Although most of us have had a bout of being down in the dumps, especially when our circumstances change or life throws us a unexpected left turn. Depression is a disorder however that many struggle with.Depression can stem from different causes and effect individuals in different ways. Depression can affect how a person feels and think as well as how they react. Depression also has a knock on effect on those in relationships with the person suffering from depression. On a personal level, I have been living with someone struggling with depression and can confirm that this has had an influence on me and many of the symptoms was eventually applicable to me too, although I am a very happy person by nature. I started digging a bit deeper into can essential oils actually help for depression?
- Constant sadness
- Constant fatigue and lack of energy
- Feeling irritable and short tempered
- Feeling helpless and hopeless and having a negative mindset
- Not interested in everyday activities or spending time with friends and family
- Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- Foggy brain and difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling hopeless and suicidal – please get some professional help if this is one of your symptoms
So what can I do ?
Consulting a doctor is a good place to start and depending on how severe your symptoms are there are a number of options available. You might need to take medication for your depression. Anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are currently one of the top prescription drugs that a huge number of people are taking daily. It has unfortunately terrible side effects such as suicidal thoughts, weight gain and a change of personality.
You might be able to combine medication with natural treatments such as essential oils.
Fortunately there are a number of essential oils that can alleviate symptoms but the selection of oil depends on the needs and symptoms of the individual person. For instance it would not be helpful to use sedative oil if the person suffering from depression is already lethargic and tired. If the depressed person is quite restless or irritable or have trouble sleeping then a sedative oil might be very useful for them.
Essential oils have been scientifically proven to help with depression and support the body to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Sedative and antidepressant oils
These essential oils would be great if your depression leaves you uptight and anxious. It might feel like there is a pit in your stomach, you always feel tense and it is really hard to unwind. It actually might stir you up even more when those around you tell you to calm down!!!
It is hard for you to fall asleep and your mind can’t stop but it is racing in circles. You struggle to focus and find yourself quite unproductive. Sometimes using a sedative essential oil is just what you need to get some mental order and to calm your nervous system so that you can be more productive during the day. So don’t think that sedative oils are just useful before bedtime, although it will help a lot to help you sleep better which has such a knock on effect on many other aspects of your mental and physical well being.
I personally find that when I use these oils I don’t feel so agitated and have a bit more patience with those around me.
Chamomile oil is very helpful to calm the nerves and ease nervous tension. Chamomile oil is made up of esters and that is what makes this such a sedative oil and super helpful for nervous issues. Esters also have anti spasmodic properties. That is the reason why chamomile tea is so beneficial for digestion.
Studies have been done that proved the benefit of using Chamomile oil to improve sleep.
How to use Chamomile oil for depression
- Inhale directly – inhaling Chamomile oil helps to relieve anxiety and also relieve nausea.
- Apply topically – due to the ester compounds this is another safe oil to use on the skin undiluted. I would still recommend that it is diluted with a carrier oil when applied to children.
- Bath – a couple of drops of Chamomile in the bath is not only going to promote a restful sleep and a restful state but chamomile is good for the skin. It relieves irritation and is very helpful for treating acne due to the anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties of the esters.
- Diffuse – diffusing chamomile will promote a calm home or workplace. It is gentle oil with a gentle smell as well. It will promote a good night’s rest and can calm crying children. Chamomile oil is often referred to as the ‘kid calmer ‘oil.
If you do not have a diffuser or are looking for another one then check this out.
When it comes to Chamomile oil you can choose either Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile. German Chamomile is also referred to as Blue Chamomile, a very sweet smelling oil and suitable for children.
Roman Chamomile or English chamomile has a more herbal smell to it. Also safe for children to use and both of them are very gentle oils. In the end it comes down to the smell and personal preference. I have shared some of my favorite essential oil companies below.
Clary Sage EO
Due to the Linalyl acetate, which is the primary compound in Clary Sage ,it is a relaxing, soothing and balancing oil. Clary sage has sedating effects and is very helpful oil for insomnia. It is an anti-depressant and considered a nerve tonic. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Clary Sage is beneficial to support the adrenals and kidneys.
Clary Sage is a hormone balancing oil and is really helpful during menopause when many women suffers from hot flashes, night sweats and weight gain which in effect is a cause for depression in many middle age women.
