Have you ever walked into a quirky shop on the high street and been hit with the gorgeous, potent smell of flowers?


If so, it’s likely that the thing you could smell was a diffuser or a nebulizer full of essential oils!


You may have heard of essential oils, often also referred to as aromatherapy oils, before. In fact, you may have used them yourself in the past. But do you know why these oils are used? Have you ever wondered why they are so beneficial to your health?


What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are plant extracts that contain aromatic compounds. These compounds each have unique aromas that are retained within the essential oils that are available for us to buy. So, when that strong smell hits you as you walk into your favorite quirky store, it’s these aromatic molecules that you can smell!


Aromatherapy oils are extracted through distillation (using steam and water) or via cold pressing. Nowadays, these processes occur on a mass scale to meet the increasing demands for essential oils.


When these oils are extracted, they are mixed with a carrier oil to enable their use in household diffusers and massage oils. Note that when they are mixed with water and other carrier substances, the essential oils are not 100% pure.


How Can Essential Oils Calm You?

Essential oils are not only used for their incredible scents, but also for their many benefits on physical, mental, and spiritual health.


Many studies have shown that the use of essential oils has a calming effect and may relieve anxiety. You can obtain calming essential oils in a number of ways, but the most common applications include using an essential oil diffuser, an essential oil vape, or aromatherapy oils during a massage.


These effects are thought to be due to the influence that essential oils have on the human limbic system. When the vapor of these oils is inhaled, the molecules in the essential oils stimulate the olfactory receptors in your nose.


These receptors are closely linked to the areas of the brain that form the limbic system. This system is involved in regulating a variety of things in your body. When activated by inhalation of essential oil vapor, the limbic system can change your hormone levels, emotions, long-term memory function, and blood pressure.


Each of these factors is closely associated with your mood and anxiety levels. Therefore, influencing them in a positive way through the use of essential oils can boost your mental health in a natural, yet effective way.


10 of the Best Calming Essential Oils

Here are 10 of the most effective essential oils to calm your mind and leave you feeling relaxed and content. You can use many of these on their own or in combination with one or more other essential oils to maximize their health benefits.

  • Basil Essential Oil


    You can get two types of basil essential oil, holy basil and sweet basil. Both of these come from the basil plant, meaning they have a fresh, herbal scent.


    This essential oil has been shown to have stress-relieving and potentially sedative effects. However, the sedative effects were less severe than those experienced with common anti-anxiety medications. Basil essential oils also have natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


    You can inhale holy and sweet basil essential oils via a diffuser to relieve your anxiety, reduce pain and inflammation, and reduce digestive problems.

  • Bergamot Essential Oil


    Bergamot oranges contain the aromatic compounds that are used to make bergamot essential oil, which had a fruity, zesty scent. Human clinical trials show that it may be effective in decreasing anxiety, boosting mood, and decreasing inflammation in the body.


    Bergamot essential oil should not be applied directly to the skin if you are going to be out in the sun. This is because it can increase your sensitivity to sunlight and may increase your risk of getting sunburn. Instead, you should inhale bergamot oil by dabbing some on a cotton ball or by using an essential oil diffuser.

  • Chamomile Essential Oil


    Chamomile oil comes from the chamomile plant. It has been used for centuries, and has been noted in medical texts from ancient Rome and Greece.


    It is commonly used in herbal teas for its relaxing and sedative effects, as well as its ability to reduce indigestion, speed up wound healing, and reduce symptoms of skin disorders, such as eczema and acne.


    The use of chamomile essential oil may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, enhance digestive health, and decrease inflammation.


    Dispense a few drops of this oil into your bath water or add some to your essential oil diffuser for optimal effects.

  • Jasmine Essential Oil


    Jasmine essential oil is obtained from the Jasminun officinale plant.


    It is often used in perfumes and cosmetic products because of its pleasant floral scent. Its inhalation can enhance your sense of well-being, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may also act as an aphrodisiac by boosting libido.


    Jasmine oil is thought to calm you down by activating your parasympathetic nervous system and slowing your body down. 


    It is best used in beauty products, aromatherapy oils, or essential oil diffusers.

  • Lavender Essential Oil


    Lavender is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. It has a floral scent with a herbal undertone that many people love to use in their homes. It is added to skincare products, perfumes, washing fabrics, massage oils, and essential oil diffusers.


    Lavender has a sedative effect so is great as part of treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and migraines. It is also effective in the treatment of certain skin conditions, such as eczema, acne, and burns.


    You can inhale the vapor of this oil using a Lavender vape, use lavender scented cosmetics, or add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to your bath water to gain its calming benefits.

  • Lemon Balm Essential Oil


    If you love the smell of lemon, you will absolutely love lemon balm essential oil. This particular oil comes from a family of herbs called Lemongrass and it is known for its soothing and meditative effects on the body.


    Lemon balm capsules may be used to treat mild to moderate anxiety, and potentially insomnia by lowering the cortisol levels in the body. It may also enhance your cognitive abilities. However, it’s best to consult a professional before commencing Lemon balm capsules.


    You can also inhale the vapor of lemon balm essential oil to experience its mood-boosting effects.

  • Peppermint Essential Oil


    Peppermint essential oil has the ability to stimulate the production and release of endorphins within the body. Endorphins, such as serotonin and dopamine, have natural anxiolytic and pain-relieving effects. 

    Therefore, using peppermint in an essential oil diffuser or in aromatherapy oils may be beneficial in reducing your overall anxiety and stress. 


    You can also use peppermint directly on the skin when mixed with a carrier oil. Commonly, people apply it to their temples and forehead to leave migraines and tension in the area, and to the sinuses to reduce congestion and open up the airways.

  • Rose Essential Oil


    Roses are one of the most popular flowers, especially around Valentine’s Day! Rose essential oil is also a popular option for many due to its sweet and pleasant floral scent. Rose oil is commonly used in cosmetics, skincare, and beauty products for this reason.


    Aside from spelling great, Rose oil has several mental health benefits. It has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain, particularly around the abdominal area. It has also been used to relieve pain for pregnant women in labor when added to a bath of warm water.


    Rose essential oil is best used in bathwater or rubbed directly onto the skin. Make sure to mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil before applying it to the skin.

  • Valerian Essential Oil


    Valerian oil is another commonly used aromatherapy oil that may have calming effects. Its aroma is not as pleasant as many of the other oils mentioned here and it is often described as having a woody or earthy.


    Despite its musky scent, Valerian essential oil is used by many to calm the nerves and treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It may also be effective in the treatment of headaches, trembling, and heart palpitations.


    This oil can be used in an essential oil diffuser so you can inhale the vapor and experience its anxiolytic effects. 

  • Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


    The final calming essential oil is Ylang Ylang. This comes from a tropical plant called the Cananga tree and it is commonly used to boost mood and reduce stress.


    Ylang Ylang essential oil may also decrease your blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels in the body, which further enhances its calming effects. It appears to be particularly effective when used in combination with Lavender and bergamot.


    Inhale Ylang Ylang vapor via a diffuser or rub it onto the skin as part of an essential oil cream or balm.