Depression is far more common than you may have realised and it can affect people of all ages. According to the World Health Organisation, there are more than 350 million people worldwide who suffer with the illness and, in developed countries, nearly three in every one hundred people are struggling with depression. Although no one who is suffering with severe depression should stop taking their medication without seeking proper medical advice first, clinical trials have proven that some essential oils do have the power to alleviate depression. Here are ten of the essential oils that, when used in aromatherapy, are known to be able to reduce the effects of depression.
1. Lavender essential oil
Lavender is probably the best known essential oil for fighting depression. In a study that was published in 2012, it was demonstrated that when lavender oil was used in a diffuser in the home, women showed a significant reduction in postnatal depression. There have been many studies into this effect of lavender oil and none have shown that there are any side effects associated with using lavender to treat depression.
2. Clary sage essential oil
Clary sage essential oil is said to have a very relaxing aroma that can promote a sense of serenity and peace. It is known that sage oil does boost mental alertness and it can help improve a person’s feeling of self-esteem and confidence. That increased sense of well-being helps a person suffering with depression focus on the positive things in their lives and less on the negative ones.
3. Roman chamomile essential oil
Chamomile is well-known for its ability to relax the mind and it’s that property of chamomile essential oil that makes it so effective at reducing the effects of depression because, for many people, anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand. Inhaling the vapours of chamomile oil is often recommended as a way to naturally reduce the symptoms of stress and depression.
4. Bergamot essential oil
When bergamot essential oil was mixed with lavender oil in a trial carried out in 2012, it was found that participants in the study showed significant decreases in their anxiety levels, pulse rate, and blood pressure. The vapours of bergamot oil are said to instil feelings of joy and energy in people, making it an excellent candidate for the treatment of depression and anxiety. You can use bergamot essential oil in a diffuser, or just rub a few drops into the palms of your hands and then cup your hands over your nose and mouth.
5. Rose essential oil
Rose essential oil works for people with depression by stimulating the circulation, reducing the feelings of stress, and generally boosting the mood. One of the reasons that essential oils are thought to be so effective is that the brain reacts very quickly to smells and the wonderful scent of rose oil is no exception to that.
6. Jasmine essential oil
Jasmine oil works on the brain in a similar way to the drug Valium. When you breathe in the vapours of jasmine oil, more gamma-aminobutyric acid is released, which helps to regulate emotions and keep you calm. This can be very helpful to sufferers of depression, many of whom also suffer with high levels of anxiety and panic attacks.
7. Ylang ylang essential oil
Ylang ylang essential oil acts as a mild sedative and so calms people down and relaxes them very quickly. Research has shown that inhaling the vapours of ylang ylang essential oil enhances self-confidence and lowers stress making it a very good alternative treatment for mild cases of depression.
8. Basil essential oil
Basil essential oil is known to stimulate the mind and boost the mood and that can be a great help to someone who is suffering with the lethargy that depression can cause. It also helps to clear the mind and it allows people to focus more. Hindus believe that the vapours of basil essential oil are so potent that they bring a person a little bit closer to heaven.
9. Geranium essential oil
Geranium oil is another essential oil that can be used to treat mild depression. It contains a compound called citronellol, which enhances the mood and lowers the heart rate and blood pressure. Like all the essential oils, geranium oil works directly in the limbic system, which is the system of nerves and networks in the brain that control emotions.
10. Sandalwood essential oils
Sandalwood essential oil has a wonderful, woody aroma that is very calming and is said bring about an inner peace. The calming effect that sandalwood oil has can be useful for anyone who is suffering from stress, as well as those who have mild depression.