Boy, oh, boy, do we need help with anxiety these days! I mean, seriously. Our economy is in a melt down, many of us have lost our jobs, violent crime is on the rise and health insurance is a rare animal. What on earth would you do if you got sick? I mean, right now? If you think about it, anxiety makes people sick more than any other mental activity. You worry and your heart and nerves go haywire. Losing sleep, fretting, building on your own fears. It’s like the 800 pound Gorilla. Anxiety. In the middle of your life.
If you know anything about herbs you know that many herbs are good for anxiety. Teas made of Chamomile, Kava Kava and Valerian make people relax and they work really well. But did you know that you can use essential oils, externally, to reduce stress? Did you know that certain odors and certain atmospheres are conducive to anxiety and others are conducive to relaxation? You know that a hot bath, candlelight, a glass of wine, soft music, all these things help us relax. But when the fear goes really deep, the bug a boos are keeping us frantic all the time, these usual methods fall short. I can grit my teeth through a hot bath and tap my foot through a glass of wine. And when I’m really wound up, soft music just makes me cranky.
At these times, when the world is driving your blood pressure through the roof, you need something that changes the environment entirely and works from the inside out. Smells, colors, certain flavors do this very subtly, working from the inside out, changing our moods. But did you know that essential oils have all of these properties? Through their odor and texture they create a taste in our mouths that is translated through our glands and tissue. We react to these subtle influences in the same way that we react to certain foods and aromas. Let me show you which oils work and how.
Essential Oil of Lavender
This magical herb is known for relieving both anxiety and depression. It is a balancing, harmonizing aroma that brings peace to the heart and mind. Just planting these lovely flowers in your yard will created a scented retreat into which you can retire and relax. One of the most enchanting fragrances in nature, Lavender was among the first oils isolated to make perfume. It is used in nearly every form of beauty product, from shampoos to shave creams. If you expose yourself to Lavender when you are stressed out, tense or even afraid, it will take over your senses in a subtle fashion and literally change your mood. You won’t even realize what caused the change but just being exposed to the aroma is so pleasant that you will truly enjoy the experience. Here are methods for using the oil for anxiety.
When you are very stressed, anxious, depressed, or fearful about things, you should draw up a hot bath. Into the water as the bath fills, you should add 10-13 drops of Lavender Oil to the water while it’s very hot. Please wait for the water to cool a little before crawling in! The oil will literally infuse in the hot water and will be like a body tea when you enter it. Use the best and purest Essential Oil of Lavender you can find and don’t settle for “flower oil” or “scented oil” or other compounds. While you are in the bath, rub your skin briskly with the oily water, like a moisturizer and let your skin absorb the oil. You should really soak awhile before clamboring out and showering it off. Make sure your skin has a chance to absorb the oil.
Add 12 drops of Lavender Essential Oil to any oil of your choosing. Pure, organic carriers work best, of course, but even regular Vegetable Oil will do in a pinch. My favorite is Coconut Oil. Get someone to massage this oil into your skin over the tense areas of your body. You should have them work your shoulders, lower back, neck and thighs. If you are dealing with fear or anxiety at the time of the massage, have them start with your neck and shoulders. Allow them to rub the oil into your skin over a large area and do not wash it off. Dry it off, rubbing it in as you go. This will have a fantastic lasting effect and you should feel abnormally relaxed for quite some time afterwards. If you are alone and must give yourself the massage, concentrate on the neck and shoulders. Even just this alone will help a lot. You will be amazed at how well this works, believe me.
Essential Oil of Valerian
Known as All Heal throughout history, Valerian is considered an all around herb that can fix just about anything. The oil is the strongest form of treatment although it can be taken as a tincture, a tea or in capsule form. This herb is a direct muscle relaxant and you can feel it work. It binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as Valium. The difference is that Valerian is not addictive, is more beneficial to the nervous system and does not create a tolerance where you have to keep increasing the dosage. It works fast, too. They used Valerian in the first and second world wars to treat shell shock and nervous stress. If it can work for boys facing violence every day, it can work for you! Here is the way to use Essential Oil of Valerian.
