Essential Oils for
ANXIETY and STRESS
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, over 40 million adults 18 and over suffer from anxiety each year, and if stress is defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain or the feeling of being overwhelmed & unable to cope with the mental and societal issues of daily life, then honestly, everyone has dealt with being stressed at some point. Saying that we have all experienced ‘changes beyond our control’ would be an understatement.
The fact is, all of the changes that have occurred lately have had a substantial impact on the lives of all Americans, most seriously our youngest generation. (1) It has caused immense stress and trauma for friends and families of those whose lives have been thrown into chaos in countless ways; job loss, financial distress, mandates, schooling, and uncertain futures for themselves and their nation.
But we didn’t need just the past two years to understand that we have sadly become a very stressed and anxious society.
The Mental Health Foundation sites the following as causes of stress and/or anxiety:
- being under lots of pressure.
- facing big changes.
- worrying about something.
- not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
- having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming.
- not having enough work, activities or change in your life.
- times of uncertainty.
So, now that we know what can cause stress & anxiety, let’s talk about a historical and 100% organic way to relieve it, without having to resort to meds or go nuts self-medicating at wine-o-clock hour.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils carry the life force of the plant. They are basically compounds which are extracted from plants. Each plant contains what we’ll call an “essence”, its unique scent, medicinal properties, and/or flavor. These gifts from Mother Nature are created by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves, seeds, peels, buds, fruit, etc.) to capture the delectable and healing compounds that plant contains in concentrated form, often taking several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of precious essential oil. For example, it takes 60,000 rose petals to acquire one ounce of rose essential oil. That’s 10,000 roses for a 5mL bottle & is why a single drop goes such a long way!
“Essential oils are fantastic and have many benefits,” explains Yufang Lin MD, an integrative medicine specialist for the Cleveland Clinic, “Plants are made of structural materials and phytochemicals. These chemicals have properties that not only benefit the plant but benefit people, too.” (2)
How do Essential Oils help with anxiety & stress?
Although the term “aromatherapy” wasn’t coined until around 1935 by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemical engineer from Lyon, France, who successfully used essential oil of lavender to treat severe burns after an explosion in his laboratory, Ayurvedic practice already had a 3,000 year-old history of aromatic and medicinal use of essential oils and the evidence of its use by the Egyptians goes back as far as 4,500 BC. In fact, Hippocrates studied the effects of essential oils and was a proponent of their healing, health-promoting properties. So, it’s safe to say that this liquid ‘medicine’ has already proven itself extremely effective for everything from burns & other skin inflammations to its aromatherapeutic abilities to relieve headaches, pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia and so much more! The practice of Aromatherapy involves inhaling the scent of essential oils in order to promote health and well-being. These scent molecules travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, directly affecting the part of your brain that regulates emotion.
Ingestion and physical anointing are two other powerful healing methods in the use of essential oils.
What are some essential oils that help with stress & anxiety?
Frankincense essential oil, (obtained from Boswellia carteri & Boswellia serrata) has been used for millenniums and is quickly becoming an increasingly popular essential oil widely used in many parts of the world. Studies have shown that it can counter the effects of stress by effectively relieving sleep debt and maintaining antioxidant capacity without increasing oxidative stress, and therefore, may be extremely beneficial in the management of stress. It’s analgesic and tranquilizing effects have also shown to be particularly useful as an anti-anxiety option. The spicy, earthy wood aroma of frankincense oil provides a calming and relaxing sensation, and its comforting properties can be helpful for visualizing, grounding, and improving one’s spiritual connection. It can be a very effective sedative that induces a feeling of mental peace while helping to relieve anxiety, anger, stress and despair. Isn’t that beautiful?
This is why we use our impeccably and ethically sourced Frankincense from Somalia, in six of our organic blends including Elevation of Mind.
Along with Somalian Frankincense, our Elevation of Mind blend, which is famous for relieving stress & anxiety, is Essential Oil of Sandalwood from Mysore, India. Also having a rich, earthy, woodsy scent, scientific research has indicated that “sandalwood can have amazing sedative effects and be extremely effective in easing anxiety symptoms”, according to Psychologist Michael J. Breus Ph.D. with Psychology Today.
If you, like us, have found yourself taking time for self-reflection and meditation, then you will love our Spiritual Anointing blend. Containing both Frankincense and Sandalwood, along with Myrrh out of Kenya, this blend was created to release stress & anxiety as you purposefully sit down to quiet the mind and meditate.
This blend is famous for quieting the mind chatter.
Another much-loved and highly effective oil for stress that is known for producing ‘happy juice’, is Essential Oil of Rose. You know when you’re around someone that just has “good vibes”?
Well, first and foremost, rose oil literally raises our vibrational frequency, instantly! If you would like to learn more about how that occurs, please read our article devoted to rose oil here.
Beyond that, research has shown that Rose Oil stimulates the release of the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects many aspects of our behavior, physiological & psychological functions such as learning, motivation, heart rate, mood, sexual desire and attention span. It can be used to treat depression and anxiety by causing a sense of peacefulness and relaxation, bringing with it feelings of love and joy. There are cultures who have long used Rose Oil to ease the feelings of traumatic grief while mourning the loss of a loved one.
