Useful Essential Oils
Which essential oils are effective in treating depression?
Traditionally the following essential oils have been used for depression:
- Rose Otto Essential Oil – Dilute it 2% in carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and massage with it or dilute it and use it in an aromatic bath. Note: Do not use during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
- Grapefruit Essential Oil – Diffuse it or dilute it 2% in carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and massage with it or or dilute it and use it in an aromatic bath.
- Jasmine Essential Oil – Diffuse it or dilute it 2% in carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and massage with it or or dilute it and use it in an aromatic bath.
- Bergamot Essential Oil – To use it for anxiety, depression, fear or sadness, diffuse it or dilute it 3% in a carrier oil (15 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the heart and chest area or or dilute it and use it in an aromatic bath. Note: Unless you are using the bergapten-free version, do not use before going out in the sun.
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil – Diffuse it. Note: Use in moderation. Excessive use could cause headaches and/or nausea.
- Clary Sage Essential Oil – Diffuse or dilute it 3-5% in any carrier oil (15-25 drops per tablespoon) and apply on the heart and chest area, or dilute it and use it in an aromatic bath. Note: If Clary Sage is used in conjunction with alcohol consumption, it could accelerate the intoxicating effect of the alcohol. Avoid use if pregnant.
Some other essential oils that may help temporarily alleviate the symptoms of depression are:
- Neroli Essential Oil – Dilute it 2% in carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and apply on those areas of the body where you feel your depression is located.
- Orange Essential Oil – Diffuse it.
- Rosemary Essential Oil – Diffuse it or dilute it and use it an aromatic bath. Note: Avoid use if you have epilepsy, high blood pressure or are pregnant. It should not be used with children who are 3 years of age or younger.
To temporarily help alleviate the other symptoms often related to depression:
- see essential oils for anxiety or try our Anxiety Free Roll-On Relief or Stress Free Roll-On Relief
- see essential oils for sleep disorders or try Deep Rest Roll-On Relief.
For other issues, see Essential Oils To Balance Emotions.
About the Condition
What is depression?
There are many levels to depression. It can simply be a passing mood where you feel a bit down and don't feel like being active. Or it can develop into dysthymia or a major depressive disorder.
What is dysthymia?
Dysthymia" comes from the Greek word meaning "bad state of mind". It is also called mild or neurotic or chronic depression or dysthymic disorder.
It is less severe than a major depressive disorder, but it has symptoms which can last a long time.
Those suffering from dysthymia can suffer bouts of major depression from time to time.
Symptoms of dysthymia include:
- Feeling sad or down most of the time
- No longer experiencing pleasure in things that used to bring enjoyment
- Increase or decrease in weight or appetite
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Fatigue or energy loss
- Often feeling guilty or worthless or inadequate
- Not being able to concentrate or make decisions
- Morbid or suicidal thoughts, suicide plans and/or suicide attempts.
What is a major depressive disorder?
This is also called clinical, major or unipolar depression or unipolar disorder. It can also be called recurrent depression if there are repeated episodes.
The symptoms are similar to those for dysthymia, but it is generally characterized by a greater intensity of the symptoms. A person suffering from a major depressive episode normally cannot continue to work or live a normal life.
What are conventional medical treatments for depression?
Generally anti-depressant medications are prescribed for mild and severe depression. Other options include pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT - also colloquially known as "shock therapy"), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) or light therapy. All anti-depressants have side effects and sometimes they can even be negative ones like increasing the risk of suicide.
What are alternative treatments for depression?
There has been some research showing that St. John's wort can help mild depression. Some find that establishing a good routine with daily vigorous exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, yoga and a regular sleep pattern can help. Some find Ayurvedic herbal preparations useful.
Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for depression. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.