Do essential oils really work for anxiety? Yes, they do.
Several clinical studies show that aromatherapy with essential oils lowers stress and anxiety.
Here’s one fun test they did: Half the patients waiting in a dentist office were treated to either lavender or orange aromas. The other half were exposed to music only or nothing at all.
The patients who had the aromatherapy were calmer and in a better mood than either of the other groups (1).
As a result, I’ve already spoken to my dentist about diffusing essential oils in her office!
- Stress-relieving Essential Oils
- Pure Oils Versus Blends for Stress Relief
- Restful Garden Recipe for Stress Relief
- Super Simple Stress Relief Recipe
- Mood Lifter Massage Blend
- Quick Recovery Recipe
- Find Balance Recipe
- Pillow Perfume Recipe to Relax Before Bed
- Comforting Blend to Alleviate Grief
- Perk Me up out of This Stress Recipe
- doTERRA Lemongrass Essential Oil
- NOW Essential Oils, Rose Absolute Oil
- Plant Therapy Bulgarian Rose Otto Organic Diluted Essential Oil
- ArtNaturals 100% Pure Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- Edens Garden Vetiver
- Plant Therapy Ylang Ylang Complete Organic Essential Oil
- Recipe to Relieve PMS and Menopause Symptoms
- Convenient Sets of Essential Oils
- The Top Essential Oils for Anxiety Reduction and Stress Relief
- How to Do Aromatherapy for Stress Relief and Anxiety Reduction
- Massage for Maximum Stress Relief
- How Much to Dilute Essential Oil for Skin Application
- Aromatherapy on the Go
- In a Pinch, Just Take a Deep Breath
- How to Know Which Essential Oils Will Calm You the Most
Stress-relieving Essential Oils
Lavender is one of the best-studied essential oils for stress and anxiety. But there’s scientific evidence that other fragrances relieve stress, too.
For example, another study looked at the anxiety-reducing effects of geranium oil. Women who had never given birth before and were in the first stage of labor breathed in the essence.
Not only did it help them feel less anxious, but it also lowered their blood pressure (2).
Pure Oils Versus Blends for Stress Relief
The majority of published studies about essential oils for stress relief focus on using one pure oil at a time.
But there are many ways you can blend the top essential oils to relieve anxiety and stress.
Throughout this article, I’ll review individual oils and also provide you with recipes for blends.
I hope you find solutions for your needs here today.
Restful Garden Recipe for Stress Relief
I’m starting with one of my favorite recipes for reducing anxiety.
Mix the ingredients in a clean glass bottle. Then add a few drops to your diffuser and breathe in deeply. If you close your eyes, it’s like a stroll through the garden.
If you don’t have a diffuser handy, add a couple of drops to your favorite carrier oil and massage it on your wrists.
- 15 drops of Roman chamomile
- 3 drops of bergamot
- 8 drops of lavender
- 5 drops of geranium
- 8 drops of sweet orange
Now let’s talk about where you can find the oils you need for this recipe and others below.
Majestic Pure Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot has a cheerful citrus fragrance similar to grapefruit. It blends well with a variety of stress relief oils like clary sage, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, rosemary, lavender, vetiver, and ylang-ylang.
It’s generally a top note or one of the first aromas you’ll notice in a blend. The essence fades fairly quickly.
Majestic Pure packages their pure bergamot essential oil with a glass dropper. They recommend it for aromatherapy or topical application if you dilute it with a carrier oil.
Take note that bergamot can make your skin more sensitive to sunburn. Avoid exposing treated skin to sunlight for at least twelve hours afterward.
Some brands offer bergamot essential oil without bergapten. That’s the chemical that sensitizes the skin.
Super Simple Stress Relief Recipe
Here’s a recipe that’s cheap and easy to make.
- 3 drops lavender
- 4 drops chamomile
There’s more than one version of chamomile essential oil. You can use whatever you have handy. But Roman chamomile is considered the best kind for easing anxiety.
Plant Therapy Chamomile Roman Essential Oil
Plant Therapy is an essential oil brand I often recommend. There are several reasons why.
First, whenever possible, they use USDA-certified organic ingredients. Second, they perform extensive testing throughout the manufacturing process. Third, you can ask to see the results of those tests. And fourth, they design their oils to be safe for small children to use, not just adults. If you’re ever displeased with your purchase, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
As for their Chamomile Roman essential oil, it comes from the Chamaemelum nobile plant in the United Kingdom. They steam-distill it to create a blue -colored liquid with a green and fruity fragrance.
