Today we will talk about essential oils for anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a completely normal and natural emotion that belongs to the human being. It is basically our “warning light”.
When does it appear?
It usually happens when you are about to do something new, something you really don’t want to do, or when you are afraid that something will go wrong.
Anxiety need not concern us as long as it does not become limiting. In fact, if it is linked to a particular event and then disappears as it passes, it is a normal situation.
There are cases in which it is persistent and is defined as chronic anxiety, becoming very limiting in the daily life of the sufferer.
In this case it is necessary to rely on a professional to initiate a therapeutic path and identify the triggering causes.
If left untreated, chronic anxiety can develop into an anxiety disorder with consequent impairment of quality of life.
Essential oils for anxiety: how can they help us?
Essential oils can help us to treat anxiety, they are an excellent natural anxiolytic. They are effective in overcoming some of the symptoms such as insomnia, restlessness and feelings of panic. They help us to reduce stress.
It has been widely demonstrated that the aromatic molecules of perfumes and essential oils are able to easily overcome the blood-brain barrier, awakening memories and stimulating the production of mental images.
For several years, in fact, many aromatic substances have been regularly used in rehabilitation protocols based on sensory stimulation. Essential oils, carefully chosen in quality and dosage, have become valid aids to mitigate the symptoms of depression.
Aromatherapy defines these substances as “adaptogens”, since they intervene in the organism by performing the most appropriate action to restore the individual’s balance.
This is why it is recommended to find the essence, or essences, that best suit our body and our mood. In this way, essential oils can produce beneficial effects in our organism.
Finally, before embarking on any path using these properties, it is advisable to check our tolerance to the substance, to avoid unpleasant allergic reactions.
And now let’s look at the main essential oils for anxiety and their properties.
1. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
This oil, obtained from the distillation of the flower of an Asian plant, is also called the “poor man’s jasmine” due to its properties similar to but inferior in quality to those of jasmine. Sweet-smelling, and for some, even cloying, Ylang Ylang essential oil develops its beneficial effects on states of anxiety and stress.
It counteracts insomnia and, again on the principle of the simultaneous presence of opposite effects, can restore hypotension and have aphrodisiac properties. Ylang Ylang is usually blended with other essential oils, for example, bergamot and other citrus.
Its use can be topical, with applications on neck, wrists, feet and back, or by environmental diffusion. Finally, attention should be paid to prolonged use, which can sometimes lead to contact sensitization.
2. Bergamot essential oil
Fresh and pleasant essential oil, obtained from citrus peel still unripe. Its ability to contain stress conditions and associated anxiety states has been demonstrated in the laboratory. It acts on the hormonal flow and its production, generating a state of calm and relaxation.
The refreshing and delicate aroma of bergamot can be diffused in the environment, or it can be applied locally or even mixed with beverages and foods.
Bergamot essential oil loses some of its properties when exposed to direct sunlight. It is therefore important, if we intend to expose ourselves to the sun, to cover the parts of the body on which the oil has been applied so that it retains all its characteristics.
3. Aceite esencial de geranio
An essence with a very pleasant floral scent, fresh and regenerating, geranium is an excellent adjuvant against tension and stress. It helps to restore hormonal balance and stabilize mood. Those who have used geranium essential oil report a greater relaxation and a lower propensity to irritable states.
In addition, they report that they observe a greater propensity to formulate new ideas, surely as a consequence of the attenuated internal tensions. According to some studies, this essence stimulates the lymphatic system.
This oil is used locally on the most receptive parts of the body or by diffusion and can be mixed with all other essential oils. We recommend caution with prolonged use, as it may cause hypersensitivity.
4. Lavender essential oil
Considered the “universal oil”, it is the essential oil par excellence, the ideal adaptogen, capable of restoring the compromised balance of the organism. This distillate of lavender flowers induces the relief of anxiety and restlessness.
It is one of the most suitable molecules to relax the body. Scientific studies have shown how people who had inhaled lavender essential oil reported feeling more relaxed, and at the same time could easily perform some mental tasks.
The state of well-being was therefore associated with an increased attentional capacity. Lavender is also used in states of poor appetite, nausea, pain and obviously also as an antiseptic.
Used locally, rubbed on the temples or simply inhaled from the palm of the hand, it immediately releases its relaxing and pleasurable properties. Environmental diffusion is also very effective.
5. Sandalwood essential oil
Considered a sacred oil and native to southern India, sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the wood of the evergreen Santalum album. With a warm and sweet aroma, it has always been used as an accompaniment to yoga and meditation sessions.
