We all have those days where we feel like continuing after lunchtime would end us. Some of us struggle through, and others reach for coffee or tea to stimulate our motivation. We all can’t handle caffeine, though. Caffeine can cause hypertension and arrhythmia in some individuals, so it’s not a universal fix for the afternoon slump. Even if you don’t struggle with hypertension, you can build a tolerance to caffeine – so you’ll need more and more over time to feel any effects!
But what if there were a healthier, simple, and more natural alternative? Believe it or not, essential oils can increase your energy and drive! We’ve got the research to prove it, too! We’ll go over exactly how essential oils can increase your energy and motivation. Then we will list some of the best essential oils to use for these purposes, and finish up with a few recipes for your diffuser that you can try out at home!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Essential Oils can Increase Energy and Motivation
- 2 How ‘Energizing Essential Oils’ can Boost Energy
- 3 The Best Essential Oils for Energy
- 4 Essential Oils for Alertness
- 5 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Energy
How Essential Oils can Increase Energy and Motivation
You’ve probably heard things like, “this oil is a game-changer for energy.” Although, you’ve probably never heard the research supporting these claims or the specific ways in which your body reacts to the different components of essential oils. While motivation can be subjective, we can share definitive evidence that certain essential oils elicit stimulating responses within the body more than others. In turn, this can contribute to perceived benefits like motivation and drive. We’ll get into how these essential oils work and some research that supports their claims below.
Here’s How They Work
The application of essential oils for increased energy occurs primarily through the inhalation of essential oils. The research behind the stimulating effects of essential oils focuses on the interactions between the oils and the olfactory system and, subsequently, how that influences different physiological indicators of stimulation. To put this in simple terms, smelling certain essential oils can make the body behave in different ways that scientists can measure!
Unfortunately, the overall research on aromatherapy is scant. Nevertheless, some research studies offer definitive results on certain essential oils and their effects on the body.
One study tested the effects of lavender essential oil versus lemon essential oil. Using physiological indicators like heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure to determine whether inhaling the oils produced a stimulating effect or not. In this study, lemon essential oil inhalation reliably enhanced mood when compared to smelling lavender or water. Additionally, inhalation of lemon essential oil produced increased levels of the hormone norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine levels are a good indicator of energy and focus. This hormone is a neurotransmitter that triggers specific autonomic responses that are perceived as an increase in energy. When norepinephrine is released into the bloodstream, it causes an increase in heart rate, triggers the release of sugar in the form of glucose into the bloodstream, and increases blood flow to the muscles. If you think about the way that you feel when you have good energy, they are almost all associated with these things. When we have more sugar in our blood and higher blood flow to the muscles, our body can perform better!
Similar results have been found with other citrus essential oils like grapefruit. In a second study, subjects inhaled grapefruit essential oil, lavender essential oil, and then isolated components of these oils that we’ll go into next. The subjects who inhaled the grapefruit essential oil experienced immediate results associated with a perceived increase in energy.
Lavender essential oil, which we commonly think of as a relaxant, elicited the exact opposite response to grapefruit oil. So lavender decreased all of those physiological factors in this particular study. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it definitively can’t contribute to increased energy, but is showing up as more of a calming essential oil.
This same study tested the components of these essential oils that might be responsible for the increase in energy. This was done by blocking specific chemical components of these two essential oils using histamine blockers. The scientists who conducted this study were able to isolate the particular chemicals in these essential oils that might be causing the autonomic responses. Their findings indicate that limonene and linalool might be the active components of these oils that cause the energetic effects that we are looking for.
Limonene Versus Linalool
So what are limonene and linalool? These are two chemical compounds that are commonly found in essential oils that have been shown to have some incredible effects on the body. Including killing cancer cells, killing bacteria and fungi, and possibly even triggering these responses that increase energy!
While the aromatherapeutic effects of limonene are not extensively tested, we do know that it occurs in most citrus fruits and thereby most citrus essential oils. We can deduce that citrus essential oils produce energetic effects, and limonene exists in all citrus essential oils. Therefore, there is some correlation, but we don’t have a lot of research to back it up yet.
