Having always been intrigued by natural medicine and the role it can play in our physical and mental health, I have found myself particularly curious what role if any aromatherapy can play in helping us cope with life turned upside down. With so much uncertainty, anxiety
is climbing to even higher levels in our country. Americans reporting an almost threefold increase in anxiety
and other mental health symptoms since the pandemic began.
That’s why I was delighted to sit down via Zoom with Dr. Judith Boice, Naturopathic Physician and best-selling author of The Green Medicine Chest,
to discuss the top essential oils known to cultivate anxiety relief. In our interview below, you’ll get a brief primer about aromatherapy, learn which essential oils have been shown to be most effective for anxiety
, and how you can use them.
In case you don’t have time to watch the whole video, here are the highlights.
Dr. Boice’s top picks for anxiety relieving essential oils:
Make sure to choose the scents you enjoy and with which you have positive associations. If you don’t like the smell of Coriander, for example, it’s ok. Choose another scent you find soothing, and pleasant.
Also, make sure to purchase organic products wherever you can as Dr. Boice warns pesticides are, “absorbed through the entire plant…and are particularly likely to be extracted with essential oils because they are around the same molecular size.” For convenience, I have hyperlinked above to organic options on Amazon, but you can buy them many other places.
How to use essential oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated, and breathing their vapor is the most common way to use them. Whether it’s through a personal inhaler
, a room diffuser, or putting a few drops on a cotton ball, Dr. Boice recommends smelling essential oils for 5-10 minutes at a time, several times a day for two weeks to start. Choose a scent you like the best and work with that before trying others.
You can also apply diluted oils directly to your skin, or use a few drops in a bath. Do not do what I did at first, and rub the undiluted oils directly on your skin - their concentration is intense and can be overpowering (I had to wash my hands). Instead, dilute the essential oil with other non-essential oil or lotion (one drop for every teaspoon of oil) before putting it on your skin. Check out the video below for more specifics.
No matter what you decide to do, the important thing is that you do
something to turn the tables on distress. When it comes to anxiety, taking control
in whatever we we can is the most effective thing we can do to reduce it.
Wishing you peacefulness, and good health,