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Ever thought of using essential oils for depression?
There is a good chance that at some time in your life you will deal with depression. I know that is a depressing statement to read. But, 25% of Americans deal with depression each year. That simply means that 1:4 people will struggle with depression. What is more alarming is 350 million people are projected to suffer from depression each and every year.
A lot of people don’t even realize they are depressed, though. So, I have made a list which should help you figure out if you’re depressed. Here are some warning signs that indicate you might be dealing with depression:
- Always tired or fatigued.
- Sleeping too much or trouble falling asleep.
- No energy.
- Reduced Sex drive.
- Always in a melancholy mood or constantly sad.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Constant body aches and pains.
- Short-temper or irritable.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Pessimistic thinking pattern.
- Little confidence and a low self-esteem.
- Increased or decreased appetite.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Avoiding social situations.
- Staying in bed all day long.
Doctors Visits & Depression
If you have ever been diagnosed with depression you’re familiar with the process. Just in case your not I will explain it to you. You go to your doctor and they usually prescribe you some anti-depressants. There are lots of different anti-depressants being prescribed to people every single day. Typically, they will take 6-8 weeks before you notice any improvements in your depression. Rarely people can experience improvements in 2 weeks according to Psychcentral.com.
So, within 3 months or so the doctor will ask you to make another appointment. They will then check on your progress and see if you are feeling better. If you’re not feeling better your doctor usually will “switch up” your medication. Then, the doctor will request that you come back for another visit in another 3 months.
As the example above shows, this can be a long cycle to help cure your depression. Not to mention, it’s probably going to cost you several hundred dollars for a visit. It could be less depending on your health insurance plan. I have nothing against doctors and anti-depressants, but there are ways to improve your depression with aromatherapy and using essential oils either with or without the help of anti-depressants.
Aromatherapy & Depression
If you’re like a lot of people you’re probably pretty apprehensive to try essential oils for your depression.
Really, a certain smell and all of a sudden I’m not going to be depressed.
Well, it’s not that simple and there is actually a lot to essential oils and depression.
First, let me explain how essential oils can help in getting rid of your depression. The molecules that are in essential oils travel in your blood and within your brain barrier. These will have an impact on your brain which does control your stress, feelings, and depression.
So when you smell something your brain will trigger different impulses. This is done through the olfactory nerve. This nerve connects with the olfactory bulb. So this bulb will send the information it gets and relays a message which will control your emotions. This could be anything from pain, mood, pleasure. This will then trigger an emotion which could be fear, happiness, sadness, etc.
Therefore essential oils can be extremely effective for treating depression. Our brain will associate different smells which we create an emotional response to combat depression.
Here is a good video on essential oils and depression:
6 Best Essential Oils For Depression
There are a lot of different essential oils to choose from. Each one has their own properties that help alleviate different ailments you might be dealing with. Below are the essential oils I have found to be most effective for alleviating depression.
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils, that has so many different uses. I have already written about the health benefits of lavender essential oil. Lavender is said to be a calming scent. Even the Romans have used lavender and it has been used to relieve insomnia, anxiety, and yes depression.
Typically people will use lavender in their diffuser 20 minutes before they go to sleep. What this does is help improve the quality of their sleep. This will allow the mind to be more focused, feel more clarity, and alleviate their depressed thoughts.
This study in 2012 shows that lavender aromatherapy helped improve anxiety and depression in several postpartum women who were at high risk. They followed a 4-week schedule by defusing lavender daily and found that depression subsided drastically.
If you want to use lavender topically you can do so by rubbing it behind your ears and on the inside of your wrist. When you apply lavender topically it will enter your bloodstream in 5 minutes or less.
Bergamot is one of those essential oil‘s that has a lot of antidepressant qualities. Typically, people think of citrus oils as stimulating. However, bergamot is a citrus oil it doesn’t stimulate you. Bergamot will leave you feeling joyful, fresh, and even energized. Bergamot helps your blood circulate which contributes to its uplifting qualities. Also, this essential oil has been known to relieve anxiety.
Much like lavender bergamot has been studied and it’s been shown that it reduces your heart rate, blood pressure, and people often feel substantially calmer with bergamot. Here is a study that shows bergamot is effective in relieving anxiety.
Typically people will mix bergamot with other essential oils mentioned in this article. For example, I like to mix lavender with bergamot. Also, bergamot mixes well with Roman chamomile and other floral essential oils.
Also, you can put a couple drops on your hands and then inhale the oils. People have often rubbed it on their stomach in the bottom of their feet.
It’s not uncommon to find Roman Chamomile in tea, candles, and yes you guessed it essential oils. This is an amazing herb that is most known for fighting stress. Roman Chamomile also put your mind in a relaxed state.
Think of chamomile as a way to soothe your emotions and this will help your negative thoughts from existing. Aside from helping with your depression chamomile is a natural way to reduce anxiety, too.
Typically, people use Chamomile by putting 2-4 drops in their hands and inhale the vapors slowly for a minute at a time. Also, you can diffuse it by adding a couple drops to your diffuser.
