Mental health

Aromatherapy and mental health

Essential oils for depression: lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, and chamomile

There are various sources that can be found online that talk about the mental health benefits of aromatherapy with certain essential oils.  I started using aromatherapy daily almost a year ago.  Mostly I use a diffuser but I also have a few topical roll-ons.  It’s hard to say if there’s any therapeutic benefit aside from the very real benefit of a regular practice of engaging in self-care, but if nothing else it smells really nice.

An article by Dr. Axe lists a top 4 of essential oils for depression:

  • Bergamot: calming, works well in combination with lavender
  • Lavender: useful for stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • Chamomile: soothing, calming
  • Ylang ylang: boosts mood, mild sedative

Other essential oils that may be helpful are rose, geranium, clary sage, jasmine, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, frankincense, wild orange, lemon, patchouli, grapefruit, and neroli.

I get most of my essential oil blends from Saje Natural Wellness.  I specifically pick blends that contain mental health-boosting oils.  My favourites are Embrace (which includes ylang ylang, patchouli, and geranium, among others), Stress Release (with lavender, clary sage, geranium, and roman chamomile), Tranquility (with lavender, ylang ylang, and roman chamomile), and Unwind (with lavender, bergamot, and geranium).

I subscribe to a sort of the more the merrier holistic approach to mental health.  My treatment-resistant depression doesn’t seem to be inclined to budge, so I throw at it whatever I can come up with in the hope that any little bit helps.  And if what I’m throwing at it happens to smell nice, so much the better, meaning I will keep taking care of myself with aromatherapy.

 

To read about whether aromatherapy is the real deal or just very pleasant placebo, check out Are Essential Oils a Placebo or Something More?

 

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Ashley L. Peterson

 

My new book, Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic, everything up to and including the kitchen sink look at how to put together the pieces of your unique depression puzzle. It’s available on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as the MH@H Store.

 

34 thoughts on “Aromatherapy and mental health”

      1. It’s possible I don’t either, because I know it from a shampoo from a hotel that’s rosemary and ylang ylang, I think, but I know rosemary and it is the best thing I’ve ever smelled, so…

  1. Aromatherapy is the best! The smell of rain, the ocean, cut grass. Orange to lift my spirits. Lavender to calm me down. Perhaps sandalwood or geranium, grapefruit so fresh mixed with vanilla. 😇🕊🎶🎶

  2. That’s such a good idea … I’m throwing everything at my anxiety and depression too and yet aromatherapy simply hadn’t crossed my mind. Thanks for the inspiration! Katie 🌼🌼

  3. I use lavender quite often. We diffuse in my house also. My mother has done quite a bit of research on the oils and we use them frequently.

  4. What a lovely post – I always unwind with an oil diffuser full of lavender or bergamot – it calms me down straight away and smells absolutely amazing!

    If you ever want to contribute a post on holistic approaches to managing mental health, we’d love to invite you to submit something to our site – we appreciate a wide range of techniques that may be completely foreign to those without any experience.

    All the best, and thanks for the great read!

    Fred
    Off Your Chest blog

  5. I agree–treatment resistant depression is a BITCH, but it’s always a good idea to find ways to be kind to yourself. Often when my depression is the worst, I can’t bring myself to do these things anymore, but when I feel a little better, maybe only mildly depressed, then I think self-care is very helpful. Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

    1. One of the things I like about aromatherapy is that it doesn’t take any effort, which makes it easier to stick for self-care with when the depression is really bad.

  6. I have a very weak sense of smell. (I don’t know why, but my vision is also horrible, and I’ve been half-deaf since birth.) But I still love the concept of alternative treatments!!

    1. In theory the essential oil would still be getting absorbed into your body and so could still be beneficial even though it’s not as pleasant an experience. Or it could all be mumbo-jumbo – who really knows!

  7. Wow Ashley, I once knew some guy in Arusha Tanzania who had this big case of those oils, and treated me to a massage and bath twice with some. Do I need to add I fell head over nuts with him? Yet to find some here but love the lavender in anything home thing I can get like the air fresher and etc

  8. I can’t remember for the life of me to stock any essential oils when I run out, but I generally feel the same way. The placebo effect is statistically real, so why not enjoy a nice smelling placebo effect if you can get one?

  9. This post just hit the spot as I have finally received my aroma diffuser today! So stoked about it and can’t wait to use it. Will definitely take into account the essential oils you mentioned x thanks so much!

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