In a study I read back in 2014 study by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, 58 hospice patients were given hand massages once a day for one week with an essential oil blend in 1.5 percent dilution with sweet almond oil. The essential oil blend consisted of these essential oils in equal ratios of bergamot, frankincense and lavender. All patients who received the aromatherapy hand massage reported less pain and depression, concluding that aromatherapy massage with this essential oil blend is more effective for pain and depression management than massage alone.
Here are some of the best essentials oils for anxiety:
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Considered the most common essential oil, lavender oil benefits include having a calming, relaxing effect. It’s considered a nervous system restorative and helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, nervous stomach and general nervous tension.
There has been clinical trials involving the inhalation of lavender essential oil that indicate a reduction in stress and anxiety. One study using oral lavender essential oil via capsules found that heart rate variation significantly increased compared to the placebo while watching an anxiety-provoking film. This suggested that lavender had anxiolytic effects.
Further research demonstrates lavender’s ability to lower anxiety in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and in people visiting the dentist.
Rose (Rosa damascena)
One of the benefits of Rose oil is it’s very settling to the emotional heart and perhaps the second most popular after lavender for relieving anxiety and depression, helping with panic attacks, grieving and shock. In study of women who were pregnant for the first time, one group of women was received a 10-minute inhalation and foot-bath with oil rose, another group received a 10-minute warm-water footbath, and they were compared to a control group. The findings showed “aromatherapy and footbath reduces anxiety in active phase in nulliparous women.”
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Vetiver oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization. A nervous system tonic, it decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is also useful in panics attacks and shock. There was a examining the anxiety-like behavior in rats concluded that vetiver oil may be useful in lowering anxiety effects, though more research is needed to confirm this finding.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
This popular essential oil can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effects. Ylang Ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia.
In a 2006 study using ylang ylang oil, along with bergamot and lavender oils, once a day for four weeks reduced “psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.”
Be careful when using ylang ylang, as it can be sensitizing or irritating to the skin; avoid using in conditions of low blood pressure.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is commonly found in Earl Grey tea and has a distinctive floral taste and aroma. Bergamot is calming and often used to treat depression by providing energy; however, it can also help with insomnia induce relaxation and reduce agitation.
It’s been proven to reduce corticosterone response to stress in rats, and another interesting study conducted in 2011 hypothesizes that applying blended essential oil that includes bergamot to participants helps in treating depression or anxiety.
The blended essential oil consisted of lavender and bergamot oils.
Bergamot is generally safe, but it is photosensitizing, meaning it can increase the risk of sunburn and rash. It is best to avoid use within 12 hours of sun exposure.
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
A peaceful, calming scent, inner harmony and decreases irritability, overthinking, anxiety and worry. An explorative study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine on the antidepressant activity in chamomile found that this essential oil “may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity that occurs in addition to its previously observed anxiolytic activity.”
Chamomile oil is generally safe, except for a some small risk of allergy, especially with anyone who has an allergy to ragweed.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri or boswella sacra)
Frankincense is great for treating depression and anxiety because it provides a calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. In aromatherapy, it helps deepen meditation and quiet the mind. Mixed with bergamot and lavender oils in a 1:1 ratio in an aroma hand massage, frankincense was found to have a positive effect on pain and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer.
The common blends I use for Stress Anxiety and depression is
To name but a few and we have some great feedback too. Will go into more of them on another post.
Risks of Essential Oils for Anxiety
Never ingest any essential oils or apply undiluted to the skin without proper training or medical supervision. It is critical to understand how best to use them. Always consult a specialist and test the area, proceeding with caution as they may react differently to different individuals, especially children and pregnant women.
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