Scents are pretty powerful—and it turns out that a few of them have some seriously relaxing effects. So, if you’re stressed, (because let’s face it, how can you not ever feel that way in the world we’re living in?), try using one of the following four essential oils to ease the tension.
This is the quintessential essential oil for relaxation—and there’s plenty of research to back up the fact that it works. For example, a 2012 study found that inhaling lavender oil decreased the blood pressure and heart rate of the participants. “Lavender is super-potent,” says Victorine Deych, a New York City-based a holistic beauty expert who has her own line of essential body oils. “Two drops go a long way.” Deych recommends squeezing two drops into your palms, rubbing them together, taking a couple of deep breaths and repeating this process two or three times.
It’s time to stop and smell the citrus—well, sweet orange essential oil, that is. Research has shown that orange essential oil may have the ability to relax you. A study published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research looked at the effects orange essential oil had on children before they went to the dentist (because dental fear is real, y’all). The children had lower pulse rates and cortisol (a.k.a. stress hormone) levels after inhaling the oil. Deych recommends massaging four or five drops of sweet orange oil around your jaw, pressing down gently as you apply it. “It gives you a little bit of release,” she says.
This flower has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to help treat everything from eczema to canker sores to hemorrhoids thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Since it’s super-soothing, it makes sense that chamomile would also have positive effects on your mood, too. A study published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports found that inhaling chamomile essential oil relieves feelings of anxiety and depression. Deych is a fan of blending Roman chamomile with basil essential oil for an earthy vibe. “I like to use it in the morning,” she says. “It gives you a second to ground yourself before you go ahead into the day. You can use it the same way you would lavender.
Think about: If you’ve ever smoked pot (no need to raise hands here), then you know that it has the power to completely calm your body. So, it makes sense that inhaling cannabis flower essential oil would be a popular stress-relief remedy. Just don’t expect to get high from it—cannabis flower essential oil contains only the teeniest amount of THC, the compound in marijuana responsible for the majority of its effects. “I’m a huge proponent of cannabis flower essential oil,” says Deych, noting that many people use it topically for muscle aches and different types of joint conditions. She suggests taking a few drops and massaging them into your feet at the end of the day.