Essential oils are concentrated aromatic plant extracts from different parts of plants including barks, stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. The extraction of essential oils is often done through distillation and cold press extraction. The essential oils have the highest concentration of beneficial compounds.
In some studies, there is evidence that essential oils help with ADHD. Also, there is no evidence pointing that essential oils are harmful to individuals who may have it if used properly. With the identification of emotions as the first step to cultivating emotional intelligence, and also a great way of helping kids deal with their strong emotions like anxiety and anger.
Essential oils can be effective in managing emotions in the heat of the moment, and eventually in the long run as they calm angry, anxious and hyperactive kids.
However, it is important to note that essential oils turn poisonous if consumed directly or if one gets exposed for far too long.
Some studies showing that women exposed to the fruity scent of oranges became calm and they had reduced anxiety. In other studies, the scents of lavender and oranges, as well as tea tree and rosemary essential oils bring about feelings of calm and they uplifted moods.
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Best Essential Oils for ADHD
Studies show that if a person has ADHD, then using vetiver essential oil could help in alleviating the effects, and to keep you or your child alert and focused on a task. Vetiver essential oil has a sweet-woody and a rich earthy aroma.
Inhaling vetiver essential oil results in an increase in the levels of attention as seen in studies that measured brain activity in kids with ADHD inhaling vetiver essential oil.
Studies also show that inhaling vetiver enhances learning and memory processes. It would appear that this essential oil has a stimulating effect even when inhaled in low concentrations as it increases alertness and task performance even on little exposure.
Though you can add the oils to a diffuser, you could dilute vetiver with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil and then apply it to the base of the neck or behind the ears. Topical application of vetiver essential oil helps to calm nerves and also improve focus.
2. Lavender essential oil
Since individuals who have ADHD have problems relaxing, staying awake or falling asleep, it is helpful to have a natural remedy that is safe. Lavender essential oil is this natural, safe and effective remedy.
Studies prove that the sweet-scented lavender essential oil that is often used in aromatherapy improves sleep by relaxing the nerves and the whole body. Inhaling lavender essential oil improves sleep.
If you have ADHD and you could use help getting quality sleep, then you might want to try diffusing lavender. Note that you should set the diffuser on a timer for about 30 minutes. Taking this precaution is necessary because overexposure to lavender, or any other essential oil for long hours isn’t safe.
Lavender essential oil is also effective in reducing inflammations, and it also boosts mood. Lavender essential oil helps to manage the symptoms of ADHD by affecting the release and the absorption of the positive neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These biomolecules are necessary for the body to relax.
You could add a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you relax, fall asleep and to wake up to a clear mind. Alternatively, you could also apply diluted lavender essential oil with a carrier oil and then apply it topically on the skin behind the neck, wrists or the ears.
3. Lemon essential oil
Lemon oil is one of the most invigorating essential oils that improves focus and also boosts cognitive function. Therefore, it prevents a child or an adult from getting distracted. Lemon essential oil is also linked to balancing your mood, and preventing emotional reactions, things that are common with ADHD.
Besides inhaling lemon essential straight from the bottle, you could diffuse the oils using a room diffuser.
4. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang-ylang essential oil is better known for its soothing properties. It is commonly used to manage depressive episodes as well as anxiety. The oil is great for calming down persons with heightened emotions, or the ones with high energy levels because of its sedative effects.
You can use ylang-ylang through inhalation, diffusion, or through a topical application where you add a few drops of the diluted oil on your child’s wrist or the back side of the neck.
5. Basil Essential oil
Basil essential oil is a spicy essential oil known for its calming effects. Besides helping you to relax and sleep, basil essential oil is helpful in calming people suffering from nervous disorders like depression, headaches, sleep disorders and anxiety. It is ideal for use by hyperactive people especially the ones with ADHD because they cannot relax, and they are often restless.
For use, diffusion works best as it spreads the micro-particles in the oil throughout the room.
6. Cedarwood essential oil
The woodsy aroma of the cedarwood essential oil and its richness in active ingredients that balance hormones and influence the central nervous system directly is the reason why this oil comes highly recommended for ADHD patients. It also reduces mental fog, lowers stress levels, and it reduces inflammation. The oil also warms up the house.
