Calm, Focus, & Soothe: The 10 Best Essential Oils for Autism

Today I went to an event with my local Autism Society chapter and spoke with a few parents whose children also have autism and ADHD (two commonly comorbid diagnoses). We began talking about essential oils and how they help children (and adults) by alleviating some of the symptoms. My son often has trouble sleeping, has anger outbursts, and sometimes complains of headaches or stomachaches. I had heard about a few of these already, but I wanted to pull together some commonly used essential oils so that I could experiment with them and see how they helped Squeaker out. My search results came back to many of the same essential oils again and again, so these essential oils would be what I consider the best essential oils for calming, focusing, and soothing. Calm, Focus, & Soothe: The 10 Best Essential Oils for Autism

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Calming Oils:

Vetiver: Many parents who use Vetiver state that this oil helps with many things. It not only calms the mind down, but may help control anger, irritability, and neurotic behavior. To use this relatively thick oil, you’d want to first dilute it with another neutral oil like olive oil or coconut oil. Then, you’d smear it on the back of your child’s neck from the base of the brain stem all the way down to where the spinal cord would meet their shoulders. This oil will also help with focus, so again, it has many uses.

Cedarwood: This oil will help calm and purify. Cedarwood works by stimulating the pituitary glands and can increase the melatonin in the brain naturally. Thus, you’d probably want to use this oil at night for sleeping. Many people use diffusers for essential oils to get the scent out into the air, so this would likely work best this way if you use it for sleep.

LavenderMost people already know that lavender helps calm and relax the nervous system. You can use lavender so many ways! You can put a few drops into the bath at night before bed, put some on your child’s pillow at bedtime, or use a diffuser for this one. 

Peace and Calming: This oil furthers relaxation and may even help calm the overactive or easily angered child. You may also use Peace and Calming for other things, like depression, anxiety, stress, or insomnia. If your child has a tantrum or meltdown, you can use a diffuser with this oil to help calm them, or you could place it on your child’s feet at bedtime. You might also put some of this oil on the pillow or any special blanket they use to help them sleep. 

Focusing Oils

Frankincense: Though you might also see Frankincense used for calming, it may also help develop a higher level of consciousness. It stimulates the limbic system of the brain, which controls instincts and mood (which is why this oil reportedly helps with calming as well). You can apply this oil topically, inhale it using a diffuser/vaporizer, or ingest it in small amounts. I don’t know enough about how much to ingest per body weight, so you’d probably do best to consult a reference guide or a doctor about using it this way prior to attempting it.

Brain Power: This oil actually contains a blending of several different oils and could be diffused during school time or applied to the neck and throat to help encourage concentration and convert physical energy to mental energy. The Brain Power oil combines Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Melissa, Frankincense, Blue Cypress, Lavender, and Helichrysum, so it kind of creates a super power of good essential oils to really boost concentration.

Vetiver: Already mentioned in the calming area, Vetiver was shown by Dr. Terry Friedmann in testing of children ages 6-14 to help 100% of the children with ADHD in the study. 

Soothing Oils

Peppermint: Peppermint helps with many things, including calming and focus, but primarily gets used to ease aches and pains. Peppermint reportedly helps with high fevers, migraines, and stomach pains. You can apply this directly to the air feeling discomfort to help ease up the symptoms. 

Di-Gize: If your child suffers from stomach pain, this oil may help decrease symptoms. Put the Di-Gize on the stomach and lower back to help with stomach pain. Bonus: Good for use with those period pains, right ladies? This essential oil blend contains Ginger, Anise, Fennel, Peppermint, Tarragon, Lemongrass, Patchouli, and Juniper essential oils, and also contains naturally occurring constituents like menthol, citrol, and zingiberen. You can use this oil as a daily supplement in addition to using it topically by adding it to your water. 

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Final Comments

I’m excited to try these oils and see how they work for my child since I’ve heard great things about the use of essential oils. That being said, please note that none of these statements have been approved by the FDA and that I am not a doctor. I am simply providing you a list of the best essential oils according to the many websites I’ve consulted online, my personal experiences with my own child, as well as the people I’ve spoken to about them.  


