How to Use Essential Oils for Anxiety

African-american woman listening calm music and relaxing

When symptoms of anxiety and panic occur and persist, they can be debilitating, paralyzing and cause a feeling of hopelessness.  With anxiety, the physiological changes that happen in the brain — the neurons and neurotransmitters become excited and fire in a frenzy, placing the body into sympathetic mode and stress occurs.  

While we all experience feelings of dread, uneasiness and fear from time to time, people with constant anxiety feel as if they are at war in a sense. And when your brain is constantly in fight or flight mode, your body begins to notice the difference. 

Luckily, essential oils are a natural and effective way to ease symptoms of anxiety and its underlying emotions — and the options are limitless. 

Below, you’ll learn how to properly use essential oils and help improve your quality of life by relieving symptoms of anxiety.

Do essential oils really work for anxiety?

The direct answer: yes, essential oils really work for people experiencing anxiety, fear or panic.. It is widely accepted that the various forms of essential oil application — topically, via inhalation (aromatherapy) or, in some cases only, internally — all hold unique benefits for the mind, body and spirit.

According to Oxford Research, one of the many benefits of aromatherapy comes in its effectiveness in maintaining sleep despite a stressful situation. 

Essential oils have also been shown to reduce the side effects of anxiety, such as severe acne breakouts, hair loss and fluctuations in mood. 

Your body responds differently to the various forms and applications of essential oils. Read below and talk to a Certified Aromatherapist or Clinically Certified Aromatherapist to find which essential oils work best for you.

How to apply essential oils for anxiety and panic disorders 

1. Inhaling essential oils

The most effective way to assist with Anxiety is inhalation.  The change of state is instantaneous. Aromatherapy is essentially the inhalation of essential oils or stock blends through an aroma stick or nasal inhaler. Aromatherapy directly impacts the limbic brain and forebrain (the frontal lobe of the cerebrum), which is extremely powerful with emotions.

What to avoid when formulating for an inhaler

Some oils have the ability to irritate the mucosal membrane of your nose. Be sure to avoid thyme, clove bud, oregano, cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass and peppermint to name a few.

2. Apply them topically

Topical application is just another way of saying that you’re using essential oils on your skin. While there are many benefits of using essential oils topically, it is important that you do not apply them without first blending them with a carrier oil. (unless you have formal education in using oils Neat)

Use a carrier oil

When applying Stillpoint essential oils topically — especially if you are trying essential oils for the first time — we highly recommend diluting them with carrier oils.

Some common carrier oils include: 

For sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin, you can use the following carrier oils:

Understand dilution ratios when applying topically

As skin sensitivity to essential oils varies, the following measurements should be taken to avoid irritation or burns to any part of the skin:

  • 1% in one ounce: 5-6 drops (best for kids, the sick, or the elderly)
  • 2% in one ounce: 10-12 drops
  • 3% in one ounce: 15-16 drops
  • 5% in one ounce: 25-30 drops
  • 7% in one ounce: 35-42 drops
  • 10% in one ounce: 50-60 drops

Topical application concerns and considerations 

Not all essential oils are meant to be directly used on your skin — with or without carrier oils. It is best to try out essential oils on areas that absorb oils the least, like your palms, soles and arms.

Areas to avoid

Avoid placing essential oils on your genitals.  Also, be careful of dilution rates when blending for the face.  Be careful not to apply too close to the eyes. 

3. Use essential oils internally

If you plan on using any essential oils internally, consult with an aromatherapist for best practices first. Some essential oils, like tea tree, are toxic if improperly ingested. 

While the FDA recognizes this list of essential oils as safe to use, it is important to remember that essential oils are concentrated from multiple plants — i.e. one drop of lemon essential oil is made from pounds upon pounds of lemon rinds — and are not easily digested by the body. 

The ingestion of essential oils can cause stomach irritation, ulcerations in the mouth, esophageal tract and stomach lining, as well as severe allergic reaction, seizures and the wearing away of teeth enamel. 

If you are interested in learning how to use essential oils in this manner, consider joining me in Stillpoint’s Aromatherapy Certification Program.

