Essential Oils for ADHD: Do They Work?
Many people who take essential oils claim they are useless. Others swear they work. To date, there have been no credible studies done on the benefits of essential oils for ADHD.
If you experience ADHD, read this article to find out if essential oils are a viable coping option for you.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are a liquid form of chemical compounds extracted from a plant. European alchemists during the middle ages decided to call the liquid “essential oils”. When inhaled, the chemical compounds enter the human body, affecting you in a variety of ways. Essential oils have been used in cooking, religious ceremonies and medicine from the time of the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago.
Where Do Essential Oils Come From?
They are extracted from specific parts of a plant such as leaves, flowers, stems, twigs, fruit, roots and bark. The type of extraction method used to obtain the oils depends on the plant. If the oil is created in a lab using chemical processes, it is not considered true essential oil.
Essential Oils vs ADHD Medication
For people who use essential oils, their natural authenticity is important. Unlike ADHD medication, oils are considered a supplement. Because essential oils are supplements, there are less laws to regulate how it is made and sold. You have to be careful and make sure you are getting a quality oil if you buy essential oils.
How Are Essential Oils Made?
Essential oils are usually obtained through steam distillation. To extract essential oils using steam distillation, the plants are placed in a container. Then, steam is pumped into the container.
The steam vaporizes most of the plant and that vapor then travels down a pipe surrounded by water to what is known as a condenser. The vapor traveling down the pipe is turned back into liquid by the hot water in the condenser. Because oil and water do not mix, they separate themselves once they drip out of the pipe and fall into a bucket. The essential oil will either float at the top or sink to the bottom, where it can be collected.
Most essential oils are colorless. You can tell if they are real or fake by using some to wet a piece of paper. If the oil leaves a residue on the paper, it is probably fake.
How Can Essential Oils Benefit Someone With ADHD?
As of 2020, there is zero indisputable evidence that essential oils directly improve ADHD symptoms. Some studies have been done, but there is not solid, scientific evidence yet. Also, it is good to know that there are no studies that state essential oils are harmful to people with ADHD.
Even though there are no scientific studies about essential oils for ADHD, there is some anecdotal evidence that they can improve a person’s life:
- Lavender oil: improves sleeping habits
- Vetiver: improves focus and alertness
- Rosemary: can help with cognitive brain activity
The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD is to provide adults and children with strategies and skills to help cope with the symptoms of ADHD.
Other essential oils that can be used:
- Ylang ylang
How to Use Essential Oils
If you believe essential oils may help your ADHD symptoms, then it is good to know how to apply them. You can use them in three different ways:
- Adding a few drops to an aromatic diffuser
- Rolling diluted essential oils on your skin (usually on your wrists and neck)
- Adding diluted essential oil drops into a bath
Essential oils should never be ingested or placed around the mouth. It’s also important to remember that the oils should be diluted before use.
Also, be aware that there could be some side effects, especially for those who have sensitive skin. These side effects include painful, red blotches on the area of the skin where the oil was applied.
What to Consider About Essential Oils
While essential oils can be a natural treatment option that may offer relief of symptoms, it is important to know that they are not FDA approved as a treatment for ADHD. So, make sure you do your research and buy from a legitimate brand.
Consult Your Doctor
Before using essential oils as a coping or treatment option for your ADHD, make sure to talk to your doctor to see if it is the right decision for you. Remember, there is so solid evidence that essential oils can help ADHD, and make sure to choose good quality essential oils too.