Top 10 Stress-Busting Essential Oils

It's a stressful time, friends, which is why it's more important than ever to find stress-relief whenever and wherever you can. Finding a modality that breaks that stress down without taking you away from work can be a real challenge; this is why essential oil use is so popular. You can diffuse just about anywhere, whether it's in your office, at home or in your car.

Diffuse, roll it on or use it in other practices such as aromatherapy massage or bathing, essential oil can give you that calming effect you've been after with little effort on your part.

Let's sniff into our list of the Top 10 Stress-Busting Essential Oils that we diffuse right here at the Center to help you in your daily life at home and work. We'll also give you our favorite blends for each one to promote an uplifting aroma with a few extra notes, like icing on a cake.

Number One: Lavender

Probably one of the most studied of essential oils for treatment in human ailments, the properties in lavender are known to help improve sleep quality, anxiety and depression. In an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Institute, a clinical study indicates that a "long-stay neurology in-patient department showed increased mood scores and reduced psychological distress"[1] using lavender in aromatherapy.

At R&R, we have a trio of Aromatherapy Pillows designed to help you sleep better. Learn more about our lavender scented pillow by clicking here.

Our Favorite Lavender Blend to uplift and calm:

5 Drops of Lavender

3 Drops of Bergamot

2 Drops of Peppermint

Number Two: Jasmine

The oil derived from this white flower has many benefits, the primary in our case of busting stress being sedative. That's right, according to a study reported by Healthline, a group of patients suffering from anxiety disorders were instructed to inhale this sweet essential oil for only 5 minutes a day, ten days straight. The findings were that the "jasmine oil appeared to significantly bring down the elevated state of mind and improve symptoms such as insomnia, palpitations, and irritability"[2]. Did you catch that last one? A major side effect of stress is irritability.

Our Favorite Jasmine Blend to relax and smell the flowers:

5 Drops of Jasmine

4 Drops of Lavender

2 Drops of Orange

1 Drop of Vanilla

Number Three: Bergamot

This sweet essential oil is extracted from the heel of the bergamot orange (citrus bergamia). It also has a hint of floral notes. In a 2010 phytotherapy research study [3] on the effects of bergamot and stress levels of corticosterone (the animal equivalent of cortisol), this essential oil was shown to help lower the stress-induced hormone. While bergamot blends well with many other EOs, below you'll find our favorite blend that highlights bergamot as the main note.

Our Favorite Bergamot Blend to soothe the senses:

4 Drops of Bergamot

3 Drops of Frankincense

2 Drops of Chamomile

Number Four: Ylang Ylang

Fun to pronounce and enjoyable to smell, the essential oil derived from this star-shaped flower is known by study and anecdotal evidence to reduce anxiety levels. After a 30, 60 and 90 day study [4] with a 15-day follow-up, a group of 34 individuals all reported at the end of the study (cutaneous and inhalation of ylang ylang) that their anxiety levels lowered via blood pressure and their self-esteem levels were raised. Talk about a game changer!

Our Favorite Ylang Ylang Blend to enhance your day:

4 Drops of Ylang Ylang

3 Drops of Grapefruit

2 Drops of Sandalwood

Number Five: Frankincense

We won't beat around the bush, Frankincense is incredible. It has anti-anxiety properties to it that are right in line with our stress-busting list of EOs. How is this possible? Frankincense comes from the resin of the Boswellia tree family. A component within this resin is called incensole acetate, which "elicits psychoactivity by activating the TRPV3 channels in the brain"[5]. TRPV3, transient receptor potential vanilloid, is partly responsible for the perception of warmth on the skin. If you read our previous blog post on Heat Therapy, you know how important warmth can be for stress relief.

Our Favorite Frankincense Blend to make you feel cozy:

5 Drops of Frankincense

3 Drops of Bergamot

2 Drops of Sweet Orange

Number Six: Valerian

Steam distilled from the root, the essential oil from this herb is known to help in the ailments of insomnia and anxiety since ancient times. Valerian is able to calm the stressful mind, boost your mood and help you sleep deeper.

Our Favorite Valerian Blend to help you rest:

4 Drops of Valerian

3 Drops of Lavender

3 Drops of Vetiver

2 Drops of Sweet Orange

1 Drop of Atlas Cedarwood

Number Seven: Vetiver

Vetiver is a lesser known essential oil, but it does come with a handy benefit of helping you sleep at night. We all know that stuffy nights make it difficult to sleep, and when you lack sleep you tend to be more stressed (and irritable). If you haven't already, check out our study on pain and poor sleep, what it does and how to improve it. An aromatherapy test was conducted in 2010 [6] on 36 individuals to see if vetiver and another odorant could potentially improve sleep by allowing a person to breathe easier. The findings are fascinating! Vetiver doesn't have the most pleasing of aromatherapy notes, which is why we left it as a secondary (but much needed) note in our breathe easy blend.

