Do Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD actually work? When a group of parent participants were surveyed by AutisMag, one of them came up with an interesting, though completely unrelated response:
No wonder, the use of essential oils – from spas through to massage therapies – is on an exponential rise. But little did we know about the many benefits that it can have on children diagnosed with Autism. And hold on! Not just ASD individuals, these oils could be equally useful for kids with ADHD too.
There are more than 600 different varieties of Essential oils that are commercially available, either off the shelf in superstores or online. So we wanted to find out which ones actually work for kids with ADHD and Autism.It took us almost 7 months to pull together this selection of Essential Oils that actually have reported benefits for kids on the Spectrum. After months of engaging multiple research institutes, dozens of aromatherapy practitioners and a survey involving more than 200 parents, finally these 11 are the only ones that made it to the list.
But, Before you Buy Essential Oils …
While as a parent, you may tend to get swayed away by the many benefits that these essential oils may provide for your child, it is important to keep in mind what these oils are not meant to do:
Now before we deep-dive into how the following 11 essential oils (discussed below) can help kids with Autism, let us first understand the anecdotal evidences that recent studies are pointing towards.
Then WHY use Essential Oils for ADHD and/or Autism?
While it is inappropriate to think of Essential oils as miracle healing agent, most researchers and therapists agree that are significant medium to long term-benefits when it comes to using the right products. At AutisMag, we requested 200 parents to try one of our 11 Essential Oils that we have recently launched under our brand AKARZ. Here are some of the findings:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Parents are cautioned that most brands of Essential Oils have never been tested on children with Autism and ADHD. Worse still, some of the cheaper brands contain chemical agents (including toxins) in order to amplify the aroma. These may be counterproductive for your child and could cause further sensory issues. For this reason, we always recommend using trusted brands that the 100% pure and organic in nature.
The essential oils listed below ate not only fully organic, but have all been intensively tested and certified by 7 scientific and research institutes across North America, Europe and South-east Asia.
11 Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD
Now it’s time for the countdown. Below is the much awaited list of the 11 super effective Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD. The list is ordered in the increasing order of the Oil’s known efficacy.
But First, Watch this video below….
11. Tea Tree Oil
Of all the 11 Essential oils that made it to this elite list, Tea Tree oil is the only one with most mixed responses, virtually all others received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Nevertheless, this oil deserves a place in this list because of a unique Sensory benefit that few other provide.
Kids with Autism have heightened sensory sensitivities, including highly sensitive epidermal skin. Be it extreme weather conditions, or dust and pollution – such conditions may feel disruptive to may children with Autism. Tea Tree oil not only helps sooth skin sensitivity issues, it also insulates the skin from external disturbances, thereby protecting your child’s skin from conditions that heighten hyper-sensitivity.
WATCH OUT: While the above is a very unique benefit of Tea Tree oil, it is important to keep in mind that Tea Tree also has strong odour. So if your child is highly sensitive to sense of smell (which many kids with ASD are), you might want to try another essential oil from the list below.
10. Mandarin Oil
Mandarin is an essential oil that has its roots in mainland China. Mandarin oil is sweet and the best of all citrus essential oils. Mandarin oil is known for its healing properties and has medium to mild aromatic effects.
How Mandarin oil can help children diagnosed with autism and ADHD
- Mandarin oil is widely known for its stress relieving properties
- It helps to calm down one’s own nervous system
Other medicinal properties of Mandarin oil:
- Acne Treatment
- Solution to help manage gut issues
- An alternative approach to cancer cells degeneration
- Anti Microbe Properties
- Anti Tumor Properties
It is perceived as one of the best solutions to be administered to kids due to its citrusy scent. Further, it helps one greatly reduce their anxiety levels.
9. Vetiver Oil
Vetiver Essential oils are obtained through the complex steam distillery processing of vetiver plants. These are also referred to as perennial grass, commonly found along the suburbs of native India.
How Vetiver oil can help kids with autism and ADHD
Dr. Terry Friedman conducted a study to understand the hidden benefits of vetiver essential oils for children diagnosed with ADHD conditions. Interestingly, the study revealed the oil helps children combat ADD and ADHD symptoms to a greater extent than previously known. Dr. Friedman states,
Here are some additional autism related benefits he reported :
- Soothes an overactive mind
- Aids in controlling anger
- Reduces irritations
Other known benefits of Vetiver oils:
- Antispasmodic Properties
- Antiseptic Properties
These oils have been seen to play an important role when it comes to healing scars and deep-cut wounds. Further, the oils are known to provide relief from inflammation.
