Using Essential Oils to Support Children on the Autism Spectrum

Notes from the Sharing by Genevieve Chua, Acacia Rise, 2 July 2014, OneDrop Families Oil Party

We held an oil party at Acacia Rise and invited its Director and Educational Psychologist, Genevieve Chua, to share with us her experience with using essential oils in her therapies with children on the autism spectrum and other special needs.

There are various approaches to support children on the autism spectrum, for example, through diet for gut health, through behavior-training and through stimulating the brain. Genevieve uses the brain-based approach and has used and recommended essential oils to parents as part of the therapy.

The essential oils in the brain-based approach are used to increase focus and manage emotions for both the parent and child.

The essential oils can stimulate brain functions, assist with mental alertness and concentration, increases energy levels and relax the nervous system. On the emotions side, essential oils can balance emotions, help us to cope with stress and emotional trauma, have calming effects, uplifts spirits, promote relaxation and help to relieve daily stress and tension.

Many autistic children have problems getting restful and REM sleep which exacerbate their cognitive conditions. REM sleep is required for the brain to process and to make connections of the things learnt during the day so when REM sleep is missing, the child is unable to register the skills he has learnt and has to relearn them. The calming and relaxing effects of some essential oils can help the children to get proper sleep which can help greatly with their therapies.

Parents or care-givers of autistic children go through tremendous amounts of stress, nervous tension and depressed feelings as they take care of their children, not to mention the toll on them physically. It is said that these parents aged 6 times faster than their counterparts. So if you know any parent of an autistic child, give them a hug or words of encouragement! Better yet, gift them essential oils that can help them through their challenges.

The following are the essential oils that Genevieve is using and recommending. She cited a study conducted by Dr Terry Friedmann, M.D. on the effectiveness of certain essential oils on children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. A brief of the case study is explained at the end of this post.

Brain Power (Oil Blend)


High in sesquiterpenes, this blend helps to dissolve petrochemicals that congest the receptor sites, clearing “brain fog”. Use it to clarify thoughts and develop focus.


  • Frankincense – stimulates limbic system of the brain, helping overcome stress and anxiety
  • Sandalwood – activates the pineal and limbic region of the brain which is the centre of emotions and memory
  • Melissa – stimulates the limbic region of the brain, removes emotional blocks and instils a positive outlook on life
  • Cedarwood – can aid in the release of melatonin which helps improve thoughts and cognition
  • Blue Cypress – improves oxygenation of the brain by stimulating the amygdala, pineal gland and hypothalamus
  • Lavender – documented to improve concentration and mental acuity
  • Helichrysum – helps improve circulation and stimulate optimum nerve function

 Clarity (Oil Blend)


Designed to assist with mental alertness and concentration. Increases energy when overly tired.


  • Basil – antispasmodic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Natural muscles relaxant.
  • Cardamom – clears confusion and mental fatigue and has an uplifting aroma
  • Rosemary – reduces mental fatigue and eases anxiety
  • Peppermint – enhances the effects of the other oils
  • Rosewood – helps with emotional stability
  • Geranium – helps lift the spirit and release negative emotions
  • Lemon – lifts the spirit
  • Palmarosa – helps reduce nervous tension and anxiety
  • Ylang Ylang – increases relaxation
  • Bergamot – refreshing and uplifting and helps with anxiety and depression
  • Roman chamomile – aids in relaxation
  • Jasmine – emotionally uplifting



Can help to relax the nervous system. Balances emotions, giving feelings of harmony and grounding. Contains 98% sesquiterpenes. EEG study by Dr Terry Friedman increased performance by 83%.



Calming and relaxing. Can help cope with stress and emotional trauma. High in sesquiterpenes. EEG study by Dr Terry Friedman increased performance by 100%.



Calming and relaxing to the nervous system. EEG study by Dr Terry Friedman increased performance by 83%. Japan University research – decreased errors by 20%. University of Miami – increased beta waves in brain, suggesting heightened relaxation.



Stimulates the limbic system of the brain. Uplifts spirits and improves attitude. Study with small class – frankincense was one popular oils that was observed to help with concentration and engagement.


Peace and Calming (Oil Blend)


May reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Promotes relaxation and can be good to encourage sleep and calm active children.


  • Blue tansy – detoxifies liver, helps overcome anger
  • Patchouli – promotes grounding. Helps centre the emotions to clarify thoughts
  • Tangerine – contains properties that have a calming and sedative effect
  • Orange – helps bring a deep sense of security
  • Ylang Ylang – increases relaxation. Restores confidence and equilibrium


 Stress Away (Oil Blend)


Helps to relieve daily stress and nervous tension. Promotes relaxation and mental response.


  • Lime – refreshes the mind, helps to focus on the present moment
  • Ocotea – balances blood sugar
  • Cedarwood – calms the mind
  • Lavender – calms the body
  • Copaiba – manages pain
  • Vanilla – sweet smell


Joy (Oil Blend)


Uplifting – may help with depression. Stabilizes mood swings. Manages anxiety.


  • Bergamot – refreshing and uplifting, helps with anxiety and depression.
  • Ylang Ylang – increases relaxation. Restores confidence and equilibrium.
  • Geranium – lifts the spirits and releases negative emotions.
  • Rosewood – emotionally stabilizing, used sometimes for depression.
  • Lemon – purifying and uplifting.
  • Jasmine – emotionally uplifting.
  • Roman Chamomile – calming and relaxing, used for depression and stress.
  • Rose – stimulating to the mind, creates a sense of well-being.
  • Mandarin – uplifting to the mind and body, brings feelings of happiness and peace. Reduces stress, irritability and insomnia.
  • Palmarosa – helps reduce nervous tension and anxiety.
  • Coriander – relaxing and releases fear and shock.


Reconnect Kit

New from Convention 2014!

Designed to relax the mind and support a determination to stay on task and to help ground and unite the body, mind and spirit with real life.

The oils can uplift mood and support a positive outlook that allows the mind to react positively and engage with one’s surroundings.

Using these oils can help lead to a restful night’s sleep by relaxing and calming the body and mind to release negative emotions and promote higher thoughts of self-worth.

I would love to hear how you use oils for autism, please share in the comments below.

To join us at our next Oil Party, virtual or real, contact me at


Case Study by Dr Terry Friedmann, M.D.
In the following study conducted in 1999- 2001 by Dr Terry Friedmann, three essential oils were used to study their effects on children with ADHD. Vetiver was found to be the most effective – showing improvements in 100% of the subjects. Cedarwood was 83% effective and lavender 53%.
This case study was conducted from 1999-2001, on children between the ages of 6 to 12 years. Twenty subjects not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD were used as the control group and twenty subjects with confirmed diagnosis of ADD/ADHD and have not been treated medically were used as the study group. Each group was pre-tested using a baseline evaluation with real-time EEG and the T.O.V.A. Scale. The essential oils chosen for the case study were lavender, vetiver and cedarwood.



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