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Top Essential Oils With Benefits For Kids With Autism & ADHD

What’s inside this article: A look at 11 popular essential oils and how their health benefits can improve common symptoms associated with ADHD & autism (like focus, sleep, digestion, calming emotions, etc). Also, this article covers tips for blending oils, how to use them, and how to determine the quality of oils before purchasing.

Essential oils have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes, dating back as far as the Egyptians in 4500 B.C. There are many known uses and benefits of essential oils.

Essential oils benefit children with autism and ADHD by improving some common symptoms children experience.

Although many of the benefits may be considered anecdotal, they have benefited people in different ways for thousands of years.

Best Essential Oils for Autism and ADHD

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

1. Peppermint

Peppermint helps to soothe digestive issues, relieve headaches, clear the digestive tract and help with aches and pains in sore muscles.

It is common for children with autism to also have gastrointestinal problems, which is why it is important to support healthy bodily functions in our kids.

Using peppermint oil can help relieve gas pain, and enhance gastric emptying.

The aroma of peppermint oil can also help with concentration and memory because it improves alertness.

2. Mandarin

Mandarin essential oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It’s also one of the best oils for helping reduce anxiety.

It’s a great choice for children because it is mild and most kids love the sweet scent.

It can also act as a sedative, promoting better sleep.

3. Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is known for its ability to improve your mood. Actually, it was used throughout history as a natural anti-depressant.

Try diffusing ylang-ylang during meltdowns to help sedate feelings of anger, and stress, helping your child relax.

Also, try adding a couple of drops of ylang-ylang essential oil to your child’s bath before bed to improve sleep.

4. Vetiver

The strong, earthy smell of vetiver oil makes it a great choice for kids with ADHD because it has a grounding effect.

This grounding effect improves concentration and reduces hyperactivity. It may also improve sleep.

Try massaging a drop of this oil onto your kiddo’s feet after school or before bed.

5. Sandalwood

Sandalwood is my personal favorite essential oil, I use it in my home all the time. There are actually three types of sandalwood: Indian, Australian, and African.

You will usually see Australian and African oils because they aren’t as expensive. However, Indian sandalwood has the most intense aroma and the most benefits. I absolutely love it.

Sandalwood has so many benefits. For example, it’s an antiseptic and it induces relaxation to the intestinal muscles which can help remove gas. It improves concentration and memory. Plus, it helps calm anxiety and restlessness.

Plus, the smell is amazing.

6. Bergamot

Bergamot has a very sweet smell and works as an antidepressant and a sedative. It improves mood and helps your child sleep better.

You can also use it for pain relief and muscle spasms, or to reduce a fever. It helps synchronize the digestive system which may improve constipation.

Warning: Bergamot must be kept out of sunlight because exposure to sunlight can cause one of the properties to become poisonous. Store in a dark place.

7. Lavender

Lavender is most commonly used to improve sleep and reduce stress. Some studies show that regularly using lavender can improve the immune system, too.

French lavender specifically has the highest ester concentration. This just means it’s easier to dissolve, so the french lavender oil is more potent.

Try this trick to improve your child’s sleep:

  • Add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to a container of baking soda. Then, sprinkle the mixture over your child’s mattress (a great time to do this is when you’re washing bedding).
  • Leave the mixture on the mattress for 3 or 4 hours, and then vacuum it up before putting the sheets back on the bed.
  • The baking soda neutralizes any odors from the mattress and will leave your child’s bed infused with a calming lavender scent that lasts for a couple of weeks.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile tea is well known for helping people fall asleep.

Chamomile essential oil is also relaxing, making it a great sleep aid, too.

You can add a couple of drops to a warm drink for your child at bedtime, add chamomile oil to your diffuser, or apply a couple of drops to your child’s feet before bed.

9. Cedarwood

Cedarwood promotes the production of serotonin, which our brain uses to create melatonin. This oil can help your child have a peaceful sleep and to feel more rested.

It can also help individuals with restless leg syndrome because it reduces muscle spasms.

10. Frankincense

Frankincense reduces stress reactions and negative emotions, helping to reduce meltdowns. It can also help children with ADHD stay focused.

Frankincense can also improve interoception. Get more information on interoception and find out if your child has low interoceptive awareness here.

11. Copaiba

Many people seem to be asking about copaiba essential oil and how it can benefit children with autism and ADHD.

It’s one of the lesser-known essential oils but worth mentioning because there definitely are benefits to using copaiba essential oils for autism and ADHD.

Copaiba oil helps to prevent bedwetting. Try massaging a drop on the lower abdomen at bedtime if your child has night time accidents.

Using Copaiba in a diffuser may improve emotional well being and induce calmness.

What to buy?

Recommended Essential Oils

These are my top product recommendations for each of the essential oils on my list of the best essential oils for autism and ADHD. All of these products are available on Amazon. When purchasing any essential oils, remember to read the product labels to ensure they are "100% therapeutic quality". Some of the inexpensive oils on the market are mixed with other carrier oils or made with artificial scents.

Blending Essential Oils

There’s a bit of an art behind blending essential oils. Which ones you mix can have added benefits, depending on the effect you want it to have.

The idea of blending oils sounds intimidating and it needs to be done a certain way.

You can find blending recipes online. But, if you aren’t comfortable with blending at home, you can also purchase essential oils that are already blended which you can roll onto your child’s wrists or feet. 

I love this starter kit of essential oil blends from Edens Garden.

How To Use Essential Oils with Your Child

There are many ways to use essential oils. You can use a diffuser, or apply them to the skin, some can be ingested. If you enjoy DIY activities you can even learn how to make your own essential oil diffuser bracelet.

Use Caution when you use essential oils for children.

There are many benefits to using essential oils for autism and ADHD. However, they are highly concentrated. A little goes a very long way.

It’s important to read the labels and use the correct amount. Never use oils in a way that is not on the product label.

If applying to the skin, test on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t cause irritation.


Some essential oils are mixed with other chemicals or vegetable oil. They could be a skin irritant, or simply not provide the expected results because they aren’t pure.

Some are even created using chemicals that smell similar to the real thing but have none of the therapeutic qualities.

Always ensure that you are using pure, therapeutic grade oils. 


I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s something that isn’t talked about often. Scatolia, better known as fecal smearing, is common in children with autism.

It often happens in their bedrooms, after nap time or when they wake up in the morning. But it can occur at other times too.

There are a number of causes for fecal smearing, but the most common reason is that the child is trying to meet a sensory need. Being in a quiet bedroom can be understimulating, leading your child to sensory seeking behavior.

Read all about fecal smearing and what to do about it here.

It’s not always a tactile need. Sometimes it’s about the sense of smell, and the strong odor. Trying an essential oil diffuser in their room could help to meet that sensory need and stop the problem by keeping their sensory needs met.

This oil diffuser from Amazon is a great choice if you’re trying to make your child’s bedroom calming, yet not under stimulating.

There are many benefits of essential oils for autism and ADHD . A lot of the therapeutic benefits oils have been used for over the centuries are also common symptoms of autism and ADHD - anxiety, stress, sleep, digestion, concentration, etc. #EssentialOils #Autism #ADHD #ADHDKids #Aromatherapy

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