Essential oils are everywhere. From the health food store to the gas station, there seems to be no shortage of supply on the market.
There seems to be no shortage of demand either. You may have seen a diffuser propped up on a coworker’s desk or watched the super yogi in class rubbing oil on his temples before getting into child pose. Everyone is diffusing, applying, and inhaling baby bottles filled with botanical herbs. Essential oils have become all the hype, but the question is, do they live up to the hype?
And more importantly, for someone with anxiety, can they help reduce those overwhelmed feelings?
Imagine you have a jam-packed schedule and an unfinished list in your back pocket. Anxiety then begins to creep in as you try to manage the crisis of the day. You feel overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
Now imagine a simple drop of oil rubbed on your temples transforms that crisis into a calmer situation. Imagine that list of dreaded to do’s turns into a challenge list you are ready to take on. You are now relaxed and collected.
So what kind of magic oils can reduce anxiety like that?
Aromatherapy really can impact your mood and stress levels. According to Hopkins Medicine, when essential oils are inhaled, the fragrance molecules enter the nose to the olfactory nerves and travel to the brain’s emotional center.
Below are 5 essential oils that really work for anxiety disorders. We’ll go through how to best use each oil, what to blend with, and all their amazing benefits. So let’s get started diffusing, rubbing, and sniffing our way into a zen mindset. Namaste.
1. Sweet Marjoram
Scent: earthy, spicy, and heavy.
Sweet Marjoram is an essential oil made from dried leaves of the Marjoram plant, native to the Mediterranean. It may look like your average green shrub, but it is definitely not doing average things for people. Sweet Marjoram has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and gut-healing properties. Marjoram works as a vasodilator to lower blood pressure and tensions, hence reducing your anxiety levels.
Best to use: Apply to your temples or inside of your wrists for a calming effect. Diffuse in your bedroom for half an hour before bed to soothe your mind and sleep well.
Blends well with: Lavender, Rosemary, and Tea Tree oil.
Scent: flowery, honey-like, and fruity.
Ylang-ylang essential oil comes from the dried flowers of the Ylang-ylang plant. This bright yellow plant is best known for its mood-boosting benefits and can help decrease anxiety. Ylang-ylang has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic, and mood-enhancing properties that will make you feel whole. It acts in the body as a mild sedative to lower blood pressure, heart rate, thereby guiding you into a tranquil state. Anxiety puts your body in a high alert mode, and Ylang-ylang can help bring your mind back to a centered place.
Best to use: Keep a small bottle in your desk at work to whip it out whenever the anxiety hits. Put a couple of drops in your hands, rub your hands together, cup your hands around your nose, and deep breathe.
Blends well with: Sandalwood, Bergamot, and Jasmine oil.
Scent: earthy, warm, strong, and woody.
You may have heard of this accent fragrance, but it’s anxiety combating benefits are far from extinct. Frankincense essential oil is made from the sap that seeps out of Boswellia trees native to Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. This gooey sap has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antifungal properties. Frankincense oil is known to lessen anxiety by activating the limbic system to overcome your racing thoughts. It also acts as a sedative to relax your body and mind.
Best to use: Due to its strong scent, many people prefer to diffuse the oil than directly apply to their skin. You can also put a few drops in your bath water with a carrier oil to destress from a long day.
Blends well with: Peppermint, Lime, and Rose oil.
Scent: Flowery, light, earthy tones
Lavender is the holy grail of essential oils! You have probably spotted these vibrant purple plants on a drive through the countryside a time or two. Lavender essential oil is derived from dried buds of the Lavender plant. The oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-anxiety, analgesic, and antifungal properties. It’s also well known for its benefit in people with anxiety disorders. In fact, research shows that patients using lavender oil and lavender oral supplements reduced their anxiety levels just as much as patients who were taking anti-anxiety medication such as lorazepam. Lavender has mild sedative properties that vasodilate your vessels to help you feel calm and breathe without tension.
Best to use: Apply lavender to the bottom of feet, on the temples, and diffuse in your room a half-hour before sleeping. My personal favorite is to mix 10 drops of lavender with a water bottle for misting my pillow before bed.
Blends well with: Grapefruit, Lemon, and Geranium
Scent: Orange, sweet, and airy.
Bergamot essential oil is made from the rind of bergamot oranges. This Italian native fruit has some serious zen energy. Bergamot has analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-anxiety properties. Some use it to aid in digestion issues, pain, or to relax after a long day. Its natural sedative power makes it a go-to for anxiety and stress relief. The orange smell is so energizing and keeps you boppin’ during the day.
Best to use: Apply Bergamot to the temples or inside of wrists to relieve any anxious tension. I love to mix a couple of drops of Bergamot in unscented lotion, so I get to smell hints of orange bliss throughout the day .
Blends well with: Clary Sage, Frankincense, and Cedarwood.
Essential oils are your not-so-secret weapon.
Anxiety can get the best of us at times, and we are all just trying to do our best to thrive out in this hectic world. Essential oils can make a huge difference in your mood and help you feel more control over your emotions.
Remember to take a inhale, exhale, and take care of yourself. Namastay.