Essential oils and depression
As we approach this holiday season, it’s easy to overlook the people who are not feeling joyful and beaming with Christmas spirit. Personally, I love this time of year and actually have a difficult time taking down the Christmas decorations when December 25th has passed. However, for some, there can be many reasons to get depressed during the holidays.
For example, this could be someone’s first Christmas without a loved one or they could be all alone with no-one to share the holiday. Regardless of the reason, depression during the holidays is a real occurrence and should be treated accordingly. The treatments may include either anti-depressant medications, all-natural treatments, or a combination of both. In fact, medical news today states, “it is estimated that around 43 percent of people with anxiety and stress use some form of alternative therapy to help reduce symptoms.” In other words, you are not alone in suffering from depression.
With that being said, some depressive situations or feelings should not go untreated and merit medical intervention. However, some depressed individuals just need a little ‘lift’ to their psyche. Therefore, I’d like to offer some essential oil suggestions that can help relieve symptoms of depression.
Obviously, if there’s deep-rooted grief from a loss, the essential oils aren’t able to remove that heartache. But despite that, they can create a pleasant environment and “affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function, as reported by a study conducted in Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany” and stated by up-nature.com.
According to health line.com, “depression can cause both physical and emotional symptoms which vary depending on the person, but often include: anxiety, restlessness, sadness, despair, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping.” Not to mention, 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from depression in their lifetime and statistically, more than 20 million Americans and 350 million across the globe endure depression.
The logistics of essential oils and depression
Fortunately, there is scientific proof that essential oils (through the sense of smell) directly affect the limbic system which includes the emotional center of the brain. In essence, when the smells come in through the nose, the olfactory bulb receives a signal from the olfactory nerve and in turn, does an assessment of the scent and relays it to the limbic system. At that point, the emotional center of the brain (limbic system) can help in boosting one’s mood and lessen any depressive symptoms.
List of essential oils to treat depression
- Bergamot – Having a citrus scent, this oil sparks an invigorating response. In addition, it has limonene and alpha-pinene which are 2 of the most common terpenoids (“secreted inside the Cannabis plant’s glandular trichome’). Due to these, bergamot is great as an anti-depressant, as well as making you feel more lively with its upbeat scent.
- Lavender – Historically, this oil has been around since the Roman Empire to treat anxiety. Its pleasant smell has a very calming effect and can even help put you to sleep.
- Ylang Ylang – Ever taken a whiff of the perfume Chanel No. 5? If so, then you have partially smelled this oil. Furthermore, it’s beneficial in treating depression with its ability to ease nervousness, bring down your blood pressure, keep respirations regulated, and minimize the ‘fight or flight’ response.
- Rose Geranium – With its active components, (citronellol and geraniol), the recipient receives not only a delightful rose-like aroma with soothing effects, but also anti-inflammatory properties. In turn, this oil can relieve physical pain and deflect any pain-associated depression.
- Rose – Similar to rose geranium, think about how you feel when you smell a bouquet of roses.
- Roman Chamomile – If you enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before bed, this oil will also help you unwind, relax any mental exhaustion, and divert any depressive feelings.
- Wild ginger – This oil is believed to trigger the system responsible for modifying serotonin and thus, delay the discharge of stress hormones.
- Grapefruit – If you are in need of a mental ‘lift,’ this oil can reenergize you with its vibrant, fruity smell.
- Sandalwood – Some of you may have experienced this oil from burning incense. In addition, it’s great to use during meditation since it helps with clearing the mind and staying ‘centered.’
How to use
In order to maximize the anti-depressant effects of the above mentioned oils, you can implement the following methods:
- Direct inhalation by putting 2 – 3 drops of the oil onto your hands and leisurely breathe in the oil.
- Diffuse the oil in your favorite diffuser (2 – 3 drops of oil mixed with water)
- Topical application for all except grapefruit, roman chamomile, and rose geranium. Apply a few drops of the other oils to your wrists, feet, and behind the ears.
- Incorporate a few drops of grapefruit as you shower.
Risks and warnings
Due to possible skin sensitivities, it’s advised when doing topical application of an oil for the first time to test the oil on a large body part such as a leg or arm. This will offer you the assurance that you will not have any ‘allergic-like’ reactions to the specific oil. In addition, always consult your physician first if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any heart medications.
So there you have an explanation on essential oils and treating depression. Here’s to living your best life ever and please take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in feeling this way! Feel free to leave me a comment or any insight you may have on the topic of essential oils and depression.
Fruitoftheearthorganics.com. (2017). TERPENES | Fruit of the Earth Organics. [online] Available at: http://fruitoftheearthorganics.com/pages/who-we-are-2-2/ [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].
Healthline.com. (2017). Essential Oils for Depression: What Works?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/essential-oils-for-depression#remedies [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].
Nichols, H. (2017). Can Essential Oils Treat Depression?. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315481.php [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].
UpNature. (2017). Top 15 Essential Oils for Depression (And 3 Uplifting Blends). [online] Available at: https://www.up-nature.com/blogs/news/top-15-essential-oils-for-depression-and-3-uplifting-blends [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].