Most studies have focused on the medicinal effects of Rose Oil transdermally, that is, how it works when absorbed through the skin. However, inhalation of rose essential oil has resulted in a “30% decrease of epinephrine levels and revealed an anti-anxiety effect that was described as being similar to “some serotonergic agents” (i.e. substances that increase serotonin)”. (3) So, many people experience the benefits and relief that this natural remedy offers through merely inhaling the scent of pure rose oil, but where do you apply essential oils for stress & anxiety? Your best bet is to place a drop under the nose, on your wrist, or the throat - enjoy the fragrance and all of the joy that brings, while allowing the oil to penetrate the skin and work its magic!
In fact, one of our absolute best sellers for relieving stress is our Lovely Rose! A gorgeous blend of the highest quality rose oils from Morocco, India and Bulgaria, Lovely Rose has the ability to dispel fear and truly turn your ‘mourning into dancing”.
Click HERE to listen to Ginger Ravencroft share about this amazing anti-anxiety blend of these uniquely sourced rose oils. <3
Two other Organic Essential Oils absolutely wonderful for stress & anxiety are Sage & Cedarwood. Within the field of mindfulness, “grounding” is a spiritual term referred to as centering your soul in your body and being in the present moment. According to a systematic review, Sage Oil can help ease tension and help manage cortisol levels in women. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and high cortisol levels may increase your risk for anxiety and depression. While the Essential oil of Sage helps to alleviate stress by inducing a sense of well-being, the Cedarwood has a grounding effect which promotes emotional balance.
Studies have shown that the cedrol in cedarwood oil may have a soothing effect on mood, making it beneficial for anxiety, and reducing stress. Think of it as a spiritual cleansing to purify, protect and ground oneself.
When we are ‘stressed out’ one of the best things we can do is to release all of those pent up anxieties that are stored up in not only our subconscious, but also held within us on a cellular level. Body Balance was created for just this purpose. A very special synergistic organic blend of oils that includes Essential Oil of Rosewood which is emotionally stabilizing to begin with. The Frankincense helps stimulate serotonin which connects us to our higher, better selves (calm and happy), so if you can imagine that line of stability to begin with, it then strengthens us and allows us to release with spruce and blue tansy. The Essential Oil of Spruce helps one to balance the pelvic chakra where we store negative emotions from childhood trauma or abuse, where we tend to hold stagnation. Spruce helps us to let go and move forward. The Blue Tansy aids in releasing anger, especially at ourselves, and allows us to put up that beautiful, reflective mirror of love, compassion and self-acceptance.
It is a guiding healer to help us to let go of the things outside of our control and accept certain changes that are a primary source of stress and anxiety in the first place. Some people may find themselves a bit weepy as these emotions are released, others may tremble or shake it out or bounce up and down and release, shaking our hands down into Mother Earth - the point is that it moves us - we release these negative emotions and move, move, move… forward into acceptance, forgiveness and towards a state of love, which Ginger Ravencrof often says “Love is the antithesis of fear.” She also loves to share ”If we are in the midst of singing or connecting with the life force of plants, it is virtually impossible to have anxiety!”
As well, Body Balance includes Essential Oil of Lavender, which in this blend acts as a salt does in cooking, synergistically helping all of the other oils to work to their full potential. Scientific and Medical studies have also shown Essential Oil of Lavender to be amazing for calming our minds and reducing anxiety & depression.
In fact, aromatherapy with Lavender oil is often used during medical procedures such as MRI’s as a non-pharmaceutical method of helping patients relax. Scientists believe that inhaling lavender activates the limbic system. The limbic system helps us to deal with emotions, and it includes the hypothalamus, where anxiety signals are sent, and the hippocampus, which helps regulate anxiety. This is another reason Lavender oil works so well for sleeplessness or insomnia, and why it is a key essential oil, along with Roman Chamomile and Orange, in our Good Nite blend.
How often do we find ourselves unable to switch our brains off in order to fall asleep? All of the stress and anxiety that comes with daily life sometimes manifests itself by leaving us tossing and turning, going over issues again and again in our heads and causing sleeplessness. Studies have shown that the lavender in Good Nite works as an anxiolytic (an anxiety reliever), and works as a sedative to bring about relaxation and sleep, while also improving sleep quality. Now being used as a complementary medicine for sleeplessness in hospital ICUs and CCUs rather than sleeping pills, this holistic gift is proving itself as an evidence-based alternative. Often turned to for relief from anxiety, restlessness and depression, which are frequently associated with insomnia, Lavender oil increases slow-wave sleep (SWS), slowing the heart rate and relaxing the muscles. SWS is the stage where our bodies perform duties such as muscular repair and growth. Studies have also shown that it significantly increases blood melatonin levels naturally! Lavender oil has been studied for its inhalation benefits, and has shown to not only increase SWS, but also stage two sleep, or “light sleep”. This is where our bodies heal and memories are catalogued. It is during stage two sleep where we are most likely to be disturbed or awakened, and Lavender has shown to be a great option for those who struggle with restlessness and being easily woken by the least little thing. It is a wonderful, natural alternative that is safe to use for the whole family.
We hope you have learned a bit about not only how essential oils work & why they are an amazing, natural alternative or complementary option to pharmaceuticals to help with stress & anxiety, but also realized that you’re not alone. This has been a trying and difficult time for all of us. Ginger’s heart's desire to help and to heal has resulted in over two decades of research. All of the organic essential oils in her blends have been carefully chosen for purity and are of the highest quality, impeccably sourced from all over the world. Ginger has literally gone the 'extra mile' so you don’t have to! Ginger often says “Utilizing mother earth in this gorgeous concentrated form is simply loving the self and honoring Mother Earth at the same time.”
Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have or to share your personal story of how these precious oils have helped in your life.
Love, love, love….