Top Essential Oils for Men: Reduce Stress and Boost Well-Being

Aromatherapy is often seen as a thing for women. Not surprising, I guess since it’s all about flowers and pampering, for the most part. But one of the key ways that it can be helpful is in dealing with stress. Stress places enormous strain, not only on our emotional and mental well-being but also on our physical bodies, especially on our cardiac and circulatory systems. When heart disease is the number one killer of men, in the US, it is perhaps time we highlighted some of the benefits of using essential oils for men’s health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top essential oils for men’s health from several perspectives. First, we’ll address how stress affects the body, and the part essential oils for men’s health play in finding ways to reduce both the stress, and the impact that has on the body. 

Next, how different chemical constituents in essential oils balance organic systems. To help the genito urinary system to release retained water, for example, to settle digestion or to help people to breathe more easily. In other words, how to use essential oils for men’s health conditions, more generally. 

Using Essential Oils for Men’s Health To Combat the Effects of Stress

Did you know that the term stress is actually an engineering word? 

First coined in a medicinal Hans Seyle in the 1930’s it’s a word that actually refers to tensile pressure. How much pressure can be exerted onto an object before it snaps?  How about that for a word used so often it’s lost its meaning? Powerful, right?!

In its original form then, Seyle made a point that often gets ignored in the hustle and bustle of today’s society. Nothing can endure stress permanently. Sooner or later, something always has to give. 

Neurology of Stress

Looking at it from a neurological perspective, stress is mainly processed by five interwoven brain structures. The primary route is through the HPA axis. HPA stands for hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenals. The other two main actors are the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, or the VMPFC. 

Let’s talk about the last two first. 

The amygdala processes what it sees around us, and it is that structure which says “Wait a minute…this feels a bit scary”.  The function of the VMPFC is to act as the off switch for the amygdala. So in other words, it reminds the brain that there might be other conclusions it could draw from what it sees, and actually it’s probably not dangerous at all. 

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

When I teach this to my students I usually use the example of my husband and I going to the zoo because I am the worst kind of stress head and can find threats anywhere…especially by the lions, who are able to roam free. The irony is that I love the African white lions from the Timuvati Valley, and I tried relentlessly to get there, but when we got there, I quickly lost my nerve because a few years ago the lions went on a rampage and jumped on someone’s car. This was made worse because we used to have a red pick-up that looked exactly like the one belonging to the man who brought the meat out at feeding time…

See? It’s all very sensible, this panic of mine, especially when the lions look like they are heading towards us…

So, all those niggles and worries…those personify the amygdala.

Conversely, my husband, often referred to as The Strong Silent One, behind the steering wheel…he’s the personification of the VMPFC. Honestly, nothing fazes him. He’s not brash or macho, he is just unnervingly calm. “They were fed an hour ago. You know that. You saw the van. That’s how you know it was red.” 

“But what if he didn’t bring them enough?” 

“ I’d have thought they’ll be hungry in about four hours then, not quite yet”

“Yeah, I suppose so…..but that lioness does seem to be racing towards us fast…” 

“She’s used to cars. She’ll just go around us” 

“I know but…”

And so it continues, the amygdala senses fear, and VMPFC switches it off. 

Peace Only Lasts So Long

However, The Strong Silent One can only tolerate mindless woman babbling for so long, before he needs to go away and listen to Metallica in the shed. And this is exactly what the VMPFC does too. Eventually, it gets so fed up with the amygdala switching the stress response on, that it just stops working. With nothing to calm down the amygdala, the system becomes flooded with stress hormones which eventually impact the heart and other organs.

HPA Axis

To take this analogy back to the global scale of the body…the amygdala senses fear which triggers the fight or flight response so the sympathetic nervous system floods the body with stress hormones. As soon as the amygdala discerns a scary situation, it sends messages to the hypothalamus, which then sends messages to the pituitary, which then instructs the adrenals 


Adrenaline and cortisol flood the body so you can try to work out how to deal with the fact that despite all the logic in the world…there is indeed a white lion from the Timbavati Valley standing on your roof! 

The only way that the VMPFC is going to re-engage is when that lion finally gets off! 