Essential Oil of Valerian Capsules
You can buy the essential oil or what is called Valerian Root Extract, which is the same thing. This is one essential oil that you can take internally. You want to buy .05% Essential Oil and add 300-400mg to capsules and take it this way every day. It may take more than one capsule to hold 400mg of the oil so use as many as you need to get the whole dose. Use it this way before bed or before resting and never use it this way if you have to drink or go somewhere or if you are going to drink alcohol. NEVER mix Valerian with alcohol.
Essential Oil of Valerian Tincture
You can also take the Root Extract as a tincture. You can buy it as a ready made tincture or make your own. You want to start with 1/8 tsp as a first dose of tincture and work up to no more than 3 tsp every few hours. This has an immediate effect so if you’re all tensed up, panicky, feeling frightened or stressed out, simply drop a few under the tongue. You will be amazed!
PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes Valerian has an adverse effect on certain people. If you begin to feel agitated, restless, angry or anxious, discontinue use.
Essential Oil of Camphor
This oil is made from the wood of the Camphor Laurel tree. It has been used for many things in medicine, from waking people up to reducing odors. It was best known for generations as the thing to use for “vapors”, which was an ill defined state that women got into, marked by fainting and weakness. It was probably due to something like Anemia and I doubt Camphor did much for that however, it was known to wake these women up and is even used today to wake up unconscious people in accidents and other medical emergencies. But is has a second life as a herbal medicine, most prominently used for anxiety and tension. It is best used in oil form and used externally. DO NOT EVER take Camphor internally.
Essential Oil of Camphor Massage
This is an awesome massage that will relax your body and wake up your senses. Often, anxiety stems from depression and being tired. Life can be a real struggle and often it just overwhelms us and we feel helpless and afraid. Camphor brings the senses alive and makes you feel fresh and full of energy. It overcomes anxiety by making you feel more contented and alert, less introspective. It has a balancing effect. To use it as a massage oil, you need to add 10-12 drops of Oil of Camphor to 2 fluid ounces of carrier oil. I like to use Almond Oil with Camphor but any oil will do, including ordinary Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil. Shake up well before use to ensure a tight blending. Have the masseuse use a small amount on finger tips, rubbing deeply along tight muscles. Do not pour this oil on; the less you use the better. Small amounts of oil seem to release the healing odor of Camphor more richly than larger amounts. Perhaps the nose just gets too used to it. After this massage, you should feel refreshed, energized and more positive. You will feel like tackling the world!
Essential Oil of Juniper
This oil is not often used by general herbalists, being sort of an arcane oil that is more often used in crafting. I can’t tell you how many potpourris and winter wreaths I have made using Oil of Juniper along with fresh Cedar, Juniper and Juniper Berries. Lovely stuff. But it’s not often thought of when people are talking about Essential Oils used in remedies and even less often mentioned when treating anxiety. It is a tricky oil that has an intense effect and should therefor be handled with care. It should never be used by women who are pregnant as it can induce early contractions. It should never be used as a personal perfume because it is likely to knock people out when they smell it… it’s that intense. If you use it for an air freshener, please only use a few drops to a large bottle of mineral or purified water. And then just a few spritzs should do the trick!
As harsh as this oil can be, it is a great medicine for anxiety when used in massage or in bathing. It should NEVER be taken internally and even when used externally, it should be used by strict measures. No more than a few drops of oil per several ounces of carrier oil. The carrier oil I recommend is Grapeseed Oil due to it’s antioxidant properties. It doubles up the disinfecting properties of Juniper and just makes it purer and more conducive to healing. So use a few drops of Juniper Oil to a few ounces of Grapeseed Oil and follow the recipes for healing anxiety.
