How to Use Aromatherapy for ADHD: Information about Essential Oils

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How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Aromatherapy is based on the premise that essential oils naturally contain certain chemicals that can treat physical, mental, and emotional disorders through smell. These chemicals are thought to stimulate parts of the body that have been affected by the disorder. The process of aromatherapy is surprisingly simple. Just choose an essential oil, rub a few drops of it on your feet, chest, and shoulders, and relax. You can even do this process at night before going to sleep, as it is believed by some that this will effect changes in your brain that will be retained when you wake up.

Using aromatherapy is just a first step. Nutritional changes, such as adding essential fatty acids and zinc to the diet, as well as eating more nutritionally sound foods can also help those with ADHD. Some people with ADHD will need medication, such as Ritalin or Adderall, in order to succeed in the classroom or in the workplace.

Which Essential Oil?

Choosing the correct essential oil is important in aromatherapy, and the choice depends on the main symptoms - and secondary symptoms - of the person with ADHD. The following are some essential oils to try:

  • Lavender is one of the most common essential oils, and it is used as a sedative. Because children with ADHD often have high energy levels, lavender can be used to help them to relax and stay calm as necessary. Although you can find lavender easily in almost any health store, it must be unadulterated for optimum benefit.
  • Cedarwood actually stimulates the nervous system, but is still thought to be helpful in minimizing the symptoms of ADHD. It is high in sesquiterpenes, which are thought to stimulate brain function.
  • Vetiver is a calming oil, which simultaneously balances the nervous system and stimulates the circulatory system. Although a study by holistic medicine expert Dr. Terry S. Friedmann has shown that vetiver has the desired effect on more people with ADHD than lavender or cedarwood, the oil can be much more expensive. It should be rubbed on the big toes, which are the reflex points for the brain.
  • Lemongrass, frankincense, and chamomile are similar to lavender, in that they can help people with ADHD relax. Frankincense can also lower anxiety levels and lessen depressive thoughts.
  • Clove can leave the mind stimulated and alert while calming only the emotions.


If you are considering using aromatherapy for ADHD consult your doctor and make sure you visit a professional aromatherapist to ensure that your choices of essential oils, as well as your methods of applying them, are the best choices for you (or your child).


Aromatherapy Massage. “Aromatherapy Treatment for ADHD.”

Alternative Medicine. “Aromatherapy/Essential Oils for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

Aroma MD. “Attention Disorders and Aromatherapy.”