Chamomile is a base note with a grounding effect.
Mood Lifter Massage Blend
If your day seems like it’s more than you can handle, try this mood-lifting recipe.
- 6 drops of clary sage
- 3 drops lemon
- 5 drops lavender
- 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil)
Ask a friend to give you a massage or rub it into your own hands or feet. Breathe deeply.
Also, feel free to diffuse the fragrance without the carrier oil.
NOW Essential Oils, Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage was found to have an antidepressant-like effect in menopausal women in their 50s (3). It reduced the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies.
You can relax knowing that NOW Essential Oils offer a pure product produced in FDA-approved facilities with Good Manufacturing Process practices. This family-owned business has been around for decades. You’re likely to find that their prices are very reasonable.
Quick Recovery Recipe
When you need soothing after too much stress, put this blend in your diffuser.
- 1 drop frankincense
- 1 drop geranium
- 3 drops Sweet Orange
As with all the recipes I share, feel free to alter them. If the original doesn’t quite hit the spot, make adjustments by using your nose.
Plant Therapy Frankincense Carteri Organic Essential Oil
If you’ve purchased frankincense before, you know that it can carry a hefty price tag. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Plant Therapy offers more than one version of frankincense. And since you’re buying it from the company, not from an intermediary, it carries a lower cost.
I recommend the Frankincense Carteri oil as it’s the best for relaxation and focus. (It also boosts the immune system. Other kinds like Serrata are better at treating inflammation.)
Like their other products, this one is based on USDA-certified organic ingredients and tested by third-party laboratories for purity.
Artizen Geranium Essential Oil
Artizen’s geranium oil is undiluted and packaged in a dark-colored glass bottle with a dropper. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and warranty with the promise of a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Find Balance Recipe
When you retreat to your safe place, enjoy this anxiety relief recipe.
- 2 drops clary sage
- 2 drops ylang-ylang
- 3 drops jasmine
Did you know that it takes millions of jasmine blossoms to create just one pound of pure fragrance? They are hand-harvested to avoid bruising the pedals and altering the scent.
Aura Cacia Precious Essentials Oil Jasmine Absolute w/Jojoba
Aura Cacia blends jasmine with jojoba oil to make this oil affordable. It smells lovely enough to use as a perfume all by itself or blended with other ingredients.
Plant Therapy Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil
This tiny bottle of pure jasmine absolute oil holds just one-twelfth of an ounce or 2.5 mL. It’s not cut or diluted at all. It’s pure petal extract from India.
The petals are soaked in a solvent that evaporates. What’s left behind is a highly concentrated oil.
Please remember that some diffusers have instructions that recommend using only regular essential oils, not absolutes, in their water tanks.
Pillow Perfume Recipe to Relax Before Bed
Fill your bedroom with this relaxing aroma to set the stage for sweet dreams.
- 2 drops of lavender
- 2 drops of Roman chamomile
- 1 drop of vetiver
It works in both ultrasonic or nebulizing diffusers.
Aura Cacia Discover Essential Oil Lavender
Aura Cacia buys pure lavender oil, assesses it for purity, and sells direct to the public. Whenever possible, they have organic ingredients certified by QAI. Plus, they never test their products on animals.
Lavender contains linalool, a molecule that has a sedative effect. It can lower blood pressure, relax muscles, and reduce cortisol.
Comforting Blend to Alleviate Grief
- 1 drop frankincense
- 1 drop bergamot
- 1 drop lavender
ArtNaturals Therapeutic-Grade Lemon Essential Oil
Although this lemon essential oil isn’t made for consumption, it is safe for diffusion and topical application.
Lemon helps clear the air and the mind. It blends well with ginger, peppermint, lavender, and other citrus aromas.
It’s cold-pressed from the peels of lemons harvested in Argentina and Italy.
ArtNaturals offers purity analysis reports for each oil they sell. They also provide a satisfaction guarantee.
Perk Me up out of This Stress Recipe
Have you ever felt more stressed simply because you didn’t have enough energy to finish all you have to do? Try this blend for a boost. It will clear your mind and help you calm down to focus better.
- 3 drops lavender
- 1 drop vetiver
- 1 drop clary sage
- 1 drop lemon
doTERRA Lemongrass Essential Oil
You may pay a little more for lemongrass essential oil from this company, but it’s edible. You can cook with it.
