Essential oils for anxiety & panic – 8 oils to calm and relax

By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

Anxiety is a hugely common condition with many people suffering lots of different symptoms. 

Anxiety comes with varying, but often very different symptoms and feelings, and can originate from the endocrine and nervous systems.

While there is no scientific proof that the use of essential oils for anxiety and panic, it can be used to relax, calm and soothe a person during times of anxiety, worry and panic. 

The best Essential Oils For Anxiety & panic

  • Marjoram
  • Frankincense
  • Cedarwood
  • Mandarin
  • Grapefruit
  • Clary Sage
  • Petitgrain
  • Roman Chamomile

(While I am a qualified aromatherapist, and have many years of experience in this field, I am not medically trained)

Essential oils for anxiety & panic - 8 oils to calm & relax
Essential oils sitting on a shelf

Symptoms Of Anxiety & panic

(Symptoms can vary widely – these are my experiences)

  • A feeling of panic
  • Nausea &/or an upset stomach
  • Breathlessness
  • A feeling of being out of control 
  • Dizziness

Anxiety and panic can come in all sorts of different forms – each person will have differing experiences. However the underlying causes of panic and anxiety, are the fact that the heart rate increase, our breathing increases – both of which cause even more panic as we feel we cant breath and that our heart is beating far too fast. Our digestion in our stomach stops, which causes undigested food to just sit in our stomach and can instantly make us feel nauseous. In contrast, fear can cause the activity in our intestines speeds up, so we may feel the urge to run to the toilet.

So what we want to do, is to calm our body down, which in turn will regulate the body systems, so we feel more in control and more normal. So how can essential oils help us to do this?

How do essential oils for anxiety & Panic work?

Essential oils are the pure oils extracted from plants, herb, flowers and fruits.

Aromatherapy oils, or to use the correct term, essential oils, can penetrate either through the skin, when applied topically or through the membranes in the nose, when inhaled – the molecules are so fine that they are able to do this.

The oils then travel around the body and can have an affect on the different areas of the body.  

In the case of stress, anxiety or worry, the oils can have the effect of slowing the heart rate and breathing rate and encouraging tense muscles to relax. 

The effect of essential oils for anxiety, is likely to be an instant but short term relief, however if used consistently and regularly, could help to keep symptoms to a minimum. 

In addition, the smells of the oils have a relaxing, uplifting or nostalgic effect on us, so can instantly make us feel more calm, soothed or even uplifted and happy.

The best Essential Oils For Anxiety & panic

If you are suffering with anxiety and/or feelings of panic there are specific oils that can help with this.  Remember, that using the oils regularly, will be more effective at easing symptoms long term, however at the time of anxiety or panic they can be inhaled to bring an instant, calmer feeling to the body and mind.

To treat anxiety and panic, we want oils that will help keep us calm, oils that are soothing to the nerves, and to the mind.  

Marjoram

Marjoram is a relaxing and sedating oil, meaning that it calms and soothes the emotions during anxious episodes.

(Do not use during pregnancy)

Frankincense

This essential oil is emotionally balancing and uplifting, and is comforting and warming to those suffering with anxiety.  Is an ideal oil to use, along with other relaxation techniques to aid recover from anxious episodes.  

Cedarwood

Has a woody, sweet and almost musty aroma that is known to calm anxiety. It has a grounding effect, which will then lead to more rational thinking and behaviour.

(Avoid during pregnancy)

Mandarin

The refreshing scent of mandarin can help lift the feelings of anxiety. 

(Mandarin is phototoxic, so avoid direct sunlight after application.) 

Grapefruit

Citrus oils are known for their immediate uplifting effects due to their fresh, fruity aroma. Grapefruit is uplifting for depression and calms stressed minds.

(Be aware that grapefruit is phototoxic, meaning that if applied to the skin, sunlight should be avoided.)

Clary Sage

This oil uplifts and promotes feelings of well being and euphoria. It can also soothe nervous tension, anxiety and panic. A very useful oil to inhale at times of anxiety. It has also been known to reduce high blood pressure.

(Do not use Clary Sage during pregnancy or directly before or after alcohol, as it can increase the effect of the alcohol.)

Petitgrain

A lesser known citrus oil. Petitgrain soothes anxiety and nervous tension. It can also calm a rapid heartbeat and slow breathing. An ideal oil to use at the onset of a panic attack or at times of high anxiety.

Roman Chamomile

An extremely gentle oil, with a very light fragrance, that is good for anxiety.

(Avoid during pregnancy)

How To Use Essential Oils For Anxiety & Panic

Inhalation

For instant relieve, and to feel calm quickly inhalation of the oils is the most effective method.  You can take a sniff directly from the bottle, or add a couple of drops of your chosen oil to a handkerchief and carry it with you to inhale during the day.

Diffuser

Using a burner or a diffuser is a great way of benefitting from the effect of the oils during a period of time. The scent of the oils will fill the room, allowing you to inhale them and prolong the feeling of calm. 

Diffuser blends for anxiety & panic

Sedating & calming – Frankincense, Cedarwood & Mandarin

Clearing & refreshing – Grapefruit, Petitgrain & Chamomile

Relaxing & soothing – Marjoram, Clary sage & Grapefruit

Pulse point roller

These are ideal to carry with you, to apply to your wrists or temples when you are feeling anxious or panicky. You can inhale the aromas as well as the oils absorbing into the body to relax tense muscles, reduce heartrate and breathing rate, to calm and soothe.

Pulse point roller blends

Simply add some sweet almond oil to a 10ml roller bottle applicator, and add 4 drops of each oil.

Clear your mind & focus – Mandarin, Grapefruit & Petitgrain

Relax your body – Frankincense, Petitgrain & Chamomile

Euphoria & positivity – Clary sage & Grapefruit

Massage

Blending essential oils into a carrier oil and applying it to the skin, can also be very beneficial.   The applied essential oils will penetrate through the skin to have an effect, in addition the aromas from this blend, can be inhaled too.  Performing some gentle massage movements can have a beneficial effect to sooth anxiety and panic, to relax muscles and soothe nerve endings.

Massage oil blend

50ml sweet almond oil, 8 drops frankincense, 8 drops sandalwood, 5 drops geranium

For full blending instructions and techniques READ HERE

Mixing your own oils is a lovely activity to do at home, but if you prefer you can buy ready made aromatherapy products that will de-stress, calm and reduce anxiety.

Skin & tonic calm balm – a little pot of balm, containing natural butters, lavender and chamomile to soothe and relax. Massage onto your temples or wrists to gain the benefits.

Aromatherapy Associates Relax Body Oil – contains Chamomile, Vetiver and Ylang Ylang. Ideal to massage into the skin to promote relaxation.

E’spa Positivity Pulse Point Oil – Jasmine, Geranium, Bergamot & Sweet orange are blended together in this on-the-go pulse point oil.

Disclaimer;  I am a qualified, experienced aromatherapist.  All these oils are safe to use in small quantities.  However if you are in any doubt of an oils suitability for you, if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant, please either consult your local practitioner or contact me for a consultation.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.

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