Essential oils have acquired a good reputation for helping to induce sleep naturally and without side-effects. Nevertheless, these seem to be used indiscriminately to soothe anxiety. It is true that to induce sleep they must have relaxing properties, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the best essential oils for anxiety.
The 5 best essential oils for anxiety
Anxiety can hit you anywhere and anytime, thus the best essential oils for anxiety are those that promote relaxation without inducing sleep. You want them to soothe your body, not to condition your life and work and eventually turn that into a source of stress too.
According to a 2017 study, lavender is by far one of the best essential oils for anxiety.
Inhaling its aroma produces the same effect as an anxiolytic agent, inducing relaxation and treating the symptoms of anxiety without causing addiction or withdrawal side-effects.
This is an effect is generally attributed to its content in linalool, as explained in a 2015 systematic review, which works as a mild sedative without triggering drowsiness.
Jasmine provides for one of the most preferred scents in aromatherapy. People claim that the romantic aroma leaves them feeling more at peace, and they aren’t wrong.
In fact, according to a 2013 study, inhaling the aroma of this essential oil produces changes in the brain wave activities and affect the general mood.
In the data analyzed, subjects reported feeling an increase in positive emotions “including the feeling of well-being, active, fresh and romantic”. On the other hand, the feeling of drowsiness was reduced and the subjects felt calmer.
Already in 2010, a different research evaluating the effects of a massage with jasmine oil had concluded that it stimulates and lifts up the mood which can be beneficial to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Bergamot is mostly used as a scent extract in the making of complex and fruity fragrances, but its potential to be one of the best essential oils for anxiety cannot be dismissed.
This oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to help with such ailments as anxiety and depression.
In a 2011 experiment in an elementary school, students who exhibit mild to severe symptoms of anxiety quickly felt their symptoms reduced after inhaling this essential oil. Likewise, a test made in 2013 to the levels of anxiety of patients awaiting surgery, concluded that those who had inhaled this scent were significantly less anxious regardless of previous surgical experience.
Geranium has such a lovely scent that it is frequently added to cosmetics, perfumes or detergents to make them more attractive. However, this flower also hides a great potential to help to relax the body and soothe anxiety.
In a 2017 blind, randomized clinical trial, the aroma of this essential oil reduced anxiety among patients with acute myocardial infarction, with the researchers recommending it as an easy-to-use method without side-effects.
This effect had already been detected in a 2015 randomized clinical trial, where the inhalation of this essential oil reduced the symptoms of anxiety in women in the first stage of labor. In fact, its aroma proved more efficient than the topical application of the oil as there were no risks of irritations or other side-effects.
Bitter orange (Citrus Aurantium)
As with geranium, a 2014 study also tested the efficiency of bitter orange essential oil in helping to reduce anxiety in women during the first stage of labor. And like with the first, bitter orange has also proved to be an effective method to reduce anxiety, with the researchers recommending it due to its simple use and because it’s inexpensive and noninvasive.
In 2017, researchers have also tested if the inhalation of this essential oil could aid in reducing the anxiety feeling in crack users going through withdrawal, a common and strong symptom in these cases. As previously, the scientists also confirmed that bitter orange essential oil reduced their anxiety levels significantly, which led them to suggest including its use as part of therapy.
How to use them
In all the aforementioned studies, the indications are clear: these essential oils for anxiety are much more efficient and quicker to act when inhaled, rather than when ingested or applied on the skin.
In this case, there is no need to dilute the oils in a carrier. You can simply add some drops of one or more essential oil to your diffuser and let their scent fill your room or your house. Breathing the perfumed air will be enough for you to benefit from the relaxing properties of these oils.
As an alternative, you can also add a few drops to a handkerchief or a small cloth. This way you can take it with you wherever you go and take a few sniffs when you feel you need it.
How to use a diffuser
Since the diffuser is the method per excellence to use essential oils and benefit from their aromas, you can learn in the video below how to use one and some tips regarding the quantities you should use.