How to use Clary Sage essential oil for depression
- Apply topically – dilute Clary Sage oil with a carrier oil and apply to the abdomen. Clary Sage is also a menstrual discomfort soother and will help to relieve cramps and spasms.
Apply to legs and chest to improve circulation. Clary Sage is capable to reduce blood pressure.
Clary Sage can be a natural remedy for rashes and will cool skin inflammation due to the Linalyl acetate component.
- Bath – drop 2 drops of Clary Sage in the bathwater to promote restfulness and relieve insomnia and anxiety.
- Diffuse – Clary Sage contains Linalool which is a monoterpenol and gives it its pleasant smell. Breathing in the fragrance of Clary Sage will help as a sleep aid and will calm the senses. You can diffuse Clary Sage in your bedroom an hour prior to going to bed to aid in getting a peaceful night’s rest.
Safety warning – Clary Sage essential oil is not safe to use during pregnancy because it can cause uterine contractions.
Lavender is very helpful in calming the nervous system and relaxing the mind. Lavender has a sedative and a tonic effect on the heart and lowers high blood pressure.
Lavender is also very good to use for nervous exhaustion and manic depression. Lavender is such a all-rounder oil and definitely my top choice of oil. You can read a bit more about Lavender here.
How to use Lavender oil for depression
- Diffuse – Diffuse lavender in a room for a calm atmosphere.
- Using it in the bath – Lavender can also be added to bath water with some Epsom salts.
- Apply topically – Applying some lavender oil to the temple area or underneath the feet is an easy way of dealing with stressful situations or just calming the body and mind if you are tense. Lavender is one of the few oils that can safely be applied to the skin undiluted.
- Inhale directly – simply inhale lavender straight out of the bottle.
Lavender oil is a very popular oil and you can find it everywhere. Now it is important that you use good quality Lavender essential oil and a quick and easy way to tell whether it is the true Lavender is by looking at the Latin name.
The Lavender that I am discussing here is Lavandula angustifolia.
Rocky Mountain oils have a beautiful organic Lavender oil
Ylang Ylang is a mild sedative oil which can lower stress response and lowers blood pressure due to the sedating and calming properties of the oil.
Ylang ylang can support forgiveness and helpful to deal with emotions of frustration and unforgiveness. Also helps us to releases anger and help control high blood pressure.
A human study that was done showed decreased depression and stress when used aromatically so it is as simply as taking off the cap of the bottle and inhale the open bottle.
How to use Ylang Ylang essential oil for depression
- Apply topically – dilute with carrier oil and apply to wrist, neck, behind the ears or the bottom of the feet.
- Diffuse – the beautiful fragrance of Ylang ylang has a sedating effect and is very effective when used in a diffuser.
- Inhale directly – simply inhale the fragrance straight from the bottle to improve your mood and lowers your blood pressure.
- Baths – Ylang ylang not only will uplift your mood but also relieve cramps and tension. Put a couple of drops of Ylang ylang essential oil with a cup of Epsom salt in your bath water .
Don’t overdo it – safety warning – Ylang ylang has been reported to cause nausea and headaches when used in excessive amounts. Therefor it is really important to buy good quality essential oils. I would always recommend buying organic essential oils.
Antidepressant and uplifting oils
These essential oils are for those depression sufferers that are lethargic, can’t get out of bed, have no energy and the glass is always half -empty. Well that is if there even is a glass on the table.
Actually on a side note here – if you do feel that there is no glass on the table and that your depression is getting too much for you to handle, then perhaps you should rather go and see a doctor or a psychologist.
Bergamot oil can create joyful feelings and energy by improving blood circulation. It can reduce anxiety and stress as well. It is a great oil to use for nervous system conditions. A wonderful immune boosting oil and a lymphatic support oil as well.
Bergamot oil is quite effective as food craving fighter and very helpful with emotional eating.
How to use Bergamot oil for depression
- Apply topically – Bergamot needs to be diluted with carrier oil. It can be applied on the wrists, neck and abdomen. Rubbing it on the tummy area also helps with digestion and to regulate appetite. The D-Limonene in Bergamot oil has the ability to help relieve heartburn and reflux.
- Inhale directly – breathing in Bergamot straight from the bottle will help to lift your mood and relieve stress.
- Diffuse – 2 -3 drops in the diffuser will balance the mood and create feelings of refreshment. Diffusing is a great way to curb cravings for certain food.
Safety warning – Bergamot oil should be use cautiously if you are a diabetic as it may affect blood sugar levels.
