Essential Oils for Anxiety & Depression

Essential oils have been credited with offering some relief in mood disorders.

We all have them…Strong associations with scents and smells that take our minds to another time and another place, that evoke strong feelings and emotions. They can be wonderfully sentimental or disturbing, depending on the memories we so strongly tie to them. And on a visceral, biological level, they can even alter our moods. It’s that very ability to change our moods and our mindsets that makes the concept of essential oils so interesting, as the scents they emit stimulate various parts of the brain during the course of inhalation. In combination with the skin’s absorption of these naturally occurring plant extracts, their scents create a powerful effect that’s been used in holistic medicine for thousands of years; and when you’re looking for natural remedies to create a more healthy, balanced lifestyle, essential oils are quickly becoming one of the top things to try.

Over the course of various studies, essential oils have been credited with offering some relief in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety—and that’s no small thing, considering how many people battle these two issues each and every day. Unfortunately, aside from medications and drugs, there aren’t a lot of treatments. And while those manufactured medicines may have scads of anecdotal evidence and clinical research that supports their efficacy, they also have a few concerning side effects; so if you’re trying to stay away from the pharmaceuticals and take a more natural route, essential oils are a great option.

“There are over 120,000 scientific research articles published on the effects of essential oils, and they’re even being given notice by the medical field for their safety and efficacy. Many hospitals and physicians have also begun implementing the use of essential oils within the modern healthcare system, and they’ve seen tremendous results,” says Clarksville-based doTERRA Essential Oils Diamond rank Wellness Advocate Amiee Conner, a graduate of Webster University with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. A passionate user herself for six years, she's seen—and felt—the benefits of essential oils, and their life-changing effects are the very thing that have made her advocacy of them so strong.

The way they work really is pretty interesting—and not quite as far-fetched as you might be thinking. So just what makes them work? Basically, when specialized nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send signals to your brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. From there, the impulse is processed; and the information about the smell is delivered to other areas of the brain that are nearby, which are called the limbic system. According to research, the limbic system might play an essential role in controlling things like behavior, emotions, memory, and mood—which is where the essential oils come into play.

“One essential oil is comprised of hundreds of naturally occurring chemical compounds that support the body at a cellular level, which makes them especially effective in doing things like boosting the immune system, calming the nervous system, and regulating the digestive system,” she goes on to explain. “They’re extremely safe and can be used topically, aromatically, and internally, but it’s important to know the basic guidelines to maximize their effectiveness.”

Depending on the type of oil you use and the scent associated with it, you’ll reap benefits that include the aforementioned differences in emotions and mood. And while aromatherapy might have its uses, it’s the added benefit of having the oils massaged into the skin and actually absorbed that makes them so effective. Used as part of a mixture, studies have shown strong evidence making a case for using mood-boosting essential oils including:

  • Bergamot

  • Geranium

  • Jasmine

  • Lavender

  • Roman Chamomile

  • Rose Otto

  • Rosemary

  • Sage

  • Yuzu

“For mood enhancement and stress relief, I recommend oils that contain citrus, as citrus oils are naturally uplifting to the mind and body. Peppermint is another essential oil that can help with energy production, and using it aromatically can help open your airways and oxygenate your blood, which in turn, invigorates your senses and increases energy production. Lavender and Roman chamomile are two essential oils that will help promote a more restful sleep, and frankincense is known to help lessen feelings of sadness by promoting feelings of peace and relaxation,” Conner recommends.

​Naturally, if you’ve been prescribed medications like anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs by a doctor, you should never stop taking them without discussing it with your clinician first. It’s important to look at your own symptoms as well as the severity of your case; but in the everyday, day-to-day stresses and battles you wage against gloomy moods that make you feel low-energy and less like yourself sometimes, essential oils are definitely an asset.

Amiee Conner is a Diamond rank Wellness Advocate with doTERRA essential oils. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Webster University. She’s an Army spouse and currently resides in Clarksville, TN with her husband Matthew and their two sets of twins, Caden, Chloe, Liam and Madelyn.