It’s also safe for diffusion and applying to your skin (with a carrier oil) to repel pesky insects.
A study published in 2015 reported that lemongrass reduced anxiety and sped up recovery from stress (4).
NOW Essential Oils, Rose Absolute Oil
NOW’s rose oil is solvent-extracted from petals in their laboratories. It’s blended with jojoba oil to achieve a 5% concentration.
Even though it’s pre-diluted, it should be safe to use in most nebulizing diffusers (waterless diffusers). When in doubt, check the instructions that came with your device.
Some folks prefer to use rose absolute in their bath water or as a perfume instead of diffusing it.
Plant Therapy Bulgarian Rose Otto Organic Diluted Essential Oil
Plant Therapy uses USDA Organic rose petals to create their oil. It takes about 8000 pounds of petals to make just 2 pounds of this particular essential oil. Therefore, diluting it down to a 10% concentration with organic sunflower seed oil allows them to sell it at a reasonable price.
Besides using rose as a natural perfume or blending it with other oils, you can apply it to your skin. It treats rosacea and acne and can help erase fine lines.
ArtNaturals 100% Pure Sweet Orange Essential Oil
ArtNaturals sources Citrus x sinensis rutaceae oranges from Brazil to make this essential oil. The manufacturer cold-presses the peels so that the end result is a thin-clear liquid with a sweet fragrance.
Like other citrus aromas, orange uplifts mood so you can leave stress by the wayside.
Edens Garden Vetiver
Vetiver is a base note used in many popular perfumes. It has a musky, woody scent that can ground your heart and mind in the here and now. It evaporates slowly so that it continues to smell pleasant long after other fragrances have faded.
Edens Garden is a family business owned by women. They have a decade of experience and certified aromatherapists on staff.
Each batch of their essential oils is tested for quality and purity. Moreover, they provide analysis reports to their customers for free.
Plant Therapy Ylang Ylang Complete Organic Essential Oil
Exotic ylang-ylang has a floral aroma that gives you a vacation from stress. It’s steam-distilled for up to eighteen hours straight from the blossoms of the Cananga odorata tree.
Plant Therapy uses certified organic ingredients. They have third-party laboratories perform multiple rounds of mass spectrometry and gas chromatography tests on their oils. It’s also handy that they have certified aromatherapists on staff for customer support.
Recipe to Relieve PMS and Menopause Symptoms
Most women are well aware of how PMS, perimenopause, and menopause increase their stress and anxiety. Use the following recipe to take back control.
- 2 drops of lavender
- 2 drops of neroli
- 3 drops of bergamot
- 3 drops of sweet orange
Diffuse it or blend it with an unscented lotion or oil for a deliciously relaxing massage.
Convenient Sets of Essential Oils
We’ve covered thirteen of the top essential oils for stress relief. Now let’s look at sets with convenient collections of the oils you’ll need to make blends.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Neroli, Sage, Ylang Ylang
NOW packages these three stress-relieving oils together. They’re ready to diffuse or mix with carrier oils or lotions for massage.
I didn’t include neroli in the reviews above, but it can also be effective at reducing anxiety. Its sweet aroma may help you unwind before bed.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Citrus Blend – Orange, Tangerine, Lemon
Citrus creates a cheerful atmosphere. Use it to counterbalance lavender and other calming oils when you want to relieve stress without feeling sleepy.
Best value: Lagunamoon Premium Essential Oils Set, Top 20 Pure Natural Aromatherapy Oils
Lagunamoon includes twenty (10mL bottles) oils in this set. Among others, it contains vetiver, geranium, chamomile, bergamot, frankincense, rose, jasmine, lemon, and lemongrass. That fact makes it perfect for experimenting with most of the recipes in this article.
The Top Essential Oils for Anxiety Reduction and Stress Relief
This table lists all thirteen essential oils that lower stress and anxiety.
|Oil||What it’s like||What it does||Where to find it|
|Bergamot||Citrus||Cheers and calms|
|Clary sage||Herbaceous||Antidepressant, relieves stress|
|Frankincense||Earthy||Relieves stress, grounds, and balances, restores focus|
|Geranium||Floral||Restores balance and reduces anxiety|
|Jasmine||Floral||Relaxes and improves mood|
|Lavender||Floral and woody||Soothes, relieves stress and anxiety|
|Lemon||Citrus||Cheers and purifies|
|Lemongrass||Herbaceous and citrusy||Reduces anxiety and promotes recovery from stress|
|Sweet orange||Citrus||Boosts mood|
|Vetiver||Woody and musky||Grounds and calms|
|Ylang Ylang||Floral, woodsy, tropical||Calming, relieves anxiety|
How to Do Aromatherapy for Stress Relief and Anxiety Reduction
Now that you’re aware of which essential oils lower stress and anxiety, what’s the best way to use them?
