Essential Oils that set the mood for World Meditation Day

Do you need of a bit of head space after being cooped up with your family this past year? If only we can escape those closing walls and the anxiety the pandemic brought with it.  Luckily, there is a remedy. For World Meditation Day on May 21st, we are recommending the best essential oils that will put you in the right mood.

More and more people have turned to meditation for some well-needed self-care and down time.  But first, what exactly is meditation? It is described as simply calming and quieting the mind. Practiced regularly, it brings about a sense of relaxation.  This leads to heightened awareness when focusing on an idea or thought.

Often linked to Eastern religions (first written about circa 1500 BCE in India), today it is no longer associated with any particular culture or faith. In other words, aside from de-stressing, it is a way to gain insight and enlightenment for all.

Get some head space with meditation and essential oils

Essential oils are a great partner to this practice. Each has its own benefits such as promoting relaxation, relieving stress or focusing your thoughts.

So, find a comfortable position, close your eyes, clear those wandering thoughts and breathe in the following essential oils.

Woman meditating behind candles and diffuser
Essential oils to relax, focus and de-stress
Clary Sage

Grown in northern Africa, central Asia and the Mediterranean coast, this earthy-smelling herb is often used in fragrances and flavouring liqueurs. When you are feeling frazzled after a hectic day, clary sage helps you  to unwind and relax. It is often used in blends and, in aromatherapy, helps those suffering from exhaustion.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology¹ concluded that clary sage could be an effective treatment for depression. It is closely linked to the feel-good hormone, dopamine. Medicinally, it helps with asthma, coughing and sore throats.  Interestingly, written records show it has been used since the 4th century BCE.


Native to Asia and South America, today this soft and fragrant oleoresin is primarily sourced from the Philippines.

On an emotional level, elemi essential oil exudes a strengthening, balancing and a centring action.  This makes it a top choice for meditation. It stimulates your mental capacity especially when you are feeling sluggish. Furthermore, it has been known to help dispel feelings of loneliness and bring about positivity.

Historically, ancient Egyptians used it with frankincense, myrrh, galbanum and Lebanese cedar for daily skincare preparations as well as in medicinal salves. Later, in 16th century Europe, it was also celebrated for treating skin infections.


You probably recognize the name from the Bible as one of the gifts given to baby Jesus. Did you know that Frankincense has been traded for over 5,000 years in Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula?

A resin from Boswellia sacra trees in that region, its woody, spicy and balsamic scent made it the perfect ingredient for use in religious incense and in perfumes. Moreover, it is a calming scent that doesn’t cause sleepiness. For this reason, it is perfect for meditating morning or midday when you want to calm your mind.

Frankincense, along with elemi oil  was proven to significantly improve feelings of depression and boost memory.  Even more, its therapeutic properties are considered beneficial for skin and respiratory health.

Flower power for a better mind

The scent of jasmine flowers is truly uplifting. It is no surprise the sweet and exotic scent of this essential oil boosts happiness and reduces stress and anger. Used in meditation, it is helpful in times of sadness or if life is placing too many demands on you.

Considered the world’s most expensive scent (think Chanel No. 5, Joy by Jean Patou), its history dates to the realm of Cleopatra. Originating in Iran, its name is derived from the Arabic and Persian word ‘yasamin’ meaning ‘God’s gift.’

Aside from its antiseptic properties, it has been studied for reducing spasms, even in reducing labour pain when massaged in a diluted form.


Is there anywhere where lavender isn’t? Understandably, this quintessential calming scent is found in candles, fragrances, household detergents and body care products. Native to Africa, Europe and Asia, lavender is now grown worldwide.

dark purple lavender flowers

Due to its sedative properties, it is best to use when meditating before bed. Even better, it helps fight insomnia and clears your mind from the day’s stresses. This fresh, floral aroma has a long history promoting calm and blends well with most essential oils. A top choice when making therapeutic blends.


Another good essential oil that encourages sleep is the intoxicating scent of neroli.  Made from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree, these flowers were brought to Europe from Asia by Crusaders. Popularized in 17th century Italy by the Princess of Nerola (hence its name), she used it to scent her baths and her clothing.

Its strong floral and citrus scent helps with depression and insomnia, especially when paired with lavender. Therefore, it a great option to use for meditation before bed.  Neroli helps to kick out any negative emotion getting in the way of a good night’s sleep. As a side note, this very potent oil should be well diluted so a little goes a long way.

Used in ancient Chinese medicine, neroli oil is has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it is used in beauty products to reduce fine lines and also treat breakouts, stretch marks and scars.

Here are some blends to consider:
Grounding Meditation Blend

Combine Sandalwood or Patchouli + Frankincense + Bergamot

Enlightening Meditation Blend

Combine Frankincense + Helichrysum

Relaxing Meditation Blend

Combine Lavender or Clary Sage + Atlas Cedarwood + Neroli or Bergamot


From ancient incense to modern-day meditation

Now cultivated throughout the world, patchouli oil originally came from a native plant in the tropical regions of Asia. Primarily used as an incense in Eastern Asia, its rise to fame came in the 60’s and 70’s as the signature scent among hippies.

On its own, some find it an acquired taste (did you know it was used as an insect repellent and moth deterrent in the 18th and 19th centuries?) However, combined with other essential oils, it is frequently used in perfumes and colognes by providing depth to a fragrance.

Described as earthy, woody and with a hint of fruit, it is very grounding.  It is believed to help balance one’s thoughts and emotions. This calming oil is also key to promoting sleep, fighting depression and boosting one’s mood. Because of its sedative properties, this is another essential oil suited for evening meditation. Ironically, some consider its primal scent quite arousing and it is often used as an aphrodisiac.


Sandalwood is popular among Buddhists for the worship of the god Shiva. During meditation and prayer, it aids in staying alert, increasing clarity and calming the mind.

Valued throughout history, Sandalwood’s sweet woody aroma has been used by various religions thanks to its powerful calming effect. Above all, it inspires a sense of inner peace allowing you to focus on your breath more easily.

As the trees are slow-growing and protected, this long-lasting ingredient is costly and therefore should be used sparingly.  In skincare, it is highly prized for its anti-aging properties and for reducing blemishes and scars. In addition, it helps to nourish dry skin.


After a long day, feelings of exhaustion are alleviated by vetiver oil. Vetiver’s rich, smoky and earthy fragrance helps the wandering mind to focus. Therefore, it is a popular addition to meditative blends. For example, combined with lavender, it promotes enduring emotional balance and “grounds the spirit.”

Cultivated in tropical regions such as India, Java and Haiti, vetiver essential oil is steam distilled from the roots of a perennial scented grass.

Green vetiver oil bottle with dried vetiver grass

Known as “the oil of tranquility,” studies have shown it decreases mental fatigue and improves alertness. Interestingly, it has been found to help those dealing with ADHD to focus on tasks by filtering out other sensory input.

With these essential oils, you will not go wrong setting the mood this May 21st for World Meditation Day. Zanos Ltd. offers a diverse range of natural ingredients for flavours, fragrances and aromatherapy for businesses manufacturing these products.

Please contact our Zanos sales team today on 01565 755899 or email Now part of The Stort Group, we are pleased to offer a diverse portfolio to our commercial flavour and fragrance customers.

¹Medical News Today, written by Dan Wessels on December 26, 2017
Feature photo by Lutchenca Medeiros on Unsplash
Meditation with candles photo by Shashi Ch on Unsplash

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