Does essential oil for anxiety work? Benefits, types and more!

Can Essential Oil Therapy Reduce Anxiety?

Known and used for millennia, essential oils have several medicinal properties. Through the release of particles present in aromatic plants, essential oils effectively combat not only the effects of anxiety but also its causes.

Currently, we have a scenario of exponential increase in the number of people who suffer from anxiety, which is considered the greatest evil of the century. In many cases, anxiety becomes a pathology, making it necessary to use controlled medication.

The use of essential oil therapy is an alternative approach to combating anxiety with the great advantage of being completely natural and without any side effects.

Follow in this article what are the principles of aromatherapy and the basics about essential oils. In addition, we’ll look at more details about 17 different types of oils specific to fighting anxiety, as well as different ways to use them. We’ll also cover the most common questions about this therapy and whether it really works against anxiety.

Aromatherapy Principles

To understand how this technique works, which is considered alternative medicine, we must keep in mind that it assumes that plants have medicinal power.

It is undeniable that aromas, whether they come from essential oils or not, bring physical and mental well-being to human beings. We are sensory beings and smell is closely linked to emotions and memories.

See below what aromatherapy is and what benefits it brings. We will also detail the relationship of aromatherapy to anxiety.

■ What is aromatherapy?

It is the technique of using specific aromas in treatments against different types of harm that human beings inflict. Aromatherapy must be conducted by a professional who understands about the different types of essential oils, as, if used incorrectly, they can cause allergies and skin irritations.

It is speculated that aromatherapy began with the burning of wood and leaves of aromatic plants, and its earliest record dates back to the region of Sumeria (present-day Iraq) more than 3,000 years ago.

It is believed that its origin was much older than its first records, being used by tribes in prehistory.

■ What are the benefits of aromatherapy?

The benefits of aromatherapy are directly proportional to the number of aromatic plants and herbs that exist, that is, there are many. Its use helps to relieve pain, reduce stress and relieve muscle tension, for example.

As for the benefits that aromatherapy brings to the brain, essential oils, through the sense of smell, are able to stimulate the limbic system. In it we find important structures such as the hypothalamus and the hippocampus, which are related to our emotions and social behavior.

Furthermore, aromatherapy is an important means of improving mood and decreasing or even eradicating anxiety. Studies also prove the effectiveness of some essential oils in fighting viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

■ Aromatherapy and anxiety

Anxiety itself is attributed to a series of factors that together lead to this illness. Aromatherapy meets the alleviation of these factors, thus resulting in the reduction of anxiety.

In addition, the natural chemical properties of certain plants act as regulators of hormones linked to stress and nervousness, thus combating the root cause of various anxiety disorders.

Used in its most varied forms, aromatherapy provides physical and mental relaxation, reducing tensions and negative feelings that lead to anxiety and without the side effects that some medications for controlled use have.

Understanding Essential Oils

For the correct use of essential oils, thus enjoying all their benefits, it is necessary to have a correct understanding of them. We will see below what essential oils really are and how to use them.

Another important aspect that we will see in this article is the importance of the quality of these oils and where to buy them.

■ What are essential oils?

Found in flowers, bark, stems, roots, fruits and other parts of a vegetable, essential oils are chemical and aromatic compositions found naturally in plants.

They have strong and pleasant aromas, being responsible for giving distinct characteristics to each type of plant. In addition to being used in aromatherapy, it is also used in the manufacture of food and skin treatments. Likewise, they play an important role in the plant kingdom regarding pollination.

The way in which essential oil is extracted is very important as well as the time of year and the climate of the place where a certain species is cultivated. These factors imply the quality and consequently the effectiveness of each essential oil.

■ How to use essential oils?

The first step in using essential oils is to understand the reason for using it to choose one or more types of oils. Each plant has in its essential oil distinct properties aimed at certain purposes, and the choice and use must be made carefully and with the help of a professional.

In aromatherapy, the most common way of using essential oils is through direct inhalation or in the form of diffusers and ambient aromatizers.

In addition to application in aromatherapy, they can also be used in massages, usually diluted in another good quality neutral oil and in compresses, or even during baths. Direct application is also carried out, but with caution and correct dosage, as the oils are usually quite strong.

Another form of use is the inclusion of oils in soaps and other types of beauty products, or even the ingestion of these oils. We emphasize that any form of use must be under the guidance of a professional who has a deep understanding of oils, taking into account each specific case, regarding allergies, for example.

■ Where to buy essential oils?

Quality implies a lot about the effectiveness of essential oils. To buy good quality oils with correct extraction processes, seek advice from a professional in the field of aromatherapy.

There are websites where you can buy high quality oils from abroad. Bearing in mind that the prices of these products may not be attractive, as the extraction processes are complex and often time-consuming. But you will probably use it in small quantities, increasing the oils’ durability, which is worth the price.

17 essential oils for anxiety

Among the thousands of different types of essential oils, there are those that stand out specifically for treating anxiety, from its causes to its effects.

