Essential Oils to Improve Mood & Relief Anxiety

Essential Oils to Improve Mood & Relief Anxiety

The essential oils have been used for their medicinal benefits for a very long time. Pure essential oils are extracted via distillation techniques and depending on their chemical compounds they can be used via inhalation, topical application and some are safe to be taken orally. Aromatherapy is used worldwide for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, some cognitive disorders, insomnia, and stress-related disorders.

Scientific explanation for how the essential oils or aromatherapy works:

Clinical trials have shown that the essential oils compounds are absorbed into the blood stream through inhalation or topical application. Then via blood circulation volatile compounds are carried to the brain and act on our Limbic system. The limbic system supports a variety of functions in the body including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, motor function, sensory perception, and olfaction. In fact our body's emotional and hormonal responses are in part as a result of the limbic system's reaction to sensory information including the sense of smell. Observational studies of the brain are indicative of specific EEG changes associated with alertness and relaxation by using essential oils, suggesting that aromatherapy could be effectively used in treatment for a range of mood and psychiatric disorders.

Essential oils with anti depressive & anxiety benefits:

Bergamot Oil:

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia, Risso) is a citrus fruit and it is well known for its essential oil. It is used in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety, mild mood disorders and pain. Bergamot uplifts the mood and helps with self confidence.

Several human clinical studies have evaluated psychological and physiological effects of the Bergamot oil. These studies analyzed saliva hormones, heart rate, pulse, breathing rate, skin temperature, and emotional rating questioners before and after therapy with bergamot vapor inhalation. Results showed lower cortisol level, lower heart rate, improvement in negative emotions, and fatigue scores suggesting that Bergamot Essential Oil can be used as simple way for stress reduction.

Bergamot oil blends well with Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Patchouli.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri or boswella sacra):

Frankincense oils obtained by steam distillation of aromatic Frankincense resin used in incense, perfumes, and aromatherapy. Resin is collected from bark of boswellia tree by creating perforations.

Frankincense has traditionally been used to help relieve stress related conditions. Frankincense essential oil promotes calm energy, quiets the mind and helps with meditation. In a clinical study a blend of Bergamot, Lavender, and Frankincense in the ratio of 1:1:1 based on almond oil was used as a hand massage for 5 minutes for 7 days in hospitalized patients to evaluate its effects on pain, state of anxiety and depression. Since the participant group showed more significant differences in the changes of pain score and depression than the control group, the study concluded the positive effect of the blend on pain and depression.

Frankincense oil blends well with Bergamot, Rose and Ylang Ylang.


Lavandula (Lavender) is a flowering plant in the mint family. Lavender's essential oil has shown relaxing, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is also used as natural mosquito repellent. Lavender oil is commonly used in fragrances for bath products.

In adults a few drops of Lavender oil on the pillow is shown to assist with restless sleep. Several studies have evaluated the effects of lavender oil on anxiety and depression. For example lavender oil aromatherapy was used in women with high risk of postpartum depression and in cases of post traumatic stress. In both studies participants demonstrated better sleep, better mood and reduced depression by using lavender oil aromatherapy daily.

Lavender oil has also used in oral form to improve mood and symptoms of depression. Based on a study published in International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, taking 80 mg to 160 mg capsules of lavender essential oil showed to be beneficial for symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as; disturbed sleep, somatic complaints like pain and fatigue, or general decreased quality of life. This study did not find adverse effects except mild gastrointestinal symptoms, also it did not cause drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms.

Roman Chamomile:

Chamomile is a low perennial plant with daisy like white flowers and a peaceful calming apple like scent. Chamomile is versatile herb and it is used in various forms for its medicinal properties. It is used in supplement form, as a herbal tea, in aromatherapy, and in topical creams for its anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce irritation and swelling.

Roman Chamomile essential oil is one the few oils that is generally well tolerated and safe to use with a small possibility of allergic reaction in those with allergy to ragweed. Using chamomile oil in aromatherapy is often recommended for anxiety and general depression. Few drops in a diffuser can help calm irritable babies and toddlers, while in adults it promotes inner harmony and reduces irritability, overthinking, anxiety and worry.

Studies found that the essential oil form chamomile flower heads contains a compound called azulene which is often used in perfumery, cosmetic creams, hair products, skin lotions, tooth pastes, and also in some fine liquors. Double blind control studies further support the use of chamomile essential oil as a mild sedative and for digestion besides being antibacterial and fungicidal in action.