Our Favorite Vetiver Blend to help those nostrils at night:

5 Drops of Lavender

3 Drops of Vetiver

2 Drops of Lemon

Number Eight: Geranium

This powerful essential oil's constituents include eugenol, geranic, citronellol, geraniol, linalool, citranellyl formate, citral, myrtenol, terpineol, methone and sabinene [7]. Geranium is used in a variety of health and wellness products for natural perfumes, soaps, repellents, hormone balance, stress relief, depression, inflammation, circulation, menopause, dental health, blood pressure reduction and common skin care [8].

Naturally, the main purpose of placing geranium on our top 10 list of stress-busting EOs is for stress relief and blood pressure reduction. Managing both of these can dramatically improve your quality of life.

Our Favorite Geranium Blend to enhance your mood:

5 Drops of Geranium

3 Drops of Lavender

2 Drops of Ylang Ylang

2 Drops of Tangerine

Number Nine: Clary Sage

There may be a long way to go to scientifically authenticate the anecdotal health benefits of clary sage. However, there have been recent studies that show this essential oil is capable of controlling the cortisol levels in women [7]. Cortisol, as we know, is one of the primary stress hormones, so to help bring it down simply by diffusing clary sage on a regular basis is pretty amazing.

Our Favorite Clary Sage Blend to kick cortisol:

4 Drops of Clary Sage

4 Drops of Lime

2 Drops of Grapefruit

Number 10: Chamomile

Our final stress-busting essential oil on the list is chamomile. This EO is used for several human ailment treatments, including inflammation, insomnia and rheumatic pain [7]. When it comes to pain and inflammation, any reduction is a positive step toward feeling better, which helps reduce stress. Insomnia creates fatigue and irritability along with stress, so diffusing this calming aroma can help. As part of our ongoing effort to help our clients sleep better, chamomile is one of the three scented Aromatherapy Pillows in our lineup of sleep products. If you haven't checked them out, click here to see what they can do for you.

Our Favorite Chamomile Blend to sleep better:

4 Drops of Chamomile

4 Drops of Lavender

2 Drops of Clary Sage

It is important to remember that most evidence of essential oil use and their benefits are anecdotal, meaning it's based on personal experiences. It is equally important to remember that personal experiences on essential oil use has been recorded for centuries (since the days of ancient Egypt), so it is safe to assume that there is a solid foundation to build trust on their application (how to use them), when to use them, and why to use them.

Stress relief is vital to your well-being. Choose one or a few of these essential oils and experiment with diffusing them in any area of your life that typically triggers stress. Let's say, for example, the office at your work is the stress zone. Try diffusing one of these regularly near you and note your responses over time. With the possibility of lowering your stress levels, it's certainly worth trying. If you don't find it working, at least your office will smell better, guaranteed.

[1] Lavender and the Nervous System

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

03/14/2013 Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadi, Ali Gorji


[2] Everything You Need to Know About Jasmine Essential Oil


11/26/2018 Adrienne Santos-Longhurst


[3] Acute Effects of Bergamot Oil on Anxiety-Related Behaviour and Corticosterone Levels in Rats

Online Library

11/23/2010 Somrudee Saiyudthong, Charles A. Marsden


[4] Aromatherapy with Ylang Ylang for Anxiety and Self-Esteem: A Pilot Study

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

June, 2014 Juliana Rizzo Gnatta, Patricia Petrone Piason, Cristiane de Lion Botero Couto Lopes, Moemi Marisa Brunet Rogenski, Maria Julia Paes da Silva


[5] Incensole Acetate, an Incense Component, Elicits Psychoactivity by Activating TRPV3 Channels in the Brain

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

August, 2008 Arieh Moussaieff, Neta Rimmerman, Tatiana Bregman, Alex Straiker, Christian C. Felder, Shai Shoham, Yoel Kashman, Susan M. Huang, Hyosang Lee, Ester Shohami, Ken Mackie, Michael J. Caterina, J. Michael Walker, Ester Fride, Raphael Mechoulam


[6] The Influence of Odorants on Respiratory Patterns in Sleep

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

January, 2010 Anat Arzi, Lee Sela, Amit Green, Gili Givaty, Yaron Daga, Noam Sobel


[7] Essential Oils Used in Aromatherapy: A Systemic Review


05/07/2015 Babar Ali, Naser Ali Al-Wabel, Saiba Shams, Aftab Ahamad, Shah Alam Khan, Firoz Anwar


[8] 14 Geranium Oil Uses & Benefits for Healthy Skin and Much More

Dr. Axe

07/26/2018 Dr. Josh Axe


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