Also avoid sunlight on the areas where you applied Bergamot oil for 12 hours.
When using essential oils for a specific purpose rather than just refreshing the room, I would always say get the best quality that you can afford.
Geranium is an anti-depressant and an adrenal cortex stimulant. This oil has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system. Geranium has a tonic effect on both the liver and the kidneys. Geranium essential oil encourages the balance of hormones which can often trigger depression. The anti – inflammatory properties of Geranium oil can alleviate aches and pains which is also common for depression sufferers. Geranium is a great choice for mental alertness but it is of the flower family and have a very floral smell so bear that in mind before you buy some Geranium oil.
How to use Geranium oil for depression
- Diffuse – diffuse 2-3 drops of Geranium to ease anxiety and lift your mood.
- Apply topically – Geranium may irritate a sensitive skin and must always be diluted with a carrier oil. Apply the oil on the back of the neck or temples to clear your mind and support healthy cognitive function. Geranium can help to tighten and contract muscles so it is a very helpful oil to assist with sagging skin. Geranium oil can also help with red dry flaky skin which can in itself create feelings of depression and helplessness.
You can check out some high quality Geranium essential oils.
Rose essential oil can certainly be called the queen of essential oils. Rose oil is super beneficial for the vascular, digestive and nervous system. It is because of this triple action that it is a particular useful oil to use for stress and nervous tension. Rose oil has a cleansing, purifying ,regulating and tonic effect on a physical level. On a mental level this is an oil that is very helpful especially with post –natal depression or depression that is brought on after a breakdown of a relationship. Rose oil is the oil of choice when dealing with grief . Rose oil is also great for skincare and especially dry, sensitive or aging skin. Often women can slip into depression due to the changes that happens to their bodies and skin as we age.
How to use Rose oil for depression
- Apply topically – apply rose oil behind the ears or on the wrists to lift the spirit and boost your confidence and use it as a natural perfume.
- Diffuse – diffuse a couple of drops to create a peaceful atmosphere and combat depression
- Inhale directly – inhale Rose oil directly from the bottle to lift your mood and strengthen your spirit.
Rose oil can be quite expensive and often you would find oils that are called blends as suppose to single oils that means it is pure and on its own. not diluted with a carrier oil. Buying a blend can be useful because you can use the oil straight out of the bottle.
A single oil however will be much more potent and powerful if you compare the two drop for drop.
Basil oil is useful for nervous disorders such as weakness, indecision or hysteria, depression and anxiety.
It is uplifting, clarifying and strengthening oil. Basil oil acts more on the mind and emotions and is one of the best oils to use to calm and focuses the mind. Help reduce adrenal fatigue by revitalizing energy levels.
Due to the high linalool content it is a great oil to use before bedtime. Various studies have shown the anxiolytic effects of linalool.
Basil oil is very useful to treat tension and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, which is a common symptom of many depression sufferers.
How to use Basil oil for depression
- Diffuse – 3 drops of Basil oil will uplift your spirit and clear your head as well as clear the air. Due to the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of Basil oil it is a natural air cleanser when you diffuse it.
- Apply topically – Basil oil must be diluted with a carrier oil. Massage onto stiff neck and shoulder muscles and onto the lower back .
- Baths – 2 drops Basil oil with a couple of drops of Lavender and a cup of Epsom salt in the bath will not only relax the muscles and the body but also prepare the body for sleep. Due to the Linalool in Basil oil it has a sedating effect.
- Inhale directly – just take a few breaths straight from the bottle whenever you quickly need to calm your mind.
The Basil oil that were are looking at is Ocimum basilicum not Holy Basil which is another useful oil but not the one I am talking about here.
Antidepressant and calming oils
Neroli oil is an antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic and a gentle sedative. It is a very valuable oil when dealing with anxiety. It can reduce anxiety before a stressful event and also help to treat long term anxiety. Neroli oil calms and slow downs the mind.
It is a good oil to use when dealing with shock. It is a great oil to use to help with insomnia. Neroli oil can relieve spasms in the smooth muscles of the intestines.
I personally can get quite a knot in my tummy and so this is one of my personal favorites. I love the citrus smell of Neroli and I think it is one of the oils that can be enjoyed by both males and females although it might be a bit on the sweet side.