Dry flowers of chamomile are used in herbal tea, baby massage oil, to sooth symptoms of indigestion, and for the treatment of cough and cold. Research findings suggest chamomile remedies eliminated infants colic in 57% of the cases.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the anti-anxiety and antidepressant action of chamomile (Matricaria recutita) medicinal extract in participants with symptoms of comorbid anxiety and depression. The research team observed a clinically meaningful reduction in total depression rating scores in chamomile group vs placebo in all participants.

Rose(Rosa damascena):

Rose flowers are well known for their fine fragrance, and are commercially harvested for rose oil which is used in perfumery and to make rose water and "rose concrete". The flower petals are edible and used to flavor food, as a garnish, or as an herbal tea. Rose oil It is a volatile oil obtained by distillation of the fresh flowers of R. damascena. About 3000 parts of flowers yields only one part of oil.

Rose contains several components such as terpenes, glycosides, flavonoids, and anthocyanins with beneficial effects on human health. Rose oil has been researched for different pharmacological applications such as; for its effects on the central nervous system it was found to be hypnotic, neuro-regenerative, analgesic, and anticonvulsant. The studies also suggest rose oil to be beneficial for respiratory and cardiovascular system. While others found its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Rose oil is known to be harmonising, anti depressive, it sooths feelings of anger, fear and anxiety. Anti stress action of the rose oil has been demonstrated in a double blind control study on university students, during exam time. The saliva cortisol level and Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) were measured in both Rose oil group and control group before exam, during exam and after exams. Results showed the control group, who did not inhale the rose essential oil, had a significant increase in the salivary concentration of cortisol both during and after the exams, as compared with the level before the exams. However, no significant changes in salivary cortisol were observed in the group subjected to rose essential oil inhalation. Also, control group displayed a significant increase in TEWL during the exams, whereas there were no changes at all in TEWL in the rose group. Same results were obtained in another experiment when subject were exposed to 20 minutes acute mental stress (Stroop color-word test).

Rose oil blends well with Patchouli, Lavender, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides):

Vetiver is a perennial bunchgrass and it shares many characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass and citronella. Vetiver Essential oil is extracted from the roots, and used for cosmetics, aromatherapy, herbal skincare and to make ayurvedic soaps. Vetiver essential oil is very often used in perfumes. It is contained in 90% of all perfumes and as a common ingredient in fragrances for men.

The Vetiver essential oil is amber brown; its aroma is described as deep, sweet, woody, smoky, earthy, amber, and balsam. The best quality oil is obtained from 18- to 24-month-old roots.

Vetiver oil strengthens the central nervous system, and is helpful in overcoming depression, insomnia, anxiety, stress, tension and nervousness (Wilson 1995). When locally applied in rheumatism, lumbago, headache, sprain, it is a relieving embrocation . Some people use vetiver oil as aphrodisiac (Wilson 1995).

Ylang Ylang:

Ylang Ylang essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the flowers of the ever green tropical tree known as Cananga odorata (Annonaceae). Since ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood scents, it is widely used as an ingredient in perfumes. Ylang-ylang fragrance is deep and reach with notes of Jasmine and neroli.

Ylang ylang has traditionally been used for its calming and balancing benefits. As for its balancing effects, It known to relieve extreme mood swings associated with PMS.

Ylang-ylang essential oil is known for its relaxing and calming effects in aromatherapy. Investigative research and multiple clinical studies also support its benefits on both physiological and behavioral parameters. Results showed ylang-ylang significantly helped to reduce blood pressure and psychological evaluation of participants in ylang ylang oil group were indicative of them being more calm and more relaxed than subjects in the control group.

Ylang Ylang oil Blends with Bergamot, Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine.

Use of  aromatherapy for anxiety, depression and mood disorders is common. The aroma of the essential oils through the sense of smell initiates different emotional responses by activating the limbic system in the brain. Response of our brain to the aromatic compounds also affect the heart rate, breathing, hormone levels, sweat glands and blood pressure.

General Safety information before using the Essential oils:

Only certain essential oils in a specific preparation are considered safe for ingestion; otherwise the essential oils should not be taken orally. Also do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, or other concentrated forms onto the skin without advise of a health care practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils in children. It is safest to consult a qualified practitioner before using oils with children. 

Related articles:

Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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