In clinical trials, essential oils have been proven to elevate mood. Because smells are carried directly to the brain, they serve as emotional triggers. The limbic system evaluates the sensory stimuli, registering pleasure, pain, danger or safety. This then creates and ultimately directs our emotional response, which can include feelings of fear, anger, depression and attraction.
Our basic emotions and hormonal balance are in response to the most basic smells. This makes scents very powerful in our day-to-day lives because they’re a direct pathway to memory and emotion — which is why they can fight depression and anxiety.
Lavender oil benefits mood and has long been used to help battle depression. A study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice reported that 80-milligram capsules of lavender essential oil can help alleviate anxiety and depression. The study also showed that there were no adverse side effects from using lavender oil to treat anxiety and depression. This is great news since we know that synthetic medications and psychotropic drugs often have many negative side effects. (3)
A 2012 study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice evaluatd 28 women at high risk for postpartum depression and found that by diffusing lavender in their home, they had a significant reduction of postnatal depression and reduced anxiety disorder after a four-week treatment plan of lavender aromatherapy. (4)
Yet another study showcasing that lavender aromatherapy improves mood was done on people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can result in depression. Lavender had amazing results, showing signs of enhanced moods. The results revealed that the lavender oil, when used daily, helped decrease depression by 32.7 percent and dramatically decreased sleep disturbances, moodiness and overall health status in 47 people suffering from PTSD. (5)
To relieve stress and improve sleep, put a diffuser by your bed and diffuse oils while you sleep at night or in the family room while you’re reading or winding down in the evening. Also, it can be rubbed topically behind your ears for the same benefits.
How to Use Essential Oils for Depression
There are several ways you can use essential oils for depression.
To relieve stress while improving sleep, put a diffuser by your bed and diffuse oils while you sleep at night. You can also rub topically behind your ears, on the back of the neck, your tummy and bottoms of the feet.
Essential Oils for Depression Risks
Use any essential oils sparingly, whether internally or topically. High levels might cause reactions and sensitivity, so be sure to do a skin patch check before using on a regular basis. You also want to use caution if you take blood pressure medications or have an existing heart condition. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any new treatment.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor first.