Oil of Juniper Massage Oil
To make a great massage oil, add several drops of pure Oil of Juniper to a few ounces of Jojoba Oil. Be sure to use plain old Oil of Juniper and not Cade Oil or Juniper Tar Oil. These have their place in herbal medicine but not for anxiety. Also be sure to use Jojoba Oil so that it will help the skin absorb the full value of the Juniper. You can use any oil you wish to, even Vegetable or Olive Oils in a pinch, but I recommend Jojoba for the massage. You won’t believe your skin when the massage is over and that is always a big fat bonus.
Have the masseuse use as much as she or he likes, there is no benefit from using more or less. The scent of Juniper is so darned strong that only the fewest drops with the largest handful of massage oil will still blow your anxiety and your stress away. For the best effect, make up the oil right before using and don’t make it up in advance and leave it laying around, losing its odor and effectiveness. The impact of Juniper on the senses and the body are profound so use with care. People with Liver conditions like Hepatitis or Cirrhosis should use it lightly and gently.
Overall, Juniper Oil is a strong massage cure for anxiety, depression and tension. It causes the blood to flow more freely and it will also rejuvenate the muscles and tissues. Where you felt tight, stressed out and tense, like gritting the teeth, clenching the muscles, tightening the tummy, all of this will let go. Have the masseuse give you one massage and then go over it one more time.. .just for good measure.
Oil of Juniper Bath
This is a quicker solution to tension and stress that does not involve finding someone else who is willing to rub you down. The aromatic properties of the Oil are so overwhelming and calming that you can’t help but feel like sleeping in the tub! I mean, you can be on the fright train, all worked up and seeing demons everywhere and 5 minutes in the bath and it’s all gone. Seriously.
For making up the Bath Oil, use the Grapeseed Oil and mix several drops of Oil of Juniper to about 1/2 cup of Grapeseed Oil. The Grapeseed Oil is silky on the skin but it’s also antibacterial in properties, which will help clean the skin and reduce infections you might get from being stressed. This bath will work wonders on skin conditions caused by stress like Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne or Boils. The skin will be fresh and disinfected, supported in any fight it might have with these disorders. The aroma and ambiance created by Oil of Juniper will make you feel fresh and clean but also relaxed and calm. The overall great properties of this Bath Oil will blow your mind. Trust me. Try it.
Oil of Sandalwood
This Oil has a reputation for being a “hippie” oil. It got this back in the sixties where everybody burned it at every pot party. All you had to do was smell Sandalwood and you knew there was a party nearby. Ravi Shankar playing sitar, Sandalwood burning in the background, blacklights and weed. That was the sixties that everyone remembers and because of this Sandalwood is still thought of as pot by many older people. Today, you walk into a convenience store operated by Pakistanis or Indians and the first thing you smell is Sandalwood. But have you ever thought that it might have healing properties? Probably not. But don’t feel bad, neither did I. I was like everybody else. I smelled Sandalwood and I thought “pot party”. Today, I know better. Let me tell you how Sandalwood can fix your anxiety.
Sandalwood Massage Oil
First of all, Sandalwood mostly helps anxiety caused by fatigue or nervous exhaustion. It can be mixed with other oils to enhance it’s best effects. Mixed with Oil of Cypress, it is even more calming and can be a sleep aide. Mixed with Oil of Frankincense, it can make you feel all warm and cozy, relaxed. Mixed with Oil of Jasmine, it can put you to sleep. Do not drive after massaging with a combo including Oil of Jasmine with Oil of Sandalwood. If you mix it with Oil of Lemon, you can get a refreshing, invigorating effect that mixes well with the relaxed effect and makes you feel confident. And, finally, if you mix Oil of Sandalwood with Oil of Neroli, you can get an “ambrosial” effect that makes you feel sort of delerious and spacey. All of these mixtures will calm you down.
So pick the mix you want based on the effect you wish to create. Once you have decided on this, mix 6 drops of one oil with 6 drops of Oil of Sandalwood and blend this with 2 ounces of carrier oil. This can be any oil of your choice. Have the masseuse rub you down anywhere you feel tense. Make sure to breathe deeply during the massage, taking in the aromas and ambiance of the blend. Remember not to drive if you feel too relaxed or sleepy.