Depression, Essential Oils and You
Depression is more common than many may think. It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer or experience symptoms of depression, but with the world population nearing eight billion you can bet that’s an underestimate. The sadness and suffering associated with depression are an inherent part of the human existence.
Many people at one point in their lives will suffer from a form of depression. For most, depression is situational or seasonal; but for others it is a disorder that they are constantly struggling with each and every day.
Seeking medical advice when it comes to dealing with the symptoms of depression is a smart idea. Taking medication, though, is not for everyone. Luckily there are multiple natural health alternatives to help deal with the symptoms of depression.
It should be noted that no matter the method you take for your depression, medication or natural health, it;s unlikely to be cured. The most we can ask is to manage and reduce feelings of depression. As stated above many people will suffer from situational or seasonal depression which will essentially “cure” itself over time; once the situation has passed or you have dealt with it emotionally. Still many others have a major depression disorder, a disorder of the brain that they live with most of their lives learning their triggers and managing their symptoms.
Symptoms of Depression
- Are you constantly tired all the time, no matter how much sleep you get?
- Are you not sleeping? Constantly tossing and turning never getting a good full night’s sleep?
- Do you have a lack of energy no matter how many pick me ups you do, such as caffeine, energy drinks, sleep, exercise etc.?
- Are you sad? In a constant state of the “blues”?
- Do you have unexplained aches and pains throughout your body?
- Do you feel constantly on the verge of tears?
- Are you moody? Highly aggressive or short with others?
- Do you feel overwhelmed?
- Are you in constantly fear of what might go wrong next?
- Do you have negative thoughts? A constant pessimist?
- Are you suffering from low self-esteem that never seems to pick up no matter what you do?
- Are you overly critical of yourself?
- Do you have a sense of helplessness or hopelessness?
- Do you have a low sex drive, or an overactive one?
- Are you suffering from a loss of appetite? Or a change in your weight: increase or decrease?
- Do you find yourself stressing out more than you normally would have?
- Do you find it hard to focus and/or concentrate?
- Do you feel anxious? Rapid heartbeat and sweating?
- Are you starting to avoid social situations? Wanting to stay at home curled up in bed?
- Do you sometimes feel like this hardship will never end?
- If you answered yes to any of these questions you may have depression or be in a situational depressive state.
Men, women, the elderly and teens all deal with and have different symptoms when it comes to depression.
Men are less prone acknowledge these feelings and may instead blame these feelings on lack of sleep, work stresses or other frustrations they may have in their life. They usually show more anger and aggression towards others and themselves. They also can be more likely to have substance abuse problems or reckless behaviors.
Women tend to be more emotional experiencing feelings of guilt combined with excessive sleep, overeating and weight gain. Depression in women is linked to and affected by hormones especially in the menstrual cycle. At least 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression.
Teens and depression can be hard to see and diagnose. It’s not just sadness; typically a teen will experience symptoms of irritability, anger and agitation. They also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach-aches or other physical pains throughout the body.
Depression in the elderly can also be hard to diagnose. They complain more about their physical ailments and not their emotional discomfort. They may also begin to neglect their personal appearance and hygiene or even taking their medication which could have very negative effects on their health in general.
15 Essential Oils for Depression
Knowing depression, in any form, cannot be cured but how can essential oils help in dealing with the symptoms of depression? Essential oils work with and within the brain to help relieve the symptoms associated with depression. These oils help to trigger the brain to help heal and relax itself.
Basil: Basil contains many antioxidants and is high in vitamin C. Both of these help to repair and rid the body of free radicals thus helping to reduce the stress that these radicals cause on the body. It helps to lower blood pressure, calm the nerves and reduce inflammation which helps to reduce stress which in turn helps to decrease depression. Basil also helps to uplift the spirit and reduce fatigue which helps to reduce the feelings of depression. It helps to increase circulation and helps to clear the mind allowing a person to focus and concentrate easier which helps to decrease stress and depression associated with lack of focus. Try inhaling basil when you need to focus and destress.