When the danger is over, the VMPFC shuts down the stress cascade by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows the body to rest and restore. Or when you realize it’s a very friendly lion like this one in the Crimea! Maybe they were wearing catnip essential oil! 

So, ultimately, using essential oils for men’s health is about finding ways to keep the VMPFC engaged, so it can continue to protect the body (and mind) against the onslaughts of stress. 

To do this, we need adequate levels of GABA, the body’s natural neurotransmitter. We can do this in many ways, but one of the most effective is by using inhalation. 

How Can inhaling Essential Oils for Men’s Health Do Anything for Stress?

I know. It sounds like nonsense, doesn’t it? And trust me, even thirty years into this job I was still mesmerized when I discovered this. 

The best place to start this is by asking “How does the body make GABA?”

Sensible, right? The VMPFC needs GABA to do its job, so where does that GABA come from? 

Well, several places actually, but the one we are interested in…

Olfactory neurons secrete GABA, those nerve cells that discern smells! 

So, spending just fifteen minutes, twice daily, sniffing calming essential oils, changes the substrate of our nervous systems, flooding it with GABA.

A Quick Note on Diluting Essential Oils For Men’s Health

There aren’t really any particularly harsh oils in this list, but some others like cinnamon and cassia can be really unpleasant on the skin. To avoid accidents, get into the habit of always diluting your oils. As we go through the list you’ll notice that each of the different essential oils for men’s health has a notation for maximum dilution. This is the most you should put of that particular oil at any one time (rather than the most you can have of all oils.) So if you make a blend of 3 oils, then you use that maximum dilution for each oil.

Most on this list say 3%, and actually, that’s a pretty standard maximum dilution across the board, however, there are exceptions. The easiest way of calculating 3% is to say that a teaspoon of oil is 5ml. Rough guide (and certainly not exact, by any means but…) 20 drops of carrier oil make up 1 ml of oil. So a teaspoon is a useful base unit of 100 drops. Therefore you can add 3 drops of essential oil to that.

Diluting Essential Oils for Men’s Health for The Bath

Adding essential oils to your bath is the perfect way to say goodbye to a long day at work. You should still dilute your essential oils into a carrier, but this does not necessarily have to be oil, which can make your bathtub dangerously slippery. Alternatively, you can add them to milk or to honey. Both make lovely nourishing baths that are great for irritated, dry, or itchy skin. 

The Best Essential Oils for Men’s Health


It wasn’t easy to decide which one to put at the top of the list of essential oils for men’s health.  I almost went for cedarwood or sandalwood essential oils because they have lovely masculine fragrances. Geranium though, is so good for stress so that gets my vote. 

It has a floral fragrance, so if you are wearing it on a rollerball at work, you might want to add some of the more masculine fragrances to it. But by far its biggest effects come from using a drop or two of it in the bath. It is so relaxing, especially if you are worrying about money. Stress just seems to lift right off your shoulders. It is a tonic for the adrenals (Holmes, 2016) which can become extremely exhausting if they never turn off.

Geranium also supports good circulation, so is a great oil to add to muscle rubs either to use after exercise or for achy, cold joints generally. 

It also has antifungal properties, being especially effective against candida albicans in petri dish experiments (Hsu, 2021)  but is also useful for jock itch (with tea tree and Roman chamomile) and for athlete’s foot (again with tea tree) 

Geranium essential oil is also a lovely skin food. It can be added to moisturizers to nourish and smooth dry skin but is also helpful for eczema and contact dermatitis. (Ashley, 2014)

Best way to use Geranium essential oil for men’s health: Use in the bath, in diffusers, and in inhalers. Wonderful in massage oils. Add to ointments and body lotions.

Maximum Dilution is 3%


Sandalwood has been used in India as a way to calm the mind since the dawn of recorded history. Mentions of it in the Rig Veda date back around five thousand years. 

Sandalwood essential oil has the most extraordinary quality in that it heals the skin through olfactory receptors on the skin! Some receptors respond to smell all over the body, and even in placental tissues. These receptors (for some unknown reason) respond to odorants in sandalwood to inspire the body to make repairs. Sandalwood oil consists mainly of α- and β-santol (~70%), which also gives the oil its woody scent. When the skin engages with α santalol it triggers skin healing.  (Bier, 2009) The olfactory receptor, OR2AR4, also responds to sandalwood to make hair grow better (Chéret, 2018)

Sandalwood also has profound antifungal abilities (O Abd Algaffar, 2024) and is also very soothing. For this reason, many skin care companies use it in aftershave balms and moisturizers. 

