Essential Oils for Depression

In my previous post on natural remedies for depression, I shared two ways to help you – using colour and gentle exercise. Today, I’m going to look at the essential oils you can use to ease symptoms.

Please remember if you are currently taking medication to consult your doctor if trying any herbal/complementary methods, and always seek medical advice before reducing or stopping regular medication.

Essential oils can work as a little ‘boost’ on different levels. Simply inhaling the scent of oils triggers smell receptors in your nose, which connect to areas of the brain that relate to mood.

Oils can be used in a variety of ways – including adding them to the bath, making a blend with massage oil, or simply adding them to a diffuser/burner. I have an Aroma Stone which is great for subtle scent release (I currently have Basil and Ginger on the go!)

When looking for oils to help you, some of the best ones to alleviate the effects of depression are:

  • Bergamot
  • Jasmine
  • Basil
  • Rose
  • Clary Sage
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Neroli
  • Geranium

Tip – before blending any of the oils, take a selection of the bottles and sit with one at a time (or simply add one oil to the bath or a clean diffuser and focus on that one) – inhaling it’s scent as you take some deep breaths. Then ask yourself:

  1. Does the oil bring any physical sensations? For example, does it smell pleasing, ok or horrible? Does smelling it cause any tightness/pressure in any area of the body, or reactions such as sneezing/coughing?
  2. Does the scent bring up any particular thoughts or thought processes? Acknowledge any thoughts, but try not to follow them and distract yourself from working with the scent.
  3. Are any emotions coming up for you when you inhale this particular scent? Can you feel these emotions in a particular physical part of your body?
  4. Any other sensations or changes in how you and/or your physical body feels since sitting with the oil?

Keeping a written record of how a particular oil affects you on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level will enable you to find which ones are beneficial for you to work with and use in a personal blend.

It may also be worth getting a basic book on essential oils/aromatherapy, so you learn which oils tend to have a sedative effect and which stimulate. For example, someone with depression who is struggling to keep up with the demands of everyday life may benefit from a mix of calming but also stimulating oils – whereas a stimulating oil would probably not be appropriate for another person who is currently experiencing hypomania.