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My Favorite Blend of Citrus Essential Oils

by Jodi Cohen

Citrus oils have been shown to lift mood, calm anxiety, alleviate depression and literally make you feel lighter.

Research on the Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states found that “citrus fragrance was more effective than antidepressants.”

The research found that “citrus fragrance can restore the stress-induced immunosuppression, suggesting that citrus fragrance may have an effect on restoring the homeostatic balance”, or normalizing hormone levels and restoring stress-induced immunosuppression, returning the immune system to healthy function.  Mental health is thought to correlate to hormonal and immune health and this study sought to “restore mental health by stimulation of one of the sensory systems (i.e. sense of smell).  Smelling citrus allowed depressive subjects to “markedly reduce” the doses of antidepressants necessary for the treatment of depression.

Additional research found that lemon oil relieves stress. The study examined the anti-stress action of the essential oils of lavender, rose, and lemon by inducing stress in mice and found that “lemon oil had the strongest anti-stress effect”.

Researchers hypothesize “that the antidepressant-like effect of lemon oil is closely related with the 5-HTnergic pathway (which accelerates the turnover of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain), especially via 5-HT (1A) receptor. Moreover, the lemon oil significantly accelerated the metabolic turnover of DA in the hippocampus and of 5-HT in the prefrontal cortex and striatum. These results suggest that lemon oil possesses anxiolytic, antidepressant-like effects via the suppression of DA activity related to enhanced 5-HTnergic neurons.”  Similar animal research found that lemon essential oil reduces anxiety.

Further research on the Olfactory influences on mood and autonomic, endocrine, and immune function provided robust evidence that lemon oil reliably enhances positive mood compared to water and lavender regardless of expectancies or previous use of aromatherapy. Moreover, norepinephrine levels remained elevated when subjects smelled lemon.”

Similarly, orange essential oil “demonstrated acute anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) activity” in an animal rat study on the Anxiolytic-like effect of sweet orange.

How Essential Oils Lift Mood

Essential oils travel through the nasal passageways to the brain where they bind to olfactory receptors. From there they reach the emotional center of the brain, known as the limbic system, where they can positively impact brain chemistry to boost your mood and calm anxiety and depression.

As you may know, your sense of smell connects directly to the part of your brain that regulates the release of several major hormones.  These hormones directly impacting how you feel and how you function.

Smell travels through your olfactory system to your hypothalamus a region of your brain that acts as your hormonal control center, by way of your amygdala in your limbic system.  When you smell an essential oil for the hypothalamus, it stimulates your hypothalamus to release other hormones and neurotransmitters that impact your emotional state. (More HERE).

Research validates this, noting “inhalation of essential oils can communicate signals to the olfactory system and stimulate the brain to exert neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) thereby further regulating mood.”

Additional research shows that essential oils can significantly impact the brain, calming emotional states and decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, which indicated a decrease of autonomic arousal.


My Favorite Citrus Essential Oil Blend to Lift Your Mood

The most powerful therapeutic results are obtained when individual essential oils are blended together with other essential oils. This has been demonstrated in countless research studies and has been my personal experience and that of the thousands of practitioners who work with our oils.

You might think of individual essential oils like individual instruments: a blend is more like a symphony where the individual oils respond to each other and adjust their individual frequencies to form a harmonious, coherent, functional blend designed to elevate your mood.

The citrus oils contained in Small Intestine Support™ help to lift your mood and clear your energy so that you do not take on or carry negative emotions for others.

On the physical level, your small intestine plays a critical role in the digestion process, absorbing and assimilating key nutrients while preventing harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the body.

On an emotional level, the small intestine plays a similarly discerning role with emotions, helping to understand experiences and determine healthy and appropriate relationships and boundaries.

It is also an area where you may hold deep childhood scars of rejection, abandonment or abuse; negative thoughts fueled by feelings of lack of self-worth, low self‐esteem, loneliness, neglect and anxieties about survival and success.

Vibrant Blue Oils Emotion Balance Small Intestine Support™ blend supports the healthy functioning of the small intestine as it sorts and transforms food, feelings and ideas into useful ingredients for the body/mind.  It also helps correct imbalances where you are overly in tune with other’s criticism, feelings or opinions at the expense of your own.

Citrus Oils for Mood in Small Intestine Support


Grapefruit essential oil can help ease muscle fatigue and stiffness, increase circulation and relieve nervous exhaustion and performance stress.  Research published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Care and Sciences found grapefruit essential oil to be the most effective at lifting mood and reducing  stress markers.  On emotional and spiritual levels, grapefruit is said to address a person’s self-acceptance and release self-abuse patterns.


Lemongrass essential oil has been used to treat stress disorders in addition to lemongrass tea being a traditional remedy for depression and agitation.

