Essential oils for ADHD

While the medical and scientific research on how essential oils affect ADHD symptoms is limited and many people still don’t know exactly what ADHD is, many swear by their potency. People who suffer from ADHD themselves or have children who have been diagnosed with ADHD have witnessed firsthand the benefits they can provide when getting online ADHD therapy.

Do essential oils work for ADHD?

Many of the essential oils people find most useful to alleviate ADHD symptoms have been shown to have a calming or relaxing effect. As ADHD can make people impulsive, restless and unable to concentrate, it’s easy to understand how these natural substances could help modify their unwanted behavior such as violent tendencies.

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The best essential oils for ADHD

Some essential oils react with various medications, each of which has pros and cons. Because of this, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before you begin taking any kind of essential oil. Many can also have potentially harmful side effects, especially when used incorrectly. 


The vetiver plant comes from India and is believed to have a calming effect. One animal study which used vetiver in aromatherapy for relaxation proved that the oil has similar anti-anxiety abilities to diazepam.

A small study conducted in 2001 shows that vetiver oil has the potential to improve ADHD symptoms, but more thorough and modern research is needed for a definitive answer.


Lavender has been used for centuries to help calm people in stressful situations and reduce anxiety levels. While this essential oil may also be able to ease ADHD symptoms, there’s no scientific evidence of the fact.


Orange essential oil comes from the rings of the sweet orange and has also been proven to reduce anxiety and promote calmness. Because of this, some people believe it’s helpful for treating ADHD symptoms, too, and has proven successful amongst some individuals.

Ylang ylang and chamomile

Ylang ylang oil comes from the flowers of the Cananga tree, while chamomile oil comes from the flowers of the chamomile plant. If you’re suffering from anxiety, stress or depression as a result of ADHD, these two essential oils may be able to help you.


Derived from the roots and wood of Santalum album, also known as the East Indian sandalwood tree, sandalwood oil has powerful medicinal properties which ease inflammation. Research suggests that it also has the ability to calm, relax and improve the mental clarity of people with ADHD.


Frankincense comes from the resin of the Boswellia tree and is well-known for its musky, sweet smell. As it’s been proven to help promote calmness, this essential oil is also used by some people with ADHD to reduce the negative emotions their disorder causes them to feel.


Produced from the leaves and flowers of the peppermint plant, peppermint oil has a soothing effect which can help relax and reduce restlessness. This essential oil could prove helpful if you find it difficult to wind down and feel at ease.

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How to use essential oils

There are many different ways to use essential oils. Experiment until you find which works best for you, your lifestyle and your symptoms. If you don’t get the results you expect right away, you might find that it’s the way you’re using the oil that isn’t working — not the essential oil itself.

Here are some of the most popular ways of using essential oils:

  • Diffused in the air
    The most common way to use essential oils for ADHD is to defuse them in the air and gradually breathe them in. You don’t need to buy a special diffuser to do this. Simply placing a couple of drops of oil near your nose (such as on your pillowcase) will have the same effect.
  • Added into bathwater
    Baths are relaxing on their own, but when you add a couple of drops of essential oil into the water, they can help you feel even more relaxed. This method allows the hot water to calm your muscles while the essential oil diffuses into the air.
  • Used during a massage
    If you regularly receive massages, you can ask your masseuse to use your chosen essential oil during the treatment. The massage will help relax tense muscles, while the essential oil will help calm your tense mind.

Note: some oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin or used in a bath. Failure to do so can lead to painful skin irritation which will require treatment. Do your research and find out if your chosen essential oil needs to be diluted before using it. 

Talk to a professional

At this time, there has not been sufficient scientific and medical research to determine how effective essential oils are at treating ADHD. However, many people who have ADHD believe they do help. 

Your first step to managing your ADHD symptoms should be to seek the help of a qualified, licensed therapist. They’ll be able to help you create a program and offer techniques such as DBT for ADHD to follow to modify your behavior and improve your symptoms. By attending therapy sessions, you can also discuss the benefits of essential oils for ADHD with a professional and get their opinion before making your decision.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741