Best Essential Oil Recipes for Anxiety
As mentioned above, essential oils have all of the healing properties that we associate with the plants that they come from – and some that we don’t.
Depending on what plant the oil is drafted from, what part of what plant, and what method of extraction, essential oils can be antiviral, antimicrobial, rich in antioxidants, and\or soothing and relaxing properties for the mind and body.
While there are lots of resources our the for all of the healing properties of essential oils, this article is going to stick to the ability of some essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety.
Essential oils are primarily used to reduce stress and anxiety through aromatherapy, massage, or a combination of both. Until recently, it was thought that aromatherapy only helped people to relax because the smells are enjoyable. As we've learned more about the way that our sense of smell is related to our emotions, however, some researchers have started to consider aromatherapy in a somewhat more sophisticated sense.
In 2013, researchers in China suggested that aromatherapy helps to combat stress by activating serotonin pathways in the brain. Serotonin carries out many important functions in the body, including changing the diameter of blood vessels and regulating digestion. According to WebMD, many scientists also believe that low serotonin levels can contribute to depression.
It is also worth mentioning that some researchers think that positive results from essential oils used in massages may be from the massage rather than from the essential oils, but essential oils proponents aren't convinced. Furthermore, a 2009 study published in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing found that while treatment of participants with lavender and ginger essential oils didn't significantly decrease stress levels, participants said that they regarded the treatment as favorable. The take away is that whether you think essential oils, massage, or just good smells and the placebo effect are making people feel better, essential oils tend to make people feel better.
Listed below are brief entries about recent studies conducted on essential oils that can be easily bought from health and wellness stores, or sometimes even big-box stores. Most of the entries will also give you some information on how best to use the essential oils – whether through aromatherapy, message and others.
The entries do not include dosage information, as this can vary based on how and where you want to use the essential oils. For doping information, look for instructions on the packaging, consult an expert, or do further research.
Orange Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
A 2018 study conducted in Brazil found that mice who were exposed to orange essential oils as a mist in the atmosphere showed more social tendencies than a control group. This study suggests that orange essential oils, especially in mist form, may decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Essential oils from orange diffused through a mister showed to calm study participants better than a control group according to a 2012 study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. While the authors of the study point out that they recommend further research, this study – unlike the previous study – was conducted on humans.
Lavender Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
According to a 2008 meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Critical Care, studies involving lavender essential oils used in massage have often yielded positive results in terms of anxiety management, but only when used for massage – studies involving lavender aromatherapy showed no changes in anxiety symptoms.
As mentioned above, some people are skeptical of the role that essential oils play in the benefit of massage – after all, maybe the massage is doing all of the work.
Fortunately, lavender is one of the most studied essential oils out there, and they don't always use massage. A 2009 study conducted in the United Kingdom found that taking lavender essential oils in a pill helped to sooth participants who were watching anxiety-inducing footage. This study also had a control group who took a placebo and did not experience the same anxiety reduction. If it wasn't a massage and it wasn't a placebo, it must've been the lavender.
Rose Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
A 2012 study conducted in Iran on over 100 women suffering from anxiety due to pregnancy found that aromatherapy and the use of rose essential oils for foot baths significantly decreased anxiety symptoms. That is compared to a control group who did not receive aromatherapy, and who got footbaths with water not treated with essential oils.
Lemongrass Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
Interestingly, a 2011 article published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that lemongrass essential oils decreased symptoms of stress and anxiety in mice and also monitored levels of neurotransmitters in their blood. Neurotransmitters aren't exactly the same as hormones, but they carry out similar functions.
This is interesting because they found that the blood levels of neurotransmitters in their blood didn't change. While this raises interesting questions about exactly how lemongrass helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, it may also suggest that lemongrass essential oils can be used in addition to other essential oils for compound benefit.
While this article looked at the effects of lemongrass essential oil vapor, a study conducted two years earlier and published in the journal Phytomedicine studied a tea made with lemongrass essential oils had a calming effect and also increased sleep time. Unfortunately, this study was also conducted on mice.
Lemon essential oil is described below, though lemon and lemongrass essential oils are not the same thing. Be aware that while most people enjoy the smell of lemon, not everyone enjoys the scent of lemongrass.
Lemon Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
Not to be confused with lemongrass, lemon essential oils have their own healing properties.
According to a 2011 study conducted in Brazil, essential oils from the leaves of the lemon plant have the rare quality of decreasing symptoms of both anxiety and depression. This study, conducted on mice, involved oral application of the essential oils.
While some people do take a drop of lemon essential oil in a glass of water, many people are skeptical of this practice. Fortunately, lemon essential oils can also be used in aromatherapy. There are also special topical products made from lemon essential oils, and lemon essential oils are used in many cleaning products.
Yarrow Essential Oil for Anxiety Relief
There are a number of yarrow plants used for essential oils, though all of them have the same key chemical, fragranol. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, this chemical reduces symptoms of anxiety.
Interestingly enough, the study also points out that rather than positively influencing our brain chemistry like other anxiety fighting essential oils, the calming effects of yarrow may be more similar to intoxication. While the authors of the study may have a negative view of yarrow essential oils, they are still widely available.