Top 6 Essential Oils for ADHD & ADD

Please remember to consult with a doctor before using any essential oils on children.

Do you or your child suffer from ADHD or ADD? When I was younger I was diagnosed with ADHD and subsequently put on a medication called Ritalin. The stuff zapped the personality straight out of me. It turned a once playful, energetic kid into a little zombie. Nowdays ritalin is by the wayside, and kids get something even MORE extreme which is called Adderall, which is basically a legal version of cocaine. Besides wreaking havoc on your stress response, these types of medications cause insomnia, headaches, restlessness, anxiety, diziness, loss of appetite and other nervous ticks. Is treating one symptom really worth a whole slew of others? I don’t think so. That is why I recommend treating ADHD/ADD the natural way with essential oils and aromatherapy.  Below are the top 6 essential oils for ADHD & ADD  treatment.

1. Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood essential oil for ADHD/ADD is one of the most popular treatment methods. In fact, I am diffusing it right now as I write this article!  According to research done by Dr. Terry Friedmann, it was concluded that diffusing cedarwood essential oil for patients suffering from attention deficit disorders improved concentration of the test subjects. One reason that it is believed cedarwood is so helpful is because of its high concentration of sesquiterpenes which are known to help oxygenate the brain.

2. Vetiver Essential Oil

In the same study performed by Dr. Terry Friendman he found that Vetiver essential oil also helped improve concentration. It is believed this oil has a calming effect on the nervous system and also works to promote a healthy circulatory system. These actions will ultimately help you become relaxed and improve concentration.

3. Lavender  Essential Oil

While this oil was also part of the study conducted by Dr. Terry Friedmann, it was concluded that it’s effects were the most minimal for his test subjects. However, that should keep you from trying it. Many people use lavender essential oil to relax and for good reasons. This oils actions are a bit paradoxical. It acts as a brain stimulant and sedative! While it mostly sedates the brain, it also stimulates the limbic system. The limbic system is involved in forming new memories and also managing your emotions. This means you can better focus, and recall what you were focused on. Additionally, it helps reduce anxious emotion so you can better concentrate.

How it feels to have ADHD

4. German Chamomile  Essential Oil

German chamomile essential oil is very popular for its calming properties and is often enjoyed in the herbal form in many “sleepy-time” teas. It mimics many OTC anti-depression and ADHD medications by simulating an SNRI. The compounds in this essential oil are rumoured to increase both serotonin and norepinephrine which help balance mood.

5. Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Not only does this essential oil increase levels of alertness, but it also calms your body and mind. It has a sedative effect, and works to nervousness, anxiety and overly active pulses and heartbeats. If you or your child are especially excitable, this oil has a wonderful scent and just might work magic for the both of you. It is also great for hair growth!

6. Cilantro Essential Oil

Cilantro essential oil tackles the problem from another side. Many experts believe attention deficit disorders, and even autism (and other learning disorders) are caused by high levels of toxic heavy metals found in the body. Cilantro essential oil is widely regarding for its ability to cleanse the body of these heavy metals. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt is famous for his Neurotoxin Elimination Protocol in which he suggests that heavy metals leached from fillings and other sources can be mobilized and removed using cilantro.

Honorable mention

  • Tea Tree: This oil battles the inflammation and immune system invaders associated with ADHD.
  • Rosemary: This oil also helps improve concentration, energy and memory.
  • Lemon or other Citrus: These might be a good solution for concentration for kids with “picky noses.”
  • Peppermint: Famous because of many succesful experiments where schools diffused this oil to increase performance.
  • Frankincense: Another great smelling limbic-boosting, anti-anxiety oil that also fights inflammation


ADHD Essential Oil Blend Recipe (only for adult use unless approved by pediatrician)

Disclaimer: Remember, please, please, please consult your doctor before using ANY essential oils for ADHD or ADD treatment. Especially if you are using for your child!

Also read this article on safe essential oils for children: Essential Oils Care for Babies and Children



I’m looking at the recipe and this seems like it’s overkill? Is that safe, it just seems like a significant amount of essential oils and not much carrier oil to put on the skin. Also, what age is this for? I only see the word child?

Jeff Callahan

Shoot! Thank you so much for replying, I mistakenly put the wrong number of drops for the carrier oil, but I corrected it. Just happy you noticed hours after posting! I made some edits to emphasize checking with your doctor before administering any essential oil treatment. I was hesitant to even post this article in the first place, or mention kids, but I hope people can act responsibly.

Here are another few recipes you might want to check out:

And an article discussing the safety of EOs with kids:

Always do your research, especially when it comes to your kids!

Edit: Since these are generally considered skin safe, the ratios are a little lower, but I would err on the side of caution. The higher dilution the better. A 1% to 2% concentration of essential oil to carrier is generally considered safe. But, applying essential oils to the skin can always be a hazard for those with sensitive skin, that is why it is so important to consult with a doctor.

Thanks, Reta.


Hi Jeff

Ok, so maybe I’m not getting the math on this one. But 100 drops of carrier oil is equal to roughly 5 ml bottle, so a 1-2% dilution is only 1-3 drops for children (got that). So for adults you are saying that the formula is 190% dilution (190 drops above for only 5ml/100 drops of carrier oil)? Now that seems very excessive even for an adult. A 5% dilution for adults would seem more reasonable with 5 drops of essential oil per 5ml/100 drops carrier oil. I’m sitting here with my book on Essential Oil Safety and looking at dilution ratios.

Jeff Callahan

No, you are absolutely right. The safest route for the general public is to actually always go for 1-2% dilution rate. Even for adults. This is just the recipe I use, and what I personally feel comfortable with, but my skin is most likely totally different than yours. I write most of my articles with adults in mind, but since I do mention children, I’ve adjusted the recipe to follow the 2% rule. With any essential oil, always adjust the ratio to a level you feel comfortable with. I really appreciate your scrutiny, I wish more people were like that. Safety first.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *