The Best Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression and How to Use Them

These Essential Oils Are Known to Support Those Who Suffer from Anxiety and Depression


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A few years ago I was suffering from a traumatic experience that left me grappling with the consequences for years to come: a continuous state of anxiety and bouts of severe depression. In the midst of that, I turned to several wellness tools to help me cope and try to feel like my old self again. I used energy healing, prayer, talking to loved ones, essential oils and several other healing modalities.

Photo by Christin Hume

While not one of those was the magic bullet* (essential oils are not a cure and you should seek medical assistance if you’re suffering from persistent states of anxiety and depression) that fixed everything for me, each one played a pivotal role in helping me to feel safe again.  For example, when feelings of impending doom would come over, I’d use a few drops of essential oils which would instantly calm me to some degree. Here is a deep dive into how essential oils can help you too!

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils, “come from the leaves, flowers, roots, barks, and peels of plants,” says certified doctor of natural medicine Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C. and founder of They are what helps the plant to survive and resist diseases and insects. The oils contain the pure essence, resonance and frequency of the plant itself. There’s no wonder why indigenous cultures around the world have been using plants for their medicinal properties!

The oils are extracted from the plant using steam-distillation, cold pressing or CO2 extraction process. A plant on its own contains a very low amount of these concentrated compounds — less than 1%. For example, it takes 10,000 roses to fill a single 5ml bottle of essential oils! As a result, they are potent concoctions that have mega therapeutic benefits.

The Effects of Essential Oils on Anxiety and Depression

Smell is the oldest sense we have and it’s so powerful, that a study observed people emit a scent when they are overly anxious. You can also sense fear and disgust, according to a 2012 study.

According to Crossinology, “your sense of smell is the only sense that is not filtered by the cortex of the brain. Since smell is not filtered, we are unable to consciously control our reaction to it.” You’ll know what I mean when you walk into a room and smell freshly baked cookies — you’ll want to eat them even if you weren’t even hungry before you got there!

That has powerful implications for anyone in the middle of a panic attack or suffering from PTSD. That means that the therapeutic benefits of the oils can go directly to the source of the issue BEFORE you have time to think about it.

Smell directly impacts our limbic system, which is intimately connected to our moods, feelings and experiences.

How to Use Essential Oils

There are so many different ways to use essential oils. Here are just a few examples:

Aromatherapy Inhaler

Aromatherapy inhalers are little plastic tubes that have cotton in them that are saturated with essential oils. Placing them in one nostril, closing the other with your finger and taking a few deep breaths allows you to get concentrated doses of the scent. They’re great because they are small, travel-size and discreet. So, if some unpleasant emotions come up while you’re in public, you can easily use it without attracting too much attention. You can either buy them online or make them yourself.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Diffusers are little machines that emit essential oils into the air. They’re great for the home, office or anywhere else you spend lots of time. I like to use a diffuser in the living room so the healing scent can greet anyone walking in the door, or on my nightstand so my husband and I can have a peaceful night of sleep. There are four types of essential oil diffusers:

  • Nebulizer Diffusers: Use an atomizer to blow tiny particles of the oils into the air without using any heat or water. This is reportedly the most powerful kind of diffuser, albeit the most expensive.
  • Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers: This is the kind of diffuser I use. Ultrasonic diffusers use water to release a fine mist into the air.
  • Heat Diffusers: Use heat and a fan to disperse the oils. Keep in mind that heat can alter the compounds of the essential oils, thus affecting their healing benefits.
  • Evaporative Diffusers: These allow the oils to evaporate on their own, so you won’t get a steady, consistent stream of scent as the diffusers above.

Essential Oils on the Skin

For emotional healing, it’s best to rub essential oils on your forehead as it contains several Neurovascular Points, known as the “Bennett reflexes” after chiropractor Terrence Bennett who first discovered them in the 1930s. The most effective spots are the inside of the eyebrows, over the temples and at the base of the hairline on both the right and left hemisphere of the forehead.

Remember that essential oils are extremely concentrated compounds and should be handled with care. Some of them can burn your skin. As such, you should be aware of which ones are safe for topical use and always mix them in a carrier oil (i.e., fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba, etc.). All the oils listed below are safe for topical use.

In the Bath or Shower

You can make your daily bathroom routines a self-care sanctuary! Drop 10-15 drops of essential oils after you’ve filled the bath or sprinkle a few drops on the shower floor before turning the faucet on. The heat from the water will create a steaming effect to for an in-home spa experience!

On Your Pillow

You can use a few drops of essential oils on a facial tissue and insert it under your pillowcase before you go to bed. You’ll breathe in the aromatherapy all night long!

Essential Oil Room Spray

Instead of buying pricey and commercial chemical sprays from the store, you can easily make your own non-toxic version. Simply fill an 8oz spray bottle with water and add 20-40 drops of essential oils. Spray whenever you need an instant boost.

Aromatherapy Necklace

If you don’t want to apply essentials oils directly on your skin, you can also use aromatherapy necklaces. They act as a diffuser and won’t stain your clothes.

