10 Effective Essential Oils for ADHD

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Many people have begun to use essential oils for ADHD, as the condition and its possible remedies continue to be explored around the world. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral disorders that is seen in children and young adults, with more than 10% of children now being diagnosed with some form of this condition at some time in their life. By definition, those with ADHD struggle to focus on topics and avoid distractions, while also being more impulsive and restless. While the condition is most often diagnosed in childhood, the effects of this condition can last into adulthood, most commonly characterized by constant chattering, frequent interruption of others, restlessness or irritability, lack of attention, impatience, and difficulty staying in line with a conversation or task.

The causes of ADHD are difficult to pin down, although most experts believe that this disorder is caused by a range of factors, including environmental factors, genetic history, social elements, diet, brain injury or a varying composition of white matter in the brain. With so many different underlying factors, only some of which are easily remedied, most people turn to treatment or management of the symptoms. Essential oils for ADHD are a wonderful way to address the most common symptoms of ADHD and allow people with this disorder to manage the disorder without resorting to pharmaceutical solutions. [1]

List of Essential Oils for ADHD

A pensive-looking boy

ADHD in children should be handled carefully. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Many of the most effective essential oils for ADHD are rosemary, lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, vetiver, myrrh, frankincense, lemon, basil, and cedarwood oils.

Lemon Oil

Although lemon is an invigorating essential oil, it is also known to improve focus and cognitive ability, preventing the child from getting distracted. It is also linked to balancing mood and preventing emotional reactions, which are common in ADHD. [2]

How to Use – One of the best ways to use this oil is to simply inhale it from the bottle, or place a few drops in a room diffuser and allow its benefits to fill up your entire home!

Ylang Ylang Oil

Known for its soothing properties, which are commonly employed to eliminate anxiety and depression, ylang-ylang oil is also excellent for calming down heightened emotions and energy levels with its sedative abilities. [3]

How to Use – You can add a few drops of ylang-ylang oil to a steam inhalation treatment or simply add a few drops to your neck or wrists for ongoing effects throughout the day.

Vetiver Oil

This oil is commonly used by people who are facing difficult cognitive tasks, as it can help to improve focus and memory retention; this can help children and adults who struggle to focus or complete tasks without distractions. [4]

How to Use – Dilute 4-5 drops of vetiver oil within a teaspoon of carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or coconut oil, and then apply that to the base of the neck or behind the ears; both the aromatic compounds and the absorbed oils can help calm the nerves and increase focus.

Basil Oil

There is a basic calming nature to this oil, which is why it is so often prescribed for people suffering from nervous disorders, depression, headaches, anxiety and sleep disorders. This naturally makes it ideal for hyperactive individuals who cannot relax and often feel restless. [5]

How to Use – Although this isn’t the most commonly diffused oil, its soothing effects on the symptoms of ADHD are notable when the microparticles of this oil are spread throughout a room!

Bergamot Oil

This oil is known to impact the central nervous system and reduce certain neurotransmitters that can induce stress and anxiety. By calming the mind, it makes it easier to focus and remain present in conversations and tasks. [6]

How to Use – A simple way to benefit all day is to add 1-2 drops to the base of your neck, or on your wrists; the aroma helps soothe you, while the oil absorbed into the skin will have more of a chemical effect on your internal systems.

Myrrh Oil

This ancient oil has been proven to induce the release of dopamine and serotonin, two feel-good neurotransmitters that will help people relax and de-stress. For perpetually hyperactive people, calming down is difficult, but this oil can help re-balance their critical hormone levels. [7]

How to Use – People like to combine myrrh oil with other carrier oils, such as almond oil, for topical applications on the neck or wrists, but this oil also blends well with lavender oil for a room diffuser.

Lavender Oil

Legendary for its ability to soothe the mind and reduce inflammation in the body, lavender is one of the most researched essential oils for ADHD symptoms. Some of the active ingredients in lavender oil are also able to boost the release and absorption of positive neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, helping the body relax. [8]

How to Use – Adding a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow can help you fall asleep and wake up feeling clear-headed. You can also add lavender oil to a room diffuser or topically apply it to the skin behind the neck, ears, and wrists.

Cedarwood Oil

This essential oil has a unique composition of active ingredients, including some that are able to balance hormone levels in the body and directly impact the central nervous system. It can also reduce mental fog and lower inflammation and stress levels. [9]

How to Use – Adding this warm, woody-scented oil to a room diffuser is a popular option for soothing the body and mind, or you can add a few drops to a steam inhalation treatment.

Rosemary Oil

This oil isn’t necessarily soothing for the mind, but it can help to improve focus and cognitive ability. This increased concentration level is often what people with ADHD are looking for, rather than a sedative of some kind. [10]

How to Use – Mixing a few drops of this powerful oil with vetiver or lavender oil, and then topically applying to the chest, neck or wrists can quickly boost concentration and mental clarity.

Frankincense Oil

Famed for its ability to focus the mind and aid in meditation and mental clarity, this oil is a natural choice for ADHD sufferers. For thousands of years, this oil has been praised for its impact on the brain, and more recently, its positive impact on the central nervous system and hormone levels. [11]

How to Use – You can use this oil in a room diffuser or simply inhale from the bottle; some people choose to apply a few drops to their chest to stimulate positive mental focus all day long.

Word of Caution: While this non-exhaustive list makes it seem like using essential oils for ADHD is a logical choice, there are some things that need to be taken into consideration. The use of essential oils in the treatment of children with ADHD is still controversial for some of the most potent oils, and any use of alternative remedies for behavioral disorders should be discussed with a medical professional. However, the rapid increase in ADHD cases, combined with the worrisome prospect of regularly medicating children from a young age, has made the use of essential oils more popular. Remember, some essential oils are perfectly safe and can provide the focus, mental clarity and soothing nature that ADHD sufferers (including children) need most.

Furthermore, some essential oils can cause allergic reactions, skin inflammation and gastrointestinal distress, among a wide array of other side effects. In severe cases of ADHD, or when at-home treatment with these oils doesn’t work, more formal medical attention should be sought out.

DMCA.com Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 4.1 out of 5.0 based on 24 user(s).