27 Essential Oils for Depression & Anxiety + 7 DIY Recipes Every Holistic Advocate Should Know

essential oils for depression
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If you or someone you know suffers from depression, chances are you feel a strong need for action to help ease those symptoms. Aromatherapy might be the key for you as it is for millions. However, first, let’s take a look at depression and how it affects our lives.


The Devastation of Depression

Depression is not unusual today and estimates show that it affects over 350 million people around the world. On a personal level, this condition affects every aspect of our lives because it throws a shadow on everything we do, think, or feel. That includes our families, work, and school but that’s not all. It also robs us of our sleep, encourages poor eating habits, negatively affects our personal hygiene along with our overall health and wellbeing.

There are common symptoms that characterize depression. Some of those symptoms include low energy, bad moods, low self-esteem, and lack of interest in activities that bring you joy. As a result, depression can cause us to withdraw inside of ourselves and attempt to close out the rest of the world. Other characteristics are chronic pain and continual guilt and sadness. So, no matter how you measure or qualify depression, one thing we know for sure is that it persistently debilitates us in every area of our lives.

Reference: What is Depression, University of Minnesota


Aromatherapy for a Gracious Life

Depression and anxiety become vicious cycles that cause painful emotions and subsequently more depression. But before you fall into even more despair, please know that with the use of essential oils, there is help for you. With a little research, you will be able to select the right essential oils that positively affect your emotions, thoughts, and overall wellbeing.

Essential oils work on an intrinsic level to assist us with our depression and other mental health obstacles. To introduce you to essential oils for healing, here are some facts about 14 essential oils that help with depression.


Useful Precautions

Please remember to test essential oils on a small portion of your skin before overall usage. You may dilute most essential oils with a carrier such as organic coconut oil or jojoba oil. Plus, most essential oils work well in diffusers which are found in almost any home store. Please note that some essential oils are not ingestible so always do a little research before use.

Additionally, before you replace any prescribed medication with essential oil, I must caution you to talk to your doctor first. More and more doctors understand and accept alternative treatments in today’s modern medical world, so don’t be afraid to bring up essential oils on your next visit. You might be pleasantly surprised!


27 Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Relief


1. Lavender


Lavender is such a versatile oil, but it’s probably most famous for its relaxing qualities. For calming the mind, rub a couple of drops on the palms, cup them near your face and breathe deeply. The effective ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream via the airways and lungs, helping to calm the mind and relax the body. Always ‘patch’ test by applying a tiny bit of oil to your skin and waiting to see if you have any adverse effects. Essential oils are powerful, and may irritate sensitive skin. If irritation occurs, or you don’t want to put the oil on your skin for other reasons, you can put the oil on a tissue or handkerchief and inhale the oil this way, or use an oil diffuser.

Lavender oil also helps induce sleep, something which can be elusive when we are stressed or worried. A couple of drops in an oil burner in your bedroom an hour before bed will give the room a relaxing atmosphere, to help your body and mind drift into a natural sleep. Alternatively, a couple of drops on a tissue under the pillow also helps you sleep.


2. Cypress


Sometimes the reason we feel depressed is because we have lost confidence in ourselves. Or perhaps it is our anxiety and depression which has made us lose confidence in ourselves or our abilities. Cypress essential oil improves self-confidence and self-belief. It does this by stimulating the production of the hormones that make us feel happy. It also does this through a sedative effect that calms worries and stops us overthinking things. Do not use during pregnancy.


3. Rosemary


During periods of stress, our short-term memory can be severely affected, particularly if we are not sleeping due to rumination. Rosemary oil improves memory function and may even increase concentration when inhaled using an oil burner, oil diffuser or via a couple of drops on the wrist or a tissue. If stress is making you forgetful or fuzzy-headed, rosemary is the oil for you.


4. Lime


A refreshing and bright citrus aroma, lime oil lifts the senses and mood, making it ideal for moments of sadness. It provides a quick lift when inhaled, and can be used in a diffuser to create a more positive atmosphere at home or at work.


5. Sandalwood


As the name suggests, this oil has a woody, almost musky aroma. When inhaled, this powerful oil passes straight through the blood-brain barrier and affects the limbic system. This is part of the brain that looks after our emotional wellbeing and mental functions, so this is a great oil for depression, anxiety and stress relief. A massage with sandalwood oil in a carrier oil such as almond oil is a great way to unwind after an exhausting day.


6. Cedar Wood

cedar wood

This essential oil promotes the production of serotonin, which can often be depleted. Serotonin helps balance our mood and emotions, so inhaling cedarwood oil can help us feel more in control, less stress and more balanced.