10 great essential oils for anxiety 

With anti-anxiety treatments, what works for some people may not work so well for others. Before giving these powerful essential oils a try, be sure to contact your medical health provider or a Clinically Certified Aromatherapist to check for any allergies or sensitivities.

1. Rhododendron essential oil

Rhododendron anthopogon essential oil is a Stillpoint favorite, and one we believe should be at the top of every list of essential oils for anxiety. It’s grounding, calming, and centering properties make it an effective treatment for anxiety. Not to be confused with the plants grown in North America (which are toxic and should not be used in any manner), Rhododendron anthopogon helps us deal with emotional traumas and guides us to heal broken lifelines, create reconciliation and reconnect us to our inner joy.

2. Lavender essential oil

Generally regarded as one of the most versatile oils around, Lavender truly has its benefits when it comes to treating symptoms of anxiety. Lavender is known to induce states of relaxation and sedation, alter EEG responses, enhance deep sleep and improve energy when awake. Read our blog on alternative uses for Lavender and see if they work for you.

3. Angelica Root essential oil 

Ideal for fatigue and stress-related disorders, Angelica Root is known for alleviating feelings of hopelessness and dread, as well as aiding the digestive system — all things impacted by anxiety. Angelica Root has revitalizing and restoring properties that help the body rebuild strength after severe illnesses, and is considered to be an extremely potent purifier for your lymph nodes and blood circulation. 

4. Frankincense essential oil

Frankincense essential oil is revered as one of the oldest and world’s most powerful essential oils. Known for its grounding, yet expansive properties, it boasts relief from depression and anxiety, while providing sedation and calm to the restless mind and spirit. Best used in combination with other essential oils. 

 5. Bergamot essential oil

Known for its sedative, uplifting properties, Bergamot essential oil helps with clarity, indigestion and ailments with the nervous system (i.e. Parkinson’s). Its anti-stress and antidepressant activity makes it popular amongst those struggling with symptoms of anxiety, as its muscle-relaxing properties can help the most frantic minds find peace. 

6. Neroli essential oil

Neroli essential oil is known for its stress-relieving and mood-enhancing effects. It reduces inflammation in the body and helps alleviate high blood pressure, IBS, indigestion, insomnia, and headaches — all caused by anxiety. When inhaling Neroli essential oil, it is believed to transmit messages to a region in the brain involved with controlling emotions. 

7. Palo Santo essential oil

Spanish for “saint wood” due to its spiritual, Incan history, Palo Santo essential oil is said to clear spaces and minds of negative energy. Commonly used to aid in meditation and spiritual connection, it is also filled with protective quality for our homes, hearts and spirits. Specifically used for panic attacks, Palo Santo is a mood lifter, and can even help with severe depression — especially when combined with other antidepressive oils.

8. Fragonia essential oil

Fragonia essential oil is one that always goes deeper by releasing both physical and emotional blockages. Known to be a regulating and balancing oil, it helps balance the body’s natural healing abilities — helping you build resilience, embrace extraordinary shifts in your psyche and release any patterns that no longer serve you.

9. Rosewood essential oil

Known for driving away anxious thoughts, disappointment and sadness, Rosewood essential oil prepares you to approach life with a refreshingly positive perspective. Its deeply sedative, emotional healing properties offer support to the mind and body. This uplifting essential oil also has benefits on skin and the immune system, which can be impacted by anxiety. 

10. St. John’s Wort

Known for diffusing an uplifting aroma that both relieves pain and relaxes muscles, St. John’s Wort is perfect for recovering after a stressful day. It’s anti-inflammatory and sedative properties are helpful for reinserting our personal power, in life and beyond.  

3 best essential oils for child anxiety

There’s a lot of information out there about using essential oils for childhood anxiety and panic disorders. 

While there is no shortage of possibilities and benefits, it is best to read our blog post here to understand the risks and benefits.

Is it safe to use essential oils on my child?

Despite the array of information telling you that you can use essential oils with your kids, we recommend proceeding with caution. Here are three essential oils we recommend for treating anxiety in children — whether in a blend or a diffuser.

1. Lavender 

While not all Lavender essential oil is safe for children, our France-sourced oil is perfect for calming nerves and aiding in sleep.

