FACT OR FICTION
There are A LOT of people out there who swear by using oils, and others that think it’s witchcraft (like most other natural remedies). Truth is, oils have been around for decades, and they aren’t leaving anytime soon. So it’s time to decide, FACT OR FICTION, do essential oils help relieve anxiety symptoms, and if so, which essential oil is best.
What Are Essential Oils?
Jade Shutes writes: “The term “essential oil” is a contraction of the original “quintessential oil.” This stems from the Aristotelian idea that matter is composed of four elements, namely, fire, air, earth, and water. The fifth element, or quintessence, was then considered to be spirit or life force. Distillation and evaporation were thought to be processes of removing the spirit from the plant and this is also reflected in our language since the term “spirits” is used to describe distilled alcoholic beverages such as brandy, whiskey, and eau de vie. The last of these again shows reference to the concept of removing the life force from the plant. Nowadays, of course, we know that, far from being spirit, essential oils are physical in nature and composed of complex mixtures of chemicals.”
How cool is that? Essential oils are held in plants and can be extracted in several different ways; and also used in several different ways. They can be used by humans for healing purposes, by insects for pollination, or by the plant itself for protection. In order to keep the oil truly essential, it must be isolated by only physical means…or distillation/expression. After it is extracted, we can then use it for our healing needs.
Essential oils are also known as “volatile compounds“. This is because they can change from solid to liquid to gas so quickly. They are also what give plants/flowers their distinct smell. So when you open a bottle of essential oils, it can be a very potent smell, even from across the room. This is because its unique chemical properties allow it to carry quick through the air, which is why they are used in diffusers (to fill the room with their properties and get to your olfactory sensors faster). But what essential oil is best for anxiety?
How Do Essential Oils Help Relieve Anxiety?
As I said earlier, essential oils can travel through the air very quickly. Well, they can also travel through our bodies quickly. When we take a breath, air is immediately taken in through our nose and into the lungs. If we breath in an oil complex, signals are sent to the limbic system of the brain. This system rules our emotions, so when inhaling an essential oil, we can have feelings of joy, calmness, and peace depending on what we are smelling. The limbic system also regulates blood pressure, breathing rate, hormones and stress levels…all of which are a crucial part of regulating anxiety.
Best Essential Oils for Anxiety
Now that you know what essential oils are, let’s talk about which essential oil is good for anxiety.
Lavender: We all KNOW that relaxing feeling when we breathe in lavender (unless your allergic, haha). It has been known to improve mental concentration, reduce stress, calm agitation and alleviate insomnia.
Rose: settling to the emotional heart and is great for relieving anxiety/depression, panic attacks, grieving and shock.
Cedarwood: promotes the release of serotonin. Can also act as a natural sedative because serotonin is converted to melatonin.
Vetiver: has a grounding energy to help with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization.
Ylang Ylang: great for cheerfulness, courage and optimism. Has also been shown to calm heart agitation and palpitations.
Chamomile: enhances inner harmony and decreases irritability, overthinking and worry.
Frankincense: helps deepin meditation and quiet the mind. Provides a calming energy and can also help with pain and depression.
Valerian Root: great for relieving tension and pain that comes from excess anxiety.
Essential Oils are NOT the same are Fragrance Oils
Essential Oil Recipes for Anxiety
There is nothing wrong with just getting the benefits from one oil at a time, but mixing a few together can be even more beneficial! Here are a few blends that can really pack a punch for relieving anxiety:
2 drops bergamot
2 drops clary sage
1 drop frankincense
3 drops lavender
2 drops clary sage
1 drop rose
1 drop lavender
2 drops mandarin
1 drop vetiver
Multiply your blend by 3 or 4 to get a decent amount. Add oils to dark colored glass bottles and roll them in your hands to mix (no shaking).
Essential oils can be absorbed by the bloodstream in as quick as 5 minutes.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are a few different ways you can get the benefits of essential oils. This is all based on personal preference and what works best for you! It has not been proven whether or not diffusing or applying topically have more/less benefits for relieving anxiety.
- Diffusing (aromatherapy): place a few drops into a diffuser in your home and allow the sent to fill the air, breathe it in.
- Rubbing on hands: A few drops in your hands, rub them together and cup your hands to your face. You can also add a drop to a cotton ball or handkerchief and have it on the go.
- Lotions: you can add essential oils with unscented carrier oils (like almond, jojoba, moringa or coconut oil) and put them in lotions.
- Bath: adding a few drops to a bath can make things extra relaxing..not to mention you are then inhaling and absorbing the oils
- Topical: putting oils on your temples, jaw, behind ears, neck, wrists, shins, inner ankles, big toe, bottoms of feet can all help relieve anxiety. Finding the best placement for relief is up to you.
Brands to Trust
There are a lot of companies out there now that are creating “oils”, but not all are reputable. Unfortunately, there is no certification or approval a company has to go through in order to sell 100% pure oil. The best option is to buy from a brand that uses the scientific name, is certified organic and puts all their information/studies out in the open for the public. Another good indicator of a pure oil company is price. Essential oils are expensive, but you get what you pay for. If you have a lower price, the quality is likely to be lower. You can also use word of mouth and pick a brand that others are using and like, research is key. Here is a list of essential oil companies that have great products:
» Young Living
» Edens Garden
» Mountain Rose Herbs
» Rocky Mountain
» Plant Therapy
Never store essential oils in plastic containers.
I cannot tell you first hand if essential oils work to relieve anxiety, as I have not tried them. But, there are great reviews out there that show amazing results for people. Like everything else I talk about, this is not going to be an end all, be all for everyone. We are all different, our bodies all react different. So again, if you are looking to get relief, try them, what do you have to lose? Truth is, I didn’t know much about oils before writing this blog. That is half the reason i write these, because the research and learning is just as exciting for me as it is for you! So, after reading up on this, I have just ordered a diffuser and a set of start oils! WOOHOOO, let’s see if this stuff really works!
I must say, the natural herbs and supplements are working wonders for me…as well as meditation. Take a look at those blogs if you are interested in learning more about their benefits on anxiety relief! And as always, feel free to ask me questions!