.

3. Meditation

Meditating daily for even half an hour is said to be effective to a certain extent in easing anxiety and stress. It makes you mind calm and relieves stress.

4. Exercise Regularly

For physiological and emotional well-being, regular exercising is must. Daily workout may ease you off anxiety for several hours.

5. Abstain From Alcohol And Smoking

If you depend on alcohol to relieve anxiety, you may fail to address the main cause and become dependent on it. This can become detrimental for your health, so it is better to abstain from it. Smoking may aggravate anxiety as chemicals and nicotine present in cigarette may negatively affect brain pathways that are related to anxiety.

6. Stay Away From Caffeine

People who suffer from persistent anxiety must abstain from caffeine as it may make them jittery and nervous. Studies have shown that caffeine is a possible causative and deteriorating anxiety disorders. People who are already suffering from panic disorder may get panic attack due to caffeine consumption.

7. Get Proper Sleep

Proper sleep is must as anxiety causes insomnia. For that, you must fix a particular sleeping time at night and stick to it. Sleep when tired and stay away from phone, television, etc. at bedtime. Large meals, nicotine and caffeine should also be avoided before bedtime. Keep the lights of your room off and jot down your worries before going to sleep.

8. Take Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has the potential to induce sleep and helps in soothing of nerves. A study depicted that chamomile may be beneficial in generalized anxiety disorder. As compared to placebo, chamomile capsules were more successful in reducing test scores related to anxiety symptoms.

9. Anti Anxiety Supplements That You Can Use

Kava root is a mood enhancer and anxiety reducer. It is non hypnotic and not addictive as well. Ashwagandha also serves as a natural anxiety relieving agent. It can help normalize reaction of our body to stress and works against free radicals that cause brain degeneration. It reduces fatigue, enhances your focus and works as an anxiolytic without any side effects that the conventional medicines may have. Magnesium is also beneficial for those suffering from anxiety as it soothes the nervous system and works as a muscle relaxant. But, you should start with smaller doses and increase as per your tolerance level. B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B6 is a mood booster and anxiety reliever.

Vitamin B12 is also good against persistent stress, low energy levels, mood and depression issues. GABA supplements or valerian root, a rich source of GABA is good for those suffering from anxiety. It helps in nerve cell regulation, induces sedation and soothes anxious mind. 5-HTP (5 hydroxytryptophan) supplements can help ease variety of symptoms related to anxiety like sleeplessness, headache and mood swings. It works by giving a boost to our serotonin levels that in turn induces a calming effect. However, it should not be consumed with any antidepressant or anxiolytic prescribed to you. [8]