9 Essential Oils for OCD

women trying essential oils
Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a complex and misunderstood issue that is often missed by professionals. The hardest part of OCD is that the person or child with OCD has a stress hyperactivated nervous system that is “stuck on.”  They are in a constant rev state because of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. The brain of someone with OCD never gets to “turn off” and therefore their central nervous system is stuck in a stressed sympathetic dominant state. 

OCD and PANS/PANDAS are on the rise and since they are so often missed by medical and mental health professionals, it is so important for parents and patients to know the signs. There are many reasons why one has OCD and every parent should learn more about what are the signs and symptoms of OCD in children and teens and why kids and teens get OCD

Essential Oils for OCD:

  • Frankincense 
  • Rosemary
  • Ylang Ylang

These essential oils help with inflammation fueled OCD, which is common in PANS/PANDAS. PANS/PANDAS can have either a pediatric or adult onset and results from a misdirected immune response due to an infectious disease or toxic trigger. To learn more about PANS and how it is often misdiagnosed as ODD, OCD, ADHD, mood disorder, read my viral blog, PANS/PANDAS on the Rise.

essential oil bottles

Essential Oils for OCD that Also Reduce Inflammation:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Turmeric 
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus

How Do Essential Oils Help the OCD Brain?

Essential oils can be helpful for managing OCD symptoms by supporting the central nervous system, as well as being a helpful tool for managing symptoms and promoting relaxation and well-being. 

Essential oils can help the OCD brain in a few ways:

Promoting relaxation: 

Many essential oils, like lavender and chamomile, have calming properties that can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. This can be particularly helpful for those with OCD, who may experience high levels of anxiety and stress related to their compulsions or obsessions.

Reducing stress: 

Stress can exacerbate OCD symptoms, so anything that can help to reduce stress levels can be helpful. Some essential oils, like bergamot and frankincense, have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation.

Enhancing mood: 

Depression and anxiety are common comorbidities with OCD, and essential oils can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Essential oils like lemon and peppermint have uplifting properties that can help to boost mood and energy levels.

Boosting cognitive function: 

Some essential oils, like rosemary and peppermint, have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. This can be particularly helpful for those with OCD who struggle with memory problems or cognitive rigidity.

Selecting the Right Essential Oils

When it comes to managing OCD and stress, selecting the right essential oils is key. Notable oils such as Lavender, Frankincense, and Chamomile are renowned for their calming effects. For instance, Lavender oil is widely recognized for its soothing and sedative properties, making it a go-to option for anxiety relief. 

Brands like doTERRA, Young Living and organic oils offer high-quality lavender oil that can be effective in managing stress. Frankincense, another powerful option, is known for its grounding and mood-balancing effects, which can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing OCD-related anxiety. 

Chamomile, famous for its relaxing qualities, can help in soothing the mind and reducing stress. The calming and balancing properties of these oils work by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for emotions.

Peppermint Oil: More Than Just a Fresh Scent


Peppermint oil is often associated with its fresh, invigorating scent. However, it offers more than just a pleasant aroma. Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that peppermint oil can be effective in alleviating anxiety and stress symptoms, common in OCD. Its refreshing scent is believed to help in clearing the mind and reducing symptoms of anxiety. 

Brands such as  doTERRA offer peppermint oil that is often used in aromatherapy for its anxiety-relieving properties. While more research is needed to fully understand its benefits, many users report feeling more relaxed and less anxious after using peppermint oil.

Application Methods for Maximum Benefit

To reap the full benefits of these essential oils, proper application is crucial. There are several effective methods:

  • Diffusion: Using an oil diffuser can disperse the scent throughout a room, creating a calming atmosphere. This method is particularly effective with oils like lavender or peppermint for easing anxiety.

  • Topical Application: Essential oils can be applied to the skin, but it's important to dilute them with a carrier oil to avoid irritation. Apply to pressure points such as the wrists or temples for quick relief.

  • Direct Inhalation: Simply inhaling the oil’s aroma can be effective. This can be done by placing a few drops on a cloth or in the palms of your hands.

Safety Tip: Always do a patch test before applying oils to the skin and consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are pregnant.

