Moods and Essential Oils

happy older couple good mood outside smilingAromatherapists often talk about how essential oils can affect our mood. Research from universities suggest that our moods may in fact be affected by simply smelling an oil. Stephen Warrenburg at oxford university found that an aroma can have a great affect on reducing stress levels and improving our mood.

In an article found at ( reads: “In the course of this testing, we discovered that certain relaxing fragrances are able to reduce stress-induced muscle tension as measured in the shoulder area. We found that a special type of relaxing fragrance, Myo-relax® (patent pending), has a muscle relaxing effect: such fragrances significantly reduce the trapezius EMG stress response. These studies reveal that fragrance is indeed powerful enough to counteract stress in a performance task. This new fragrance technology is being applied to products requiring convincing evidence that a fragrance is physically relaxing, or de-stressing. Aromatherapy products represent a substantial and growing area of the marketplace and this type of research can strengthen the basis for making stress-relief claims in these products.”

Stress can contribute greatly to our mood. If we are stressed or have anxiety we can become angry or depressed. However there is a difference between mood and emotion. One of the main differences between mood and emotion can be seen in the expression of the person. Mood is something a person may not express whereas emotions may be expressed. Another difference is that moods may last longer than the emotions and are more of an “internal” feeling. Emotions are aroused in people by some specific object or situations. On the other hand, moods are not created in someone because of any specific object or any particular situation. For example, if a person gets angry, he or she expresses that emotion towards someone. If a person is in a sad mood, he or she cannot express it to others. The concept that emotion is object-based has been proven even during Aristotle’s times. The object- directed distinction has always been a criterion to differentiate between moods and emotions. ( Below is a list of oils and how they have affected people in positive ways.

Aside from using essential oils to support positive moods and reduce negative moods be sure to get enough exercise, eat healthy meals, and get adequate sleep.

List of Oils That May Improve Mood

Lemon Essential Oil

The aroma of lemon is said to enhance positive mood. According to a study in 2008 involving 56 healthy mena and woman, essential oils were found to boost people’s mood. After breathing the aroma of citrus oils there was an increase in levels of norepinephrine (a brain chemical involved in mood regulation).

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is widely known for its stress reducing properties. In a study done in 2006 on 42 female college students, it was found that it lessened the severity of depression. The study also had shown that lavender oil based aromatherapy treatments eased the students’ insomnia.

Rosemary Essential Oil

In a study done in 2003 participants in a work place expirienced more alertness and productivity when the aroma of rosemary was put in the air with a diffuser. The oil also appeared to improve cognitive performance. Peppermint essential oil also has had great results in improving alertness.

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine essential oil is thought to promote beneficial changes in the mind and body by affecting the limbic system (a brain region known to influence the nervous system). A study was done from an aromatherapy massage where it was found that jasmine essential oil, after being massaged on the back of the participants helped relief feelings of depression and had uplifted mood in the participants. (PubMed)

Other oils have been said to help with alertness, assertiveness, concentration, confidence, contentment, creativity, peace, and self-esteem. Below is a list of some moods, feelings, or states of our mind oils may help support.


Basil, Bergamot, Black pepper, Grapefruit, Peppermint, Rosemary.


Basil, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ylang-Ylang, Lime


Lemon, Basil, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Frankincense, Chamomile Roman


Orange, Rose, Jasmine, Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Geranium


Chamomile Roman, Neroli, Juniper, Frankincense, Melissa, Yarrow


Jasmine, Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwood