For centuries, aromatherapists have been telling us that certain essential oils can help with depression. Now, researchers are beginning to realize these holistic health experts probably have a point.
We’re still a long way from the time when clinical depression can be treated with essential oils, either applied on the wrists or inhaled. Meanwhile, though, many people do use these aromatics whenever they want a mental boost. That’s what I do.
Major depression is a serious disorder that requires expert care. However, if you’re suffering from mild depression, and you’re able to function well, you may want to ask your health practitioner about using essential oils.
Using Essential Oils for Depression
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A number of essential oil companies now offer blends designed to brighten your outlook, such as Now Foods Cheer Up Buttercup. This is a mix of five citrus oils, a group of aromatics often included in aromatic oil recipes for depression.
Certain oils are known for their ability to perk you up. Some also contain natural sedatives. These aromatics are often used by people who have trouble sleeping. None of the aromatic oils will exacerbate your condition. All oils, especially if you use the right ones for you, will gently nudge you toward better health.
Aromatherapists typically recommend specific mood elevating blends. These are combinations of oils that work well together. Mixing compatible oils seems to create a synergy, which means the sum total is greater than its parts. This same principle is seen in herbal medicine.
Essential Oils that Help Depression
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. They are safe and they seem to work. They contain potent compounds that can heal and soothe both body and mind. One of the best ways to use them is by massaging them into your skin. Another is inhaling them, after they’re placed in a cold air essential oil diffuser.
Essential oils are very strong, so you shouldn’t put them directly on your skin. Olive or coconut oils make great carrier oils. If you have these in the house, you add one or two drops of aromatic oil to one teaspoon of carrier.
There’s still a scant body of evidence showing a connection between essential oils and mood elevation. But what little we do have is encouraging. Most studies and clinical trials involve drugs. As natural substances, essential oils can’t be patented. There’s little reason for a drug company to fund a study on plant-based remedies.
But I do need to stress that I’m not claiming any oil or formula can solve a particular health problem. I’m not a doctor and I can’t give medical advice. All I can do is share my own story of using essentials, as well as any published research I may come across.
Aromatherapy Depression Oils
The University of Maryland Medical Center, however, has been at the forefront of disseminating information on the benefits of natural remedies. On its website, it published a section on depression. Included was a section on essential oils. According to the UMMC, “Aromatherapy, or using essential oils in massage therapy, may also help treat depression.”
Some of the individual oils on the UMMC web site cited for their mood-enhancing abilities include lavender, lemon, jasmine, chamomile, rose and bergamot.
One study published in the journal of Complimentary Therapy in Clinical Practice did show that aromatherapy can bring relief to women suffering from postpartum depression.
Although no one (myself included) recommends ignoring your doctor’s advice and treating depression with oils, it’s becoming clear these aromatics can make us feel better. There are various recipes, developed by aromatherapists, specifically designed to elevate the mood.
One is Cheer UP Buttercup sold by Now Foods. It contains bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon oils. This one-ounce bottle shown will last a long time, as only a little oil needs to be added to a carrier oil.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with health concerns should discuss them with a doctor. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils, unless under the direction of a health care professional. Don’t use citrus oils before going outside, as they can make your skin more photosensitive.
I’m not a healthcare professional, so all of the above statements are my personal opinion, and are not intended as medical advice.