For one, you can diffuse the oils.
I’m a big fan of nebulizing diffusers. These disperse the pure essential oil into the air for the most powerful effect.
Here are two examples below.
Organic Aromas Nebulizing Aromatherapy Diffuser
This diffuser has a glass reservoir and a plantation hardwood base coated with water-based lacquer. There’s no plastic and no off-gassing of chemicals.
It runs for two minutes on, one minute off, for up to two hours before it shuts down automatically. It’s very quiet and doesn’t heat or dilute the oil in any way.
Nebulizing diffusers like this one require 10 to 15 drops in order to run for the full two hours. On the other hand, ultrasonic diffusers like the one below only need five drops or less in their water tank to operate for several hours.
InnoGear 2020 Vase-Shaped Essential Oil Diffuser
This attractive diffuser holds 200mL of water, enough to run for several hours. It includes a softly pulsing light that can induce calm and help you regulate your breathing.
Massage for Maximum Stress Relief
Diffusing is a way to seek stress relief when you’re alone. But you can also enjoy a massage as it can be even more helpful at lowering stress and anxiety.
Whether you rub pressure points yourself or receive a massage from someone else, maximize your relaxation with aromatherapy at the same time.
Dilute pure essential oils or blends with massage oil or lotion. Using oils on your skin can increase their benefits (just be careful not to overdo it).
Then you can breathe in the fragrance and breathe out the unpleasant feelings.
Try this for massage oil: Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil
This coconut oil is fragrance-free and easy to wash out of sheets, towels, and clothing. It has a long shelf life and won’t solidify like regular coconut oil. It’s excellent for combining with essential oils.
If you don’t like the idea of diluting essential oils, consider this: blending the fragrance with a carrier oil helps the aroma to last longer. (You’re also less likely to suffer an allergic reaction on your skin.)
How Much to Dilute Essential Oil for Skin Application
Many essential oil companies will suggest how to properly blend their products for topical application. But it may look something like this: 0.6 or 1.5 or just say a percentage like 1%.
If that’s not helpful for you, try the following.
For children, never than one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil, or three drops per tablespoon. Avoid treating babies under two years old.
For adults, stick to one to two drops per teaspoon, with no more than five per tablespoon of carrier oil.
Some oils are stronger and may need more dilution for your safety. (Tea tree, for example.)
If you have sensitive skin, less is better. Test it on a small patch of skin and wait a day if you’re not sure.
Aromatherapy on the Go
If you’d like to treat stress on the go, all it takes is a little preparation. Pre-mix your favorite stress relief blend and bring it with you.
(That’s why extra glass bottles are popular products.)
Amber Glass Spray Bottle, 2-ounce size
Here are a dozen empty bottles waiting for your aromatherapy blends.
In a Pinch, Just Take a Deep Breath
Where do you rub essential oils for anxiety? (Assuming you’ve properly diluted them.)
Put a drop of lavender on your wrists or behind your ears before bed.
Dab a little clary sage on your temples before that stressful meeting.
The aroma will fade within a short time, but your brain will take action to calm you all the same.
How to Know Which Essential Oils Will Calm You the Most
The biggest takeaway today is that I want you to try as many of the essential oils as you can. Then you’ll know which ones best soothe stress for you.
There are many essential oils that relieve stress and anxiety. They can’t take the place of medical treatment, but they are a proven complement to traditional medicine.
I hope you let me know which of the oils above you enjoyed using. Feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments below.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16095639 Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office, by J Lehrner, et al., published in Physiology and Behavior, September 2005, accessed 01 May 2019
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4484988/ Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial, by Fahimeh Rashidi Fakari, et al., published in the Journal of Caring Science, June 2015, accessed 01 May 2019
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24802524 Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and cortisol plasma levels in menopausal women after inhalation of clary sage oil, by KB Lee, et al., published in Phytotherapy Research, November 2014, accessed 01 May 2019
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26366471 Effect of Lemongrass Aroma on Experimental Anxiety in Humans, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, December 2015, by TC Goes, et al., accessed 01 May 2019