7. Grapefruit


Another citrus oil, grapefruit oil is used to reduce mental fatigue to stave off depression. Surrounding yourself with this aroma is the most effective way, either via an oil diffuser or by using bath products scented with grapefruit oil.


8. Orange


It’s clear that citrus oils are very beneficial when dealing with stress. A Japanese study found that patients who used citrus oil had significantly reduced stress levels. Orange oil is no exception. Use in an oil burner or diffuser, or inhale directly to boost your mood and reduce stress.


9. Eucalyptus


This oil is cooling and refreshing and often used to help with physical conditions such as colds and fevers. However, the strong fragrance also boosts energy levels and lifts the mood wonderfully, making it a great oil when you are feeling down.


10. Rose


Rose oil has a unique aroma that is intrinsically linked to warmth and happiness. Inhaling rose oil promotes a peaceful outlook, joyful feelings and can even help with depressed thoughts and anxieties. Use in an oil diffuser to fill your home with a relaxing, comforting spa-like aroma.


11. Ylang Ylang

ylang ylang

Ylang ylang oil is unusual in that it can both be calming, or stimulating, depending on your circumstances. If you are feeling stressed or wound tight, ylang ylang can help you calm down and find a peaceful place. If you are feeling unmotivated and depressed, inhaling ylang ylang can give you the drive you need to get through your day.


12. Cinnamon


Physically, cinnamon reduces aches and pains, making it an ideal massage oil (in a carrier) for tired, stressed out bodies. Mentally, it reduces fatigue and helps you shake off the cobwebs. A few drops in some coconut oil makes an excellent muscle rub.


13. Clary Sage

clary sage

Inhaling clary sage actually causes our brains to release dopamine, a chemical which makes us feel happy and content. Clary sage is known as a natural antidepressant, boosting feelings of self-worth, and working to reduce anxiety.


14. Peppermint

The great about Peppermint essential oil is how it refreshes and leaves you with a joyous feeling. With its inherent invigorating yet calming effect, it naturally helps reduce mental stress. It is also a fantastic source of many other health benefits and is full of vitamins. For instance, if you get tension headaches, this is the essential oil for you. According to the NCBI, topical treatment with peppermint oil is more effective than placebos in controlled studies.

Source: The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Because your body spontaneously regenerates when you relax, it is then naturally able to heal from depression. A cross between watermint and spearmint and native to Europe, the peppermint plant now grows all over the world.

Smoothies or drinks come alive with this special flavoring. Or, bring out the diffuser and smell the aroma of peppermint throughout your home. It also works great as a foot scrub or in massage oil.

Peppermint oil is safe for both internal and external use. However, for topical use, test it on your skin before you put it all over and apply it sparingly. You may also dilute it with a carrier oil.

Source: Dr. Axe


15. Patchouli

patchouli oil
Image found on: New Directions Aromatics

Patchouli is an herb plant that also comes from the mint family. It is most known for its earthy aroma and its amazing mood-lifting capabilities.

When you inhale this essential oil, it stimulates the serotonin and dopamine production in your body which helps alleviate depression. So naturally, when this takes place, it calms our senses and puts stressful events back into perspective.

You may use this essential oil topically and with or without a carrier oil. You may also inhale it or use a few drops in a diffuser to help relieve feelings of sadness.

Source: Up Nature


16. Basil

basil oil
Image found on: Up Nature

Basil is an ancient herb known for its use in Ayurvedic medicine as well as it’s more common use in cooking. The leaves and seeds of this herb are where the medicinal qualities of this plant are derived. Its modern uses include relief of headaches and menstrual discomfort.

Additionally, basil is naturally high in a slew of antioxidants and Vitamin C. But it is also proven to stimulate the adrenal glands which bring up energy levels and thereby reduces fatigue which helps with depression.

Other uses include treating nervous tension, mental or emotional fatigue, and migraines. Because of its energetic boost, use of this medicinal herb also helps bring about the clarity of thoughts and feelings.

Basil oil can be used topically by massaging it into the skin or you may ingest it orally as a digestive tonic. Caution: If you are pregnant, do not use basil essential oil.

Source: Organic Facts


17. Bergamont

Image found on: Organic Facts

Many consider this to be one of the best oils for lessening symptoms of depression. One thing to note about Bergamot is that it makes some people photosensitive which means you have to stay out of the son for a while.

The refreshing citrus aroma of bergamot is what wakes up your senses and is the direct result of the improved circulation of blood flow that occurs when you use bergamot. Additionally, studies show that bergamot is an effective natural remedy for anxiety.

A good way to use bergamot is to rub 2 or 3 drops in your hands which you then inhale from hands cupped in front of your face. Also, remember the photosensitivity quality of bergamot and stay out of the sun for a bit after use.