Aromatherapy Candles

Finally, you can use aromatherapy candles around the home. This is a non-committal way of experimenting with essential oils if you’re not sure about buying the oils yourself. Just make sure you use candles that have a non-toxic, all-natural base so you don’t emit and inhale harmful chemicals, such as lead and formaldehyde.

Where to Buy Essential Oils

I am partial to Rocky Mountain Oils because they have the best balance between quality and price point. I also love that they don’t use network marketing or MLM to distribute their products. They’re a good ‘ol fashioned company that allows me to just order my oils directly from them online.

They only source their essential oils from small farms in a sustainable way, don’t use any adulterants, and submit all of their products through two independent tests used in the industry: Gas Chromatography (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (MS).

I’ve loved every product I’ve bought from them (Tummy Rub always makes my stomach feel better; Orange makes my apartment smell fabulous, Peppermint makes my tense muscles relax instantly), but it’s reassuring to know that I can always return any product within 90 days of purchase. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Below are the some of the best essential oils for depression and anxiety, but don’t let this list limit you; there are countless more oils with healing properties. If you want a good reference book, Valerie Ann Worwood’s The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy is a good place to start.

The Best Essential Oils for Anxiety


With a myriad of healing benefits, lavender packs a heavy punch to anxiety sufferers. Several studies have been done to show that lavender has a positive impact on neurological disorders, PTSD, stress, anxiety, and improves sleeping patterns without using a sedative.

Photo by Amy Treasure

Lemon, Orange & Grapefruit (the citrus family!)

These fruits in the citrus family contain the essence of sunshine, springtime, and cheerfulness. It can help bring a positive spin to feelings of fear, loneliness, grief and worry.


It should come as no surprise why frankincense has been recorded in nearly all of the major religions. It has highly restorative qualities that are worth trying if you suffer from anxiety (and depression as it also works well for those conditions as well). It contains a high number of sesquiterpenes, which are molecular structures that can travel through the blood-brain barrier. It could help put you at ease quite quickly!


This might be my favorite oil because it has such a gorgeous earthy smell to it. I feel like I’m in the woods whenever I smell vetiver. It’s also a very grounding oil — perfect for those struggling with panic or anxiety attacks. According to a 2015 study done on rats, it has similar anti-anxiety effects as the drug diazepam.

Clary Sage

Clary sage has a medium‐strength musky, herbal, sharp, and warm aroma presenting a middle-base fragrance note. It helps to lower cortisol (the notorious stress hormone) and positively influences dopamine levels (the feel-good chemical), according to a study done on rats.

The Best Essential Oils for Depression


Since depression can leave sufferers fatigued and in bed for long periods of time, bergamot can bring welcome relief. Since it’s part of the citrus family, it carries invigorating and uplifting notes. In a study done with essential oils containing bergamot, patients experienced decreased levels of pain and depression.

Ylang Ylang

When used in an essential oil blend, a 2006 study showed that ylang ylang lowered anxiety levels, blood pressure, heart rate and serum cortisol. Ylang ylang is a known adaptogen and can help you feel calm or stimulated depending on what you need in the moment. It has a medium-strength intensely sweet, floral and rich aroma presenting a middle-base fragrance note.

Ylang ylang can alleviate depression symptoms


I am a HUGE fan of rose essential oil because roses have the highest vibration on the planet! A healthy human body resonates at around 62 to 68 MHz and the rose resonates at 320 MHz. Scientists have measured roses to carry the same exact frequency and resonance as humans when they are experiencing love. Since depression can invoke feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness, rose can help you to reconnect with your will to live.


Perspective is an essential oil blend that may help you release past negative feelings that are being held onto, giving you peace and perspective during tough situations. Diffuse this blend to uplift the mood and diminish inferior thoughts, including loneliness, weakness, and unworthiness. This blend contains lavender, geranium, sandalwood, frankincense, ylang ylang, german/roman chamomile and cypress

At Peace

Litsea cubeba, lime, mandarin, grapefruit, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and tangerine oils are used in this blend to give a fruity, fresh scent. At Peace features sweet top notes, with a warm floral base note. Use the bright, fresh aroma to uplift the mood and help ease feelings of fear or frustration. At Peace is a great oil for meditation or during stressful times. Use At Peace essential oil blend to help restore energy, enhance relationships by helping you stay calm and centered and help open a closed heart.

Which oils will you choose? Let me know in the comments below!

*The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Neither Spirit Radical nor its recommended products are intended for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

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Christine is an intuitive empath, clairsentient, indigo adult, Reiki Master, EMF Balancing Technique® Practitioner and all-around free spirit. She has traveled to nearly 35 countries exploring different ways of life and developing her spirituality. She specializes in giving energy healing sessions and intuitive readings for people and pets.


Christine is an intuitive empath, clairsentient, indigo adult, Reiki Master, EMF Balancing Technique® Practitioner and all-around free spirit. She has traveled to nearly 35 countries exploring different ways of life and developing her spirituality. She specializes in giving energy healing sessions and intuitive readings for people and pets.