2. Roman Chamomile essential oil

Effective for anxiety, fear, exhaustion and nervous tension, Roman Chamomile essential oil helps primarily with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in children. For babies with colic, it is safe to dilute one drop of Roman Chamomile essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil.

3. Sweet Orange 

Sweet Orange is a cold-pressed, citrus essential oil. Sweet orange essential oil is perfect because of its delightfully sweet aroma, and because it is not as phototoxic (sun-reactant) as other citrus essential oils. 

For more tips on using essential oils for kids, read our blog post here.

5 essential oil blends for anxiety and panic attacks 

When combined, some essential oils create more powerful and noticeable results than when taken alone. 

1. Overwhelm Be Gone Specialty Blend 

Also known as Essere Sopraffatti (Italian for “being overwhelmed”), we specially formulated our Overwhelm Be Gone Speciality Blend to help relieve the state of being emotionally inundated and overburdened. Made with Nutmeg essential oil (Myristica fragrans), Steam Distilled Orange and a drop of our STR trauma flower essence

2. Emergenza Speciality Blend 

Also known as Emergenza (you guessed it), we specially formulated our Emergenza Specialty Blend to address your need for an uplifting and relaxing formula that helps create an energy of safety. Made with Sweet Orange essential oil, Palo Santo essential oil, Anise Seed essential oil, Dill Seed essential oil, Mugwort essential oil, Fennel Seed essential oil and Nutmeg essential oil.

3. Integration Speciality Blend 

Specially formulated to help piece together the fragmented parts of ourselves, our Integration Speciality Blend is perfect for dealing with anxiety-inducing traumas from the past. Made with Balsam Copaiba essential oil, Jasmine essential oil, White Sage essential oil and Rhododendron essential oil.

 4. Sweetness Specialty Blend

Our Sweetness Specialty Blend is specially formulated for the emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. This uplifting yet calming blend reduces stress and anxiety, while filling your spring to summer transition with a touch of outdoor sweetness. Made with White Ginger Lily Absolute, Ylang Ylang essential oil, and Bergamot essential oil (not phototoxic).

5. Solstice of Summer Specialty Blend

Our Solstice of Summer Specialty Blend was specially formulated for the solstice, eliciting a feeling of hope, joy and anticipation for all things to come. It signifies new beginnings, joyfulness, calmness, clarity, empowerment and protection. Made with Lime essential oil, Honey Myrtle, Mugwort Flower Essence and Helichrysum Flower Essence.

4 essential oil recipes for anxiety

In addition to our pre-sold mixes, here are some anti-anxiety essential oil recipes you can make yourself.

 1. Anti-Anxiety Rhododendron Recipe

This recipe to helps with nighttime anxiety and fearful thoughts:

  • 9 drops Rhododendron (Rhododendron anthopogon)
  • 5 drops Laurel Leaf (Laurel Leaf) 
  • 5 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 
  • 1 drop White Ginger Lily (Hedychium coronarium)
  • 1 drop Rose (Rose damascena)

2. Vivid Dream Oil – 2%

This recipe helps induce sleep and maintains peaceful dreams for restless minds:

  • 2 ounces Jojoba (wax)
  • 7 drops Mugwort (Artemisia herba alba)
  • 7 drops Spanish Sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia)
  • 7 drops Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)

3. Emotional Heart Healing Diffuser Blend

This recipe helps to heal the heart from emotional wounds and life-altering traumas:

  • 15 drops Rhododendron (Rhododendron anthopogon) 
  • 3 drops Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
  • 5 drops Laurel Leaf (Lauris nobilus)
  • 7 drops Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)

4. Mood Lifter Inhaler

This inhalable recipe helps uplift the mood while promoting a mindset of courage, achievement and calm:

  • 7 drops Bergamot essential oil (Citrus bergamia)
  • 5 drops Bergamot Mint essential oil (Mentha citrata)
  • 6 drops Laurel Leaf (Laurus nobilis)

Trust Stillpoint’s expert-sourced essential oils for anxiety

At Stillpoint Aromatics, we naturally source the highest quality essential oils to help balance your mind and body – especially when it comes to treating symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder. 

To view our extensive collection of essential oils for anxiety, click here