Essential oils for anxiety
Some essentials oils are thought to help with anxiety. Today, I would like to discuss essential oils for anxiety. It is important to note that essential oils cannot cure your anxiety. Their use along with relaxation techniques can be part of an overall wellness boost.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. Approximately 6.8 million adults suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and women are twice as likely to be affected as men. It often starts during adolescence and symptoms tend to magnify during stressful periods in life making it important to look for signs of anxiety in women. Source
We know that anxiety can be life altering. I have know couple that plan a European trip months in advance only to find out that one of the people cannot board the plane secondary to anxiety. Yikes!! Remember when anxiety is worsening and you do not have control you need to seek medical attention.
Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils to improve your well-being. It is thought that stimulating small receptors in your nose can have an effect on your nervous system. Let’s review some literature
Remember, we all have different tastes or in this case scents. What I consider a nice scent may be different than what you consider a nice scent. It would be difficult to relax if you are infusing an aroma that is not desirable to you.
Smell plays a major role in many aspects of life. Think about it. Have you ever taken a breath and the recollection of otherwise forgotten memories overwhelms you? You know what I am talking about. We associate scents with things in our life. We walk into a restaurant and are overtaken by the scent before we even sit down, we know this is going to be a good meal.
Essential oils company have been used for mental health, spiritual health, emotional wellness, stress relief and a wide range of other areas. Ensure you are using a company that has a proven track record. There are essential oils on the market that have additives in them such as petrochemicals, I would not want these diffusing in my home.
Musts for anxiety
You need to get sleep. Sleep deprivation will make your anxiety worse.
Exercise can help calm your nerves. Although exercise may not be at the top of your list, it is important.
Deep breathing and meditation has been shown to help with anxiety.
The most common oil here in The United States is Lavender.
Essential oils for anxiety -Lavender
Lavender is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. Lavender aromatherapy is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions. It is thought that the nose smells the essential oils then the limbic system is activated.
How to use lavender essential oil
Consider taking a bath infused with lavender. Mix a carrier oil and a few drops of essential oil to scent the bathtub.
If you are taking a shower you can add lavender to your unscented shower gel or body wash.
You can add a few drops to your shampoo
You can place lavender in a carrier oil and store it in your purse. Amazon has these great roll on bottles.
You might want to diffuse lavender.
You can place a few drops lavender on your pillow at night
It can also be applied directly to the skin.
Studies supporting the use of lavender essential oil for anxiety
The 2 primary terpenoid constituents of lavender essential oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, may produce an anxiolytic effect in combination via inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels, reduction of 5HT1A receptor activity, and increased parasympathetic tone.” Source Well that is a complex!
Another study published in journal Phytomedicine found that lavender oil (oral form) may be just as effective as the pharmaceutical drug lorazepam (Ativan). You can read about that here. The good thing is that lavender oil showed no sedative effects in their study and has no potential for drug abuse.
Essential oils for anxiety -Basil
Sweet basil essential oil comes from the same herb that you cook with. One animal study found that mice had less anxiety. It is important to note that animal studies to not always equate to human studies.
In aromatherapy, it’s thought to help calm the mind and relieve stress. Source
Essential oils for anxiety -Bergamot
Bergamot oil comes from bergamot oranges and has an invigorating citrus scent.
“Clinical studies on the therapeutic applications of BEO exclusively focus on the field of aromatherapy, suggesting that its use can be useful for reducing anxiety and stress.” Source
It is important to note that bergamot and other citrus oils can increase sensitivity to the sun.
Essential oils for anxiety -Sacred Frankincense
Frankincense oil is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It has a musky aroma that may help ease anxiety. One study showed that aromatherapy hand massage using a blend of frankincense, lavender, and bergamot improved anxiety, depression, and pain in people with terminal cancer.
Sacred Frankincense is an essential oil that is often used in prayer, meditation and yoga. If you find that meditation reduces your anxiety you might want to consider diffusing Sacred Frankincense.
Base Ingredients of the Young living oils for anxiety
There a a number of blends to choose from. Look for bases that contain,
- Ylang Ylang;
Young Living has designed essential oil blends that may help with anxiety
Valor is a blend of frankincense, blue tansy and black spruce.
Release is another of the Young Living oil blend for anxiety. Release contains ingredients such as jasmine, sandalwood, spearmint, rose and blue tansy. The blend helps promote calmness. Release can be diffused for up to one hour, three times throughout the day. It can also be applied directly to the skin (2-4 drops) without having to be diluted.
Young Living has over 300 oils, look for blends that are made with the oils listed above.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. You should consider using only therapeutic-grade oils that don’t contain synthetic fragrance from a trusted company.
Malcolm BJ, Tallian K. Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time?. Ment Health Clin. 2018;7(4):147-155. Published 2018 Mar 26. doi:10.9740/mhc.2017.07.147
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Rabbani M, Sajjadi SE, Vaezi A. Evaluation of anxiolytic and sedative effect of essential oil and hydroalcoholic extract of Ocimum basilicum L. and chemical composition of its essential oil. Res Pharm Sci. 2015;10(6):535-43.
Chang SY. Effects of Aroma Hand Massage on Pain, State Anxiety and Depression in Hospice Patients with Terminal Cancer. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2008 Aug;38(4):493-502.