Are you looking for natural ways to help manage your anxiety? You’re at the right place: research has shown certain essential oils can be used to reduce anxiety and stress.

Throughout our lives, most of us will experience some anxiety. Whether caused by specific stressors or of a more pervasive and chronic nature, unchecked anxiety can deplete your total wellness, including your emotional, personal, social, and professional relationships and health. Luckily, there are natural remedies out there to help put anxiety in check.

Essential oils (EOs) have been used over the years to address a variety of health concerns — including anxiety.

Sick of feeling anxious? Keep reading on to learn more about the top ten essential oils to help manage symptoms of anxiety.

five bottles of essential oils and their corresponding plants

A person often finds an essential oil scent pleasant and associates it with an emotional state that they want, such as invigoration or tranquility.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are aromatic compounds that can be found in nature, such as flowers, leaves, seeds, tree bark, fruits, and seeds. For centuries, humans have used herbs, essential oils, and aromatherapy as natural remedies for managing anxiety. Specifically, the scent of essential oils has a strong influence on mood. In the past, essential oils have also been studied for treating anxiety. The oils now come in a variety of forms, and the applied method depends on the desired effect and essential oil (EO) being used. For example, some essential oils need more dilution if applied topically or are more effective when diffused. (1)

The top 10 essential oils for managing anxiety


Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils, known for its relaxing and soothing effects. With its lovely floral aroma and high content of linalyl acetate and linalool, multiple studies suggest that lavender is effective at easing anxiety. (2)

When using lavender oil to treat anxiety, applying it topically is the fastest way to reap the benefits. (3)(4)
Recommended use: Massage

lavender plant on table and in a white bowl

The therapeutic properties of lavender EO become apparent in as little as five minutes after rubbing it onto the skin. (5)


Orange essential oil has an intense citrus fruit fragrance that carries powerful and uplifting benefits. Inhaling orange oil has been found to relieve children’s anxieties at the dentists’, help women overcome anxiety during labor, and even curb feelings of pain in patients with broken bones in the emergency room. (7)(8)(9)
Recommended use: Diffuse

Did you know?
Inhaling yuzu, which is another citrus fruit like orange, may help suppress anger and hostility linked to PMS. (10)


Chamomile is popular for its calming properties and for being an effective natural sleep aid before bedtime in its tea form. While it is limited, some research on chamomile essential oil has pointed to chamomile being useful for managing mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder. (11)
Recommended use: Inhale


Rose essential oil comes from the petals of a rose flower. Its mesmerizing floral scent has been shown by numerous studies to help relax the senses and combat anxiety. (12)(13) One 2014 found that using rose oil in a foot bath may help lower anxiety in pregnant women during labor. (14)
Recommended use: Bath


Valerian essential oil comes from an herb that has been shown to have strong calming and sedative effects, making it a good EO to use at the end of the day. (15) Research has shown that giving patients aromatic hand massages using valerian EO has a calming and de-stressing effect. (16)
Recommended use: Massage


Bergamot oil helps to invigorate your senses, stimulate blood flow, improve mood, and relieve symptoms of anxiety. (17)(18) A study from 2005 findings suggested bergamot essential oil — when diffused in a room— makes for a very effective adjunct treatment to improve individuals’ mental health and well being. (19)
Recommended use: Diffuse

oil diffuser on table, diffusing into a living room

Diffusing essential oils is one of the most effective and popular ways to enjoy the therapeutic benefits.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang is a fragrant essential oil often used aromatically to spread a strong feeling of calm and confidence. A 2006 study found that inhaling ylang ylang helped improve professionals’ sense of self-esteem. (20)
Recommended use: Inhale


Frankincense has a musky, sweet aroma that has been shown to help melt away stress, anxiety, and pain. (21) One study found massaging with frankincense EO can help manage anxiety and pain levels in terminal cancer patients. (22)
Recommended use: Massage


Jasmine EO not only has been shown to help alleviate anxiety, but it also helps for relaxation and sleep. (23) One study that focused on heart patients in the ICU found that Jasmine EO can help reduce anxiety, increase sleep, and stabilize blood pressure. (24)
Recommended use: Inhale


Looking for more clarity, peace, and focus? Sandalwood EO has been shown to have a powerful therapeutic effect on the brain. One study found sandalwood to be effective at reducing anxiety levels in people living with serious, life-threatening illnesses, while another found that — when massaged into the skin — it may lower blood pressure and curb anger. (25)(26)
Recommended use: Massage

8 Ways to use essential oils to manage anxiety


Add 3-4 drops of essential oil to a room diffuser and inhale. Room diffusers are a great way to spread the therapeutic fragrance throughout a room – for example, to enhance relaxation at the end of a long day to unwind and fall asleep.


Boil some water on the stove and add in no more than 2 drops of essential into in a bowl. Then drape a towel over your head, keep eyes closed, and inhale deeply with your head over the bowl.


Add no more than 20 drops of essential oil to a washcloth and place it on the ground of the shower where the water hits. You can also take the oil and sprinkle some against the walls and turn up the shower for steam to build up before getting in.


Add in no more than 2 drops per two tablespoons of essential oil to your choice of massage oil or lotion. Use it for massage and pack a travel-friendly container for rubbing on neck, wrists, ankles, and chest.


Place no more than 1-2 drops of essential oil on a cotton pad or tissue and take a deep breath, or inhale directly from the bottle. For a milder effect, you can dab the cotton pad and place close to you as it evaporates into the air.


Add 6-12 drops to your bath once the tub is filled just before getting in. Do you have sensitive skin? Dilute the essential oil in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and add to warm water.


Fill a 2oz spray bottle with distilled water. Then add 10-15 drops of essential oil to a spray bottle along with 1 teaspoon of salt or vinegar to emulsify the oil to the water. To use, shake and spray throughout the air.


A store-bought diluted roll-on with one or more essential oil blends can be a great way to take your therapeutic treatment on-the-go or at work. Rub on wrists three times a day. (27)

Did you know?
Undiluted essential oils should not be applied topically because they can irritate and burn skin, nor are they supposed to be ingested.

woman adding essential oil from bottle to a small container

Anxious? Blend together a carrier lotion, bergamot oil, and lavender and take in deep breaths as you give yourself a mini hand massage. You are likely to feel the ultra-relaxing effects within in minutes. (28)

The bottom line

Although safety testing has shown essential oils have few side effects when used as directed, it’s always best to consult with your practitioner first. This is because there is a huge variety of essential oil qualities and concentrations.

If you’re thinking about giving one of these essential oils a try, just be sure to touch base with any doctor or mental-health professionals you’re currently seeing for anxiety. Your practitioner can help you get started, show you how to find quality EOs, as well as alert you to any potential side effects or risky interactions. Then, you’re all set to diffuse, steam, shower, inhale, or massage your way to an anxiety-free, aromatic lifestyle!

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