We’ve listed 17 essential oils for anxiety, from the most popular ones, such as lavender essential oil, Ylang ylang, Patchouli and Chamomile, to the lesser-known types, such as Vetiver essential oil. See how each of them has different chemical properties that work in different ways to fight anxiety.

■ Lavender

Lavender essential oil is widely used both in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of different types of cosmetic and personal care products.

In its composition there are chemical agents such as limonene, acetate, myrcene, linalool and linalyl, effective to reduce insomnia and anxiety, having calming and sedative properties.

■ Vetiver

Vetiver is a plant in the same family as lemongrass and lemongrass. Its essential oil is extracted from its root and has an earthy aroma, being used in the composition of men’s perfumes.

Vetiver essential oil is indicated and used to relieve mental fatigue, one of the primary causes of anxiety. Its properties help to concentrate and improve mental focus.

■ Bergamot or Tangerine

Bergamot or mandarin essential oil is known for its energizing and invigorating properties, which are very important in combating depression. It acts as a stimulant of the endocrine system (related to metabolism), generating an improvement in hormone production.

This fact is directly linked to combating anxiety, as hormonal imbalances are frequent causes of symptoms of this disorder.

■ Ylang Ylang

With a sweet and striking aroma, essential oil is widely used in the perfume industry, being one of the main components of the famous perfume Channel No. 5.

This essential oil from this plant of Asian origin acts directly on improving mood, an important aspect when it comes to anxiety.

Ylang Ylang essential oil also works to reduce blood pressure, regulate heart rate and stimulate the production of oils in the scalp and skin.

■ Roman Chamomile

It has an aroma very similar to apples and is widely used for hair lightening and in perfumes and shampoos.

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil has strong sedative and calming effects, helping to alleviate insomnia, nervousness and anxiety. It also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, being also used in wounds and in surgical recovery processes.

■ Frankincense

Frankincense, a plant of the Boswellia genus, was originally used as incense and its essential oil is extracted from the resin of the tree.

Frankincense essential oil also activates limbic areas of the brain, acting against pain, depression and anxiety. It is widely used to silence the mind during meditation practices, having a warm and comforting aroma.

■ Pink

As for fighting anxiety, rose essential oil has the ability to help improve mood, which in itself is a positive factor for general well-being.

This essential oil has a relaxing power, being even effective for reducing anxiety in pregnant women during labor.

■ Lavender

Lavender is a type of lavender that differs in its stronger camphor scent. Related to fighting anxiety, the essential oil has been shown to be effective in decreasing the stress-related hormone cortisol.

It is effective in alleviating panic syndromes and irritations, thus being an important ally in the fight against anxiety. In addition, it is a great help against insomnia, being even used to perfume pillows and bed linen.

■ Nard

In aromatherapy, Nardo essential oil is used against mood swings and as an antidepressant. It provokes tranquility, being attributed to deep states of peace of mind.

As it is extracted in remote regions of the Himalayan mountain range, Nardo essential oil has a high market value.

■ Patchouli

Its aroma is quite characteristic and easily recognized, having a woody and strong tone. Patchouli essential oil works as a mood regulator and antidepressant, stimulating the production of serotonin and dopamine, hormones related to pleasure. Thus, it is widely used by aromatherapy to combat stress, in addition to being a famous aphrodisiac.

■ Jasmine

To combat anxiety, Jasmine essential oil acts as a powerful emotional balancer, providing a calming and antidepressant action. It can also be used as a stimulant, as it is related to increased optimism and positive feelings in general.

It also has aphrodisiac properties that also correlate with combating the effects of anxiety.

■ Holy basil

Holy basil essential oil acts as a regulator of the adrenal glands, small glands located above the kidneys that are directly linked to the production of stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

In this way, the use of Holy Basil reduces stress, nervousness and irritation, promoting greater mental focus and general well-being. The use of this plant in aromatherapy also causes an increase in the power of concentration and cerebral focus.

■ Sweet basil

Sweet basil is very common in Brazil and widely used as a condiment in the cuisine of the state of Santa Catarina. It is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, it is also used to combat spasms and against intestinal and menstrual cramps.

As for fighting anxiety, sweet basil essential oil acts as a tonifier of the nervous system, increasing focus and clarity of reasoning.

■ Salvia clarifies

It has been known since antiquity, being used medicinally by the Greeks and Egyptians, who had a fertility remedy in this plant.

The essential oil of sage clareia has low toxicity compared to common sage, and is therefore widely used in aromatherapy. It is considered to have an antidepressant effect and very suitable for improving sleep, as it relaxes the body and mind.

■ Geranium

Geranium, a plant originally from South Africa, has antiseptic, bactericidal, astringent and antioxidant properties.

It is used in the form of essential oil in aromatherapy to combat anxiety and has a calming and depression-reducing effect. In addition, the essential oil of Geranium acts as a stress reducer, one of the great roots of anxiety.

■ Lemon balm

Lemon balm has a calming effect that helps improve mood, reduce stress and increase physical and mental well-being.

