This is the kind of blog post an aromatherapist dreams of. It’s what we were born to do. People always want to know horrible things like how to get rid of toenail fungus and the best essential oils for hair growth. The truth is though, what we are the absolute maestros at, is creating moments of serenity. In the blink of an eye we can manufacture fragrant times when troubles seem far away and the only things that matter are the here and now. Shooing away worries and cares are aromatherapy’s best skills. Releasing tension is our bread and butter. So, as the birds sing gently in the trees outside the window, and a soft breeze breaks the heat of the sun, let’s blissfully row down the waters of forgetfulness and think about some of the best calming essential oils.
- Jasmine absolute oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Cedarwood virginian essential oil
- Ylang ylang essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Rose essential oil
- Frankincense essential oil
- Melissa essential oil
- Vetiver essential oil
- Valerian essential oil
Which Are the Best Calming Essential Oils?
So how about that for a cheat. It’s not even an essential oil! Sorry about that. There will be a few cheats in this article while we battle with our choices! So why isn’t jasmine called an essential oil? Its flowers are so tiny, they are too delicate to withstand the rigours of distillation. They are solvent extracted into an absolute. That doesn’t stop them being one of nature’s most beautiful scented plants.
Of course, Jasmine has been one of India’s most beloved medicines for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. There is a Sanskrit saying that says “Where there is Jasmine, there can be no worries”. The heady fragrance is rich in indoles, the constituent that makes you feel a bit sleepy and even a little uninhibited. For this reason, jasmine is often also found an aphrodisiac blends and is extremely useful if someone struggles to have sex because they are nervous.
Jasmine absolute is not only one of the best calming essential oils for the mind, it also has a beautifully antispasmodic nature which is fabulous for the digestive system. If nerves tend to play out in your belly, then jasmine is a beautiful help.
Jasmine is a powerful uterine tonic. It can be used to expel the pregnancy after delivery of a child. Avoid jasmine during pregnancy.
Maybe this one should head up the list of the best calming essential oils? It’s impossible to choose. There are so many. Have a look at the list though. Can you see a trend? It’s not exclusively true, but for the most part, the best calming essential oils are made from flowers.
Floral essential oils tend to resonate with the heart chakra and as such with our hearts and circulatory systems.
Geranium essential oil is no different. It is so calming and is one of the best essential oils to calm anxiety about money. Somehow the stress seems to lift off your shoulders.
If your tension is hormone related, geranium, rose and clary sage essential oils can really help. It’s almost criminal that clary sage didn’t make it into the top ten best calming essential oils but it deserves an honorable mention. Where we cannot use clary sage during pregnancy, geranium is only restricted in the first 16 weeks.
3. Cedarwood Virginian Essential Oil
Cedarwood is a funny oil. We call it “a cedarwood”, but it’s not really. It’s a kind of juniper. But it really does act in the same way as a cedarwood does. Whoever decided to change the name was a genius.
Think back to the Bible and you might remember stories of the Cedars of Lebanon. As often the case, you hear these things, but don’t think that much about them. Even the great Temple of Solomon was made from these incredible trees whose branches stretch so wide and so strong. If you visit any of the ancient temples in Egypt, incredibly you can still find little shards of cedarwood at the hinges, where the doors would originally have stood.
But Why Are Cedars So Beloved As The Best Calming Essential Oils?
Egypt has no trees. That sounds a daft statement, but most of their plants are bushes or palm trees that have no branches. They have never had any lumbar. Cedar grows tall and strong and has incredible weather resistance. Insects hate cedar so its longevity is guaranteed, but it’s fragrance was why it was so sought after. This was the Cedarwood atlas, of course, but after so many generations of use, our generation has decided to protect the tree which is now at risk.
Cedarwood virginian is no poor substitute. It still ranks highly as one of the best calming essential oils. It has an incredible way of switching off negative thoughts. Think of the symbolism of how your thoughts are left outside of the temple. All that exists is the quietness of silence. It’s beautiful.
Choose cedarwood if you worry a lot or you have a little voice in your head that keeps telling you all the ways things can go wrong. This oil is made even more calming by the combination of patchouli essential oil. Another one that didn’t quite measure up to the other best calming essential oils, but nonetheless valuable. It has a fabulous way of bringing mental energy down into the physical body so quieting the mind.
Both cedarwood virginian and patchouli are safe after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy have elapsed.
Ylang ylang is made from a yellow flower that grows in Madagascar. It means “Flower of Flowers” and is often made into leis to put around visitors' necks as they arrive on the island. Wedding beds are strewn with ylang ylang blossoms to bring magic and romance to the room.
It’s very difficult to explain the emotional and mental action of ylang ylang. It’s aphrodisiac, euphoric and relaxing.
Experiments show that it can reduce blood pressure and heart, which of course are outward signs of stress.
Again, like jasmine essential oil ylang ylang is sweet, heady and, if we are completely honest, a tad nauseating. Only use small amounts of it, or it becomes overwhelming.
