10 essential oils for happiness, with the science of how they make you smile.
Here are 10 essential oils for boosting your mood and feeling more energized. These oils can be used in aroma inhalers, roll-ons, room sprays, diffuser blends, massage oils, lotions, and more.
Get creative and have fun!
10 Mood-boosting Essential Oils
1. Rosemary ct. camphor (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. camphor)
Drifting attention? Rosemary ct. camphor has been shown to support cognitive performance(1)! Rosemary ct. camphor has been used for thousands of years to help sharpen attention, improve memory, and help the mind focus on positive thoughts. The component 1,8-cineole may play a big role in this, as it’s been studied for its ability to boost mental clarity(2). Or go big with Rosemary ct. 1,8 cineole!
2. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Refresh your outlook and see the best in life with Peppermint essential oil! Crisp, invigorating Peppermint essential oil is rich in menthol—one whiff can clear your head, freeing your mind from stress and worries. Peppermint helps you focus on all the joy life has to offer(3). Menthol also creates a cooling sensation on the skin, which eases sore areas and brings in a fresh flow of healthy energy(4).
3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Do you carry nervous stress in your stomach? You’re going to love Ginger essential oil! If you ever feel anxiety settle in your belly and prevent you from enjoying your day, Ginger essential oil is going to be your new best friend. It smells just like the kitchen spice and is a traditional oil for all things “belly”(5). Its sesquiterpene content is spasm-soothing. Plus, fiery Ginger essential oil is energizing! Use it to settle your nerves and face challenging situations with courage.
4. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Cardamom essential oil’s bold presence can help you feel more energized and focused if you’ve been fatigued. Cardamom essential oil contains 1,8-cineole, which can get more energy flowing to your head(2). Its sweet, spicy scent aids concentration, while also imparting a sense of steady confidence (which stress and anxious feelings can sometimes chip away at). Cardamom essential oil both gives you the energy to go after your goals, and reassures you . . . “You’ve got this!”
5. Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Use Clove essential oil if stress often makes your muscles feel tense and sore. Warm, spicy, sweet, and woody, Clove essential oil is rich in eugenol, which is why it’s so effective at easing tight muscles(6). Eugenol is a potent constituent for soothing sore, tender spots. That’s why Clove massage blends can unravel deep knots of tension. Clove also makes room in your body for a fresh flow of positive emotions, which is why it’s often used in blends to lift the spirit out of chronic melancholy(7).
6. Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
Lime essential oil can bring a big smile to your face! Use it to soothe sadness and negative energy. One whiff of Lime essential oil’s bright, sparkly, fruity scent can lift your spirits! The effects you’ll feel are largely due to d-limonene, Lime’s most prominent component (and prominent in every citrus oil). d-Limonene has been shown to comfort anxious feelings and inspire more joy, making Lime essential oil one of the most popular stress-busting essential oils(8).
Be safe! Lime essential oil that’s produced by cold pressing is PHOTOTOXIC. If you apply it to your skin and then expose that skin to sunlight (or a UV tanning bed), serious negative reactions can result, including burning, blistering, and discoloration. Stick with 12 drops or less of cold-pressed Lime essential oil per 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier to be safe. Steam distilled Lime essential oil is NOT phototoxic! You can use steam distilled Lime essential oil in topical blends without any concern of phototoxic reactions.
7. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow essential oil helps calm hot emotions such as anger, frustration, and stress. It contains light and playful monoterpenes and more grounded sesquiterpenes, offering an emotionally balancing combination of components. Use Yarrow essential oil to cool flares of anger and other strong negative emotions. A deep blue essential oil, Yarrow is also renowned for soothing sore, damaged areas that need tender care as they heal(9).Yarrow essential oil’s scent is sweet, herbal, and floral with sharp camphoraceous notes.
8. Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)
Use Spike Lavender essential oil to stay active and exercise your body. Spike Lavender essential oil helps you stay motivated! Its aroma is similar to true Lavender’s, but it’s more energizing. Like true Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Spike Lavender essential oil contains linalool—meaning it can calm the nerves and soothe tense muscles(10)(11). However, Spike Lavender also contains the more invigorating component 1,8-cineole—which can sharpen mental alertness and fill you with energy(2).
9. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Using St. John’s Wort is a classic natural method of overcoming anxious feelings and sadness. Rich in both uplifting monoterpenes and soothing sesquiterpenes, St. John’s Wort can help you feel happy in the present moment. It eases nervous tension without making you feel too tired and restores a zest for life that makes every day more enjoyable. This can be an important oil for those who struggle with ongoing melancholy, stress, and tiredness(12).
10. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense is a classic essential oil for stress-related head tension! With an unmistakable balsamic, resinous aroma, Frankincense has been used for thousands of years to clear the mind. Its ability to calm worries has made it a traditional oil for rituals and meditation. Today, we know Frankincense is rich in α-pinene, which explains why it soothes the head in more ways than one: α-pinene can relieve physical aches(4).
1. Hongratanaworakit,T. (2009) Simultaneous aromatherapy massage with rosemary oil on humans. Scientica Pharmaceutica 77, 375-387
2. Moss, M. and Oliver, L. (2012) Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology 2, 3, 103-113
3. Moss, M., Hewitt, S. and Moss, L. (2008) Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang ylang. International Journal of Neuroscience 118, 59-77
4. Guimarães, A.G., Quintans, J.S.S. and Quintans-Júnior, L.J. (2013) Monoterpenes with analgesic activity – a systematic review. Phytotherapy Research 27, 1-15
5. De Pradier, E. (2006) A trial of a mixture of three essential oils in the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting. International Journal of Aromatherapy 16, 1, 15-20
6. Daniel, A.N., Sartoretto, S.M., Schmidt, G., Caparroz-Assef, M., Bersani-Amado, C.A. and Cuman, R.K.N. (2008) Antiinflammatory and antinociceptive activities of eugenol essential oil in experimental animal models. Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy 19, 212-217
7. Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone
8. Lima, N.G., de Souza, D.P., Pimenta, F.C., Alves, M.F., de Souza, F.S., (2012a) Anxiolytic-like activity and GC-MS analysis of (R)-(+)-limonene fragrance, a natural compound found in foods and plants. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 103, 450-454
9. Saeidnia, S., Gohari, A.R., Mokhber-Dezfuli, N., Kiuchi, F. (2011) A review on phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 19(3): 173–186
10. Woelk, H. and Schläfke, S. (2010) A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine 17, 2, 94-99
11. Peanna, A.T., D’Aquila, P.S., Panin, F., Serra, G., Pippia, P. and Moretti, M.D. (2002) Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Phytomedicine 9, 721-726
12. Cui, Y., Zheng, Y. (2016) A meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of St. John’s wort extract in depression therapy in comparison with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in adults. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 12: 1715–1723