Creative Parenting: Can Aromatherapy Be Used to Calm down Kids with ADHD?

posted by Anupriya 1 Comment

Aromatherapy is often touted as a way to help people relax, typically with the use of essential oils. Many parents say it helps to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in their children. Children with ADHD find it difficult to pay attention, sit still, and control their impulses but some parents report a significant difference when they use certain oils. This article will look at some of the most popular oils and how they are thought to work. If you already have oils in mind and you just want some options for diffusers, browse 

How ADHD is Usually Treated

Doctors usually recommend a combination of psychotherapy and medication for children with ADHD. Medication can bring immediate relief, but therapy helps them to develop the skills they need to further manage their condition. However, not all children tolerate the medication well. Some experience side effects like irritability or psychosis. Others simply don’t notice any effects when they take stimulants. Doctors may prescribe different medications, but many parents look for natural alternatives. One popular choice is aromatherapy.

Can Aromatherapy Really be Used to Calm Children with ADHD?

While there are few scientific studies to support it, many parents say aromatherapy improves their children’s ability to focus.  Some people argue any change in behavior is simply a placebo effect. However, many essential oils are known for their generally calming effect so they could be some validity to the idea.

Essential oils are usually distilled or expressed from the roots, stems, leaves, fruits or flowers of plants. They have been used for centuries either through inhalation or skin application. The latter method is preferred for skin conditions or pain. Essential oils can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin, placed in a diffuser or inhaled after being placed on a handkerchief.

Some of the oils used most often to reduce the symptoms of ADHD are:

  • Peppermint which can ease restlessness
  • Lavender which is known to lower anxiety and improve sleep
  • Cedarwood which can boost oxygen flow to the brain
  • Chamomile and ylang-ylang which are reported to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Sandalwood which is believed to improve mental clarity
  • Vetiver which may help improve circulation
  • Orange which is reported to calm people who are stressed out

These oils are said to work well when used along with behavioral therapy. Essential oils are believed to work on the central nervous system and the endocrine system. The overall calming effect can help people with ADHD to change their behavior.


If you are thinking about using these essential oils for aromatherapy, be sure to ask your doctor first. While there is little scientific evidence to support its effectiveness, you may still want to give it a try. However, you need to make sure you use oils which won’t interact with the drugs your child takes. Though natural, essential oils can still cause harm. You should be on the lookout for signs of allergic reaction, especially in young children who are more sensitive.

To read about myths and misconceptions related to Autism, click here

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1 Comment

Mahati ramya adivishnu March 30, 2019 at 2:51 am

Essential oils might work for relaxation of nerves. Yes, we should ask the doctor first before using them.