DIY Recipe for Depression and Anxiety Relief

Create your own blend to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety:

  • Ingredients: 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of Frankincense oil, 1 drop of Peppermint oil, 1 drop of Chamomile oil.

  • Directions: Mix these oils in a small bottle. Add to a diffuser or dilute with a carrier oil for topical application.

  • Benefits: Lavender and Chamomile provide calming effects, Frankincense offers mood-balancing properties, and Peppermint brings a refreshing and soothing scent.

Understanding the Limitations

While essential oils like doTERRA's range for anxiety can offer relief, it's important to understand their limitations. They should be viewed as a complementary treatment and not a replacement for professional medical advice or therapy. This is especially crucial for conditions like OCD, where specialized treatment, such as ERP Therapy, neurofeedback and PEMF,  is often necessary.

Natural Help For OCD

It is important to learn more about safe and effective treatments such as neurofeedback for OCD and ERP therapy for OCD in order to break the OCD hijacking of the brain and family life. Treating OCD early and with the most effective therapies is imperative. 


Have you ever heard of PEMF therapy? It's a treatment that uses low-frequency electromagnetic waves to stimulate the cells in the body. While it might sound like science fiction, PEMF therapy has been shown to be effective in treating mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and OCD.

So, how does it work? PEMF therapy basically helps improve the communication between cells in your brain and body. This can help regulate the neurotransmitters that affect your mood and behavior. It also calms a busy mind and stressed nervous system. By doing so, PEMF therapy can help reduce the symptoms associated with OCD, like intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. It can also help reduce anxiety and depression, which are common conditions that can make OCD symptoms worse. PEMF therapy is a safe and effective tool that can help manage OCD symptoms, anxiety, and improve your overall mental health.

Essential oils are an accessible brain tool that can calm cortisol levels and be an adjunctive to your OCD treatment regime that should include a healthy diet and brain tools such as PEMF or neurofeedback. 

There are many kinds of essential oils and ways to use them, please read my blog, The Best Essential Oils for Mental Health for essential oil basics.


Ayaz, M., Sadiq, A., Junaid, M., Ullah, F., Subhan, F., & Ahmed, J. (2017). Neuroprotective and Anti-Aging Potentials of Essential Oils from Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9(168). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00168

Damian, P., & Damian, K. (1995). Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche: Using Essential Oils for Psychological and Physical Well-being. Healing Arts Press.

Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/681304/

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge is a mental health expert who is frequently called up to give her expert opinion in the media: 

  • Insider  – What is OCD?
  • Single Care Controlling the uncontrollable: Living with OCD during a pandemic
  • MomsCove How to Help a Child with Anxiety and OCD
  • What to Expect: Why Does My Toddler Keep Pulling Her Own Hair?
  • Parade: Olympic Boxer Ginny Fulchs Has OCD—Here's Why That Term Is More Complex Than Many People Think

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen? 

Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place! 

There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann: 


You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s media page and professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Licensed Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including The Mel Robbins Show, CBS, NBC, PIX11 NYC, Today, FORBES, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Insider, Women’s Day, Healthline, CNET, Parade Magazine and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.

Dr. Roseann - Brain Behavior Reset Parent Toolkit

She coined the terms, “Re-entry panic syndrome” and “eco-anxiety” and is a frequent contributor to media on mental health. 

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge has three decades of experience in working with children, teens and their families with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, concussion, dyslexia and learning disability, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression and mood disorder, Lyme Disease, and PANS/PANDAS using science-backed natural mental health solutions such as supplements, magnesium, nutrition, QEEG Brain maps, neurofeedback, PEMF, psychotherapy and other non-medication approaches. 

She is the author of three bestselling books, It’s Gonna Be OK!: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health, The Teletherapy Toolkit, and Brain Under Attack. Dr. Roseann is known for offering a message of hope through science-endorsed methods that promote a calm brain. 

Her trademarked BrainBehaviorResetⓇ Program and It’s Gonna be OK!Ⓡ Podcast has been a cornerstone for thousands of parents facing mental health, behavioral or neurodevelopmental challenges.

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health, Neurotastic™Brain Formulas and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional (CIMHP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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