Its relaxing properties are indicated to reduce tension and cope with stressful situations. A study conducted on terminally ill patients has shown how sandalwood oil is able to significantly reduce patients’ anxiety. It stabilizes mood and the immune system, counteracts insomnia and improves the overall quality of sleep.
Like other essential oils for anxiety and depression, it can be used with local applications or by environmental diffusion and should be used with caution during pregnancy.
In recent years, the number of trees from which sandalwood essential oil is extracted has decreased significantly. For this reason pure sandalwood oil is significantly more expensive than these versions.
6. Frankincense essential oil
It is an oil with very ancient origins, originating from the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa, whose beneficial and spiritual properties are already described in the Bible. This is the oily secretion of the resin of shrubby plants, whose molecules are able to easily overcome the blood-brain barrier, facilitating the transport of oxygen to the brain and the stimulation of the limbic system.
This mechanism produces the characteristic effects of frankincense essential oil: reduction of anxious, irritable and depressive states. Some respiratory and skin diseases can benefit from the use of this essence.
Este mecanismo produce los efectos característicos del aceite esencial de incienso: reducción de los estados ansiosos, irritables y depresivos. Algunas enfermedades respiratorias y cutáneas pueden beneficiarse del uso de esta esencia.
7. Sage essential oil
Sage has always been recognized for its anxiolytic and sleep-inducing properties. Authoritative studies have shown how the inhalation of this essence, combined with other essential oils, by subjects subjected to stressful situations, led to a significant improvement in the state of anxiety.
La salvia siempre ha sido reconocida por sus propiedades ansiolíticas e inductoras del sueño. Estudios autorizados han demostrado cómo la inhalación de esta esencia, combinada con otros aceites esenciales, por sujetos sometidos a situaciones de estrés, conducía a una mejora significativa del estado de ansiedad.
8. Chamomile essential oil
8. Aceite esencial de manzanilla
It relieves tensions and states of anxiety, excellent remedy for insomnia, it is often used during meditation to facilitate the necessary state of relaxation. Historically, it is also indicated in the treatment of vomiting.
With a fruity aroma, vaguely apple, pleasant and fresh, chamomile essential oil can be used locally. Rubbed on the neck and arms, it helps sleep and relieves muscle tension.
It can lead to irritation of sensitive skin. In this case it is advisable to dilute the oil in equal parts with another vegetable oil such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
9. Rosemary Oil
In aromatherapy, rosemary essential oil is used to stimulate memory and improve concentration. Similarly, it is used in cases of nervous tension and performance anxiety.
10. Vetiver Oil
Known in India and Sri Lanka as “the oil of tranquility”, it is considered a sacred herb due to its calming, protective and healing properties and is very popular in tropical countries as a natural body freshener.
Traditionally, vetiver oil was used in aromatherapy as a relaxing and calming agent to relieve panic attacks, emotional stress, anxiety, insomnia, trauma, hysteria and depression. A 2015 study investigated the effects of Vetiver as an anxiety support tool and the neurological action on the amygdala, the part of the brain tasked with managing emotions and fear in particular.
The amygdaloid body connects to some areas of the brainstem that control the manifestation of some innate behaviors. The amygdala is responsible for the perception and results of emotions, such as changes in heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing.
How to make a personalized essential oil for anxiety
As we have already mentioned, all essential oils can be mixed together, obtaining new compounds whose effects will be enhanced by the sum of the peculiarities of each individual essence.
Each one of us will be able to choose the essences that we perceive to be most similar to ourselves and that produce the best results, and by carefully mixing them together, obtain an essence with new characteristics.
Finally, we illustrate an example of these essential oil blends to relieve anxiety.
Let’s get a small dark glass jar and introduce the following essential oils:
clary sage (4 drops)
ylang-ylang (4 drops)
geranium (3 drops)
basil (2 drops)
sandalwood (1 drop)
We have thus obtained an excellent blend of essential oils effective against anxiety, which can be used by direct inhalation (1-2 drops in the palm of the hand), for massage, local friction or for a relaxing bath.
How to use essential oils for anxiety?
There are several ways to use essential oils for anxiety as natural tranquilizers. These are the most effective methods:
Scarf or other garment
This is one of the simplest ways to use the power of aromathe
Just take one of the essential oils mentioned above and add 3 drops to your handkerchief. Whenever you feel anxious, take it and inhale deeply.
The diffusion of essential oils through a diffuser is one of the best methods to calm anxiety.