Essential oils are an amazing tool for any holistic health enthusiast. These highly concentrated oils have the power to treat or support the treatment of many health conditions and to increase wellbeing.
The oils are obtained through a distillation process of a plant, which extracts the essence or aroma from that plant. Essential oils are also called volatile oils as they evaporate quickly. For example, when you make a cup of peppermint tea, the aroma you get from your tea is the essential oil evaporating into the air.
To tell if an essential oil is pure, you can place a drop of a piece of paper. If it doesn’t leave any trace when it is completely dry, then your oil is 100% pure. If it is mixed with a carrier oil, then it will leave an oil stain on the paper.
These are my favourite essential oils for anxiety. Not only do they smell wonderful, but they have also been scientifically proven to decrease anxiety.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - This is the most widely studied essential oil for anxiety and insomnia. A few drops in a diffuser or on your pillow can help you get a deeper sleep. You can also apply a few drops to your wrists. Lavender is also an anti-microbial and can be used on wounds.
Rose (Rosa damascena) - This oil has been found to ease tension and lift the spirit. It is commonly used to alleviate anxiety and depression.
Bergamot (Citrus aurantium) - Bergamot give Earl Grey tea it’s distinct flavour. Part of the citrus family, Bergamot has been found to relieve anxiety. The citrus family also offers a nice invigorating effect.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) - Sandalwood has been traditionally used for relaxation and anxiety. It has a more sedating effect and can improve quality of sleep and increase non-REM sleep.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) - Clary sage acts be calming the nervous system. It is beneficial for anxiety and can help relieve insomnia. It has also been found to decrease cortisol levels, which are associated with increased stress.
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) - Roman chamomile is also commonly used to easy anxiety. It is also helpful in decreasing tension, anger and discontent and can also ease restlessness and insomnia.
Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.) - Geranium essential oil serves to decrease anxiety, and also as an anti-depressant and can also help with muscle cramping and nerve pain when added to a massage oil.
Essential oils should be used topically or inhaled, and should not be consumed internally. This is due to the high potency of the oils, which are strong enough to cause damage to the liver. Most oils should also be diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil, grapeseed oil or fragmented coconut oil to be applied topically.
I also love adding some essential oils to my dishwashing soap or hand soap. I buy a jug of unscented soap in bulk (I bring my empty jug to the health food store to refill it to avoid using more plastic) and use that to keep refilling smaller soap dispensers, adding a few drops of essential oil to give it a nice aroma without adding any chemicals. Try it, you’ll love it!