Aromatherapy is the process of inhaling the scent of essential oils to enhance your well-being. They stimulate the smell receptors in your nose and transmit messages to your nervous system. They are also known to have a subtle effect on the body’s chemical and energy systems. Because of this, aromatherapy is often used as a natural remedy to relieve anxiety and stress.
Essential oils must be diluted with carrier oil before applying the skin. This lowers your risk of irritation. For adults, every 15 drops of essential oil should be diluted with 1 ounce of carrier oil ie 15:1. For children, the ratio is 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Some popular carrier oils are almond, coconut, and jojoba.
Essential oils should never be ingested, despite some claims on the internet that suggest differently. There’s not enough research on any one essential oil that prove it’s safe to swallow. Each essential oil is differs differently, and some are toxic.
Here are some essential oils you can use to relieve your symptoms of anxiety.
Valerian is an herb that has been known since ancient times. It’s known to have compounds that enhance sleep and calm nerves. It can have a mild sedative effect on the body.
USAGE: Add a few drops of valerian oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale. Valerian may make you sleepy or relaxed.
Jatamansi is of same plant family as valerian. It’s used in ayurvedic medicine to calm the mind and enhance sleep. According to a 2008 study on mice, jatamansi may relieve depression by lowering GABA neurotransmitters and MAO receptors in the brain.
USAGE: Massage diluted jatamansi oil into your temples or forehead.
Lavender is one of the most common aromatherapy oils. According to 2012 research, lavender aromatherapy is known to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for controlling emotions.
USAGE: Enjoy a relaxing lavender bath by mixing several drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil or an unscented bath gel. Stir the mixture into lukewarm bathwater just before entering.
Jasmine oil has a very fine floral scent. According to a 2013 research, inhaling jasmine oil can enhance a sense of well-being and romance. Unlike some other essential oils used for anxiety, jasmine oil is known to calm the nervous system without causing sleepiness.
USAGE: Inhale jasmine oil directly from the bottle or allow the scent to fill the room through a diffuser.
5. Holy basil
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, isn’t the basil you use while making lasagna. But it’s from the same family. It has eugenol, a compound that gives it a spicy, minty aroma. According to 2014 study, holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that has thought promise in treating physical and mental stress.
USAGE: The eugenol in holy basil has a very strong fragrance, so a little goes a long way. Put a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale as the oil is dispersed throughout the room.
6. SWEET BASIL
Sweet basil essential oil is gotten from the same herb that you use to make marinara sauce. In aromatherapy, it’s known to help calm the mind and relieve stress.
According to a 2015 research on mice, the phenol compounds in sweet basil oil helped relieve anxiety. These compounds were proven to be less sedating than the anxiety medication diazepam.
USAGE: Put several drops of sweet basil oil to a room diffuser or inhale through an inhaler tube.
Bergamot oil is gotten from bergamot oranges and contains an invigorating citrus scent. According to a 2015 research, both animal and human trials have proven that bergamot helps relieve anxiety and enhance mood.
When used topically, bergamot may increase sun sensitivity.
USAGE: Put a few drops of bergamot oil onto a cotton ball or handkerchief. Inhale the aroma two to three times to help relieve anxiety.
Chamomile is common for its relaxing and sedating properties and intoxicating scent. There isn’t much research needed on chamomile essential oil for anxiety. Research has proven, however, that chamomile supplements may benefit people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder.
USAGE: Massage diluted chamomile oil into your skin or put it to a warm bath water.
Rose essential oil is gotten from rose petals. Roses have an enchanting floral scent shown to relax the senses.
According to 2014 study, making use of a rose aromatherapy footbath can minimize anxiety in pregnant women during labor.
USAGE: Soak your feet in a basin filled with warm water and diluted rose essential oil. You can also mix it with rose oil to your favorite non-scented moisturizer or shea butter and massage into skin.
Frankincense oil is gotten from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It has a musky, sweet aroma that’s known to ease anxiety. According to a 2008 study, an aromatherapy hand massage using a blend of frankincense, lavender, and bergamot decrease anxiety, depression, and pain in those with terminal cancer.
USAGE: Massage diluted frankincense oil onto your hands or feet. You can also add frankincense to a diffuser.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Although research has proven that aromatherapy may help relieve anxiety, it’s no substitute for contacting your doctor. If you have a stressful day at work or you’re anxious due to an important appointment, an aromatherapy session or two might be just what is needed.
But if you experience chronic anxiety that intrude with daily activities, see your doctor or a mental health professional. They can work with you to develop a management plan tailored to your requirement.