Essential oils don’t just smell nice (although, naturally, that’s a big part of their appeal). There are a million and a half essential oil uses, whether you want to get rid of a headache — try peppermint oil on your temples — or fall asleep after a stressful day — lavender oil on your pillow. And if your ~vibe~ is off more generally, essential oils for clearing negative energy can help you restore the chill in a room.
Naturopathic doctor and nurse practitioner Erica Matluck, ND, NP, founder of integrative medicine and holistic coaching service Seven Senses, defines negative energy as “a vibration that feels uncomfortable or a dissonant frequency.” You can think of this as that feeling in the pit of your stomach when something doesn’t feel right, whether you’re feeling extra anxious, or your mind’s going a million miles an hour, or you just heard something you don’t like. The “potent aroma” of essential oils, Matluck says, can influence your emotional state, and help you cope with those bad vibes.
The research behind essential oils finds that they’re generally safe in small quantities, and they do have some measurable benefits. But essential oils — which are just plant extracts — aren’t a magic cure for that “off” feeling (or any illnesses), and Matluck stresses that individual experiences with oils are highly variable.
“How we experience scent and the emotional state an aroma stimulates can vary from person to person. Scent also has a strong relationship with memory and sometimes the properties of an essential are experienced differently in different individuals because of the memories associated with that scent,” she says. “I encourage people to experiment with different scents and really pay close attention to what their personal experience is.” (It’s also worth mentioning that essential oils marketed as cosmetic don’t have to be approved by the FDA before they’re sold, so it’s important to pay attention to concentration, sourcing, and dilution of the oils you use.)
Below are a few essential oils that can help clear negative energy, according to people who like them.
Erica Matluck, ND, NP, founder of integrative medicine and holistic coaching service Seven Senses
Ghiasi, A., Bagheri, L., & Haseli, A. (2019). A Systematic Review on the Anxiolytic Effect of Aromatherapy during the First Stage of Labor. Journal of caring sciences, 8(1), 51–60. https://doi.org/10.15171/jcs.2019.008
Akbari, F., Rezaei, M., & Khatony, A. (2019). Effect Of Peppermint Essence On The Pain And Anxiety Caused By Intravenous Catheterization In Cardiac Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of pain research, 12, 2933–2939. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S226312
Jun, Y. S., Kang, P., Min, S. S., Lee, J. M., Kim, H. K., & Seol, G. H. (2013). Effect of eucalyptus oil inhalation on pain and inflammatory responses after total knee replacement: a randomized clinical trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 502727. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/502727
Peterfalvi, A., Miko, E., Nagy, T., Reger, B., Simon, D., Miseta, A., Czéh, B., & Szereday, L. (2019). Much More Than a Pleasant Scent: A Review on Essential Oils Supporting the Immune System. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(24), 4530. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244530
Navarra, M., Mannucci, C., Delbò, M., & Calapai, G. (2015). Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application. Frontiers in pharmacology, 6, 36. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2015.00036
Gnatta, J. R., Piason, P. P., Lopes, C., Rogenski, N. M., & Silva, M. J. (2014). Aderência ao tratamento por estatinas e fatores associados em usuárias do Sistema Único de Saúde [Aromatherapy with ylang ylang for anxiety and self-esteem: a pilot study]. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da U S P, 48(3), 492–499. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0080-623420140000300015
Cardia, G., Silva-Filho, S. E., Silva, E. L., Uchida, N. S., Cavalcante, H., Cassarotti, L. L., Salvadego, V., Spironello, R. A., Bersani-Amado, C. A., & Cuman, R. (2018). Effect of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil on Acute Inflammatory Response. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1413940. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1413940
Ramsey, J. T., Li, Y., Arao, Y., Naidu, A., Coons, L. A., Diaz, A., & Korach, K. S. (2019). Lavender Products Associated With Premature Thelarche and Prepubertal Gynecomastia: Case Reports and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical Activities. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 104(11), 5393–5405. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2018-01880
Okano, S., Honda, Y., Kodama, T., & Kimura, M. (2019). The Effects of Frankincense Essential Oil on Stress in Rats. Journal of oleo science, 68(10), 1003–1009. https://doi.org/10.5650/jos.ess19114
Zamanifar, S., Bagheri-Saveh, M. I., Nezakati, A., Mohammadi, R., & Seidi, J. (2020). The Effect of Music Therapy and Aromatherapy with Chamomile-Lavender Essential Oil on the Anxiety of Clinical Nurses: A Randomized and Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Journal of medicine and life, 13(1), 87–93. https://doi.org/10.25122/jml-2019-010