Plants are the source of essential oils, which are highly concentrated extracts of plants. They have a number of therapeutic uses, such as relieving discomfort in the back and neck and warding off mosquitoes. The usage of these tools has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of depression for certain persons.
Some studies show promise for using essential oils as a supplemental therapy to standard treatments for depression such behavioral therapy and medications.
Aromatherapy describes one popular application of essential oils. Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, including inhalation and massage.
Essential oils may have some benefits, but they should not be used in place of conventional treatment for depression.
Here we explore the potential of essential oils as a treatment for melancholy.
Can depression be alleviated by diffusing essential oils?
Certain essential oils have been demonstrated in several trials to alleviate the emotional and physical manifestations of depression.
The sleep patterns of college students who experienced sleep problems as a result of depression were found to improve after inhalation of lavender oil, according to a study conducted in 2016.
Asarum heterotropoides (wild ginger) essential oil was shown in a separate investigation to alleviate depressive-like behaviour in rats. Because of the fundamental differences between human and animal psychology and brain architecture, investigations conducted on animals rarely yield useful insights.
Using essential oils like lavender may help with sleep and overall quality of life, according to some 2021 human studies. Sleep disturbances are a common symptom of depression.
Anxiety disorders, which frequently coexist with depression, may also respond favorably to essential oils. Researchers have found that approximately 43% of persons with anxiety and stress seek alternative therapy to assist alleviate their symptoms.
Essential oils should be used with the same degree of caution as any other alternative treatment. Consult a medical professional or trained aromatherapist before using essential oils.
There is some evidence that essential oils may have health advantages, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that the FDA does not oversee or control the quality or purity of these products.
Before utilizing essential oils, a person should consult a doctor and do some homework on the reliability of a given brand’s offerings. Before using a new essential oil, a person should always perform a patch test.
Potentially helpful oils
People have found some essential oils effective in treating some symptoms of depression, and there is developing scientific evidence to back these claims, but there is no evidence to suggest that any one oil is appropriate to treating depression in its entirety.
The following essential oils have been shown in a 2021 review to have potential in alleviating depression.
|Essential oil||Possible benefit/s|
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
manage blood pressure
|Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)||reduce anxiety boost mood|
|Yuzu (Citrus junos)||“reduce anxiety|
|Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)||lower levels of cortisol in saliva, suggesting stress reduction|
|Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)||“reduce stress and anxiety|
|Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)||reduce anxiety|
|Sage (Salvia officinalis)||boost mood|
|Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia)||boost mood|
|Combined lavender and Damascus rose (Rosa damascene)||“reduce anxiety|
|Combined lavender, ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), and neroli (Citrus aurantium)||reduce anxiety|
In the past, there hasn’t been a ton of hard data lot back up claims that essential oils are effective. But recently, scientists have found proof that essential oils can influence the brain system and other bodily systems. These results may shed light on the efficacy of various essential oils, as well as which oils are most useful in specific situations.
Evidence for essential oils quality
Essential oils have been investigated for their potential to treat depression in a number of studies, but the quality of the evidence is inconsistent, making it difficult to draw clear conclusions.
It’s challenging to conduct studies with essential oils since both participants and researchers are likely to be familiar with the oils’ aromas. This takes the trustworthiness out of an experiment by eliminating the element of chance.
Furthermore, the FDA does not require essential oils to be approved before they may be sold, and there are no standards for the contents. Since oils can differ in potency, chemical make-up, and purity, comparing them can be tricky.
Essential oils are often administered in different ways, making it difficult to generalize from research.
Therefore, many studies examining the efficacy of essential oils for treating mood disorders and stress have yielded conflicting results.
There needs to be more study done on essential oils before doctors can prescribe them for treating depression.
On the other hand, when used in conjunction with conventional treatments for depression, they may have a positive impact on the quality of life for certain people and decrease the severity of their symptoms.
Why do we need essential oils?
Manufacturers obtain essential oils through solvent extraction from plant materials like bark, flowers, leaves, stems, roots, and more.
The chemicals are often extracted from the plant via distillation using steam, water, or mechanical processes, including cold pressing. An essential oil is the byproduct of a distillation operation. They are sometimes misnamed “oils,” yet their viscosity can range from thin fluid to thick, viscous sludge.
The majority of research on the link between essential oils and depression has focused on aromatherapy. A person practicing aromatherapy may inhale essential oils through the nostrils or mouth, or they may mix the oils with a carrier oil and massage the diluted mixture into their skin.
Carrier oils like olive, almond, avocado, or coconut oil, combined with a few drops of an essential oil, are what make up massage oils.
In addition, doctors advise that you get a skin prick test for allergies before you try any essential oils.
Three drops of essential oil diluted in a tablespoon of carrier oil should be rubbed over the inside of the forearm in an area the size of a quarter to determine if there is an allergic reaction. After the first 24 to 48 hours, if there is no sign of an allergic reaction, it should be fine to use.
After repeated use, some people may develop sensitivities to essential oils. It is important to discontinue use and avoid inhaling the scent of the product if a new allergic reaction develops.
The inner workings
Essential oils include compounds that, when absorbed via the skin, have an effect on the body. Moreover, they can use inhalation to stimulate specific regions of the brain.
Smells are detected by particular nerve cells in the upper section of the nose, which then send an impulse down the olfactory nerve to the brain, specifically to the olfactory bulb.
The olfactory bulb receives the impulse and transmits the scent data to other parts of the brain in the immediate vicinity. The term “limbic system” is used to describe these other regions.
As a group of brain regions, the limbic system is thought to play a pivotal role in the regulation of cognition, emotion, memory, and disposition.
Potential Harmful Effects and Risks
Essential oil users should exercise caution for a number of reasons.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy are not regulated by the FDA, thus a consumer may not be aware of the product’s specific composition or purity.
It’s possible that essential oils could cause the following side effects:
An allergic reaction, skin irritation, or poisoning from ingesting oils.
How to use oils safely:
Not everyone can take them, and they may interact negatively with other medications, so it’s important to talk to a doctor before trying them.
Before utilizing an oil, consult with an aromatherapist for guidance or treatment.
Essential oils should never be ingested.
Get your oils from a reputable vendor to make sure they include no harmful chemicals and are of sufficient grade.
Before applying to the skin, always dilute with a carrier oil like almond oil.
If any unwanted consequences develop, it’s best to get help right away.
Avoid using them on infants and when pregnant because we don’t know how they’ll react.
Think about anyone else who might be exposed to the aromatherapy. Some individuals may have sensitivities to oils, and some oils may be harmful to animals.
However, more study is required to determine the effects of essential oils when combined with other therapies or drugs.
Essential oils are not suitable for human consumption and should never be ingested, even if the FDA has approved certain oils for use as food additives.
Questions that usually get asked about essential oils
The following are responses to frequent inquiries on the use of essential oils in the treatment of depression.
I’m looking for recommendations on an essential oil to help with depression.
Studies on lavender have yielded encouraging results. Alternatively, chamomile and rosemary are also viable alternatives.
Is it true that essential oils can assist ease anxiety?
Anxiety may respond well to the aromas of lavender, sweet orange, yuzu, and rosemary.
Which oils are best for getting to sleep?
It has been suggested that lavender and chamomile can aid in sleep quality by their calming aromas.
Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils, which are concentrated plant liquids obtained through distillation. Efficacy of essential oils, such as lavender, in alleviating depressive symptoms has been studied.
However, more research is required to verify their efficacy.
Essential oil users should consult a medical professional or trained aromatherapist to learn about the best ways to put them to use.