Originally posted 2015-08-08 21:21:32.

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  1. This is a fantastic post! I’m sure it will be a big help to a lot of people. I do believe in the natural benefits of essential oils and often forget to try them before or alongside other things. #mummyandus

  2. I am yet to try essential oils, but I hear so much about them, I am planning on giving it a try. Thanks so much for sharing this pin in the Pinterest Game, and we hope to see you next week!

    • Hello, I will try and answer your question with less sarcasm. I’m assuming you meant oils to help in socializing, and there are! Most times a lack of socializing or fear of socializing stems from anxiety or a feeling of low self-worth. To help with this issue there are oils that can help in creating a feeling of self-worth and positive feelings and also ones that will help with the anxiety of meeting and talking with new people. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
      Ylang Ylang
      All of these oils can help with what I mentioned above. I personally love ylang ylang and frankincense! I also have a favorite called peace and calming and stress away that help deal with anxiety and spiraling emotions. If you have any more questions about oils you can email me at I am full of info and an educator and distributor for young living essential oils, which are 100% pure therapeutic grade, no dilution!

      you can also check out my website

  3. Thank you so much! I was just starting to look into more natural ways of helping my son and I stumbled on this!! I’m more then excited to try some oils!!

    • Christine,
      I have reviewed a couple of books that talk about alternative treatments for autism. Many of them include some really good blurbs within them on essential oils, but none of them are specifically for essential oils. Try going to my book reviews section to see what I’ve reviewed. It may help. I will see if anyone has any books on essential oils that I can get my hands on and review in the meantime. I never thought of it before, but it’s definitely a good idea! Good luck to you!

      P.S. One tip I can give you is to mix the essential oils with a neutral oil like almond oil or even olive oil. The ratio is generally about 45 drops of essential oil to 4 ounces of the neutral oil.
      Embracing the Spectrum recently posted…Why I Feel Beyond Blessed This WeekMy Profile

    • You can try ” the fragrant mind” by Valerie ann worwood. I’m currently reading it and it is an awesome book. Anything by her is a win

  4. Dear “Embracing the Spectrum”,

    I wanted to inform you that the so-called “treatments” that you are toting in the aforementioned blog are an abhorrent display of ethical conduct by someone who supposedly possesses a bachelor’s degree in psychology (I’m guessing from ITT tech). This article clearly represents your background in creative writing far more than it does your ability to evaluate the credibility of claims made by companies promoting products that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and are NOT supported by the surgeon general nor the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA).

    Your lack of due diligence is complicit in misleading parents who are desperate to help their loved ones who may be living with developmental differences such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are presently ZERO medications, supplements, elixirs, etc. that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Your claims that the oils listed above are in any way shape or form a treatment for ASD is disgusting and should be seen as nothing short of an essential oils sales pitch.

    Please do the world a favor and delete this entire blog post before you lead one more desperate parent astray from the myriad of scientific research that supports evidence based treatments for Autism Spectrum disorder.

    Best Regards,

    A citizen for the advancement of ethical treatments for developmental disabilities

    • I actually received my degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina and am working on my Masters in Education. Please do research prior to criticizing something that you clearly know little about. The following statements come from this reputable website:

        The different types of treatments can generally be broken down into the following categories: Behavior and Communication Approaches, Dietary Approaches, Medication, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
        Sensory integration therapy helps the person deal with sensory information, like sights, sounds, and smells. Sensory integration therapy could help a child who is bothered by certain sounds or does not like to be touched.
        There are no medications that can cure ASD or even treat the main symptoms. But there are medications that can help some people with related symptoms. For example, medication might help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, depression, or seizures.

      I know as well as anyone how to review documents and research prior to making decisions about what is best for my child. For the record, essential oils do help my son cope with sensory overload issues. Does the FDA approve it? No. But the research isn’t there, so there’s no way of really knowing if something will work unless you try it. Also, things like SAMe, which I used to help with a genetic disorder that I have, is not evaluated by the FDA, but it does work for me.