How to use Neroli oil for depression
- Diffuse – diffusing Neroli oil is an easy way to enjoy this uplifting oil and calm the mind. For the diffuser however I would use a pure single oil instead of a blend because the carrier oil might damage your diffuser. You only need a drop or two in the diffuser.
- Apply topically – Dilute with a carrier oil and apply on the chest area and behind the neck. Applying it on the tummy area will ease nervous digestion issues. Buying a blend is perfect because it is already blended for your convenience. Perfect to have in your purse to just apply on your solar plexus before a meeting or dab a drop behind your ears to help you feel focused and alert.
- Bath – Neroli oil is a wonderful oil to add to the bathwater. Add 2 drops with a cup of Epsom salt to prepare for bedtime. Neroli is very healing to the skin and therefor it makes a very relaxing , luxurious bath oil.
Antidepressant and confidence boosting oils
Jasmine oil is a famous oil extracted from the fragrant flowers and is popular due to the ability to improve mood, dealing with stress and anxiety and balancing hormones. It is helpful for dealing with emotional stress and helps with insomnia. For women it is a very helpful oil to deal with PMS, mood swings and cramping .
Jasmine oil has the ability to boost concentration and stimulate brain activity. It can help with low energy levels or listlessness. Jasmine oil is a good oil to use when we need a boost of confidence or increasing your self-worth .
Jasmine is beneficial for dry sensitive skins especially when it is red or itchy.
How to use Jasmine oil for depression
- Apply topically – it is a great facial oil to deal not only with dry, sensitive skin but in so boosting your confidence and balancing your hormones too.
Apply over the abdomen for menstrual problems such as cramping.
It is not only female oil but will also help with prostate problems in men.
- Baths - a couple of drops of Jasmine oil in the bathtub will not only clear your mind but prepare you for bedtime and at the same time give you that emotional boost that you need to overcome immediate problems.
Safety warning – do not use during pregnancy as it is an emmenagogue ( it stimulates the blood flow to the pelvic area)
Sandalwood is very grounding oil and can comfort anxiety and nervousness. The scent of Sandalwood oil is very therapeutic on the brain’s limbic system. Sandalwood essential oil’s chemical compounds are sesquiterpenols which is why it is helpful for mental clarity. If you are using prayer, meditation or mindfulness to relieve your symptoms of depression this is a wonderful oil to use.
How to use Sandalwood essential oil for depression
- Inhale directly – simply open the bottle and take a deep breath. Sandalwood oil is a mood lifter.
- Apply topically – Sandalwood needs to be diluted with a carrier oil. Apply to the chest, wrist and back of the neck.
Aromatherapy massages will be a great way to use Sandalwood oil and you will get the added bonus of human touch which is super beneficial for depression sufferers.
- Diffuse - diffusing a couple of drops of Sandalwood will help with mental clarity and alertness.
- Bath –Sandalwood oil can cause irritation to some people. Anyone with allergies should avoid sandalwood oil in the bath. If you can tolerate Sandalwood then drop 2 drops of Sandalwood Essential oil in the bathwater with a cup of Epsom salt for a relaxing bath and relaxes muscles.
Sandalwood oil is a very valuable oil and therefor also a very expensive oil. Be discerning when you buy oil because often the cheaper option would be a blend. Which is sometimes very handy because it is already mixed with a carrier oil so you can apply a drop straight from the bottle. I would not recommend that you put the blended oils in your diffuser but only using pure oils for your diffuser.
General Safety Information
Always use good quality essential oils, preferably organic. One of my favorite companies where I personally get a lot of my oils from is Plant Therapy.
Do not take essential oils internally or apply essential oils undiluted on the skin.
Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.
Dilute according to body mass. For children you can use a 1 % dilution and for adults 5 %
Pregnant women have to consult with a qualified aromatherapist and or midwife and doctor before using essential oils, especially topically.
If you have liver damage, cancer, suffers from epilepsy or other medical problems and take medicine on a regular basis then you have to use essential oils under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist.
Check whether the essential oil of your choice is safe to use around your pets. Here is a list of essential oils safety for dogs.
So as you can see using essential oils as a complimentary therapy to support the body and mind in dealing with sad or melancholic feelings or when we are trying to get over grief and loss.
I do want to urge you however that you do reach out to our physician if this is a condition that needs to be addressed and not just try and sweeten it up with essential oils.
If you can name it, you can tame it - acknowledging your feelings to yourself is very empowering and self caring.
Take care of you so you can take care of others