Sandalwood essential oil is also a wonderful respiratory support. 

There are however some sustainability issues with sandalwood essential oil. Because it is so beloved in the East, and for fragrance and cosmetic uses over here, as well as being an excellent building material, the Indigenous Indian Sandalwood Mysore has unfortunately been severely overharvested. 

Australia and Hawaii make wonderful sandalwood essential oils, and if you are buying some of the new sources of Indian sandalwood, always look for oils that have been made from wood chippings and sawdusts, rather than from trees that have been felled specifically for essential oils. (Absolutely not cool, IMO) 

Best way to use Sandalwood essential oil for men’s health: 

Best used in massage oils and body lotions that cover the entire skin. Use in the bath, in diffusers, and inhalers. Wonderful in massage oils. Add to ointments and body butter.

Maximum dilution is 3%


I think this one is pretty much ingrained into the collective consciousness now. Soothing and calming to mind, body, and spirit. Use it for aches and pains, as well as stretches and strains. Also excellent if you cannot sleep. 

Perfect on stings, whether from insects or plants. 

Lavender is the most effective relaxation essential oil for stress. 

Perhaps the nose would not put this one on the list of essential oils for men’s health, because it has an uber-feminine fragrance, but it is a must-have. 

Anything that hurts…lavender will soothe it.

Make a rollerball with lavender, chamomile, and basil to use on the temples for headaches. 

Use it in the bath on really bad days, or if you are struggling to sleep but not too often. Lavender also has a way of communicating with the sebaceous glands that put natural oils on the skin. It tells them to slow production, which is fantastic if you are prone to greasy skin, but otherwise might mean it makes your skin quite dry over time. 

Best way to use lavender essential oil for men’s health: Use in the bath, in diffusers, and inhalers. Wonderful in massage oils. Add to ointments and body lotions.

Maximum dilution 3%.


Cedarwood has a profound effect on thought, lifting the spirit and alleviating negative thinking 

It is a wonderful oil to use as a massage oil, or for inhalation.

Many beard oils contain cedarwood essential oil because it nourishes the skin but also encourages hair growth.

It also has very strong insecticidal skills, so it is a great addition to body lotions if you are headed out where you might get bitten by mozzies.

Best way to use cedarwood essential oil for men’s health: Add to beard oils, face creams, and body lotions. Use in the bath, in diffusers, and inhalers. Wonderful in massage oils.

Maximum dilution 3%

Ylang Ylang

This is a superb essential oil to use for balancing. That could be balancing hormones or blood pressure. It could be balancing combination skin. If you find that some parts of your complexion are dry, but you also have an oily T zone, then ylang-ylang helps to nourish the dryness and reduce the greasiness and zits. 

To support healthy blood pressure, consider popping a drop of ylang-ylang into an aroma pendant to wear around your neck for a couple of hours. Studies show that ylang ylang reduces blood pressure and slows heart rate in men (Kim, 2019). I find wearing an aroma pendant works very quickly. Ylang-ylang can start to feel a bit nauseating and give you a headache after an hour or so. When that happens alternate with clary sage essential oil. You’ll find your physician will be very impressed by your efforts.

Ylang-ylang is also very high in a chemical constituent called linalool, one of the most researched there is. Linalool has pain-killing abilities, is an antidepressant (Renan Quaresma dos Santos, 2022) and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety, Agatonovic- Kustrin, 2020) anti-inflammatory (Kim, 2019)

Best way to use ylang-ylang essential oil for men’s health: In an aroma pendant, inhaler stick, and rollerball massage oils. Also, make sensuous massage oils, add it to the bath, and add to moisturizers, creams, and lotions.

Maximum dilution: 0.7%.

Roman Chamomile

So soothing and relaxing. If there was an oil that said “Just chill” This would be it! 

I always say that chamomile says “Whatever will be will be”, which is such a great help if you are struggling with stress. 

