Best essential oils to relieve anxiety and stress

With anxiety levels rising by a shocking 40% [1] in the past two years, many people are looking to pharmaceuticals to ward off anxiety attacks, but recent studies have shown that certain essential oils have also helped to significantly reduce anxiety, as well as many other symptoms associated with this condition.

Alongside some herbal remedies and natural supplements, that you can take internally to cope with anxiety, essential oils can be used as a complementary remedy to remove the feeling of anxiety and stress.

Whether your symptoms are light or severe, essential oils are a great natural remedy to help with anxiety symptoms. They can normally be used alongside prescribed medication but to be sure, feel free to consult your medical practitioner.

To get you started, here are some of the best essential oils to reduce anxiety and its symptoms.

Top 8 Essential Oils that help best with Anxiety

Lavender Essential Oil

Perhaps the most talked about and most commonly used essential oil for anxiety and insomnia is lavender essential oil. This oil is usually produced by steam distillation, which is a process in which lavender flower spikes are distilled to extract the true essence of the flower, leading to a pure and natural scent. It works similarly to some popular anxiety medications, by communicating with the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain, to lower certain nervous system activities, such as feelings of anger, restlessness and overall anxiety.

To use Lavender Essential Oil to help with anxiety, simply add a few drops of this oil to a diffuser and distribute throughout the home when sleeping, or when doing small household activities. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bath when showering, or use this essential oil as a fabric softener when washing pillowcases.

The subtle scent of the lavender when sleeping will help to calm your racing mind, resulting in more deep and restful sleep, as well as a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Rose Essential Oil

Another less popular yet also highly effective essential oil to reduce anxiety is rose essential oil. Made directly by using rose petals, this essential oil is normally best used by either adding it to a relaxing bath or applying it directly to your skin (after diluting with a carrier oil of course).

It can also be used to help extract toxins and calm the nervous system when used as a detox agent in footbaths, according to this 2014 study [2], and is beginning to gain traction in the holistic health world.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Taking the number 3 spot is an essential oil that is extracted from one of the most popular and widely used herbs worldwide, Clary Sage essential oil.

While most anxiety symptoms are caused as a result of the body overextending itself in certain situations, there are also times when anxiety symptoms are also caused by an overproduction of certain hormones. For example, certain hormones such as cortisol can cause severe pressure on the body when produced in numbers that are higher than normal, and usually, bring on symptoms associated with anxiety such as depression and restlessness.

In cases this severe, Clary Sage Essential Oil is very effective in helping to stabilize hormone levels so that excess hormones are no longer produced, resulting in a more stabilized mood. Clary Sage Essential Oil has been lauded as a natural anti-depressant and has significantly reduced hormone issues by a shocking 36% in this recent study [3].

The most convenient form of essential oil for anxiety is rollerball. Essential oils in these rollerballs are pre-diluted with coconut oil (or some other carrier oil), all proportions are met and you do not have to worry about mixing your own blend.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

A major makeup of many massage oil concoctions, ylang-ylang oil significantly helps to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety by promoting relaxation and helping to lower the stress hormone cortisol.

It is no wonder that it is used in so many spa treatments today. Extracted from the Cananga tree in Indonesia, this essential oil has found popularity throughout the world in recent years and continues to help calm anxiety symptoms in the lives of many different persons.

To use Ylang Ylang Oil as an anxiety treatment, you may either use it as aromatherapy oil or apply a few drops to your favorite moisturizer and apply it to the skin. Inhaling this oil helps to calm the mind and significantly help with your mental health, as well as also helping with secondary symptoms such as improving your mood and reducing high heart rates. If you’re ready to find natural ways to reduce anxiety symptoms alongside your medication, this essential oil will be a major help.


Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile tea is a world-renowned method for helping with restful sleep and lowering symptoms of insomnia, therefore it is no wonder that chamomile essential oil also helps with symptoms of anxiety.

chamomile oil for anxietyMade directly from the chamomile plant, this essential oil has been a tried and true method of reducing anxiety and its symptoms for many who struggle with the condition, and while research concerning chamomile essential oil specifically is small to none, studies have shown that taking a chamomile supplement helps to reduce anxiety disorders in a significant number of people.

If you’re a fan of chamomile tea (and you should be), feel free to try out chamomile essential oil for helping with anxiety and it’s symptoms. You may either apply this oil to the skin (after you dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or avocado oil) or simply add it to your diffuser for a calming and relaxing scent in the home or office space.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

According to a very popular study conducted by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, lemongrass essential oil was shown to immediately reduce anxiety levels in less than five minutes by those who inhaled just three to six drops.

It is no wonder that this essential oil has made its way into that concoction of oils that many spas use to enhance relaxation and calm one’s mood. It is easy to use and a very effective essential oil to use alongside your medication for a significant reduction of anxiety, but feel free to contact your medical doctor for medical advice.

Basil Essential Oil

With both Holy Basil and Sweet Basil both being great methods for reducing anxiety, the basil plant has been lauded for its efficacy in reducing symptoms of anxiety and improving mental health whether inhaled or used for culinary purposes.

The main component responsible for reducing anxiety symptoms in hoy basil is eugenol, which is what gives it its minty aroma, leaving this adaptogenic herb to help with mental symptoms. But be cautious with this essential oil, as a little goes a long way. It is recommended that this essential oil just be added to a diffuser so that its aroma permeates your atmosphere, resulting in an improved mood.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot Essential Oil is obtained exactly where it smells as it is extracted from, which is directly from the peel of citrus fruits such as oranges. It has been referred to as one of nature’s natural antidepressants because of its ability to significantly improve one’s mood and leaving that person feeling relieved and fresh again.

As a side benefit, bergamot essential oil also helps to improve gut and digestive health, as well as regulate hormonal imbalances and help with blood circulation issues, making it an overall very powerful essential oil that benefits the body in more ways than one. Add a few drops of bergamot essential oil to your diffuser today to help improve mood and your quality of life significantly.

As always, stay safe when using essential oils for anxiety

It is evident that essential oils are highly beneficial for both assisting and reducing symptoms of anxiety, but they should never be used as a substitute for medication when anxiety has become chronic. It is recommended that medical assistance be sought when using essential oils, just to ensure that there are no reactions to the medications that one may be taking. Once given medical clearance, feel free to mix and match whichever essential oils you’d like, to find your perfect match for anxiety relief!



[1] APA Public Opinion Poll – Annual Meeting 2018 by The American Psychiatric Association (APA)

[2] Kheirkhah, Massomeh et al. “Comparing the effects of aromatherapy with rose oils and warm foot bath on anxiety in the first stage of labor in nulliparous women.” Iranian Red Crescent medical journal vol. 16,9 e14455. 17 Aug. 2014, doi:10.5812/ircmj.14455

[3] Lee KB, Cho E, Kang YS. Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and cortisol plasma levels in menopausal women after inhalation of clary sage oil. Phytother Res. 2014 Dec;28(12):1897.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

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