      I appreciate your concern, but I will leave this post up, as I had already noted, and have now bolded, the fact that I am not a doctor and the oils are not FDA approved.
      Embracing the Spectrum recently posted…Just Tired: A Song by an Autism MomMy Profile

      • “But many of these treatments do not have the scientific support needed for widespread recommendation” (CDC, 2016).Your reference discredits your entire argument along with the use of complimentary and alternative medicine. And it even states that some of the so-called treatments can be extremely dangerous. If you’re going to cherry pick your argument be sure you don’t do it from an article that does not support your claims. Otherwise, it comes across as fabrication in addition to making it extremely easy to dissect your argument. Similar to the claims of people promoting the use of oils without exercising due diligence in researching their products and ultimately hide behind the same “this statement is not approved by the FDA” jargon that you are in fear of legal ramifications. A safer bet would be to cite scientific findings from a credible peer reviewed journal (e.g., JABA, JEAB, etc.)

        Again, anecdotal reports are not considered scientific evidence. You are not able to reliably determine that oils are the independent variable responsible for changes in your child’s behavior any more than a change in the weather being the IV responsible for the observed changes. Therefore, it is an irresponsible and deleterious decision to promote use of these so-called treatments to others at any capacity.


        A citizen for the advancement of ethical treatments for developmental disabilities

        References m/treatment.html

        • If you want research-based evidence, here you go:
          That has a whole list of research-based evidence that true essential oils (not synthetics) and the use of the olfactory system (based on studies conducted on rats and on humans) produces either a stimulating effect or a calming effect depending on the oil being used. Along with the articles listed, there are references to studies that validate the findings. I can find plenty more if you’d like. Something not being approved by the FDA does not mean that it is not productive.

          And by the way, the alternative treatments they’re talking about are things like chelation and special diets that have not been approved by the doctor. I have never done anything to my child without first talking to his doctor to ensure his safety. And there is NO WAY you are going to convince anyone that the use of essential oils is dangerous. If it calms my son down and it calms down other children, that is proof for those of us using it. My son enjoys his aromatherapy and asks for it frequently, so if you are truly concerned about the “Ethical Treatments for Developmental Disabilities,” I think you need to put your concerns elsewhere. Go find a blog that approves the use of chelation and spend your energy there.

          And I will not be approving any more of your comments, by the way. I have tried twice with you, and the next thing I will do is block you. I will accept any reasonable conversation with a person viewing my blog, but I will not accept someone attempting to thwart my attempts to share MY KNOWLEDGE of what helps MY CHILD with the world. All of us parents out there are struggling to find ways to help our autistic children. And yes, sometimes that means trying things that are outside of the box. If you have a problem with that, I don’t really care. I am here to share my experiences and meet other parents who have children with autism. I am not here to waste my time debating about something that I know works for my child.

          Have a WONDERFUL day.
          Embracing the Spectrum recently posted…Just Tired: A Song by an Autism MomMy Profile

          • 👍👍🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😁nicely said. I don’t have a child with autism but I have one with schizophrenia and I use oil’s a lot myself and often times bring great results. I don’t understand her gripe, though they may not ‘cure’ the disease they are pleasant to the senses. And if I might add one more thing, if we sit around and wait for government testing, approvals,blah, bkah, blah we may be sitting for a long time … there is money in this industry – I’m just saying and often times are loved ones are their guinea pigs for Big Pharma.

        • Also, here is a study conducted in 2003 that states that essential oils do have an impact on cognition and mood.

          Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K., & Duckett, P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal Of Neuroscience, 113(1), 15-38. doi:10.1080/00207450390161903
          Embracing the Spectrum recently posted…Just Tired: A Song by an Autism MomMy Profile

    • Dear “A citizen for the advancement of ethical treatments for developmental disabilities”,
      I am very new to this blog deal, I do not know “embrace spectrum” so I have no bias here. I do, however, have a child with autism. I think your comment is frightening. On the one side you state that there is NOTHING to help with autism, yet you want it left to science? I’m quite confused. Sounds to me like you may be knocking a natural alternative to promote science-based…hypocritical don’t you think? I’m in the beginning of this journey with my son and I will look into any possible aide to assist MY child. No where did I see @embracespectrum state that oils WILL cure anything. Sounds like she’s stating her own personal experiences. From my own personal experiences I have diffused lavender and my son was calm. As a matter of fact he taught himself to fill the diffuser himself with lavender oils, exactly 5 drops (no less no more)…he’s a rule follower. Who better for me to listen to of what works for him than himself? If you don’t agree with oils or any other method than simply ignore or provide personal experience if it did not work for you.

