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How To Use Essential Oils For Depression And Anxiety.

I have tailored this article for all you busy folks who would like to know all there is about aromatherapy and its benefits. 

In the age of the internet, essential oils have garnered a lot of attention. 

A simple google search will reveal a plethora of articles, research and surveys on how essential oils can help you with everything ranging from a common cold to mental health.  

I know that in today’s modern world, we are all so busy balancing our work and personal lives that we may not get the time to effectively research on the mental health benefits of essential oils. 

This is where I come in.  

By the end of this article, I am confident that you will be somewhat of an expert on how essential oils work and what are the best ways to use these oils to help you combat anxiety, stress and depression. 

What Are Essential Oils? 

In simple words, essential oils are plant extracts.  

These oils retain the plant’s aroma, flavor and its original essence.  

There are multiple methods that can be used to produce essential oils however, distillation and cold pressing remain the most popular choice. 

Essential oils can be extracted from various parts of the plant like the stem, flower, roots, leaves and fruit. 

The compounds present in each plant gives the oil its distinct characteristic aroma. 

The oil that is extracted can be bottled as it is in its concentrated form. 

In some cases, it is then mixed with a carrier oil to create the final product. 

Essential oils are often used in soaps, cosmetic products and incense, among other things. 

Essential Oils And Aromatherapy. 

The practice of using essential oils for its therapeutic benefits is called aromatherapy. 

Many researchers claim that aromatherapy can have a positive impact on a person’s psychological well-being.  

Aromatherapy is sometimes offered as a complementary therapy or alternative form of medicine alongside the standard primary treatment. 

 It is often used to achieve healing effects and soothe anxious thoughts.  

To reap the mental health benefits of essential oils, they can be diffused in air, applied topically or dissolved into your bath.  

Never ingest any essential oils orally as some can be toxic when swallowed. 

Essential Oils And Your Mental Health. 

While essential oils most certainly do not “cure” any mental health issues, you can definitely enjoy the therapeutic benefits that they offer! 

There is evidence available that certain essential oils can help you deal with specific mental health problems. 

Essential oils have been proven to have a positive effect on individuals with stress, anxiety and depression.  

Essential Oils – Statistics & Facts. 

  • In a study by Mayo Clinic, it has been found that certain essential oils can trigger parts of your brain that control mood.  

     This is especially beneficial for individuals battling anxiety and depression. 

  • In a study that was conducted in 2016, it was found that lavender oil could help improve an individual’s sleep cycle.  

      People struggling with depression often deal with sleep disturbances.  

  • Around 43% of the people who struggle with anxiety disorder in the USA alone claim to have benefitted from incorporating essential oils into their routine. 
  • In a study that was conducted on 58 hospice patients in the year 2008 clearly demonstrated that patients who received a daily massage with certain essential oils could manage their depression effectively as compared to patients who did not receive the oil massage. 
Image by monicore from Pixabay

Which Essential Oil Is Best For Depression?  

If you have managed to read the article till here, I know you are all really curious to know precisely which essential oil is the best for individuals dealing with depression. 

Well, the wait ends here!  

As promised, I have compiled a list of the top 6 essential oils that can work wonders for you if you suffer from depressive moods. 

1) LAVENDER 

  • Lavender oil is the most valued essential oil for depression. It has multiple benefits that can help people. 
  • In fact, there is some evidence that lavender itself can drastically help people with depression. 
  • Lavender oil in general promotes relaxation and helps you achieve a sense of calm radiating throughout your body. 
  • A study found that diffusing lavender oil after giving birth can help women deal with postpartum depression. 
  • A research that was conducted in 2003 also suggested that lavender compounds are almost as effective as certain antidepressants.  
  • For Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rubbing a drop or two of lavender oil behind the ear can reduce moodiness that is caused due to depression. 
  • Taking everything into consideration, it is clear that lavender oil is highly beneficial in treating depression when used in conjunction with medication and therapy. 

2) GRAPEFRUIT 

  • Grapefruit oil has a characteristic sweet citrus scent to it. 
  • The fruity aroma that this oil produces is strong and sharp and can help boost your mood. 
  • Plenty of people have reported that the zesty fragrance of grapefruit oil has a very positive effect on their mood.  
  • This oil is especially helpful for individuals who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

3) BERGAMOT 

  • Another oil that has a signature citrus scent is bergamot oil.  
  • Just like grapefruit oil, bergamot also has uplifting properties that make it ideal for individuals who suffer from depressive episodes.  
  • It also promotes relaxation by creating feelings of joy and improving blood circulation. 

4) PATCHOULI 

  • Patchouli oil is especially helpful in soothing individuals which makes it worth your money if you suffer from low moods and depression. 
  • This essential oil can perform different functions when used in different doses.  
  • When you use only a few drops of this oil, it has a sedating effect that is brilliant if you want a few moments of mental peace. 
  • When used in higher amounts, this oil can improve focus and memory. This in turn makes you feel sharper and helps a lot when feeling low. 

5) WILD GINGER 

  • In a study that was conducted on mice, this oil was found to have a distinct and potent antidepressant quality. 
  • Wild ginger oil is said to increase serotonin levels when inhaled. 
  • It has the potential to serve as an antidepressant.  

