18 Essential Oils for Anxiety

How to use essential oils for anxiety          

Essentials are very potent, pure extracts of different plant parts. They are made of the stem, leaves, flower, or bark of a plant. Essential oils have various qualities from calming to invigorating. Their array of mood-lifting benefits makes them an ideal treatment for people with anxiety.

Anxiety can lead to a tense, frustrated mood for some. For others, it means getting revved up followed by a period of lethargy, or crashing from the stress of nervousness.

Essentials can cover all of these issues. They can calm your nervous system and also give you a mood boost. Here are the 18 best oils for anxiety.


Valerian is a common ingredient in sleep-inducing teas. It is highly effective as a sedative. Try adding valerian to your diffuser to promote relaxation. You can also mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and use it as a calming pillow spray.



Jatamansi is related to the valerian plant. It is known to subdue racing minds and promote sleep. Lab studies show that jatamansi may help to reduce depression by regulating neurotransmitters and receptors (GABA and MAO). Try applying it to your temples for a relaxing massage when you feel stressed.



Lavender is widely available, and an excellent choice for promoting a calm atmosphere. Research suggests that lavender can influence your brain’s regulation of emotions through the limbic system. You can glean from its benefits through a diffuser, in a warm bath, or steam treatment.


Jasmine has a luxurious and exotic aroma. It is intensely floral, which makes it both calming and romantic.

This is a good oil to use when you want to be calm, but not sleepy. It is both relaxing and refreshing, without knocking you out. You can sniff it straight from the bottle, or diffuse it.

Holy basil

Holy basil is also known as tulsi. It is sometimes available in tea form for ingestion. The oil is blend of herbal and spicy.

It is an adaptogen, which means that it helps your body adjust to its environment and stressful situations. Holy basil can be an excellent oil for treating anxiety. Add only a little to your diffuser, as it is very strong.

Sweet basil

Sweet basil’s aroma will be familiar to you if you cook with basil. It comes from the culinary herb. lab studies on sweet basil show that its phenol compounds help to fight anxiety and stress. It is a good choice for treating anxiety because of its ability to reduce anxiety without being too sedating.


Bergamot will smell familiar to you if you enjoy Earl Gray tea. It is energizing and mood-lifting, as has citrus undertones. It is great for calming anxiety while lifting your mood. You should avoid bergamot if you plan to be in direct sun exposure after use, as it could increase your sensitivity. Try putting a few drops on a cotton ball or clean cloth. You can inhale it like this throughout the day to calm your nerves.


Chamomile is widely consumed in tea-form. Its efficacy as an oil is powerful. It is a sedative which works wonders as a sleep aid. While scientific study on chamomile for anxiety is lacking, its relaxation benefits are well known. Some studies do show that taking chamomile in supplement form can help to treat anxiety disorders.

Chamomile is a treat in a bath or diluted and massaged onto your skin.


Rose is intensely floral and soothing to the senses. It is great in a bath, or in a foot soak. You can sink your feet into a basin filled with warm water and a few drops of rose oil for a calming treatment. It will treat your skin at the same time, too. It also makes an ideal massage oil.


Vetiver is not so famous as chamomile, rose, and lavender. Still, it is an effective anti-anxiety herb. Hailing from India, this grassy plant is earthy and mildly sweet. It is also used to create a romantic ambiance. Scientific study shows that it can help to reduce anxiety in ways similar to a drug called diazepam.

Use vetiver oil as a massage oil, or diffuse it in your home to promote tranquility and romance.

Ylang ylang

Ylang ylang is another floral oil. It is a wonderful oil to combine with others on this list—especially lavender and bergamot.

Lab study on ylang ylang show it to be calming to the blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. Cortisol is what your body produces when you are in fight or flight mode. Calming down cortisol means reducing stress and anxiety.

Try inhaling it from the bottle or on a cotton ball. You can also use it with a carrier oil for a massage.


Frankincense oil has been used for thousands of years. It is made from the resin of a tree called Boswellia. It has a luxurious earthy, sweet quality. It is used for anxiety, depression, and as a pain reliever.

You can use frankincense on your skin after dilution. It makes a lovely atmosphere at home through a diffuser.


Clary sage

Clary sage is not the same as culinary sage. It is earthy in character. It helps to calm and uplift your mood, making it a good choice of aphrodisiac.

It can help to reduce anxiety and cortisol in women, according to a 2015 systematic review.

Try inhaling clary sage when you feel a bout of anxiety coming on. You can also try massaging it on the back of your neck, or on your temples.


Patchouli is earthy, musky, and very calming. It is used in Ayurveda to calm tense nerves. It is a good oil to combine with others, especially lavender.

Add patchouli to your evening bath for a calming bedtime routine. It is also great when used as a pillow spray, or diffused in your room.


Geranium oil has been studied on women in labor. It was shown to significantly reduce their anxiety. It is possible that it can also positively affect diastolic blood pressure.

Try sniffing a few drops of geranium on a cotton ball or clean cloth throughout the day. When using oils this way, the wafting technique is effective.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a very potent essential oil. It is popular in home cleaning because it is so refreshing. For anxiety, it is equally refreshing and invigorating.  Research suggests that ingesting lemon balm can help to treat anxiety disorders and help with sleep quality.  Add a few drops to your diffuser or inhale it from the bottle for best results.


Marjoram is closely related to oregano. People often confuse one for the other, because they are so similar in appearance. It is used for headaches, stress and anxiety, but research on its efficacy for anxiety is lacking. Still, people report its calming nature.

Add marjoram to your preferred carrier oil and massage it onto your temples. Or, massage it onto your wrists. It is also pleasant through a diffuser.


Fennel is very aromatic and is widely used in cooking. It is known for its digestive benefits, but it also helps with anxiety. One 2017 study shoed that taking fennel supplements helped women experiencing menopause, as it helped to combat anxiety and depression. It also improved sleep quality.

It is possible that inhaling fennel may provide the same benefits, in a gentle way. You can try it in the bath or steam it up by adding a few drops in the shower. It will benefit you mentally and physically.

Honorable mention

Neroli, sweet orange, sandalwood, grapefruit, and lime oils are given an honorable mention. They are commonly used to fight off anxiety, but research to back their use for anxiety is lacking.

If you notice, all of these oils (except for sandalwood) are in the citrus family. These oils help to brighten and boost a downcast mood.

How to make the most of Essential Oils for anxiety


It is always advisable to do a safety check before using essential oils on your skin or in your home. Apply a small test patch on the underside of your arm. You can do this by mixing a drop or two into a carrier oil, and massaging it in. Observe for 24 hours. You will want to check for any redness, itching, or swelling.

Always check with a medical professional before adding essential oils to your self-care routine. Make sure you purchase only the best quality.

While essential oils are proven to help with anxiety, there are times when you may need professional help. Everyone experiences times when they feel anxious, but if you notice that you are always anxious, you may need mental health support. You can still use essential oils, but for chronic anxiety, professional help is irreplaceable.

You may need professional help if you experience sleep irregularities, changes in appetite, weight fluctuation, feeling of drawing away from friends and family, irritability, and lack of focus.

Essential oils do make excellent anti-anxiety treatments if you’re up against a busy schedule, have a first date, big event, etc.

Knowing when and how to use them will help you to effectively manage anxiety and stress. For best results, use essential oils for anxiety along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and other relaxation techniques.

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