Bergamot: Is a great antidepressant as it helps to invoke feelings of joy and boosts ones energy level by increasing blood flow and circulation. Bergamot helps to lift the spirit and reduce the feelings of pain and sadness associated with depression and anxiety. This helps to bring balance to the body and mind or a homeostasis state. It also helps to reduce the feelings of anxiety thus helping a person to relax. Bergamot helps to decrease your heart rate and blood pressure which can help to lower the feelings of depression allowing a person to feel more calm and relaxed. It also helps to decrease the feeling of unworthy or destructive behaviour that is brought about by negative energy and thoughts turning it around and into positive energy and behaviours. Bergamot helps a person to let go and relax. Inhaling bergamot on its own or with lavender can help to decrease the symptoms of depression. It can also be applied topically to the feet, stomach or other affects areas to help in relieving the symptoms of depression.
Clary Sage: Clary sage is very helpful in combating the symptoms of depression. It helps to promote calm and relaxation throughout the mind and body; to clear the mind of the darkness and negativity. It helps to promote positive self-esteem which helps to increase confidence giving a person mental strength and hope, this in turn helps to decrease negative thoughts and emotions common associated and felt with depression. Clary sage also helps to reduce the feelings of fear and distress by increasing positivity and relaxation throughout the body and mind. Try having a relaxing bath with a few drops of clary sage and ylang ylang, it will help to calm the mind as well as the body helping you to feel relaxed and uplifted.
Frankincense: Frankincense has been around since biblical times and has many helpful benefits when it comes to relieving the symptoms of depression. Frankincense helps to induce the feelings of relaxation, mental peace, satisfaction and spirituality. It helps to awaken the mind and the body helping to reduce the feelings of anxiety and stress on a person. It helps to reduce blood pressure and relaxed breathing helping to reduce feelings of panic and stress creating a calm over the mind and body as a whole. Frankincense creates a sense of calm and ease in a person which helps to reduce the feelings of fear, anger and stress which can be associated with depression. Try massaging a couple drops into your feet or the back of your neck to help calm your mind and body.
Geranium: Geranium is great for controlling depression and mood swings. It helps to enhance positive emotions and health. With natural sedative properties geranium helps to increase the quality of sleep while helping relax and calm the mind and body. It helps to lift the spirits while reducing negative thoughts and emotions. Geranium also has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties which also help to reduce aches and pains that care commonly associated with depression. Try having a cup of germanium tea to help balance the hormones and emotions to help increase calm and relaxation to help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Jasmine: With comparisons to valium, a well-known diazepam drug used for the treatment of anxiety, jasmine helps to increase GABA in the brain. GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid is a chemical messenger in the brain that binds with neurons helping to decrease their activity. When taking benzodiazepine medication, such as valium, this activity is further reduced helping to calm and relax a person. So in other words jasmine helps to relax and calm the mind by helping to increase the GABA function. It helps to regulate emotions; helping to level high and low emotions. This helps to give a person an overall feeling of happiness and positivity. It also helps to boost energy and increase romantic feelings in a person; inducing romantic feelings can help to increase serotonin levels which help to reduce depression. Try inhaling jasmine to induce its GABA increasing capabilities in the brain or massage it into the skin to increase romantic feelings towards your partner.
Lavender: Lavender has long been used to treat the symptoms of depression and with little side effects is highly recommended and used. It has shown to decrease moodiness, depression, mood swings, aches, pains and insomnia. Lavender helps to calm and relax not only the body but the mind as well helping a person to let go of the stresses or emotional distress they are experiencing. Lavender helps to improve sleep by improving the quality, length and depth of sleep. By improving ones sleep it helps a person to become calmer and more relaxed, not as irritable, which can help to decrease stress and anxiety which helps to decrease the symptoms of depression. Lavender helps to decrease inflammation which can help to decrease aches and pains. Lavender helps to lower the pulse and blood pressure which helps to reduce stress and anxiety; creating a greater sense of calm in a person. It helps to invoke a greater sense of self and well-being. Inhaling lavender on its own or with other essential oils will help to instantly calm the mind and body or try spraying or putting a couple of drops on your pillow at bedtime to help induce a better night’s sleep.
Lemon: Lemon has many vitamins and minerals that make it up that make it a wonderful natural depression reducer. It helps to boost the immune system helping to increase circulation, lower blood pressure and pulse to reduce the feelings of anxiety and stress in the body and mind. It helps to purify the body and the mind uplifting both. Lemon is a stimulant helping to reduce mind fog and increase concentration and focus. It also helps to reduce confusion and relieve feelings of worry. Lemon also helps to promote weight loss which can be a side effect of depression and with increased weight gain can further increase depression. Try drinking lemon water daily to help promote relaxation and weight loss or try an essential oil foot bath to help promote relaxation and to help stimulate the brain reducing mind fog.
