Essential oils can have many uses. “The therapeutic effect of plants can be concentrated into medicinal powders, tinctures, and essential oils and, when used appropriately, can help you feel better, sleep better and think more clearly,” Joseph Clarke, nationally certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, acupuncturist and integrative medicine, told Reader’s Digest. Jan Stritzler, corrective yoga instructor at Complete Wellness NYC, agrees. “There is compelling research on the antiviral and antibacterial properties of oils as well as studies on the impact of essential oils on emotional health, including anxiety, depression, mood, and concentration,” she added.
So, exactly what essential oils should you use for anxiety? Here are seven of the best, and one that’s better to avoid.
Juniper and lavender oils are among the best essential oils for anxiety
Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, Harvard-trained physician and founder of Sage Tonic, claims juniper oil is one of the best essential oils for those who are stressed or anxious. “Several traditional healing cultures have used it as a calming agent to help with cases of burnout, stress, and anxiety,” Milosavljevic said. She also recommends lavender oil and jasmine oil. “Jasmine oil helps to hydrate the skin and has been known to be gentle enough to help with eczema, although anyone can use it,” she explained. “If you’re in need of a few extra z’s, this oil can be calming to those having trouble falling asleep thanks to its soothing quality and ability to relieve anxiety.” Other essential oils listed by Reader’s Digest are Roman chamomile oil, rose oil, and vetiver oil, largely due to their calming effect.
In terms of what to avoid, it’s best to stay away from rosemary oil, as it may make your anxiety worse. “It depends on the type of anxiety you have,” Dr. Eugene Lee, assistant professor of family medicine at Loyola University Medical Center, told Health, explaining that it can activate your brain in an unwanted way. However, he added, “if you have racing thoughts and rosemary helps clear your mind so you can focus better, it might help.”
As everyone reacts differently when it comes using essential oils for anxiety, it’s simply a matter of trial and error to see what works best for you.
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