A drop of ylang ylang in the bath is blissful. Add it to creams or lotions, or just put a drop onto a tissue to inhale when you feel tense. It is fast acting and very calming.
Ylang ylang has a powerful action on the hormones, balancing them in cases of menstrual difficulties. For this reason, avoid using ylang ylang in the first 37 weeks of pregnancy.
You thought this one would be top, didn’t you? And maybe you’re right but we thought we would switch it up a bit. It is a tremendous one though. Lavender is soothing, calming and is one of the best essential oils for anxiety. Lavender is a great for helping you sleep, and if you want more clues into that aspect, please visit our other blog post for the best oils for sleep.
Again, purely because we wanted to be fair and give some of the other oils a chance, the chamomiles should be on the list too. German chamomile is perhaps a bit expensive to use as a relaxant, but it is certainly very calming and soothing.
Again, roman chamomile is tremendously anti-inflammatory. Inflamed is a great word to describe tempers too, and in that case Roman chamomile would be great if you are furious about something. Actually though, very few people seem to list Chamomile maroc in these kinds of articles, but we think it is certainly one of the best calming essential oils if you have been stressed for a while. Its Latin name is Ormenis multicaulis. Keep your eye out for it.
As ever, do not use lavender or any of the chamomiles in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Or actually rose absolute. We love them both. They are definitely up there with the best calming essential oils, but they are so expensive aren’t they. In some ways the rose oils are best used as inhalations here. A drop on a tissue maybe? If you are feeling a bit Rockefeller, even a drop in a diffuser.
Where they become really important is for hormones and in times of trauma or grief. The rose oils have a hypnotic quality that means you get to sleep better and sleep longer.
They are an incredibly stabilizing influence, but as I said, these are the big guns. For everyday stress and tension, use something like lavender, vetiver or geranium.
Since rose is a uterine tonic, it is not safe to use it until your 37th week, if you are pregnant.
This one is a difficult one. It is most certainly one of the best calming essential oils, if not THE most calming and comforting. However, if we continue to harvest the resin from the frankincense trees as we are doing, scientists predict there will be none left by 2050. It's not an exaggeration to call it a crisis.
We certainly want to use it occasionally, because it is not only pacifying but it also slows the breath. It also brings the mind into a state comparable to the relaxation felt during meditation. But it’s definitely not one for everyday use.
Again, apart from avoiding using it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, frankincense is safe and easy to use.
Now, Melissa is an incredibly expensive oil. Even though the plant has a powerful fragrance very little of it ends up as essential oil. It has a ridiculously small yield of 0,03% What is beautiful though, is this is certainly a plant you can enjoy the fragrance of without spending money on the essential oil. It is relaxing and refreshing.
However, melissa and lavender are proven to be the best calming essential oils for people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. They are wonderful for calming them and helping them to sleep. One drop of melissa essential oil on a face cloth, is refreshing. It is also wonderful added to lotions to do calming hand and arm massages.
As ever, we would not want to use Melissa essential oil in those first 16 weeks of pregnancy, but also beware of using old oils. Melissa oil degrades quite quickly, regardless of how carefully you keep it and can lead to skin sensitization.
So, calming is a bit of a vague term really isn’t it. We could be talking about essential oils for anxiety, or maybe you are just looking for a bit of peace. Vetiver is a bottle of tranquility. If you don’t know, it is an incredibly valuable grass that is used to protect soil from erosion. Its roots penetrate an incredible 8 meters down into the ground, anchoring both the plant and the soil in place. When you use vetiver essential oil, you can feel it doing the same to you. It’s like you can feel yourself putting down roots. So if you have been feeling a bit “Stop the world I want to get off” this is a great choice for you.
Vetiver is one of the most calming oils if you feel worried or anxious, but it is also a quiet place in your mind.
Normal safety rules apply. Avoid it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
10. Valerian Essential Oil
Valerian is the most powerful of the essential oils for anxiety. It is deeply tranquilizing and sedative. Some of its parts act on the same receptor in the body as benzodiazepines do. It will make you feel sleepy and calm. If you have acute symptoms of anxiety, I would definitely recommend using valerian. However, it comes with our usual warning that it stinks! Always combine valerian with some of the other calming essential oils. Rose, geranium and lavender are stunning choices.
A Quick DIY Calming Essential Oil Blend For Your Diffuser
Blissful tranquility and a bit less bickering when the kids come home from school!
- 1 drop Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 1 drop Rose Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium roseum x asperum)
- 1 drop Ylang Ylang Essential Oil (Cananga odorata)
Safety: Not designed for topical use.
Taking care of your mental health is every bit as important as physical health. Aromatherapy can be a great support, soothing us and uplifting us when we feel down. Gather together a collection of the best calming essential oils and try to implement them into your life in different ways. Remember you don’t always have to put them on yourself. Sometimes simply inhaling a little from the bottle can be enough to centre you enough to enjoy the rest of your day.