Marjoram: Marjoram helps to strengthen the nervous system which helps to reduce stress increasing a sense of relaxation in a person. By increasing relaxation in a person its natural sedative properties therefore help to induce and increase sleep quality. It also helps to reduce blood pressure and increases blood circulation helping to calm the body and mind thus helping to reduce the feelings of depression. Marjoram helps to promote a healthy brain function helping to increase the overall function and activity of the brain which can decrease with depression. It also helps to decrease any negative feelings such as fear, sadness, rejection or anxiety. Try diffusing marjoram with other essential oils such as lavender or Roman chamomile to promote positive feelings, increase calm and relaxation and to decrease sadness, stress and anxiety.
Patchouli: Patchouli helps to decrease the feelings of depression by reducing the feelings of sadness replacing it with a feeling of hope. It helps to lift the mood of a person while decreasing the feeling of disappointment and tension within the body and mind. By simply inhaling patchouli it will help to increase the release of serotonin and dopamine in the mind; increases the pleasure hormones to help reduce the feeling of sadness, anxiety, stress and anger. Patchouli also has sedative properties which help to relax the mind and the body reducing pain and inflammation promoting a more restful sleep which in turn helps to reduce the feelings and symptoms of depression. Try inhaling or diffusing it throughout your home to decrease your depressive feelings.
Roman / Roman Chamomile: Roman chamomile has been used for more than 2000 years in teas to induce relaxation. Roman chamomile helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation by relaxing the body and the mind together. By helping to relax the mind and body it helps to reduce the effects of insomnia that is often associated with depression. It also helps to greatly reduce the feeling of restlessness which is also often associated with depression. Try having some chamomile tea or inhaling Roman chamomile on its own or with lavender to help increase calm and relaxation throughout the body.
Rose: Rose helps to combat a lot of the symptoms that are commonly associated with depression which in turn helps to decrease the feeling of depression in a person. Rose helps to stimulate the libido, increases circulation, reduces inflammation and pain, reduces stress, reduces mental fog and increases positive moods. It also helps to balance hormone levels giving a person an overall sense of relaxation. Rose helps to boost self-esteem, mental strength and confidence helping to increase happiness and hope in a person suffering from depression. Try inhaling rose essential oil or massaging it on the affected area such as the temples or back of the neck.
Sandalwood: Sandalwood has natural sedative properties which help to relax the mind and body thus increasing quality sleep which helps to reduce depression. Its calming sweet yet woodsy fragrance helps to bring peace to the mind and body helping to reduce anxiety. Sandalwood also has anti-inflammatory properties which help to cool and relax the affected area thus helping to calm the mind and body. It is also a natural cognitive stimulator helping to improve memory and concentration helping to reduce stress and anxiety that can sometimes cloud the mind causing feelings of depression. To help promote relaxation and reduce the feelings of depression try diffusing sandalwood throughout the home or applying it topically to the body in a salve or lotion.
Wild Orange: Wild orange is a powerful anti-depressant. It helps to lift the mood of a person by increasing blood circulation and by detoxifying the body especially the liver and gallbladder. It helps to reduce the feelings of panic in the body. It also helps to energize a person which then helps to increase hope and decrease mental fatigue thus decreasing the feelings of depression. Inhaling wild orange will help to bring about happy thoughts and calm the mind which is why it is commonly used in aromatherapy. It also has anti-inflammatory and sedation properties; these two properties also help in reducing the symptoms commonly associated with depression.
Ylang Ylang: The essential oil with the funny name, ylang ylang helps greatly with relieve depressive symptoms and decrease negative emotions. Ylang ylang helps to increase the mood, inducing positive effects while decreasing negative emotions such as anger and low self-esteem; helping to restore confidence. It also helps to decrease blood pressure, regulates breathing and reduces adrenaline which is great in helping to ward off or reduce the effects of a panic attacks, anxiety, anger or fear. It helps to relax and calm the body and the mind due to its sedative properties which in turn help to promote better sleep. Ylang ylang helps to balance the male and female energies which make it great for diffusing in the home. Try diffusing ylang ylang in your diffuser in your home to help promote and increase positive emotions or massage it into your skin.
