The four best essential oils for depression
Ashley M Heidi Carter BS, LMT
How often have you found yourself mildly depressed and chosen to lift your spirits by going shopping? How many times has a shopping trip turned into a visit to the salon or day spa for a haircut, highlight or polish change? It’s a common pattern among men and women and even more common among those diagnosed with a number of mood disorders such as Bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders as but two examples.
Current research on the use of essential oils as a method to alleviate symptoms of underlying mental health disorders is ongoing. CAM or Complementary and Alternative Medicine research is described as being in its infancy and this is not inaccurate. Criticisms have been made about research design and/or methodology as well as other flawed approaches ad nasuem since the 1980’s. What may be notable to consumers of essential oils is that researchers use different medical models and terminology when conducting research. For example, a study by Buchbauer and Jirovetz in 1992 uses a definition of aromatherapy that limits the benefits of essential oils to exclude any method of delivery that is not olfactory, or based on the sense of smell alone. This is representative of the hypothesis tested. If you don’t know the precise definitions of the medical model that was used to test a hypothesis, how do you know if you’re using the product in the appropriate manner to achieve the results you’re looking for or if you’re truly experiencing a scientifically based relief of symptoms or just the often hyped side effect of a natural view of psychology known as the placebo effect? Even within the CAM industry, the definition of holism and holistic varies between the way it is defined by public health and the way it’s marketed by private industry.
To help you navigate the uncharted waters of research literacy, free vs. paid research access, marketing hype, as well as the plethora of mainstream and alternative medical models, here is a short list of the four best essential oils for treating depressive symptoms.
- Lavender: Effective sedative that induces sleep. Lavender is off limits to those who have been diagnosed with epilepsy and that those who experience seizures of any kind should consult their doctor before using or exposing themselves to Lavender essential oils or any fragrance containing lavender.
- Peppermint: Noted for its focusing and uplifting effect on those engaged in task based activity typically associated with high stress.
- Neroli: Neroli is an excellent nerve tonic for anxiety. It is frequently an element in aromatherapy blends for this purpose. Orange Blossom is also derived from the same plant and is not as highly regarded by professional aroma therapists as having quite the same effects Neroli.
- Melissa: Excellent oil for reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. Frequently an element in aromatherapy blends for this purpose. Melissa and Lemon Balm, which is derived from the same plant, are both contraindicated for those who are pregnant or nursing.