Ylang ylang is another common essential oil used to help combat depression. It does this by combating negative thoughts which will keep your depression at bay.
Ylang Ylang has a nice floral scent that is in a lot of popular perfumes. It’s a sweet smelling flower which is found in tropical regions. Ylang Ylang also helps promote your hormonal balance. This will keep you from having mood swings, becoming irritable, as well as lower your stress levels.
Typically, people use ylang ylang by putting a couple drops on their wrist, feet, neck, and behind their ears to help improve their mood. People usually put 3-4 drops in their diffuser. Ylang ylang also pairs well with a lot of different essential oils like orange, lavender, etc.
Did you know that a study in 1995 actually proved that grapefruit is more effective than anti-depressants? Citrus essential oils are thought to be uplifting and stimulating. Grapefruit is no exception of the rule because it helps alleviate mental fatigue. I’ve already written about the health benefits of grapefruit. Grapefruit is a powerful scent which helps combat your mood which helps you alleviate your depression.
Typically, people use grapefruit essential oil in their diffuser. Add 2 or 3 drops to your diffuser and help energize yourself throughout the day. Also, you can add a few drops to your diffuser your shower or bath to help give your mind an instant mental energy boost.
Sandalwood is an instant mood lifter. Meaning, it has a woody, warm, and calming aroma. Typically, people use Sandalwood when they are meditating because it helps them focus and with mental clarity. Because the scent has a lot of powerful therapeutic properties it directly affects the brain’s limbic system. It’s considered to be an emotional balancer and even has some sedative properties which help with a deeper quality of sleep.
Typically, people use it to inhale throughout the day. They rub it on their palms and cup it over their face to inhale it throughout the day. Also, you can use sandalwood as a massaging oil. You can use 6-8 drops to your jojoba oil and rub it on your body. Lastly, you can use it under your feet.
Roll-on Depression Blend
Carrier oils should always be used with essential oils. I wrote an article on mixing essential oils and carrier oils. One of the coolest parts to aromatherapy is making your own recipes of roll-ons. I like to keep roll-ons around the house for every occasion. It’s really simple to make a roll-on. Here is what you need to make it:
- 10 ml Glass Roll On.
- 10 ml Coconut Carrier Oil.
- 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil.
- 5 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil.
Make sure you shake the bottle when you are mixing it around. I like to add 5 ml of carrier oil in and add the first oil and then 5 drops. Then, add 5 more ml of carrier oil and another 5 drops of essential oil.
I am making this roll-on 5% which is kind of high. You might want to only do 5 total drops to make it 2% dilution.
You can rub the roll on on your hands, temples, wrist, bottoms of feet, chest, behind your ears, etc. Apply it every couple of hours throughout the day.
Lastly, you can use any combination of oils that you want on the above list for your depression roll-on. It’s up to you and you can experiment with it to find what works best for you.
Depression Diffusing Recipes
A lot of people have asked what are the best depression diffusing recipes. Here are some good blends I have used over the years:
If you’re feeling depressed, irritable, having aches and pains here a good blend:
- Sweet Orange – 10 Drops
- Geranium – 15 Drops
- Lavender 5 Drops
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, and dealing with an infection, disease, or virus here’s a good blend:
- Clary Sage – 10 Drops
- Roman Chamomile – 5 Drops
- Lavender – 5 Drops
- Geranium – 10 Drops
If you’re feeling like withdrawing from society, fear, and severe despair here’s a good blend:
- Geranium – 6 Drops
- Bergamot – 14 Drops
- Sweet Orange – 5 Drops
- Frankincense – 6 Drops
- Vetiver – 1 Drop
What You Need To Know About Buying Essential Oils
There are a number of pointers I can give you when you’re buying essential oils. First, make sure that the essential oils are pure. Meaning they are 100% and backed by third-party GC/MS testing. Next, make sure they are in a brown glass bottle (or blue bottle). This keeps the sun from damaging the oils. Glass is used because plastic containers will release impurities into the oils.
Organic essential oils are also highly recommended but typically cost a little more money. The Latin name should always be on the essential oil bottle. Otherwise, you could mistakenly purchase a perfume scent. I have actually written an article which gives you more information on finding essential oils that are pure.
Warnings & Side Effects
Essential oils are natural but very powerful. Some people have allergic reactions to different essential oils, though. It’s best to try them out with a carrier oil and on a small skin patch to see if you have any allergic reactions to them.
Also, if you are nursing or pregnant you might ask your doctor prior to using any essential oils.
Depression is something that nearly everyone deals with. Going to a doctor and getting prescribed different medications isn’t always the best option. Aromatherapy is an effective way to treat depression, though. Millions of people have already found this out.
I should note that not every person will respond the same way with different essential oils. You can mix and match different essential oils to your liking and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. I would encourage you to experiment with the above essential oils to help relieve your depression.
Lastly, there are several companies that I recommend you buy your essential oils from. I have listed them down below:
I would like to hear from you though. What essential oils do you use when you’re dealing with depression? Are there any recipes you use with essential oils? Do you have any questions that are not addressed in this article? Please leave your comments down below.