Different Ways to Use Essential Oils for Depression
There are a few different ways in which you can use the above essential oils to help relieve your symptoms of depression. You can diffuse, inhale, apply topically or ingest the essential oils.
- Diffuse: you can add a few drops of preferred essential oil to a diffuser and diffuse the scent throughout your space. This is especially beneficial to use in high stress places such as your home or office or in the bedroom to promote rest and relaxation while you sleep.
- Inhalation: you can add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to an inhalation stick or put a few drops in the palm of your hands and rub together then cupping your nose inhale the scent breathing deeply to help reduce the feelings of depression thus promoting calm and relaxation.
- Massage: try adding 10-12 drops of your preferred essential oil to 2 oz. of your preferred carrier oil and massage into the skin to increase relaxation and circulation helping to reduce the feelings of depression throughout the body and mind.
- Essential oil rub: add 5-10 drops of your preferred essential oil to 2 tablespoons of your preferred carrier oil and mix well. Rub the mixture on your feet, neck, temple or chest to promote calm and relaxation throughout the body and mind.
- Bath: add 5-10 drops of your preferred essential oil to a warm bath to help reduce the feelings and symptoms of depression. This helps to awaken the mind and the body promoting blood circulation and relaxation reducing the feelings of stress and anxiety commonly associated with depression.
- Orally: try having an essential oil tea by adding a few drops of your preferred essential oil or by having a loose tea. Be sure to ensure your preferred essential oil can be ingested.
DIY at Home Recipes for Depression
The above essential oils can be taken alone or combined with other essential oils that are in the list above and some that are not. Whichever combination of essential oils or method of application you choose to use be sure you use and combine them properly to ensure maximum health benefits when relieving the feelings and symptoms of depression.
Simple Depression Relief Essential Oil Blend
- 4 drops ylang ylang EO
- 4 drops clary sage EO
- 3 drops geranium EO
- 2 drops basil EO
- 1 drop sandalwood EO
- In a dark glass bottle combine all essential oils together.
- Mix well.
To use: inhale directly from the bottle when feeling down or apply a drop or two to your hands and rub together and then cover your nose and slowly inhale. You may also want to try adding this to a carrier oil to create a massage oil to massage over the body or try adding a few drops to a warm bath.
Depression Lifting Essential Oil Bath Blend
- 8 drops grapefruit EO
- 8 drops lavender EO
- 2 drops marjoram EO
- 1 drop chamomile EO
- 1 drop geranium EO
- 2 oz. carrier oil of your choice (argan, avocado, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, macadamia)
- Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle.
- Mix well.
- Add ¼ oz. or ¼ of the prepared combined essential oil blend from the bottle to a warm bath.
- Get in and relax.
Soothing Essential Oil Bath Salts
- 3 drops neroli EO
- 2 drops geranium EO
- 2 drops patchouli EO
- 2 drops ylang ylang EO
- 1 drop bergamot EO
- 1 tbsp. carrier oil of your choice
- 3 cups Epson salt or sea salt
Combine all essential oils and carrier oil together. Mix well. In a bowl add the Epsom or sea salt then using a spoon to mix pour in the oils blend and mix well. Transfer the bath salt blend in an airtight container and store in a cool dark place. How to use: with water running in the tub add ½ – 1 cup of the bath salt blend to the water, make sure the bath salt blend dissolves completely before getting in. Get in, relax and enjoy!
Nurturing Essential Oil Massage Oil
- 3 drops lavender EO
- 3 drops geranium EO
- 2 drops wild orange EO
- 2 oz. carrier oil of your choice
- In a dark glass container pour in carrier oil.
- Add in your essential oils.
- Close container and mix well.
- Massage a few drops into the skin as needed.
Mood Lifter Essential Oil Blend
- 10 drops bergamot EO
- 5 drops grapefruit EO
- 4 drops wild orange EO
- 1 drop ylang ylang EO
- 1 drop geranium EO
- Combine all essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
- Mix well.
- Inhale or apply topically as needed to help boost ones mood and decrease those heavy feelings.
Cozy Comforting Essential Oils Blend
- 10 drops rose EO
- 4 drops sandalwood EO
- 4 drops neroli EO
- Combine all essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
- Mix well.
- Inhale or apply topically as needed to combat the feelings of depression.
Anxious Depression Essential Oils Blend
- 8 drops lavender EO
- 8 drops grapefruit EO
- 2 drops marjoram EO
- 1 drop Roman chamomile EO
- 1 drop geranium EO
- Combine the essential oils in a dark glass bottle.
