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Help to ease anxiety in Children with essential oils
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Anxiety is a bitch – Anxiety in Children is even bitchier

Anxiety in children has become a pretty common phenomenon these days.  Have you got a stressed out anxious kid? It’s a terrible feeling for both them and you.  It can make you feel pretty helpless as a parent when your child is distressed and you feel powerless to help them.  I feel your pain momma, I have five kiddos who all suffer from various levels of anxiety.  Over the years we’ve tried lots of different ways to help.  Meditation, music, diet, counseling…you name it we’ve tried it.  Some things work for one kid but not the others.  Over time I’ve found the two things that help all of them has been changing up their diets and essential oils.

Why Essential Oils?

Interaction with the limbic system (emotional brain)

During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”

The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance (Higley & Higley, 1998). This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions.

Because oils influence the limbic system it makes them an ideal tool in helping to alleviate anxiety.  It’s also simple because the methods of use are perfect for children – easy and non-invasive.

Essential Oils to help with anxiety in children
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How we can use them

  1. Topically
  2. Inhalation
  3. Internally


Essential oils can be applied topically to the skin. Essential oils are found in many products – lotions, creams and oil as well as products used for pain relief and healing. Common examples include applying a blend that contains black pepper (Piper nigrum) or ginger (Zinziber officinalis) essential oil to reduce arthritis pain and improve flexibility or applying German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil to treat eczema.

How does this work? Our skin is somewhat permeable. The active chemicals in essential oils are absorbed just like the ingredients in common pharmaceuticals such as hormone replacement therapy cream and nicotine patches.


This is where the term aromatherapy came from – inhaling the scent of oils through the olfactory system (nose or mouth).

The olfactory system includes all physical organs or cells relating to, or contributing to, the sense of smell. When we inhale through the nose, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain.

Molecules inhaled through the nose or mouth are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways.


The third way that essential oils enter the body is by ingestion (swallowing).

caution sign with exclamation point
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Oral ingestion of essential oils is NOT recommended for the general public because a thorough essential oils knowledge and expertise is necessary for safe practice.

The ingestion of essential oils is not common practice in the US/Australia. In France, it is more common, but only when specially trained physicians and pharmacists prescribe and dispense them. There are several reasons for caution, including the following:

  • Some essential oils can be toxic to the liver or kidneys when ingested.
  • Chemical breakdown of essential oils during gastric processing can change the effects.
  • There could be potential drug interactions. (Tisserand and Balacs, 1995; Schnaubelt, 1999)

If you are considering this method PLEASE CONSULT A QUALIFIED PRACTITIONER

What Oils to use for Anxiety

Calming the Anxious Child with Essential Oils 1
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There are lots of different oils you can use to help with anxiety.

1. Lavender

Considered the most common essential oil, lavender oil benefits include having a calming, relaxing effect. It’s considered a nervous system restorative and helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, nervous stomach and general nervous tension.

2. Rose

One of the benefits of rose essential oil is it’s very settling to the emotional heart and perhaps the second most popular after lavender for relieving anxiety and depression, helping with panic attacks, grieving and shock.

3. Vetiver

Vetiver oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization. A nervous system tonic, it decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is also useful in panic attacks and shock.

4. Ylang Ylang

This popular essential oil can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effects. Ylang ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia.

5. Bergamot

Bergamot is commonly found in Earl Grey tea and has a distinctive floral taste and aroma. Bergamot oil is calming and often used to treat depression by providing energy; however, it can also help with insomnia induce relaxation and reduce agitation

6. Chamomile

A peaceful, calming scent, chamomile benefits inner harmony and decreases irritability, overthinking, anxiety and worry.  Chamomile oil is generally safe, except for a small risk of allergy, especially with those who have an allergy to ragweed.

7. Frankincense

Frankincense is great for treating depression and anxiety because it provides a calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. In aromatherapy, it helps deepen meditation and quiet the mind.

8. Sweet Orange

While all citrus essential oils are uplifting and great to combat anxiety and depression, Yale Scientific cited a study from the Mie University School of Medicine that found that patients with depression needed smaller doses of antidepressant medications after citrus aromatherapy treatments like sweet orange essential oil.

9. Clary Sage

A 2010 research study conducted by the Department of Basic Nursing Science, Korea documented that clary sage essential oil has antidepressant-like effects useful after highly stressful situations. The same department also found that clary sage may even be more powerful than lavender for anxiety treatment in women.

11. Cedarwood

Eases nervous tension and stress-related disorders and can be used as a sedative, and helps with the promotion of restful and restorative sleep.

Pre-made Blends

Making up your own blends is the most economic way to use oils, but sometimes you don’t have the budget to get all the oils you need so buying pre-made blends might be a better option for you.  We like to use the Plant Therapy KidSafe range for those times when we need a blend and I don’t have the time or money to get all the oils I need. They are already diluted to levels safe for children which makes them super easy and quick to use.

Calming the Child (this is the kit – you can purchase products individually) fantastic for promoting a calm atmosphere and state of being.

Tension Tamer is perfect for helping relieve tense little bodies when they are feeling anxious.

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Calming the Anxious Child with Essential Oils 5
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Easy Homemade Blends

Here are some easy homemade recipes you can make – mix them with a carrier oil and store either in a small bottle or a roller bottle.  You can mix into a bath or with lotion, put into bath salts or even on your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket. My kids are suckers for having their backs rubbed so we usually have blends made up in their personal roller balls and pop it on their back and feet.

For information on dilutions of oils please reference this site is has invaluable information on essential oil use and safety.

Calming Essential Oils Blend


  1. Add all essential oils to an empty 10 ml bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with a carrier oil.
  3. Place the plastic dropper back on the bottle and then screw on the cap.
  4. Shake well. Now it’s ready for use.
Recipe for your Diffuser
Diffuser recipe for calming a child with anxiety
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Calm Down Diffuser Recipe

Peaceful Child Blend (Diluted)

Roller Ball Ingredients

  1. Add all essential oils to an empty 10 ml bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with a carrier oil.
  3. Place the roller back on the bottle and then screw on the cap.
  4. Shake well. Now it’s ready for use.
Recipe for your diffuser
Peaceful Child diffuser blend
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Peaceful Child for Diffuser

I like to use this one on my toddler.

Here’s to your health!


Higley, C., Leatham, P. & Higley, A. (1998). Aromatherapy A-Z. Hay House.

Tisserand, R. & Balacs, T. (1995). Essential oil safety: A guide for health professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Disclaimer The information on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA or the TGA and is not to be taken as medical advice. I am not a doctor and only offer up the personal experience of my family. All material on this website is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this website, instead, readers should consult with the appropriate health professional in any matter relating to their health and well-being. Readers who fail to consult with the appropriate health professional assume the risk of any injuries.












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Tammy Rose-Townsend

3 comments on “Calming the Anxious Child with Essential Oils”

  1. Sooo Cool! I have a diffuser at home but could never remember what scents did what (also forgot to google it while shopping) so I tend to get random stuff that smells delicious. Don’t know why I didn’t think of just mixing them. Some of the ones that said essential oil didn’t smell all that nice and not all of them were marked. So mixing them should help. Thanks so much for this.

  2. My wife gets really bad anxiety, especially right before big events. I had no idea that Frankincense was able to treat depression and anxiety. I might need to look into getting this for her to see if the aromas can help calm her.

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