When used topically, chamomile reduces skin inflammation and soreness, so aromatherapists tend to use it for eczema and for shaving and sweat rashes. 

Roman Chamomile supports healthy digestion and is particularly helpful for stomach cramps and IBS. 

Best way to use Roman Chamomile essential oil for men’s health: Inhaler, diffuser, rollerball massage oils, in the bath, in creams, and lotions.

Maximum dilution: 3%.


Gorgeous and refreshing, cypress is the best zingy waker-upper in the morning. This is a great oil to use if your energy levels are dipping a bit. Add to citrus oils like orange, bergamot or lemon to really smash that winning-at-life vibe.

Cypress has a superb effect on water in the body. Great if there is any swelling, but particularly useful to support the genito-urinary system. It is very helpful for urine retention. In the same way, it is great if you have muscles that feel sluggish. 

Best way to use cypress essential oils for men’s health: Rollerball massage oils, in the bath, in creams and lotions.

Maximum dilution: 3%


Frankincense slows the breath and restores elasticity. 

It supports healthy respiration generally, but aromatherapists particularly use it for asthma and the breathlessness of COPD.

This slowing is also great for easing stress and tension. Rodent studies show that frankincense also restores sleep deficit, so if worries have been keeping you awake at night, this is a great way to feel back on top of things again. If you struggle with foggy thinking or being able to concentrate, try pairing frankincense with peppermint essential oil for mental clarity. This is a superb oil to use for work-related stress

In terms of restoring elasticity, it’s a tremendous anti-aging essential oil, helping to keep skin fibers taut and fresh-looking. Use frankincense for tired, dry, mature skin.

This also applies to the elasticity of stiff and overworked joints. Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties of its own, (Al Yasiri, 2016) but it is best paired with Roman Chamomile for its most soothing effects. 

Best way to use frankincense essential oils for men’s health: Add to massage oils, make rollerballs to use on the insides of your wrists for easy relaxation, inhalers, diffusers,  in the bath, add to moisturizer, ointments, and lotions.

Maximum dilution: 3%.


No surprises here. Tremendous for stuffy noses, coughs, and colds. 

Best way to use eucalyptus essential oils for men’s health: Rollerball massage oils, in the bath, in creams and lotions.

Maximum dilution: 3%.

Tea Tree

The ultimate bug buster, whether those bugs be hair lice or coughs and colds. 

Tea tree is also brilliant for fungal infections such as jock itch and athlete’s foot

Best way to use tea tree essential oils for men’s health: Add it in tooller ball massage oils, in the bath, in creams and lotions, and make a powder with it for your feet. 

Maximum dilution: 3%.


There is an old Sanskrit saying that says “Where there is Jasmine, there can be no worries”. It’s so deliciously heady, that you just forget about the stresses and strains of life.

It is deeply languorous and aphrodisiac, so it is great if there are feelings of anxiety or depression around sex.

Jasmine is also very good for digestive problems (again with the feeling that the gut is angry, or feels fierce). Aromatherapists use it as an abdominal massage oil for colitis and IBS.

Use Jasmine for skins that are hot and reactive. 

The best way to use Jasmine Absolute for men’s health is to massage oils, in the bath, or inhaler sticks, and add them to moisturizers, aftershave balms, and body butter.

Maximum dilution: 1.8%.

DIY Recipes for Essential Oils for Men’s Health

Muscle Rub 

Method of use: Rub into the aching part three times daily or as and when required. 

Safety: None for men, but do not let your pregnant partner use this blend please (Cypress).

Moisturizer for Normal to Dry Skin 

Method of use: Use twice daily. Apply to clean skin and leave on.

Safety: None, however, please do not let your pregnant partner steal this (Jasmine.)

Massage Oil for Stress

Method of use: Use as and when required. 

Safety: None for men, but do not let your pregnant partner use this blend please (Jasmine and Ylang ylang ).

A Final Word 

It should be stressed that although these are the first oils that sprang to mind for essential oils for men’s health, really all essential oils would be just as suitable for men as they are for women. Please do have a mooch around the website for many other articles that will show you want to use essential oils for many different articles from Arthritis to Zits. They are a wonderful support to physical health as well as emotional and mental wellbeing. I hope you enjoy the relaxation they bring. 

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