Linalool is a monoterpene that also exists in all citrus essential oils, but in the highest concentration in oranges. We can similarly acknowledge the correlation between citrus oils reportedly providing an increase in energy and the presence of linalool in all citrus fruits and essential oils.
Overall, the research to prove that essential oils can increase energy and motivation is lacking. A lot of the evidence for some essential oils increasing energy is based on observation, which is frequently inconsistent and variable. While energy has some physiological indicators that can be quantified, like heart rate and blood sugar levels, motivation can be more of a subjective measure.
Some of the essential oils we mention in this article are supported by scientific evidence, but other recommendations are gleaned from observation. Researching this area is a huge opportunity for scientists, and hopefully, we see more information about this in the future.
How ‘Energizing Essential Oils’ can Boost Energy
We touched on it above, but how these so-called energizing essential oils boost energy is by encouraging the body to produce indicators of energy itself! This doesn’t mean that you can expect not to sleep well, and experience physical energy just from smelling some essential oils. Nevertheless, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet, these oils can work wonders for energy.
Scientific research shows that these oils trigger the body to increase blood flow to the muscles, which means that they can produce more output. They can also increase the heart rate via the release of norepinephrine. The release of norepinephrine is probably the most significant indicator that these essential oils facilitate more energy. The reasoning for this is that low levels of norepinephrine are seen in individuals with ADHD and other neurological conditions associated with low energy and poor concentration. If more research emerges that supports this, we may have a massive breakthrough for energy as well as individuals with those conditions.
The Best Essential Oils for Energy
It’s important to note that there are plenty of lifestyle factors at play that contributes to energy. Essential oils are not intended to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle, including a good night’s sleep. Chronic lack of energy can be an indicator of a serious health condition. So if you find yourself frequently fatigued, it may be time to check in with your healthcare provider to make sure you are in good health.
Now let’s get to some of our best recommendations for energizing oils! Keep in mind that while these are some of the best essential oils for energy, there is not a lot of distinct research around this.
We already discussed some of the scientific support for lemon essential oil above, so it’s no surprise that this essential oil is one of the first oils we’re recommending! In addition to boosting energy, lemon is generally considered to uplift the mood as well. It has a variety of uses internally, externally, and even around your home! There are also several recipes leveraging lemon essential oil for cleaning. Lemon essential oil is generally considered non-toxic and safe to ingest or use for baking and cooking. However, you should still seek out a lemon essential oil that is of very high quality if you are choosing to ingest it.
This brings us to the first oil recommendation! Rocky Mountain Oils provides GC/MS test results for all of their essential oils so you can see exactly what is in the oil you are purchasing. Even better, you can see the results of the specific oil you bought by looking at the batch information on their website. Check out their Lemon essential oil here.
Orange is another essential oil that comes with definitive scientific proof supporting its use for increased energy. You can choose from either sweet orange or bitter orange essential oils, and you will feel the energetic effects. Terpenes, limonene, and linalool occur in all citrus fruit, so you are sure to experience their impact no matter which way you slice it. You can choose to diffuse this oil or even smell it directly from the bottle to receive its aromatherapeutic effects.
Orange can also be used for cleaning, externally, and internally as it is also a non-toxic oil. Here is the link for a great orange essential oil by Rocky Mountain Oils.
Now we have come to an essential oil whose effects directly related to energy are mostly observational. A variety of companies cite cinnamon essential oil as a great energy booster, but in seeking scientific research to confirm those claims, we don’t find much. We’re not entirely writing off the potential benefits of this oil, but it should be noted that scientific evidence is scant.
Individuals report that since this oil produces a warming effect and that cinnamon itself has been shown to increase blood flow and metabolism, that it is also useful for energy. It’s a deliciously scented oil that brings us all of the holiday vibes, so we highly recommend testing this one out for yourself!
Since this oil is so powerful, make sure that you start with a minimal amount and see how your body reacts. If you are mixing it in your diffuser, start with one drop mixed with other oils to see how your body responds. Be careful not to confuse cinnamon bark with cinnamon cassia, which is not true cinnamon and may produce different effects.
Plant Therapy produces a cinnamon bark essential oil that is pleasant and highly concentrated.
