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  • Writer's pictureSharon Starkey

How Essential Oils Can Help with Autism

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Over the past several decades, essential oils, or aromatic oils, have rapidly grown more popular amongst people of all walks of life who wish to enhance their environment, mind, and soul with healing fragrances. Whether it be lavender, lemon, or a host of other options, many people have found applying essential oils to their skin, ingesting or diffusing aromatically in their homes have a restorative effect on themselves and their families.

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years dating back as far as 4500 B.C.E in Egypt. Essential oils were thought to have healing properties because of the plants they were derived from. Plants that are used to make essential oils were initially used for medicinal purposes.

Essential oils are distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, and/or other parts of a plant. The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils are said to provide many psychological, emotional, and physical therapeutic benefits for people. Essential oils are obtained from plants through distillation, usually by using steam. Manufacturers also use the expression solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, and cold pressing.

Simply put, essential oils are becoming an increasingly used technique for treating children and individuals with autism by identifying the oils that help maintain mental acuity and focus. They allow the mind to react positively and make reconnection with its surrounding. Furthermore, they ground and unite the body, mind, and spirit with reality, while also encouraging positive energy in times of restlessness and unease. In addition, they are an ideal substitute for children with autism, who have a difficulty swallowing pills. Finally, they can help an individual with autism to stay on task, release negative emotions, and promote higher thoughts of self-worth.

There is significant evidence through testimonials that indicate that essential oils can reduce challenging behaviors in children with autism or ADHD. These include:

  • Anger

  • Anxiety

  • Attention-deficit

  • Hyperactivity

  • Sensory overload

  • Sleep issues

  • Meltdowns

In general, essential oils have a multitude of benefits, depending on their type. Holistically, essential oils can reduce or treat a variety of health challenges, including:

  • Support healthy body functions and help boost the immune system

  • Relieve discomfort and sore muscles after exercising

  • Soothe the digestive system. Peppermint, for example, is known to support the healthy function of your stomach and digestive organs

  • Enhance a massage

  • Boost your ability to focus and concentrate

  • Help you relax and reduce your stress levels

  • Promote wellness

  • Provide safer and non-toxic ways to clean and purify both the home and workspaces

  • Help you achieve healthier skin and great-looking hair

Here are some of the choice oils that individuals with autism and families with children with autism might want to consider looking into. The oils can either be dispersed into the air or applied directly to the body, whether starting at the top of the spine and rubbed upwards, on the spine and ears, on the chest, or on the big toes, depending on the essential oil. Like most people on the spectrum, every oil should be considered on an individual basis. No two people on the spectrum are exactly alike, nor should they be treated as such.


This oil helps quiet an overactive, exhausted, or stressed mind. Also, it is a great choice in helping to control anger, irritability, or neurotic behavior. Vetiver has the scent of a forest after the rain, with its earthy and damp scent. It helps to subdue an overactive, exhausted, or stressed mind, which many individuals with autism regularly experience.


This oil helps to stimulate pituitary and pineal glands. It can also aid in increasing melatonin levels naturally. In addition, it can help with good sleep at night and focus during the day.


Extremely helpful in regenerating cells, calming and relaxing, and promoting higher levels of consciousness.


Lavender oil is ideal for bath time when the children are tired, stressed, or sick. Putting a few drops of lavender in the water can substantially help a child with autism calm down and get a good night’s sleep.

Sandalwood Oil

Known for its woodsy and sweet smell, sandalwood oil is derived from the mature roots of the sandalwood tree through steam distillation. The more mature the tree is, the more potent the extracted essential oil would be. One of the major sandalwood oil benefits is it helps mental clarity, especially when used with a diffuser. It has a relaxing and calming effect that can be effective for children with autism spectrum disorders. Apart from that, sandalwood has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-viral properties.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is perhaps one of the most versatile of all essential oils in the world. It is perfect for children with autism and ADHD because it gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body. It is known to help improve mental focus.

Peppermint has anti-microbial properties that help freshen bad breath and heal digestive issues. It can also help relieve headaches, clear the respiratory tract, and soothe tight and tired muscles.

Mandarin Oil

Mandarin essential oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Known to be the sweetest and most calming of all citrus essential oils, it is very mild and contains many healing properties.

Mandarin oil can treat acne, reduce insomnia, and manage gut issues like leaky gut syndrome. Thanks to its anti-microbial and anti-tumor properties, it may even help with the treatment of certain types of cancer. It is particularly useful for children because many kids are fond of its citrusy scent. It can help reduce anxiety levels.

Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang oil has effective sedative, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-depressant properties. It has a positive effect on human emotions and can increase the blood flow to certain parts of the body. It can relieve inflammation and help the function of cardiovascular and digestive systems.

Adaptiv Oil

Adaptiv is an effective answer to reducing tension and helping to empower and encourage when adapting to difficult situations or acclimating to new surroundings.

Of course, before incorporating essential oils as part of your treatment regimen, you should always consult with your physician and/or therapist to ensure that this will be an effective addition to your child’s treatment regimen.

There are many oils that can help rid your home of toxins and help you start a more natural, healthy lifestyle. I would love to discuss this more with anyone. The various oils have really helped my family and I was a huge skeptic. It took me years of research to get on board! That being said, if you are interested in learning more, please contact me at or 719-210-5895.

Sharon Starkey


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