Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Articles

Essential Oils to Help with Depression

By Myschell Lyndle

Depression is largely seen as a negative state of being; but personally I don’t see it that way. In myself, my friends and clients I have seen depression manifests in many ways and has a variety of symptoms. We are complex beings and I believe that depression is a way of our body telling us that something deeper in our being is out of balance. This may be in the physical but will often have its roots in the emotional, spiritual or mental.

Whatever the reason for the depression, anyone suffering will need support.  It really helps for the person to ask friends or relatives to hold an imaginary safety net for them while they are going through this process, (because it is a process and it will change). Everything in life changes all of the time. The safety net will help because when the person asks for the support, this will ensure the person is not alone and that friends and / or family are aware of the delicate situation the person is in. As a corner holder we also have a responsibility to check on the person and their progress. We become a keeper. ‘I will look after you’.

The state of extreme dejection or morbidly, excessive melancholy, may be experienced and may go on for some time.  A mood of hopelessness and feelings of inadequacy may also be experienced.

Depression is categorised into two sectors:- Clinical and Circumstantial. If not addressed the person may suffer with loss of energy and painful symptoms like ME. This may come with physical symptoms such as, reduction in vitality, vigour, or spirits.

Mental Symptoms Include:

  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Having low self-esteem 
  • Feeling tearful
  • Feeling guilt-ridden
  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others 
  • Having no motivation or interest in things
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • Feeling overly anxious or worried
     

Physical Symptoms Include:

  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual 
  • Change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) 
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Lack of energy or lack of interest in sex (loss of libido)
  • Changes to your menstrual cycle
  • Disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)
     

Social Symptoms Include:

  • Not doing well at work
  • Taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends
  • Neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • Having difficulties in your home and family life
     

Essential Oils For the Treatment of Depression:

Clary Sage
This stout plant, 1 metre high plant has large hairy leaves which are green with a hint of purple. It bears small blue flowers. This herb was held in high esteem in the middles ages for its medicinal properties. Clary Sage is:  Antidepressant (helps to alleviate depression), Aphrodisiac (stimulates sexual desire), Carmative (sedative), Nervine (strengthening and toning to the nervous system). This is a wonderful oil to use when the source of depression is hormonal or post natal.

Jasmine
A beautifully delicate evergreen shrub / vine will grow up to 10 meters in height. It boasts an array of delicate bright green leaves and star shaped, highly fragrant white flowers. Jasmine is an Antidepressant , Aphrodisiac (stimulates sexual desire), Galactagogue (increases the secretion of milk) this would help when depression is post natal, Sedative (calming for the nerves).

Lemongrass
 This fast growing tall, aromatic grass is also employed in traditional Indian medicine. It acts as a sedative on the central nervous system. Is: Antidepressant , Antimicrobial (resists or destroys pathogenic micro-organisms), Antipyretic (reduces fever), Insecticidal, calmative. Lemongrass is my absolute favourite for using to life my spirits while driving, added to lint and lodged in the car it makes a wonderful freshener with medicinal properties.

Ylang Ylang
Is a tall tropical tree with large, tender, fragrant flowers which can be pink, mauve or yellow. In Indonesia it has been recorded that these beautiful flowers are spread on the beds of newlyweds. Ylang Ylang is wonderful for calming the nerves and taking away frustration. It is also: Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Anti-infectious, Euphoric, Hypotensive, Nervine, Sedative, Stimulant (circulatory), Tonic.

As with Anxiety, it is essential that we try to address the cause of the depression in order to resolve the problem permanently. There are therapies which will help the person move through the healing process and each person will need to find the right therapy for them. When this is not possible or the path to full recovery is a slow one then the use of Essential oils will act an excellent management option. Managing the symptoms will largely depend on what presents within the person. The essential oils are chosen to address these symptoms and the method of application will depend on the symptom itself.

Firstly it is essential that the person seeking help has no allergies or contra-indications to Oils. This can be easily determined by carrying out a test on a small area of the skin just behind the ear or knee prior to using larger quantities. This is especially important for people who will be using Essential oils as part of a full body massage and who already have tendencies toward allergies.
 

Circumstantial Depression / Clinical depression

Major stressors in life can bring on circumstantial depression such as a divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, the economy, or any factors that will negatively affect our life. These can be very debilitating and usually trigger this type of depression. When these triggers are present we must look at the length of time these symptoms have been present, the number and type of symptoms; and the family history which may be relevant.

The length of time for circumstantial depression symptoms will usually coincide with the duration of the stressful events. Again this is not an exact science in making the distinction between circumstantial depression and clinical depression. Circumstantial depression is quite normal and these stressors should bring on feelings of low mood, sadness, and other symptoms. Emotionally healthy people grieve over these situations. Circumstantial depression will typically subside once the stressors are no longer present or it will decrease as one learns to cope with the situation.

Sometimes the major stressors in life will trigger clinical depression; when this occurs, making the distinction between circumstantial depression and clinical depression can be a challenge. We may look at the symptoms to see if they exist long after the stressful events have ceased. Again suicidal thoughts are a sign of clinical depression. Sometimes a patient responding positively to an antidepressant will confirm that the disorder is one of clinical depression because the medication is treating an imbalance of chemicals which are the underlying cause of clinical depression. Chemical imbalances are typically not associated with situational depression; however, some genetic studies (genes can cause a predisposition to depression), are showing that exposure to long periods of trauma or stress might turn certain genes on or off (environmental stress), or cause them to mutate and affect the chemistry of the brain. We have discovered that the more stressors or traumas that one has had, the more vulnerable one is to developing depression; especially in those who are genetically predisposed to clinical depression.
 

How to Use Your Essential Oils

Inhalation: Oils can be used individually or in a blend of equal parts. 2-3 drops on a tissue and inhaled when one feels the rush of anxiety. Refresh every few hours.

Bath oils: Individual or in a blend of equal parts 6-8 drops added to a small glass of milk and blended into warm, but not too hot bath water. Soak 20 mins and then use body wash of your choice.

Massage oils: Seek the advice of a qualified practitioner regarding the quantity right for you and apply oils, blended into a carrier oil, in sweeping strokes toward the heart.

Room infuser: Individual or blend of equal parts added to the infuser as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This can be used at night to help assist peaceful sleep.

Car infuser: Individual or a blend or equal parts can be added to a small piece of lint and lodged in the vent of the car so air can travel through the vent and release the oil into the surrounding air.

The advice above is not to be taken instead of medical advice. It is important that your medical professional is aware that you are suffering with Anxiety or Depression. Anxiety can precede Depression, therefore it is essential to address this as soon as possible.

Please contact a qualified Aroma therapist for further advice.

 

About the author / more information

Myschell has extensive experience in Electrolysis, Advanced Cosmetic Procedures and is the owner of Aesthetics Inc. which she has been running for over 17 years. Myschell continues contribute to the development and education of Specialist Electrolysis.

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