6) YLANG YLANG 

  • Available evidence has demonstrated that ylang ylang is very beneficial to individuals struggling with negative emotions and low moods.  
  • This oil reacts almost instantaneously and lifts up your spirits. 
  • For mild depression, this oil is definitely one of the best oils available.  
  • It has a strong floral scent that can also boost sensuality, thus having a very positive effect on an individual.  
  • Diffusing this oil also has a mild sedative effect which can promote better sleep quality. 

Which Essential Oil Is Best For Stress And Anxiety? 

Struggling with stress and anxiety? 

Apart from learning the right breathing techniques and practicing mindfulness, incorporating some essential oils that are proven to beat stress and anxiety is the appropriate direction to take. 

Of course, when you are fighting any mental health battles, the best thing to do is consult a mental health professional.  

However, essential oils can be really handy in providing temporary relief for individuals. 

Mentioned below are the top 7 essential oils to relieve anxiety and stress. 

1) LEMONGRASS 

  • Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from the lemongrass herb. 
  • Adding a few drops of lemongrass oil into a carrier oil during a body massage session can lower pain in the body.  
  • This in turn helps your muscles relax and contributes to lowering stress levels. 
  • A sharp rise in blood pressure is also a common side effect of anxiety and simply diffusing lemongrass oil in the air can help you manage blood pressure, thus giving you control over anxiety. 

2) YUZU  

  • Yuzu essential oil is an integral part of the Japanese culture. 
  • This oil is very well known for its zesty aroma and its calming properties. 
  • Yuzu oil has a long-standing reputation for being a great natural stress reliever. 
  • Inhaling the aroma of yuzu oil is said to suppress activity in the sympathetic nervous system. 
  • When a person is anxious, it triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response and gives rise to negative emotions.  
  • Yuzu oil has been repeatedly shown to decrease the body’s stress response.  
  • It is highly beneficial in calming young moms who can get overwhelmed caring for an infant as well. 

3) VALERIAN 

  • Valerian is an herb that has been used for its therapeutic benefits since ancient days. 
  • Valerian acts as a mild sedative for individuals who suffer from mild to moderate anxiety. 
  • The compounds present in this herb can have a very soothing effect on individuals who are under tremendous stress. 
  • It also regulates your sleep hormone which can make you feel sleepy instantly. 

4) NEROLI 

  • This oil is obtained from the neroli flowers.  
  • It has a very unmistakable spicy aroma that can reduce anxiety and stress. 
  • Certain health care centers frequently use neroli essential oil as a mild sedative. 
  • While the research on the effects of this oil have been limited, there are multiple instances where this oil has been useful in lowering blood pressure and in turn, reducing stress levels.  
  • A study that was conducted in 2014 concluded that neroli oil can be especially useful in helping women deal with the stress, moodiness, and a few other symptoms that come with PMS.  

5) BASIL 

  • When it comes to stress and anxiety, the oil obtained from both Holy Basil (Also commonly known as Tulsi) and Sweet Basil are considered to be equally effective. 
  • Though basil is a popular condiment and has numerous health benefits when consumed, basil essential oils should never be ingested orally. 
  • The best way to squeeze the maximum potential out of it is by adding it in a diffuser and inhaling it. 
  • Basil contains a compound that is known as Eugenol which is responsible for its minty aroma. 
  • Repeated studies have been conducted to test the benefit of basil oil on patients suffering from anxiety and stress. 
  • Both sweet and holy basil essential oils show promise when it comes to relieving anxiety and lowering stress in the body. 
  • Researchers have also compared it to a common anxiety medication known as diazepam.  
  • Of course, essential oils do not work as well as medications do but they are capable of providing relief when it comes to mild anxiety without the side effects like sedation and drowsiness. 

6) ROSE 

  • Rose oil is extracted from the petals of the rose flower. 
  • The fresh floral scent that is the primary feature of the rose flower is known to relax an individual. 
  • In a study that was conducted on rose oil in the year 2014 revealed that this scent substantially reduced anxiety levels in pregnant women during labor and childbirth.  

7) CLARY SAGE 

  • Clary sage oil is honestly one of the best essential oils available in the market to reduce stress levels. 
  • Its woody scent is perceived by most people as soothing and calming. 
  • When it comes to anxiety, this oil has been dubbed as a remarkable anxiety reliever. 
  • The best way to use this oil is by rubbing a drop of it on areas like your wrist, ankles, neck. 
  • Of course, it is best when diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or sweet almond oil when going for a massage. 
  • A review that was conducted in 2015 underlined the benefits of clary sage for stress and anxiety. 
  • High cortisol level is what makes people more prone to debilitating stress and anxiety. 
  • When clary sage is introduced into the daily routine, it directly targets cortisol and lowers it. 
  • When anxious, simply rubbing a drop of it on your palms and inhaling it directly can also help you reduce anxiety levels.  
  • Clary sage is shown to be extremely beneficial to women suffering from chronic stress.  

CONCLUSION 

In conclusion, essential oils can be a great addition to your daily routine if you suffer from mental health issues. 

Although research in this area has been fairly limited, it most certainly shows a lot of promise. 

Some people could have an allergic reaction to some of these essential oils, which is why it is important to do a patch test when using it on your body.  

Again, essential oils are never a substitute for therapy and medication.  

If you are having a stressful day or are feeling particularly anxious, I encourage you to incorporate aromatherapy into your lives and enjoy the benefits!   

Featured Image Source : Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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Please note that these techniques are not intended to replace the professional care of mental health practitioners. Please see your doctor if you believe you might be suffering with anxiety.

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