Peppermint is another essential oil that can bring about memories of holiday cheer, but you don’t have to reserve this oil for the holiday season! Although there is little research on the relationship between peppermint essential oil and energy, we do have some tertiary research on peppermint that may indicate that it has applications in boosting stamina as well! One study tested the ability of menthol, an ingredient that occurs in very high concentrations in peppermint essential oil, in helping firefighters increase their lung capacity by stimulating the airways. The research definitively pointed to menthol’s ability to increase the lung capacity of the firefighters.
It makes sense that this proven ability of peppermint essential oil may make you feel more energized since menthol stimulates the airways and thereby facilitates the absorption of oxygen. Give it a shot in your diffuser the next time you need a boost or take a whiff of it straight from the bottle.
Peppermint essential oil is a standard oil, and your favorite essential oil brand most likely carries it. You can get an organic peppermint essential oil for under $10 from Plant Therapy, which is an excellent deal for high-quality organic oil.
Isn’t lavender the most relaxing essential oil known? Yes, but hear us out! Lavender essential oil might have some positive effects on your energy levels, as well. The reason being is because lavender can put you in a better mood and make you feel calm. While calmness can make you sleepy, it can also put your mind at ease and make it easier for you to get motivated to attack the tasks at hand.
Plus, lavender’s ability to help us get a good night of sleep may lead to increased energy during the day.
Give it a try in your diffuser and see what you think! If you’d like to reap the benefits of increased energy and a calm mind, try mixing a few drops of lavender with a few drops of lemon essential oil in your diffuser.
Lavender is another essential oil that is common and inexpensive. You can get a 30ml bottle of organic lavender essential oil for around $10 from Plant Therapy. They also offer a pre-diluted lavender essential oil roll-on, which can be great for using the oil on the go.
Essential Oils for Alertness
Some may argue that energy and alertness are the same things, but there are a few standouts when it comes to alertness in the essential oil world. We already mentioned peppermint and lavender as possibly promoting energy, but there is a chance that these oils may also help you stay alert.
What Components of these Oils Cause Alertness?
Peppermint’s most significant component is menthol with relation to alertness and focus. One study gave peppermint candy to student subjects to potentially boost brain function and attentiveness so that they can perform better on tests. While there are conflicting opinions from researchers on the power of peppermint, supporters of peppermint say that inhaling or consuming peppermint can result in increased alertness because of peppermint’s ability to stimulate vasodilation. You can use peppermint in your diffuser, as part of a beverage or food, or even topically with a carrier oil or lotion.
Lavender is another essential oil that can be said to promote alertness by the simple function of reducing stress. Since reduced stress can result in more lucid thoughts and better focus, lavender is listed in several places as a possible option for increased alertness. While no scientific studies are cited when lavender is said to be an essential oil for improved sharpness, in a study mentioned above, part of the results observed were physiological indicators of reduced stress. Things like heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate were found to decrease after the inhalation of lavender essential oil.
Others argue that because lavender can cause calmness and contribute to a good night of sleep, it can subsequently cause greater alertness throughout the day. Some options for using lavender to decrease your stress and increase alertness are mixing it with your favorite lotion and applying it before going to sleep. Also, diffusing it with peppermint for calm energy, and even using it diluted in a rollerball and applying it topically as needed throughout the day. You can even carry your bottle of lavender with you and inhale its calming benefits through the bottle as needed!
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Energy
Now let’s get to the good stuff- those delicious recipes with these amazing essential oils. Below are a few recipes that are good for testing out to boost your energy!
For your diffuser, try out this citrus-heavy combo at work or at home if you need a boost:
Five drops of Grapefruit
Five drops of Lemon
Five drops of Sweet Orange
Two drops of Cinnamon Bark
If you want to throw in a little peppermint for focus and experience a more woodsy scent, try out this diffuser combo:
Five drops of Rosemary
Two drops of Peppermint
One drop of Basil
You can even experience a fresh minty and citrusy mix in your diffuser with this blend:
Three drops of Sweet Orange
Two drops of Lemon
One drop of Peppermint
You can also try out different combinations of the oils we listed above for increased energy. As a reminder, if you are using cinnamon essential oil, be sure to use a minimal amount, as it can be irritating if used in large quantities. If you are using any of these oils topically, be sure to dilute them adequately to avoid any skin irritation.