      @embracespectrum….thank you for the information. I have experimented a little with oils. Since the lavender works on him I will look into the other oils you SUGGESTED here. Ultimately, it is my decision what I decide to do with the information. You’re not forcing it down my throat nor suggesting a satisfaction guarantee and I am aware of this. So sorry you had to experience such criticism when you were just trying to offer a suggestion.

  5. I love the article..heard lots of how this oil helps autism in many ways and you have given the specific oil to use. Thanks a lot.

  6. I am just starting to think about trying this with our non-verbal daughter. I understand you’re not a doctor but which one would you recommend to see about increasing focus and language development? Thanks

  7. Hello, I am a father of a handsome son who deals with autism. My son is 15 and is non verbal. Im constantly looking for things to possibly help him. He is at the stage now where when he gets angry it turns into a all out brawl between me and him which of course hurts me emotionally. I am anxious to try these oils that have been listed and I am hoping to see some type of improvement. His mother takes him to a psychiatrist who I feel is just drugging him and wasting his mothers money. The things that he takes are absolutely a waste outside of the chlonidine to help him sleep and at times it doesn’t seem to work. So thank for your post and keep up the good work and I hope that all our children can benefit from the oils.

    • My son is mostly soothed by the lavendar, if that helps. I understand about the medication thing. We use medications too, and it’s hard to tell sometimes if it’s worth it. I wanted to remove all medications, but things went haywire and we went back to them. The oils are like an extra thing to help soothe him, but he’s always enjoyed smelling things, so I think there is just something soothing for him about smelling the oils.
      Embracing the Spectrum recently posted…10 Great Self-Care Tips for Living With FibromyalgiaMy Profile

  8. Teresa,

    Thank you for pulling together this information and then for sharing it. It takes tenacity, among other things, to even veer from the “mainstream,” much less endorse and/or defend it. So kudos to you and your family.

    As the I-don’t-trust-the-medical-profession-and-the-pharmaceutical-industry, stay-at-home-full-time father of an adult child with both Autism and Epilepsy, I am always on the lookout for natural ways to combat both of these maladies. And that typically means I avoid, as much as possible, treating the symptom (although, as most of us know, seizures can injure and kill).

    In this regard I’ve just started using (within the past week) EOs both during the day (I diffuse a blend throughout the house using our built-in ductwork and the AC/Heater fan) and at night (a diffuser in his room with either the same or similar blend). Of course it is much too early to say with any surety that the EOs are helping. But, the seizures haven’t been as physical and as frequent.

    In all fairness, I have started giving him 1000MG/day of Glutathione. It was only 500MG/day. So I’m not sure which, if either, is making a difference. But I’d like to think one or both is doing just that.

    To our part-time resident troll, “There is no research supporting the use of oils for Autism,” there wasn’t any research when your mother gave you Cod Liver Oil, Castor Oil and/or Chicken Soup to help heal you. So, from my perspective, you can stuff all that “scientific research” clap-trap up your wazooie.

    And finally back to you, Teresa, and anyone else who might be interested, quoting government “statistics” is a double-edged sword. Remember: the same government that issued those “quotable” reports also runs the FDA.

    Just sayin’. 😉

  9. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different page and
    thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now
    i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page yet again.

  10. Ohio state Wexner Medical is dong a study on Autism and Essential oils. I find personally that essential oils can do so much good. I’m happy they are finally getting research to back it up!