You can add this woody-scented and calming essential oil into a room diffuser. You could also add some drops into your steam inhaler for that body, mind, and soul soothing.
7. Myrrh Essential oil
This spiritual essential oil is effective in treating and managing ADHD because it induces the release of dopamine and serotonin, the two feel-good neurotransmitters. Serotonin also plays a role in making you sleepy, and that could be all you need to put to sleep a child with ADHD.
The neurotransmitters also help in calming nerves and, it lowers stress levels. While calming down is an almost impossible task for people with ADHD, myrrh essential oil makes it possible by influencing and rebalancing the hormones.
You can use it in a diffuser by blending it with lavender essential oil. For topical application, dilute it with carrier oils like almond oil. You can apply it on the wrist or behind the neck.
8. Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil impacts the central nervous system directly. It also reduces the concentrations of neurotransmitters that cause stress, anger, and anxiety. This oil is an antidepressant and a sedative.
It also helps in calming the mind, making it easier for one to remain focused and attentive in tasks and conversations.
It is effective when applied topically or when added to the diffuser – the aroma is soothing, and the micro-particles are absorbed into the body through the skin where they have a positive chemical effect on your internal organs.
9. Frankincense essential oil
This essential oil famed for its ability to improve mental focus and the fact that it aids in meditation and mental clarity make this an important essential oil for managing ADHD. The old has received praises for its impact on the brain, as well as its positive impact on the function of the central nervous system and the regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters.
It also has a sedative effect meaning that you can use it if your child with ADHD gets too worked up and unable to sleep or control their anger and impulses.
It works well when added to a diffuser or when inhaled directly from the bottle.
10. Rosemary essential oil
The sweet, spicy scent of rosemary essential oil is soothing. The oil also improves cognitive abilities because it increases concentration levels in persons with ADHD. The active ingredient in Rosemary oil is 1.8 cineole which is responsible for the improved concentration.
For that quick boost in mental clarity and concentration, you can mix rosemary oil with lavender or vetiver oils and then apply the oil blend to the neck, chest, or wrist.
How To Use Essential Oils for ADHD
Since kids have developing immune systems and they may react adversely to some things introduced into their bodies, you have to ensure that the oils used are safe for babies. You might also want to wait until your baby reaches the age of two before you introduce him or her to essential oils.
That said, here are the precautions you should take before and when administering essential oils to kids with ADHD.
- You should never give essential oils to kids orally.
Like chemical substances, you should keep all essential oils out of reach of kids. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, you should treat them with caution. Even when applying the oils topically, ensure that you use a carrier oil to dilute the concentrated essential oil.
- Test the oils first
Even though essential oils do not have allergens, essential oil sensitivities are common, and they are experienced as itchiness, swelling, skin reactions or digestive issues.
- Use the oils sparingly
You shouldn’t expose your child or yourself to essential oils for long even when diffusing the oils. Although a diffuser presents a safe way of using essential oils, exposure to essential oils, even for more than one hour isn’t safe.
- Use pure oils
Besides using the essential oils sparingly, you should also use pure essential oils only. Note that the oils only help in managing ADHD but, they are not a cure.
Even though you have to take the precautions above, essential oils are effective in managing the behaviors of persons with ADHD.
More About ADHD
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder refers to a brain disorder that involves and causes inattention, impulsive behavior, or hyperactivity, or even all the three.
Individuals who have ADHD find it hard to focus, and this also affects their organizational skills. They also find it hard to follow instructions, and they seem to make careless mistakes at school or work.
ADHD is a chronic condition, and its symptoms will last a long time. In severe cases, it interferes with daily function, relationships, and even learning habits.
About 11 percent of kids in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the rates have been increasing at a rate of about 5 percent annually. There are reports that that numbers could be higher.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, behavior therapy is the first line of treatment for kids aged between 2 and 5 years, but about half of the preschoolers take the prescribed medication in place of therapy. At the same time, about a half of the children aged between 4 and 5 years diagnosed with ADHD receive behavior therapy for management of the disease despite therapy being the recommended first line of treatment.
The CDC reports that approximately 6.4 million kids aged between 4 and 17 have ADHD, and the report also noted that more boys received the diagnosis, compared to girls.