Source: Dr. Axe


18. Frankincense

Image found on: Cure Joy

The woody, natural scent of frankincense lifts your mood with its neuro-active compounds that bring more oxygen to the brain. More specifically, the pineal and pituitary glands in the brain is enhanced with the scent of frankincense which produces an ideal balance of hormones.

Frankincense is known by many essential oil aficionados as the king of oils. It supports healthy cellular function and produces feelings of peace and overall wellness when you inhale it or add it to a diffuser. It also reduces redness of the skin when you use it topically. Moreover, it increases healthy cellular function which results in its effectiveness to deal with persistent anxiety and depression.

This wonderful essential oil is derived from the gummy sap that oozes out of the Boswellia and Commiphora trees when their bark is cut. You may use it either in its dry form as incense or add it to a diffuser. You may also inhale the essential oils from the palm of your hand or use it topically when you add a few drops to a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba.

Source: Cure Joy


19. Marjoram

Image found on: Healthy Focus


20. Jasmine

Image found on: The Aroma Blog

This small, flowering bush was introduced to Europe from Persia in the 16th century but is now grown in temperate climates throughout the world. Jasmine essential oil is a mood enhancer that lifts anxiety and depression.

The jasmine flower is best known for its delicate white flowers which give off a sweet floral bouquet that absolutely delights the senses.

Jasmine’s warm and relaxing qualities are enjoyed through inhalation, adding a few drops to a warm bath, in massage therapy, or in a diffuser to brighten your entire room.

Source: Depression Guide


21. Neroli

Image found on: Holistic Hot Sauce

Neroli comes from the bitter orange tree’s blossom and its sweet and flowery scent is absolutely exotic. Because neroli oil is derived from citrus fruit, its medical properties closely align with most other citrus essential oils. This essential oil helps bring joy back into your life and therefore helps alleviate depression.

It works topically to reduce scars and spots and it also helps guard against skin infections. It is a natural anti-bacterial so it great to use for infections of the colon, prostate, kidneys, and urinary tracts. Because of its inherent anti-bacterial qualities, use it to remove odor from your home while it disinfects against germs and toxins.

However, it has a strong sedative nature, so don’t use it if you want to sleep. Like all citrus oils, neroli can irritate your skin so be sure to blend it with a carrier oil before application. Also like other citrus oils, it is photosensitizing, take precautions before going out in the sun.

Source: Untrained Housewife


22. Roman Chamomile

roman chamomile
Image found on: Pure Path Essential Oils

For most of us, when we think of chamomile, an image of a warm cup of relaxing tea comes to mind. Do you know that the active component in chamomile is ‘Apigenin’ which is what takes the edge off depression? Interestingly, the word chamomile is from the Greek Chamomaela and translates to “ground apple” which describes the scent of the flowering bush.

The ancient Egyptians were the first to record the uses of chamomile to cure ‘Ague’ which is a bad fever. However, you’ll find this herb helps with a variety of illnesses among many other uses.

According to a study done by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, long-term chamomile use is effective for generalized anxiety disorder.

Source: Real Natural

As I said, the most popular way to consume chamomile is through a nice cup of tea. However, it’s good to know that the essential oil is found by many to be more effective than tea. You may get benefits with a diffuser or apply it topically to your skin.

Smelling this essential oil can do a lot towards reducing depression as it eases sadness and lifts your spirits. You will enjoy a peaceful mind, relieve stomach problems, and improve your skin, while you reduce inflammation. Now, that’s a lot of stress-reducing benefits!


23. Aniseed

Image found on: Dr. Axe

Aniseed’s use as an ancient spice and flavoring among Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians is still popular today. The anise essential oil, due to its sedative effects, is both a natural anti-depressant and a relaxant which makes this a favorite of many who seek relief.

This 2017 clinical trial used anise oil for treating depression in IBS patients. 120 patients were given capsules containing anise oil or peppermint oil or a placebo. After a 4-week trial, the anise group were far less depressed than the other groups. And in a follow-up, two weeks after the trial, the anise group still had lower levels of depression.

Source About EOS

If you need a muscle relaxer or need to clear your airways to improve your breathing, this is the oil for you. Other benefits include the ability to reduce inflammation, reduce tinnitus, neutralize free radicals, and it helps eliminate bacteria and fungi.

Aniseed is a powerful essential oil, so be sure to use light dosages because it slows down both our respiration and circulation bodily functions. Also, be aware that it is poisonous for small animals and birds. Test it on your skin before you use it topically as it might cause irritation for some skin types. Avoid during pregnancy or if you have certain types of cancer due to the effect of the estrogen hormone.

