Anxiety and depression are common emotional disorders that can affect any person at any time. Although stressful events make us anxious and depressed, in most cases, anxiety and depression are stimulated by low levels of brain chemicals that regulate mood.
For ages, plant essential oils have played an important role in alleviating anxiety and depression. They work by calming the mind. Free from adverse side effects, essential oils are considered safer alternatives to pharmacological antidepressant drugs.
Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression
The pleasing fragrance of lavender essential oil helps to reduce anxiety and depression. The anxiolytic and antidepressant properties of lavender oil have been demonstrated in several studies. The efficacy of lavender oil in calming the mind is attributed to the psychological as well as physiological effects of inhaling the vapors of the volatile oils of lavender. Linalool, a prominent bioactive constituent in lavender essential oil, relaxes the mind by regulating the activities of the GABA receptors in the brain. It improves transmission of signals between neurons, suppresses acetycholine production and prevents glutamate accumulation in the brain, thereby slowing down progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that cause chronic anxiety and depression. Aromatherapy with lavender oil causes significant reduction in anxiety and depression. You can experience the anxiolytic and antidepressant activity of lavender oil by supplementation with 100 to 200 ml of lavender oil daily.
The essential oil of sandalwood is traditionally used in religious ceremonies. The sweet woody fragrance of the essential oil calms the mind. Hence, it was considered an important ingredient in spiritual rites in India. In traditional Indian medicinal texts, inhaling the fragrance of sandalwood oil is recommended for alleviating the symptoms of mental disorders. Alpha-santalol, the main active constituent in sandalwood oil, affects the physiological parameters.
The fragrance of jasmine essential oil provides respite from anxiety and depression. When you inhale jasmine oil, the molecules of the volatile oil enters the lungs, from where they are transported to the brain through the blood. Brain scans have revealed that the sweet fragrance of the oil affects the GABA receptors on the nerve cells, which helps to calm the mind. Inhaling jasmine essential oil improves sleep and reduces anxiety and depression. Moreover, the jasmine oil molecules are believed to affect the areas of the brain that regulate emotions.
The sweet fragrance of geranium essential oil helps to calm the mind. It is traditionally used in Egyptian folk medicines for reducing stress, eliminating bad memories and negative emotions and raising the spirit. The anxiolytic and antidepressant properties of the volatile oils of geranium are attributed to the compounds linalool and geranyl acetate. The molecules of the oil transmitted to the brain through the bloodstream are believed to affect the regions of the brains that control emotions.
Ylang-ylang essential oil helps to soothe the mind. It contains linalool and geranyl acetate, compounds that affect the GABA receptors in the brain. Inhaling the sweet scent of ylang-ylang oil or aromatherapy with the essential oil helps to alleviate depression, improves sleep and relaxes the body and mind.