- Mix well.
- Inhale or apply topically as needed to reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression.
Cautions When Using Essential Oils for Depression Treatment
When using essential oils for any form of treatment always be sure to educate yourself. If possible consult with a certified herbologist or aromatherapist to not only educate yourself but ensure you are taking and administering the essential oils properly.
Be sure to research each essential oil you choose to use to educate yourself on possible side-effects ore reactions with other essential oils or medications. Proper education is key.
Be sure to check your sensitivity to each essential oil you choose to use. Every person reacts differently to each oil. Be sure to test a small amount before diving in. Test a small amount in the method you wish to use; if ingesting dilute a small amount in water or if applying topically apply a small amount to a small patch of skin with or without a carrier oil.
Other Ways to Help Reduce the Feelings of Depression
There are many other things that you can do in your daily life that can help combat the feelings and symptoms of depression. These suggestions may not work for everyone, just the same as all of the above oils will not work for everyone, but they are always worth a try.
- Exercise: exercise can be helpful in decreasing the feelings and symptoms of depression. Exercise helps to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain helping to increase ones mood. It also helps to regulate ones weight which can also be a large problem when it comes to depression. Staying active helps to increase blood circulation, reduces inflammation and pain and helps to keep the mind active.
- Supplements: there are other natural supplements out there that can help reduce the feelings of depression. St John’s Wort, 5-HTP, saffron, fish oils and vitamin C can all help to reduce the feelings and symptoms associated with depression.
- Sunlight: natural light helps to reduce the feelings of depression. Many people around the world, especially those in the northern hemisphere, suffer from SAD or seasonal affective disorder which is caused due to lack of sunlight. If you cannot get enough sunlight try purchasing a natural UV light and use in the winter months.
- Colors: colors that surround you affect your mood and if you are in a dark dank place you may not feel the brightest all of the time. Try wearing a bright color to boost your mood or placing a brightly colored piece of artwork in your office that is within eye contact.
- Food: foods can affect your mind just as much as they can affect your waistline. Watching what you eat and how much you eat can help to boost your mood. Try to eat as “clean” as possible; fried and processed foods are not that great for the body or the mind. Many foods are high in antioxidants which are great at helping to fight the feelings and symptoms of depression. As the saying goes “You are what you eat” so please eat good to be good to your body as well as you mind.
- Take a Break: go away for a bit to unwind. You don’t always have to go far away to exotic places simply taking some time to explore different parts of your community or going to a different city close to where you live but never go to can be fun. Be a tourist and leave everything at home behind you.
- Caffeine: caffeine can go either way, depending on the person. For some caffeine boosts the mood helping to ward off feelings of depression. However, for others caffeine worsens the feelings of depression causing restlessness and anxiety. Use with caution.
- Acupuncture: acupuncture can help tap into the body to heal it from the inside. Be sure to find an acupuncturist that is trained in dealing with depression. This is not for everyone and does not work for everyone. Instead of acupuncture you may want to try getting a massage from a licenced massage therapist who is trained in relieving depression, stress and anxiety.
What To Do If You Think You Have Depression
If you believe you are suffering from depression your best bet is to see your doctor. Together with your doctor you will be able to determine the type of depression you are experiencing and the best course of action for treating it.
Always monitor and advise your doctor of your symptoms or changes in symptoms as you go along. Changes in your symptoms can mean any number of things and your doctor will be able to properly advise you of what these changes could mean to you.
Know that you are not alone. Millions, perhaps billions of people worldwide suffer from varying levels of depression; and most suffer in silence for fear of being judged. There are online groups, anonymous help groups, helplines you can call and therapists that can help you work through your feelings of depression.
Depression can recur over and over again if not properly dealt with. Seeking the help of a trained professional in conjunction with using essential oils will help you move through your depression learning how to handle it, what your triggers are and how to relieve the symptoms and feelings associated with your depression.
Talking to someone you can trust can also be very beneficial when it comes to dealing with depression. The comfort of a pet can also help reduce the pain and sadness often associated with depression boosting ones mood and energy level, but of course do not get a pet if you feel you might be unable to handle taking care of it on your own because they depend on you for everything.
You are not alone.
Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful! If you have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own concerning depression and essential oils please let us know in the comment section below.