8. Cedar wood oil
Organic Cedar oil is extracted through the steam distillery process of the cedar wood tree. A look at the major components of Cedar wood oil:
- Alpha Cedrene
- Beta Cedrene
How cedar wood oil can help children with ADHD and autism
- Helpful in stimulating pineal and pituitary glands
- Improved focus
- Aids in sleeping well
- Helps in naturally increasing melatonin levels (this helps in proper functioning of other hormones and maintaining the body clock i.e. time when hungry, time to sleep, time to wake up, time to visit the loo, etc)
Other Ancillary benefits of Cedar wood oil
- Hair Loss
- Dry Scalp
- Inflammatory tissues and joints
This oil makes it into the list of must-have essential oils for assisting children diagnosed with autism and ADHD. When the oil is inhaled, its scent releases serotonin which helps children enjoy a restorative sleep.
7. Ylang Ylang Oil
This essential oil comes from roots and the large flower petals of the Ylang-Ylang tree which is grown in abundance in countries with a tropical climate. The oil is popular for its sweet and dusky floral scent.
How Ylang-Ylang oil can help kids with ASD and ADHD
Though, not super helpful in any of the direct symptoms of Autism or ADHD, Ylang still makes it into the list because of the many benefits it provides in tackling with some of the common comorbid conditions with Autism, like
- Helpful in increasing the blood flow to the body
- Lowers blood pressure
- Highly effective in preventing septic infections
- Fights depression
- GI (Gastro-Intestinal) Issues
Other known benefits of Ylang Ylang
The oil is seen to have positive effects on ones emotions and helps in increasing the blood flow to the body while assisting digestive difficulties.
6. Chamomile Oil
When it comes to treating various ailments, Chamomile is could be a great choice. This ancient medicinal herb is known for its disease fighting properties and is touted to be the best when it comes to fighting symptoms such as anxiety and stress.
How Chamomile Essential oil helps with Autism and ADHD
- The herbs from which chamomile oil is extracted are known to reduce meltdowns
- Reduces hyperactivity and hypertension
5. Bergamot Essential Oil
This essential oil is an extract of the bergamot fruit peel and is manufactured using the cold compression technique.
The oil is quite popular and is viewed by some as a one stop solution for all muscle tension and headache problems. Its antibacterial properties help in healing wounds and minimizing any dark marks present on the skin.
How Bergamot oil helps for Children with ASD/ADHD
Bergamot oil is also known for its excellent mood enhancing properties and is considered to be the best essential oils for autistic children who are sensory seeking. It further induces a feeling of freshness while improving the overall circulation of the blood vessels in the body.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint adds to the list of widely known oils known to mankind since ancient times. The oil is known for its cooling properties and is proven to improve mental focus for individuals.
For these reasons, peppermint oil makes it to the list of perfect alternative solutions to children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and autism.
Aside from lavender, peppermint is perhaps one of the most widely used of all essential oils. It is perfect for children with autism, ADHD, and ADD because it gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body. It is also known to help improve mental focus.
Peppermint Oil is well known for the properties mentioned below:
- Relieves Headaches
- Clears Respiratory Tracts
- Soothes Tired Muscles
How Peppermint oil helps with Autism and ADHD
Holly, a mother to an autistic child who tried our Peppermint Essential oil says, ”
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender needs no introduction and many are aware of its medicinal properties. This has been documented through the centuries and is touted to be one of the ancient oils that has been known to mankind since ancient times.
For example, Romans used it for cooking and bathing, while on the other hand Egyptians used these essential oils as for their mummification process.
How Lavender oil can help children diagnosed with ASD and/or ADHD
Children with autism can benefit from its calming effects which help improve their sleep quality and assist their body in fighting emotional stress.
Other medicinal benefits of Lavender Oil
- Antioxidants to protect your body from illness
- To heal wounds and burns
- Helps relieve constant headaches
- An alternative and natural solution to diabetes
2. Frankincense Oil
Also known as Olibanum, frankincense oil is extracted from the Boswellia Sacara tree’s resins which are commonly grown along the coasts of Somalia.
How Frankincense Oil can help kids with ADHD and ASD
Children with ADHD or autism are seen to greatly benefit from frankincense oils as it helps them to maintain their focus levels while helping them reduce negative emotions and stressful reactions.
Additional healing properties of Frankincense Oil:
These essential oils are also known for their cell regeneration properties, which are believed to play a great role in promoting consciousness. Many have experienced great success in recovering from various illnesses such as indigestions issues, severe joint pains, arthritis and respiratory infections. Multiple studies striving to understand the medicinal effects of frankincense oil have also highlighted its capability to help one boost their immune system.
1. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood oils are derived from matured roots of the sandalwood tree through a steam distillery process, distinguished by their sweet and woodsy smell. Interestingly, the potency of the oil depends on the age of the tree.
Sandalwood oil can help kids with Autism and ADHD
One of the major sandalwood oil benefits is that it promotes mental clarity, especially when used with a diffuser. It also has a relaxing and calming effect that can be helpful for children with autism spectrum disorders. Apart from that, sandalwood is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-viral properties.
