02-08 Essential oils can help ease depressive symptoms

Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Treatment

Essential oils can help ease depressive symptoms

Essential oils, extracted from different parts of plants like leaves, seeds, roots, bark and flowers, have been used in aromatherapy for around 6,000 years. Many ancient civilizations, including India, China and Egypt, practiced aromatherapy as an alternative therapy.

Today, aromatherapy can help complement mainstream medication or therapy. Essential oils, a mixture of alcohol, esters, aldehydes, ethers, ketones, oxides phenols, and saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, with characteristic odors are said to possess healing properties. These oils can be used for various purposes – as mosquito repellents or even pain relievers. They can also be used as antidepressants and de-stressors. Essential oils have a global market of over $700 million.

Essential oils cannot be used for standalone therapy

Essential oils can help but not treat depression. They can be used in combination with behavioral therapy and antidepressants prescribed by a registered practitioner. They cannot be a standalone therapy.

Aromatherapy is gaining ground across the world as an effective technique to manage other mental health problems like anxiety, insomnia, stress and cognitive disorders. According to a research study “Aromatherapy in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders,” published in the CNS Drugs, aromatherapy or the use of essential oils can help treat a range of psychiatric disorders. In addition, the study also reported that aromatherapy is free from the adverse effects that many conventional psychotropic drugs have.

A 2016 study, “Aromatherapy In Major Depressive Disorders (MDD),” suggested potential benefits of essential oils in the treatment of psychological disorders associated with depression. Authors Anuj Kumar and Abhay Jayprakash Gandhi suggested that the action of essential oils in the body is similar to other drugs. When administered (inhaled or dermally applied), they enter the blood stream and have psychological effects.

The human body absorbs essential oils in three ways, via:

  • Olfactory and respiratory systems (administration of drug via inhalation),
  • Transdermally (administration of drug through skin route, e.g., massaging and bathing), or
  • Orally, in the form of capsules, medical preparations or as additives to food.

Most of the essential oils act instantly and have both direct and indirect psychological effects.

Researchers have supported the favorable role of aromatherapy in the management of psychological problems, including depression and anxiety.

Essential oils alleviate depression

Here is a list of essential oils that can help alleviate symptoms of depression:

  • Lavender: Application of lavender oil may significantly inhibit anxiety and depression.
  • Bergamot: Evidence suggests that bergamot may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Roman chamomile: It may help relieve stress and worry, ease depression and an overactive mind.
  • Ylang Ylang: It is known to have a favorable effect on depression, anxiety, stress and palpitations.
  • Rose: Research suggests that rose oil is relaxing and is effective in alleviating depression and stress.

Some other essential oils that may have a calming effect include basil, ginger, jasmine and grapefruit.

Aroma of healing

Essential oils could be an effective way to get immediate relief from depression and anxiety. However, they cannot replace mainstream treatments like behavioral support and antidepressants. Therefore, it is best not to solely rely on essential oils for treatment of depression and other related mental illnesses. Timely intervention can help in faster recovery from depression. One must not delay or things can get out of hand.

If you or your loved one is battling depression contact the Depression Treatment Centers of California to find the best depression rehab centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 or chat online for further information.


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