  11. Rose Weel is my name, I live in USA. I want to say to the whole world how my husband was cured of his Alzheimer’s disease. Brothers and Sisters, my husband is 78 years old. He is a retired US Army. He fought so many wars, and had encounter with so many dangerous diseases. Before he embarked on his last peace mission to Iraq they were administered injections that will enable them carry out their duties effectively. So they went to the battle field where he lost so many of his colleagues and also he was shot on his throat but bullets don’t have much effect on him. So after the battle he survived it and returned back to USA off course he was rewarded heavily by the government, and that lead to his retirement. But after his retirement, he began to behave funny like forgetting all he did in the past, and sometimes don’t recognize me his wife quickly. I took him to Military hospital, and the doctor said some king of liquid in his body is causing him so many reactions, and this is affecting his brain to cut the long story short, after much diagnoses using EEG, and also the test of PROTEIN 14-3-3 all pointing out to the fact that his brain has malfunction. So he was giving medicines but his condition was still becoming worse even while taking the medicines administered. So we went back to the military hospital, and he was finally diagnosed of Alzheimer’s disease and this the doctor said have no cure. So his conditions began to get worst by the day. I cried out for help, but the government only gave us financial support. I all the time surf the web looking for possible cure until I ran into a blog where a man named James Watt gave testimony on how his cousin was cured of CJD by an herbal doctor called Doctor Uwadia Amenifo. In his testimony he imputed the contact detail of the herbalist. So I quickly copied out the contact details of Uwadia, and I contacted him immediately and explained to him what my husband is going through. He encouraged me and promised me that surly he will cure my husband, so after all necessary arrangement was made; he prepared the herbal medicine, and shipped it to me in USA, so I followed his instructions, and gave the medicine to my husband. Behold just like a magic in my eyes my husband was responding positively to the medicine and in just less than 3 weeks I started giving him the medicine, he was very okay, and in less than 7 weeks my husband was totally curd, and as I speak to you now my husband is totally cured, and he is now very okay, and in good health. So please all here shall help me say a big thanks to Doctor Uwadia Amenifo for helping me cure my husband of his Alzheimer’s disease. Please if you need Doctor Uwadia’s contact details, here is it. Email ( and his number is (+2349052015874). His website is God bless all.

  12. I’m trying to find new ways to help my daughter. I’ve taken her off so many meds the Dr keep putting her on. Only resperidol works, but here lately outburst and anger are getting worse. It could be puberty as she’s almost 12, she is so attached to me it’s horrible. Screams for hours if I have to leave. I know there isn’t a cure, but just needing the right eo to help give her some calmness.

  13. Its a fantastic post ! Thanks for still keeping it despite the malicious attempts by “A citizen for the advancement of ethical treatments for developmental disabilities”.

    To – “A citizen for the advancement of ethical treatments for developmental disabilities”.
    As a father of child of 12 years suffering from autism anxiety attacks (many times in a day), anger, obsession and other issues – yes I would like to look for options which are safe. I would certainly want to try and check, given the extreme struggles we are facing. To hell with ethical treatments, when you yourself say that there are no treatment available which are FDA approved. So should I wait for 10 years and see my son suffering with autism and anxiety attacks till a so call FDA approved oil or med comes. For that matter, the anti psychotic medicines which are FDA approved also have side effects and yes they have not helped my child.
    So please stop criticizing someone who is trying to help and step into shoes of the suffering child and the parents. Best you can do is to stay away !

  14. Thank you for this post! I have a non-verbal 4 year old with autism. I wish I would have found information on essential oils for autism 2 years ago when he was first diagnosed. We started using essential oils on him and noticed increased eye contact, he started pointing to things in order to share interest, rather than just to obtain things, and his attention span increased. Within a few weeks his teacher sent a note home saying that he was starting to do his routines on his own and following directions with less prompts, and his speech therapist and occupational therapist noticed positive advancements as well. I do not need the FDA to tell me that the oils are working on him. We have noticed more improvement since starting essential oils than any other thing we have tried! So far, we have used frankincense, vetiver, orange, lavender, naioli, clove, and lavender. I am going to start cedarwood at night, because he still gets into our bed with us almost every night. Thank you again for your post, so many parents have seen improvements in their children, we have found posts like yours to be a Godsend!