How Essential Oils Affect the Nervous System

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Your nervous system controls your thoughts and automatic responses. So what does that have to do with essential oils? Essential oils are effective not just because they smell nice but because they communicate with the nervous system. 

infographic of essential oils and their effects on the nervous system

Essential oils are believed to function by sending messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions, says MayoClinic

When you use essential oils, they signal the brain to release neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine) which then help regulate mood

Essential oils can affect the nervous system when inhaled or applied topically. However, we usually recommend diluting essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to your skin. 

Human and animal studies reveal that essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, rosemary, peppermint, and others can produce beneficial responses in the nervous system resulting in anxiolytic, analgesic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and sedative effects.

While essential oils should never replace medications or professional help, there’s a lot of research that confirms the multiple ways essential oils can enhance our mental health. For example, certain essential oils can improve our moods by signaling our central nervous system to increase serotonin or decrease glucocorticoid levels. Here are just a few of the essential oils that can benefit our mental health: 

Rosemary and Peppermint essential oils 

  • Increase attention span 
  • Improve memory
  • Enhance cognitive processing 

Frankincense essential oil 

  • Creates a calming effect by decreasing glucocorticoid levels 

Lemongrass and Lavender essential oils 

  • Can produce anxiolytic effects (to treat symptoms of anxiety) by activating the GABAergic system


If you’re after holistic wellness, supporting your central nervous system is a great place to start. Next time you need some nervous system support, why not try some USDA-certified organic essential oils? When you shop at Savhera, your purchase not only promotes your own healing but also contributes to the healing of others. As a wellness company, we’re dedicated to the wellness of people and the planet – from premium self-care products for our customers to restorative justice for the trafficking survivors we employ. Here’s to wellness!



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