The essential oil of this plant has an effective antibacterial action against pneumonia and skin infections. It also acts to control high blood pressure, a common consequence of stress and anxiety.

■ sweet orange

As for use in combating anxiety and its symptoms, orange essential oil acts as a regulator of stress-related hormones, in addition to being a brain revitalizer. Another interesting aspect is the effectiveness in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Different Ways to Use Essential Oils for Anxiety

Due to a large number of benefits of essential oils in general, various forms of use are found. They are related to the purpose of using these oils and to the body and mind ailments that are intended to cure or alleviate, or the ease that a given form of use provides.

Follow how essential oils are used in the bath and with the use of a diffuser or room aromatizer. See also how it is used in personal diffusers, on bed linen and in the form of body cream.

■ Bath

The use of essential oils during the bath is a common practice and allows, in addition to inhalation, their absorption by the skin. In this way, the cosmetic benefits and other particularities that oils have in relation to the epidermis are also used.

If the bath is immersion in bathtubs or hot tubs, it is recommended to use 15 to 20 drops of the oil and also a spoon of some carrier oil (vegetable oil used to dilute the essential oil and prevent skin irritation) in addition to powdered milk or honey, so that it mixes evenly in the water.

If the bath is a shower or shower, it is recommended to use a sponge with a few drops of oil and then rub all over the body. In this way, absorption into the bloodstream is facilitated. After this process, rinse with water with a lower temperature.

■ Diffuser, room aromatizer

Simple to use, diffusers are the most popular way of using essential oils in aromatherapy. If you go by candle, you must mix water with 10 drops of essential oil in the upper part of the diffuser.

Heating the mixture of water and oil by the candle flame gradually releases the aroma throughout the room, but use during sleep is not recommended.

There are also electric diffusers that are even easier to use, as they are less risky (no fire) and already determine the amount of oil drops to be used.

■ Personal diffuser

It’s another simple and quick way to use aromatherapy. Personal diffusers are usually found in the form of pendants, bracelets or bracelets that have cotton or felt inside.

The essential oil is then applied inside this compartment with felt or cotton, and the aroma is released slowly for a good part of the day.

■ On bed linen

The use of essential oils in bedding is an excellent way to use oils that help sleep, for example.

You can dilute water and essential oil in a spray bottle, and then apply on the sheet and pillowcase a few minutes before bed. The mixture of water and essential oil can also be applied when drying clothes in dryers.

As the essential oil is strong and strong, the aroma can linger for days on bed linen. Another way to use it is to store the bed linen with sachets or cotton with drops of essential oil.

■ Body cream

If the objective is to use the oils on the skin, it is noteworthy that they are strong, and therefore can cause intense skin irritation. It is recommended to mix it with some other type of neutral cream or carrier oil, and then spread it all over the skin, massaging it for better absorption.

They can be used as whole body creams and also as facial masks for cosmetic treatments. It is important to know for sure which type of essential oil is best for each area of ​​the body before using it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Essential Oils For Anxiety

Due to the wide variety of types of essential oils and their specific uses, doubts often arise. Regarding the fight against anxiety, one must be careful and never interrupt medical treatments if you are undergoing any.

See below if anyone can use aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and how often is indicated the use of essential oils.

■ Can anyone use aromatherapy to reduce anxiety?

Whichever way you use aromatherapy, you should first of all consult a professional in the field. The aromatherapist will indicate which type of essential oil is the most suitable, as well as how it will be used.

It is very important to emphasize that one must be very careful in relation to allergies, as these oils are strong plant concentrates that, as beneficial as they are, can trigger strong allergic reactions.

Another aspect that must be taken into account is whether the person uses any anxiolytic medication and whether he will have any interaction with the use of any essential oil.

■ What is the recommended frequency for using essential oils for anxiety?

The frequency indicated for the use of essential oils for anxiety can vary according to the anxiety symptoms that the person has.

As much as they are of natural origin, these oils are chemical components found in plants, and therefore, it is necessary to be careful about their form and frequency of use.

For treatments of anxiety problems that interfere with sleep, for example, daily uses in the form of diffusers or on bed linen are indicated.

If you experience problems related to anxiety, the best thing is to look for an aromatherapy professional who will indicate not only the frequency of use of essential oils, but also which essences are the most suitable, as well as how to use them.

Do Essential Oils for Anxiety Really Work?

We find in aromatherapy a natural and very safe way to take advantage of the medicinal properties that plants have.

Whatever the form of use, essential oils are already used in ancient practices of different cultures and their benefits are even recognized by modern traditional science.

In the treatment of anxiety, it proves to be very effective, as the particles found in these essential oils actually activate brain regions directly linked to feelings of pleasure and happiness, in addition to being ways to avoid or reduce controlled-use anxiolytics.

Glands responsible for the production of stress-related hormones are positively influenced by substances in these vegetables, and the simple fact of feeling a natural and pleasant aroma is already a positive factor in promoting physical and mental well-being.

The use of essential oils should be done with caution, especially about possible allergic reactions, but in fact they really work against anxiety, being important allies in the fight against this great evil that affects humanity.

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