Pounding heart, sweating palms, panic . . . all symptoms anxiety sufferers know too well. Anxiety is common but can be devastating. Many people have found relief with aromatherapy for anxiety. While using essential oils for anxiety helps, some people wonder if their relief is a placebo effect or if the essential oils really are treating their condition. Considering the cost and effort involved in sourcing high-quality essential oils, it's important to know which are backed by science. Here are three plants which are backed by science when used in an essential oil blend for anxiety.


Lavender is perhaps the most well known essential oil for anxiety. The purple flower's distinctive fragrance means it is often used in cosmetics, perfumes and even baked goods. Lavender has long found use in aromatherapy for anxiety given the relaxing properties it brings. A review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that scientific studies conducted across the world have found that lavender preparations give superior results when used to treat anxiety. Its use was associated with a decrease in anxiety, improved mood and decreased pain. Convincingly, studies looking at electrical activity in the brain found that lavender caused changes associated with relaxation and comfort such as increased alpha waves. It's no wonder that lavender has been used by so many different cultures in aromatherapy for anxiety!


Bergamot is a citrus fruit, grown mostly in Italy. It's soothing odour and delicate taste mean it is used in teas, sweets and perfumes. It has several potent active components which back its long history of use in aromatherapy. A scientific review in Italy in 2015 showed that bergamot essential oil successfully reduced stress when used as part of aromatherapy for anxiety. It also found that bergamot was useful when part of an essential oil blend for anxiety with other essential oils such as lavender, frankincense and ylang-ylang.


Geranium is often used in essential oil blends. There is a large number of diverse plants in the geranium family, which is also known as Pelargonium in scientific terms. Geraniums have a sweet and delicate fragrance. There are many uses for geranium in complementary medicine, including in aromatherapy for anxiety, relaxation and wound healing. A 2015 study in the Journal of Caring Sciences found geranium essential oil reduced anxiety in pregnant women during labour, while in 2017 scientists found geranium significantly relieved anxiety in patients who had suffered a heart attack. Considering the amount of anxiety both of these groups of patients would be going through makes you understand how powerful geranium essential oil can be.

Determining which essential oils are best for any condition is as much of an art as it is a science, but it's good to know that science does back up lavender, bergamot and geranium when used in an essential oil blend for anxiety.