Source: Organic Facts


24. Perilla Herbilla

perilla herbilla
Image found on: Super Foodly

This essential oil comes from the leaves of the perilla plant and is native to Asia.  Perilla essential oil is a natural relief to stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, it has a memorable fragrance that is something like a combination of pepper, mint, and fragrant wood.

Perilla seed oil has qualities that when inhaled, produce an elevation of spirits. As a result, symptoms of depression seem to dissipate. Additionally, it is said to have a “neuroprotective effect”, the benefits of which are to calm the nervous system. The best part is that you get all this without the negative side effects of prescription medications.

Use the perilla oil in moderate amounts and test for allergies before use. Do not use internally without first consulting with an expert.

Source: Health Benefits Times


25. Turmeric

Image found on: Up Nature

Turmeric is a very popular oil for many reasons. Certainly, one of the top reasons is because it helps us with tolerance and balance. This, in turn, improves our entire outlook on ourselves and those around us. This makes turmeric very effective in treating depression or anxiety for many happy people.

This ancient plant with all its wonderful qualities dates back over 4,000 years to the Vedic culture in India. However, it made its way around the world and it’s now a common cooking spice.

One Drop = Small Quantity.

Use turmeric essential oil both topically and internally. However, ensure that the oil is of top-quality and use in small quantities.

Source: Dr. Axe


26. Geranium

geranium oil
Image found on: Organixx

It is the relaxing and soothing qualities of geranium essential oil that makes it a good choice to help ease depression.

Studies show that the rose-scented geranium is effective in lowering blood pressure during childbirth. Additionally, it is more effective than acetaminophen in the reduction of menstrual pain when used in combination with other essential oils.

Geranium oil is safe for topical and aromatherapy use. Do not ingest internally without first consulting with a doctor. Children or pregnant or lactating women should also consult with a medical professional before any use.

Source: Essential Oil Experts


27. Myrrh

Image found on: Anxiety Gone

Myrrh is famous for its inclusion in the biblical story about the three wise men who brought the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. However, this ancient medicinal commodity is known throughout the ages from ancient civilizations to its popular use today as an essential oil. Myrrh essential oil is also famous for its help in easing depression because of its calming properties.

The myrrh essential oil is derived from resin and has a rare scent. Some say it smells like black licorice, but its pine, lemon, and sweet wood aroma is unmistakably unique and is soothing yet invigorating.

Diffuse or inhale myrrh to get the effects or for greater benefits, mix it with other essential oils.  It is best to blend it with a carrier oil before applying myrrh essential oil to your skin. Myrrh is good as a food additive or flavor, however, before ingesting, consult with a medical professional.

Source: Wake Up World


5 DIY Essential Oils Recipe for Depression and Anxiety Relief


Recipe 1 | Simple Depression Relief Essential Oil Blend

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



  1. Combine all essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
  2. Mix well.

To use: inhale directly from the bottle when feeling down or apply a drop or two to your hands and rub together and then cover your nose and slowly inhale. You may also want to try adding this to a carrier oil to create a massage oil to massage over the body or try adding a few drops to a warm bath.


Recipe 2 | Depression Lifting Essential Oil Bath Blend

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



  • Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle.
  • Mix well.
  • Add ¼ oz. or ¼ of the prepared combined essential oil blend from the bottle to a warm bath.
  • Get in and relax.


Recipe 3 | Soothing Essential Oil Bath Salts

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



Combine all essential oils and carrier oil together. Mix well. In a bowl add the Epsom or sea salt then using a spoon to mix pour in the oils blend and mix well. Transfer the bath salt blend in an airtight container and store in a cool dark place. How to use: with water running in the tub add ½ – 1 cup of the bath salt blend to the water, make sure the bath salt blend dissolves completely before getting in. Get in, relax and enjoy!


Recipe 4 | Nurturing Essential Oil Massage Oil

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



  1. In a dark glass container pour in carrier oil.
  2. Add in your essential oils.
  3. Close container and mix well.
  4. Massage a few drops into the skin as needed.


Recipe 5 | Mood Lifter Essential Oil Blend

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



  • Combine all essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
  • Mix well.
  • Inhale or apply topically as needed to help boost one’s mood and decrease those heavy feelings.


Recipe 6 | Cozy Comforting Essential Oils Blend

Recipe found on: Essential Oil Sanctuary



  1. Combine all essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Inhale or apply topically as needed to combat the feelings of depression.


Recipe 7 | Anxious Depression Essential Oils Blend



  1. Combine the essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Inhale or apply topically as needed to reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression.

Co-written by: Susan K. Daniels of beautifullivesbysusan.com

Hello Love,

I am a mother who is actively working through anxiety and depression by navigating this complex life through love, gratitude, and compassion towards myself and the world around me. Join me on this spiritual growth journey.

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