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Medically Approved

6 essential oils for ADHD

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How can essential oils help?Oils for relaxation and sleepOils for focusOther treatment optionsLifestyle strategiesWhen to talk with a doctorSummary
Some essential oils, like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense, can help improve concentration and calmness in people with ADHD.
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
Written by Suan Pineda
Updated on

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity and difficulty focusing.

Treatment for the condition can range from therapy to medication. Natural remedies, such as essential oils, may also help address and ease symptoms.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

How can essential oils help with ADHD?

A person adding drops of essential oils to a small bowl.
Studio Serra/Stocksy United

ADHD can affect about 6 million children in the United States, and can often persist into adulthood. Older data from 2001–2003, found that the current prevalence of adults with ADHD is 4.4%.

People with ADHD may use essential oils to help them calm down and relax, focus and concentrate, or even improve their sleep.

Research from 2021 has shown the effects of specific essential oils on relaxation and focus, but more research is needed on the effects of essential oils on ADHD symptoms in particular. 

One common factor among the essential oils used for ADHD is that these oils have calming and relaxing properties. A 2023 research review found that essential oils could help with memory difficulties, behavioral symptoms, and sleep issues.

It is important to remember that essential oils should never be ingested. Certain oils can be dangerous for children and those who are pregnant. They are also toxic for pets and should be kept out of their reach.

Essential oils are intended for inhaling and are most commonly used when added to a diffuser. You can also dilute a few drops of essential oils in a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, and apply this to the skin. However, some people are allergic to essential oils, so it’s always best to do a patch test first.

Oils for relaxation and sleep

People with ADHD generally experience hyperactivity and restlessness, and they may have difficulties feeling calm and relaxed. This can lead to issues with falling and staying asleep. 

Several essential oils might be able to help. These include:

Lavender oil

Lavender oil can help promote calmness and relaxation. A 2015 review found that lavender could help improve sleep quality.

There is currently no evidence that lavender oil can help with ADHD directly, but it may help you feel calmer and make it easier to fall asleep if you are feeling restless.

Sandalwood oil 

Sandalwood oil can have a calming effect after an episode of stress or anxiety, according to an older 2005 study. It can help you manage symptoms of hyperactivity when they occur.

Chamomile oil

Though chamomile is most commonly used as a tea, it can have the same calming effects when used as an oil.

For example, a 2022 study found that older adults who smelled chamomile oil reported improvements in stress and decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Oils for focus and concentration

A common symptom of ADHD is difficulty focusing and concentrating. Some essential oils are said to improve focus, concentration, and memory. 


Vetiver essential oil can help increase brain function. A 2016 study found that vetiver oil in the inhaled form could help reduce mental fatigue and increase alertness.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary oil has several health benefits, such as improving brain function. The aroma of rosemary oil can also improve concentration, according to an older 2012 study, which can benefit those with ADHD.


Frankincense oil not only helps with concentration but also with calmness. Studies on these effects, such as one from 2021, have been done only in animals so far, so more research is needed on frankincense’s calming and focusing effects on humans. 

What other treatment options can help treat or prevent ADHD? 

Primary treatment options for people with ADHD include medications and therapy. 


There are five types of medications to treat ADHD, which include stimulants and nonstimulants:

If you find that your ADHD symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, consider speaking with a healthcare professional. They can work with you to decide whether medication is the best option for you.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

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Several types of therapy can also help you cope with ADHD, such as:

These therapies can help you gain the skills and tools needed to manage ADHD symptoms in daily life.

What lifestyle measures can help?

Several lifestyle strategies can help you manage symptoms of ADHD. These include:

  • practicing meditation and mindfulness
  • reducing stress
  • practicing exercises like yoga
  • eating a balanced diet
  • keeping a healthy sleep hygiene
  • finding support among your loved ones and support groups

Consider speaking with a healthcare professional to identify what lifestyle measures may be helpful to introduce into your routine.

When should you contact a doctor?

If symptoms of ADHD affect your quality of life, such as your relationships, job, or schoolwork, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. 

They can provide you with the tools, treatment options, and medications to help you best manage your ADHD symptoms.


ADHD is a mental health condition characterized by:

  • difficulty focusing
  • hyperactivity
  • fatigue
  • mood changes

Treatment options include medications, therapy, and lifestyle strategies. Natural remedies such as essential oils may also help people with ADHD manage their symptoms, due to their calming and relaxing properties.

It’s important to remember that essential oils are not approved by the FDA to treat ADHD. If symptoms of ADHD are affecting your quality of life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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