Ancillary Healing properties of Sandalwood oil
- Anti Viral
- Anti Aging
- Anti Inflammatory
How Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD can Help?
With greater awareness about autism condition in present generations, essential oils are increasingly being used for their physical and mental health benefits. They have gained widespread popularity among autism parents with more and more of them opting in to explore the many benefits of these oils.
The benefits seem pretty remarkable right? But there is a catch…
How to Use Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD
Many parents have reported success with essential oils and believe they get absorbed into their child’s main blood vessels within a span of less than 30 seconds. Nevertheless, it is equally important to read the guidelines that come with the oils such as having them diluted with a carrier oil to protect the skin.
When it comes to the application of the oil, it is advisable to be use at least three times a day. As you progress and experience the benefits, you can consider reducing the frequency to once or twice a day.
If you find your little one is sensitive to direct application of the oils, a proven alternative method is to use an aromatic diffuser that allows children to inhale them without causing irritation.
You can also use essential oils to purify rooms of the house, thus eliminating viruses and bacteria present in the air which are invisible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, these little hacks – which are often ignored – help one to improve the living environment for everyone in the household.
Note: It is highly important to store the essential oils for autism and ADHD in a neat glass container, free of dust and foreign particles. Experts emphasize that essential oils are more at risk of contamination from undesirable toxins if left unregulated.
Research behind Autism/ADHD and Essential Oils
Transitions are not just difficult for many neuro-typically developing children, they are even more challenging for kids impacted with spectrum conditions. Transitions could be as little as going to bed from the dinner table.
As per recent study estimates, children on the spectrum have difficulties staying asleep. The past few years have seen a range of parents sharing their quick hacks on how they are helping their child relax, thanks to the increasing reach of the social media from the corners of every household.
If one took the time to search online about the importance of essential oils, chances are you would end up on way too many pages that brag about their success with essential oils. Testimonials from users are a helpful resource when it comes to understanding more about something on the market.
Latest Study on Efficacy of Essential Oils for ASD
At the time of writing this, there are at least 7 distinct studies going on at premier research institutes within USA alone. Most of these studies are revolved around one thematic question: How effective are essential oils in helping kids with ASD and/or ADHD (if you are already across these studies, click here to just view the list.)
In answer to this, researchers from the Ohio State University (OSU) set out to uncover the real facts behind this question that has intrigued many for years. During early April of last year, Dr. Jill Hollway began her study on the growing trend of using essential oils to assist autistic children stay cool and calm. Below is an example case study done by OSU.
It should be noted that if you decide to use essential oils for your child, it is highly important to have yourself educated to prevent any side effects or accidents. The observation so far has been, that these oils are most effective when applied directly on the outer layer of the skin or inhaled via a humidifier. For children with disorders like ADD, ADHD or ASD, one should be careful in applying the oils and should start from the feet then gradually progress your way up to the neck and then the head, chest and the forehead portion and finally concluding with arms, legs and the abdomen.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are basically liquids that are processed from stems, leaves, bark, roots, flowers and other plantation parts. Quite interestingly, the word essential arose from its earlier name ‘Quintessential Oil‘.
Aristotle is believed to be the name behind the origin of the word ‘Quintessential,’ and the idea is quoted as an “Aristotelian Idea.” The idea states, “Matter is composed of four basic elements i.e. air, fire, water and earth. Further, ‘Quintessence,’ is believed to be an important fifth element that is considered to be the combined spirit of a matter.”
The aroma and chemical composition of these essential oils are believed to provide innumerable physical and psychological benefits to those with autism and ADHD. Further, the benefits can be obtained as easily as inhaling the oil’s aroma (mostly through the use of a humidifier) or by applying the processed version of the oil on to the skin.
Understanding How Essential Oils are Obtained?
Essential oils are obtained through the process of distillation of the plants. Manufacturers use a combined technique of steaming while blending with other processes such as solvent extractions, absolute oil level extractions, tapping important resins and finally cold pressing.
An interesting side-note about essential oils is that they are not what many perceive. The first thing that comes to mind when the word ‘oil’ is mentioned is something sticky and greasy; essential oils are neither of those things.
The oils come in various colors. Some of these are:
- Lemon Grass
Although essential oils tend to be aromatic, they are not an alternative to perfumes or fragrances. Essential oils, as their name suggests, are the true essences of the plant they are derived from.
It should be noted that one should not get confused between essential oils and fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are something that has artificially manufactured ingredients added to them to appeal to the senses of the end-user. Subsequently, fragrance oils do not have the therapeutic properties and benefits of essential oils.
Essential oils do not have any artificially added ingredients which emphasizes their many benefits.
Benefits from deeper than usual Penetration of Essential oils?
