Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or simple nervousness plagues you at inopportune times, there are natural solutions that can help you relax and regain proper perspective. Aromatherapy, or the use of scents produced by essential oils, has proven time and time again to be an effective anxiety treatment. And among the many oils used in this “alternative” medicine, some truly stand out as anti-anxiety solutions.
Here are some awesome herbs to use with anxiety-smashing aromatherapy.
Lavender oil is perhaps the most well-known aromatherapy treatment for anxiety. This is why lavender scent is found in so many candles, linen sprays, bath oils, and spa lotions—because it has relaxing properties. But better than an artificial scent is reasonably priced, authentic essential oil.
One study, published in the American Journal of Hospital Palliative Care, found that cancer patients exposed to lavender-infused air from a humidifier experienced less anxiety than those who weren’t. In addition, the lavender-scented vapor was credited with reducing blood pressure, pulse, and depression while increasing a sense of well-being.
In 2009, a study found in the journal Human Psychopharmacology indicated lavender essential oil could help reduce anxiety when subjects were confronted with otherwise disturbing film clips. While the lavender in this study was orally administered (and not all essential oils are labeled for oral administration), the findings indicated significant anti-anxiety effects of the sweet smelling oil.
These calming effects can even be seen in how lavender helps study subjects to focus. Researchers whose findings were published in a 1998 volume of the International Journal of Neuroscience found that subjects were better able to figure math computations after treatment with lavender aromatherapy. The participants were more relaxed and even drowsy after the treatment, but their ability to solve math problems was greatly enhanced through this relaxation.
Another study combined the effects of lavender and orange essential oils, finding both were able to reduce anxiety and improve mood in patients waiting for a dentist’s appointment. The sounds of the drill and even the smells of a dentist office are often enough to quicken your pulse. But as the researchers found, those patients who were treated with ambient odor of either lavender or orange were far more relaxed than a control group.
Bergamot, another citrus, is a good option for anxiety-reducing aromatherapy, as it’s been shown to quell the body’s natural responses to stress.
Other oils for anxiety
Other essential oils are recommended for anxiety reduction, though lavender and orange remain the most frequently studied. Things like chamomile, pine, and clary sage could have similar beneficial effects.