If you are on a quest for finding ways to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) naturally, you may want to consider adding essential oils to your treatment toolkit.
Nowadays, it seems like there’s an essential oil for anything, from improving migraine headaches to repelling insects and promoting restful sleep. These aromatic plant extracts are also thought to support mental health and wellness by stimulating areas in your brain that influence your mood, memory formation, and more.
Evidence suggests that aromatherapy with certain essential oils could help improve numerous conditions, like stress, anxiety, ADHD, and sleeplessness.
Essential oils and ADHD
There aren’t a ton of scientific studies explaining why or how essential oils help with ADHD, but we know that many of these oils have either calming or brain-boosting properties, both of which you want to reap if you or your child has ADHD.
These are 10 essential oils that could help improve symptoms of ADHD:
What is it: An evergreen shrub from the Lamiaceae family. It has stood the test of time as both a culinary and medicinal herb beloved worldwide for its fresh aroma and healing properties.
How it helps: Did you know that ancient Greeks and Romans used rosemary to strengthen their memory? Believe it or not, they were actually onto something! Research shows that rosemary essential oils may boost concentration, improve memory, and increase focused alertness.
What is it: A concentrated liquid distilled from the leaves, bark, needles, and fruits of the cedar tree, of which there are several species.
How it helps: Cedarwood oil may help improve ADHD symptoms by supporting the oxygenation of brain cells, which may enhance cognition and provide a calming effect.
What is it: A cross between watermint and spearmint. Its leaves contain potent essential oils, including menthol, which is responsible for its refreshing properties.
How it helps: Peppermint essential oil is believed to help calm some of the restlessness and hyperactivity associated with ADHD. Never ingest peppermint oil or apply it directly to the skin. Instead, dilute it in carrier oils like olive or coconut oil to avoid irritation.
What is it: There are two types of chamomile essential oil: German and Roman. German chamomile oil is higher in chamazulene, the active ingredient that gives chamomile its medicinal properties. Roman chamomile has become popular for its sweet, soothing scent.
How it helps: Who hasn’t had a nice warm mug of chamomile tea to calm nerves and promote sleep? As an essential oil, chamomile also has the ability to calm a fidgety brain, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.
What is it: An extract sourced from the sap of the Boswellia tree. Frankincense has a characteristic woody, lemony aroma reminiscent of campfire smoke and citrus oils. It has been used for thousands of years in religious ceremonies as a symbol of holiness and sanctity.
How it helps: May promote feelings of relaxation, suppress negative emotions, and help people with ADHD focus.
What is it: The Holy Grail of essential oils, lavender oil is beloved for its potent yet delicate floral aroma and its calming qualities.
How it helps: There is solid research backing the healing properties of lavender essential oil. Studies show that the scent of lavender can relax the nervous system and may help you be calmer in stressful situations. People with ADHD may benefit from using lavender oil before bed to promote better sleep.
What is it: Ylang Ylang is a tropical flower harvested from the Cananga tree native to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and parts of Australia. It has a romantic fruity, flowery smell that has made it a popular addition to weddings and other celebrations in several cultures.
How it helps: Aromatherapy with Ylang Ylang could improve mood, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve the symptoms of depression.
What is it: A potent oil sourced from the rinds of the sweet orange.
How it helps: Like other citrus oils, sweet orange oil may boost concentration in children and adults with ADHD and may improve symptoms of anxiety and chronic stress.
What is it: A concentrated oil extracted from the vetiver plant.
How it helps: While vetiver oil is one of the lesser-known essential oils, animal studies show that vetiver may have stress-relieving properties. It may also boost focus and attention in people with ADHD.
How to use essential oils when you have ADHD
You should never ingest essential oils because they could be toxic and cause poisoning even in small amounts. However, top-quality essential oils are perfectly safe when inhaled or applied topically (to the skin). You just have to make sure to blend them with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or even sunflower or olive oil, to avoid skin irritation.
Other ways of using essential oils for ADHD include:
- Applying it with a roller bottle
- Adding a few drops to a diffuser
- Blending a few drops with water and using it as a spray
- Mixing it with a carrier oil to make your own massage oil
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