- Provide safe and non-toxic ways to purify the body
- Promote wellness
- Lets you achieve healthy looks while enhancing the tone of your skin
Essential Oils: General Benefits
Essential oils have been used for general day to day activities as long as humans have existed, with their medicinal uses dating back to ancient historic times. Some of the major known benefits that you might have not have been aware of are:
- Essential oils are known to play an important role in boosting the immune system of the body
- They are quite helpful in relieving muscle soreness after an exhausting session at the gym
- They help soothe the digestion process. For instance, pepper mint is understood to help in healthy functioning of digestive organs and the stomach
- Essential oils help in enhancing ‘boring’ massage sessions
- They help in increasing the concentration levels and boosting one’s ability to focus
- Helps in reducing ones stress levels
These are some of the major reasons behind the ever-increasing popularity of essential oils for treating autism and ADHD related cases. These oils have unique properties that penetrate deep into the skin while crossing the brain-blood carriers to have significant effects experienced.
Things to keep in mind while using Essential Oils
As Essential oils have an extreme potency, therefore, it is highly important to exercise careful measures, irrespective of whether one uses these oils for ASD disorders or other common similar disorders.
Further, one should always make a note to use it only as recommended by the manufacturer, or a physician on a needs basis. The age old saying “More, is always the best” doesn’t work out with essential oils.
If you find success with using a few drops of essential oils, do not overdo it to gain more in a short amount of time. Excess or irresponsible use of essential oils is known to increase health risks.
Thus, it pays to spare the time to gain some insights and understanding about how to use essential oils in the correct manner.
If you are planning to use essential oils on your autistic child for the first time, it is advisable to seek out a professional’s help to determine what ways would suit your child, the best!
Essential oils are known for being ‘hot.’ Therefore it is important to use dilutions on a needs basis.
Some of the dilutions are:
Qualified aroma-therapists can help you with necessary advice about application of essential oils, especially on the skin. Apart from skin applications, one can also inhale these oils using diffusers. Various researches have shown aromatic use is effective and safe when it comes to an alternative of ingesting these oils.
Always make a note to keep the essential oils enclosed with a tight lid and consider having them away from extreme temperatures. Never refrigerate essential oils!
At times, some manufacturers resort to short cuts and use chemicals to extract essential oils from the plants, which make the oils redundant of their benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand the ways the manufacturer uses when extracting oils. Further, taking a closer look will help you determine if the manufacturers claim about the extraction process is true or not. Nevertheless, avoid anything that boasts of perfume or fragrance.
It should be noted that essential oils are always considered to be of therapeutic grade and of 100% purity. However, depending on the extraction method of the company in question, pure essential oil extracts can vary from 50 to 200 times more concentrated than their original roots.
Further, one can also blend single oils to create a unique type of essential oil or have their underlying benefits enhanced. However, it should be noted that blending should be carried out with enough care to ensure they are safe and effective.
When it comes to essential oils, purity plays a critical role and is considered to be one of the most important characteristic behind the origin of essential oils. Nevertheless, if you love to have the best possible results, you should opt for CPTG, Certified Pure Therapeutic Essential Oils.
For instance, oils like doTerra meant for treating autism condition undergo a rigorous amount of testing to ensure quality and pureness.
It should be noted that CPTG testing is done in order to ensure manufacturers comply with the right methods when it comes to growing and harvesting their plantations sources. Some of the processes that are part of CPTG are:
This processing step involves the use of human senses to manually determine the quality and suitability of the manufactured essential oil product.
This process involves reviewing essential oils for their underlying chemical compositions after selecting the plants, understanding its harvesting process and studying its distillery execution.
Additionally, two to three tests are carried to ensure the plant has remained contaminant free and has not been altered with undesirable elements during the course of production.
Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Analysis (GC/MS)
The oils are vaporized and passed through a large column to have them separated into single components. This is done to determine the exact underlying chemical composition of particular essential oils.
Batches of essential oils are analyzed and tested to identify the presence of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, mold and viruses that could be detrimental to the end user’s health. After the packaging process, samples are collected to ensure oils are not contaminated during the course of the packaging process.
Heavy Metal Testing
This determines the presence of metal contents in the essential oils. However, it should be noted that pure essential oils are free from heavy metal contamination during distillation process.
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
This process is designed to ensure every batch of the dispatched oil is consistent and potent. Structural compounds of the essential oils are analyzed during this step.
Understanding the Health Benefits of Essential Oils
Although health benefits of essential oils are innumerable, it should be well-understood, as with anything that goes inside the body, it can affect your wellbeing and health.
Therefore, having yourself properly educated can help you thwart any undesirable effects. It is always advisable to research from your end before considering any product while giving priority to expert advice to avoid any harmful effects or undesirable allergies.
Always consider using essential oils from reputable and trusted sources to get results that exceed your expectations.