Research attests to the anti-stress properties of lemongrass essential oil as measured through the reduction in stress hormones like cortisol, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.  Lemongrass also contains powerful antiseptic, antidiarrheal, antifungal, and antibacterial properties which can help alleviate stress on the immune system.


Lime oil was found to be “more effective than antidepressants.”  (Study).  It clears trapped emotions and thoughts, helping to overcome stagnant energies – including grief, despair, apathy anxiety, depression, listlessness fatigue, overwhelm, or a heavy heart. Stimulates drive for clear boundaries, opening the door for happy, healthy, and heart-focused relationships.  Further, the Lime oil can help promote emotional grounding, encouraging a balance between the heart and mind, the connection of which helps you ground. Research has demonstrated that citrus oils, like Lime, help stimulate the production of glutathione, an antioxidant known to protect you against inflammation and reduce our chances of developing autoimmunity as well as normalize “neuroendocrine hormone levels and immune function.”


Animal research suggests that litsea regulates central nervous system activity (modulating GABA receptor subtypes) to reduce anxiety.  Litsea cubeba supports clear expression of emotional needs in a more constructive manner, releases negative emotions and promotes relaxation, mental clarity and restful sleep.

Red Mandarin

Mandarin essential oil acts as a relaxing agent for agitated nerves and reduces stress and emotional imbalance. Mandarin essential oil has been found to possess anti-anxiety and sedative properties and may help to relieve anxiety, depression, nervousness, and promote a healthy sleep.  It can work as an instant mood booster, helping to switch off an overactive mind, promote relaxation and relieve nervous and muscular spasms.

Research tracking nurse-delivered aromatherapy as part of patient care found that mandarin essential oil showed “significant clinical improvements” in lowering anxiety.

Mandarin is known to have numerous emotional benefits. It is regarded as being highly uplifting and blends well with several other essential oils.


Sandalwood essential oil is known for its anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties and is reputed to be beneficial for depression, anxiety, and stress-related problems.  It demonstrates especially powerful, grounding, antidepressant activity when inhaled.

In fact, in a double blind inhalation study of 220 subjects, Sandalwood essential oil was rated the most sedative of 12 essential oils or fragrances by measuring electrodermal activity, and it was rated the second most calming odor by self-assessment.

Sandalwood’s main compound, alpha-santalol, is believed to support enhancement in mood and attentiveness, according to a study published in the international journal Planta Medica.

High-quality sandalwood oil contains more than 90% santalols. Research found that santalols from sandalwood oil have sedative effects on the central nervous system in mice. In another small study, inhalation of sandalwood oil seemed to have a positive effect in reducing anxiety.  Additional research found that transdermal absorption of sandalwood oil has shown “harmonizing” effects and the main component, α-santalol had a relaxing/sedative effect.

A similar study published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found “that Sandalwood oil is effective in reducing anxiety.”  In the study, patients who were receiving palliative care felt much more relaxed and less anxious when they received aromatherapy with sandalwood prior to receiving care, compared to patients who did not receive sandalwood.

Essential oil safety expert Robert Tisserand notes that Sandalwood essential oil has been found to be “calming both via inhalation and transdermal absorption”.   Tisserand shares research on “transdermally absorbed but not inhaled”, Sandalwood that was found to be calming, reducing blood pressure and heart rate in healthy subjects.


Soothes and sedates the body, relieving anxiety, tension, stress, systemic inflammation which in turn soothes depression, anger and impulsive responses. Tangerine also promotes hormonal secretions that help the body relax into calm.

Research on the use of aromasticks to help with sleep problems found that inhaling tangerine essential oil by means of an aromastick (a personal inhaler device containing essential oils) significantly improved sleep.  Tangerine essential oil is believed to calm the mind and relax the body, allowing for a peaceful sleep.  92% of those studied reported that they would continue to inhale tangerine essential oil to support relaxation and restful sleep.  Tangerine essential oil has also been found to support stress management, alleviating depression and relieve anxiety.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang essential oil works directly on brain chemicals to reduce anxiety and depression.

Ylang Ylang is believed to balance the central nervous system, calm blood pressure and support mental relaxation, all of which help to calm depression nervousness. It has been also reported to have blood pressure lowering effect suggesting its potential use in managing hypertension.

Research has found Ylang Ylang “indeed possess sedative, relaxing, and also harmonization effects” and provides “relief of depression and stress.”

A study on The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension found that inhaling lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot oils once daily for four weeks reduced cortisol levels, psychological stress, and blood pressure in people with essential hypertension.

An additional clinical study concluded that both cortisol and systolic blood pressure declines after inhalation of a combination of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, and neroli oil in those with high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure

Similarly, animal research found that ylang ylang essential oil and its major constituents (benzyl benzoate, linalool, and benzyl alcohol) reduce anxiety in mice, and modifies neurotransmitter levels (decreases dopamine in the striatum and increase serotonin in the hippocampus).


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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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