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Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety

The past year of my life was a whirlwind of ups and downs. I went through the worst depressive episode of my life.  My depression became so severe that I slept until 4PM most days, and spent most nights staring into the darkness of my bedroom until 5AM.

My mother worked tirelessly each day to take care of my needs and find solutions to help me get better. One of her solutions was to use essential oils to help ease my symptoms. I was unsure about the effectiveness of the oils since nothing else seemed to be working, but I was willing to try anything.

To my surprise, the essential oils that we started using actually did ease my symptoms little by little. Here is a list of my favorite essential oils for depression and anxiety:


Clary Sage: Cary Sage is my all time favorite oil to use when I’m feeling anxious. This oil can be used in a diffuser, or better yet, you can rub a little on your wrists, neck or stomach for instant relief. I like to rub some clary sage on my stomach (where my muscles start to tense up when I am feeling anxious or panicked) and the tension immediately begins to release and I feel better. This is also a great oil to use for menstrual cramps!

Lavender: This oil is known for its calming effect. I prefer to use this one in a diffuser at night to help me sleep. One of the most pressing of the symptoms that come with depression is insomnia. Using essential oils and aromatherapy at night can help ease you into a deeper sleep. Lavender is also great for anxiety, and can be used topically on your wrists, neck or anywhere you feel necessary.

Ylang Ylang: Something I recently learned, is that ylang-ylang oil is amazing for relieving the symptoms of depression. My depression symptoms tend to get worse when the weather changes in the winter. This oil can help release negative emotions like anger and low self-esteem and has the ability to boost your mood on days when you’re just feeling off.  I prefer to diffuse this one into the air for the best mood-boosting effects, but it can also be massaged into your skin!

Vetiver: Vetiver oil is extracted from the vetiver plant, native to India, and is known for boosting your energy levels. This is especially good news for people with depression, because of the known symptoms of fatigue and lack of motivation. This oil has also been known to naturally treat symptoms of ADHD and insomnia. You can boost the calming effect of this oil by mixing it with lavender and rose essential oils and massaging it into your skin or putting a few drops into your bath water.

Roman Chamomile: You’ve probably heard of chamomile mostly from the ingredient in tea. Chamomile is extremely relaxing and helps with stress relief and insomnia, which means it’s great for anxiety. Chamomile can prevent anxiety symptoms like overthinking, excessive worrying and irritability. I highly recommend this one!

Frankincense: This essential oil is one that is new to me as well, but I use it often! It is highly recommended for treating the symptoms of anxiety and depression because it is great for relieving chronic stress and also reduces pain and inflammation, including muscle aches and pains. Mix frankincense with lavender and bergamot to have an even more positive effect on pain relief.

(Tip: There are carrier oils that help your essential oils stretch further when you use them topically, and prevent your skin from getting irritated, like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive and almond oil!)

Bergamot: This oil can create a stimulating effect that helps to fight anxiety and depression. Bergamot produces a feeling of joy and positivity. Interestingly, it is found in some teas, which is why it reduces insomnia, helps reduce agitation, and promotes relaxation.


Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. You can diffuse your oils into the air. Diffusers can be bought online or in department stores. You can rub the oils into your skin, or mix them with other oils for an added benefit. Some of the oils can be added to your bath water for relaxation. Some of the oils can even be added to your water or tea (orange, peppermint, chamomile, etc). I recommend rubbing frankincense and vetiver oils on your feet and toes for a stronger effect. Some say that doing this can cause the oils to enter your body more quickly and effectively.

I also recommend using 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils. They will be the most effective!

Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety

Caiti Gearsbeck

Caitlin is an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention and lives with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. She is passionate about spreading awareness and sharing her story and hopes to help others living with mental illness feel less alone in their journey.

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APA Reference
Gearsbeck, C. (2017). Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Nov 2017
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