Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety

Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety

In their search for more natural and less harmful solutions, many people use essential oils for depression and anxiety.  In fact, a majority of depressed people actively seek holistic remedies simply because some medicines can lead to an addiction.

It’s reported that about 80% of all people living with clinical depression dramatically improve the quality of their lives with adequate treatment. However, that treatment does not necessarily have to be in the form of psychotherapy or medication. Instead, knowing the best essential oils for depression and anxiety is sometimes the best idea.

The Most Common Symptoms of Depression

It’s important to understand that depression can occur in either single or multiple episodes throughout one’s entire lifetime. During said episodes, related symptoms may be experienced daily or less frequently. Vital to understand as well, depression is not a natural part of aging, pregnancy or parenthood. Therefore, symptoms should be monitored closely.

Some of the most common symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness
  • Idea fixation or obsession
  • Feeling empty
  • Hopelessness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Body aches, including:
    • Back pain
    • Joint stiffness
    • Stomach aches
    • Indigestion
    • Headaches
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Sleep problems, including:
    • Daytime drowsiness
    • Insomnia
    • Sleeping too much
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in food behaviors, including:
    • Decreased appetite
    • Increased appetite
    • Food cravings
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Problems with decision-making
  • Anti-social behaviors

In extreme cases, people with depression have recurrent bouts of suicidal ideation or attempts. While there are several essential oils for severe depression, anyone thinking about self-harm should seek professional help immediately.

Treatments and Cures

Depression’s billion-dollar economic impact is enough to cause alarm, but the cost of human suffering cannot be measured. The CDC reports depression-related suicide as one of the leading causes of death in America.  It’s nearly 3 times more common in families where clinical depression has been previously diagnosed. Fortunately, there are several treatment options to choose from.

Although quickly waning in popularity, prescription mood-regulating medications are as frequently used as psychotherapy. The effects of both vary from person to person, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, the connection between essential oils and depression is becoming more respected and understood, albeit still underutilized for the most part.

This is especially true considering the fact that there are at least half a dozen essential oils that have been proven to provide positive effects on a depressed person.  Furthermore, most essential oils for depression and anxiety present minimal negative side effects, if any. As treatments and cures continue to be developed by physicians and scientists, it’s important to keep alternative options like essential oils in mind.

What Are Essential Oils?

Understanding how to treat depression with essential oils requires some basic knowledge of them. Defined as a concentrated hydrophobic liquid, an essential oil is referred to as “essential” simply because it contains the essence of the plant from which it was derived. Dispensable to the human body, these oils are not produced by any organ and cannot be obtained through food.

Instead, essential oils must be extracted from a plant’s roots, rinds or leaves. Although most essential oils evaporate completely and leave no stain or residue, that’s not the case with them all. Furthermore, certain essential oils can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Be mindful of chemical sensitivities and ingredients, as this is the first step to knowing what essential oils are good for depression.

Often called “volatile compounds,” essential oils can react to other substances and create a potentially dangerous situation. When used properly, however, there are numerous essential oils that help with depression without putting anyone’s health at risk. In fact, essential oils are generally viewed as a completely safe alternative to psychoactive drugs.

The 5 Best Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety

Perhaps the reason behind essential oils’ good reputation is their performance in clinical trials. Studies show that many essential oils can help elevate a person’s mood through simple aromatherapy. Used by the brain as natural emotional triggers, the scents of some oils directly affect the limbic system – a primary component in the brain responsible for managing sensory inputs and emotional processing. In simpler terms, the best essential oils for depression possess extremely potent aromas and have the capacity to work very quickly.

Because our most basic emotional responses are tied to the things we smell, it makes sense to use essential oils for depression instead of pharmaceuticals and invasive or embarrassing therapies. The right aromas at the right times can boost mood, alleviate stress and fight the symptoms of depression naturally. For your consideration, therefore, the following are commonly thought of as the five best essential oils for depression, anxiety and other mood disorders:

  1. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense has been used for millennia in resin form, either during spiritual ceremonies or for medicinal purposes. Made from the Boswellia genus species of trees, frankincense essential oil for depression is a clean and holistic alternative to traditional medicine. It is made from sap and typically contained in metered-dosage bottles that are mixed with little to no fillers or additives.  Frankincense features a unique woodsy scent that’s warm, rich and pleasant to the senses.

As one of the most aromatic essential oils known to man, its potent aroma promotes a deep sense of relaxation. Not only does frankincense essential oil open up the air passages and subsequently reduce blood pressure, but it also directly effects the brain because it naturally contains neuro-active components that boost mood and balance hormones.

  1. Bergamot Essential Oil

If you read a few essential oil for depression reviews you’ll likely find bergamot mentioned at least a few times. The reason for that is quite clear: bergamot’s aroma is extremely stimulating and can initiate a whole host of positive emotions simply by improving blood circulation to vital organs and body systems. Known by naturalists as a powerful anxiety remedy, bergamot was officially proven effective in a recent study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Other studies reveal bergamot’s ability to help treat depression and the symptoms thereof, especially when it’s combined with other essential oils that also affect mood. However, bergamot is a strong substance with or without complementary oils and must sometimes be diluted or used in moderation. When used alone, it can lower blood pressure, reduce breathing rates, induce relaxation, improve attentiveness, and revitalize mental and/or physical vigor.

  1. Lavender Essential Oil

Safe, gentle and effective, lavender is one of the best essential oils for postpartum depression. Commonly used in various forms as a natural weapon against things like insomnia, anxiety, indigestion, skin irritation and mood disorders, a recent study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry supports the centuries-long holistic trend. Other studies confirm their preliminary findings.

As it turns out, young living essential oils for anxiety and depression contain the potency and purity needed to get the job done without needing mixed with other substances or combined with over-the-counter and prescription medications. When used properly, lavender essential oil (even in capsule form) helps to alleviate disruptive neurological symptoms that are directly tied to mood – nervousness, nausea, general malaise, etc.

  1. Vetiver Essential Oil

Although not exactly the best-known essential oil on the planet, vetiver is perhaps the most useful in the fight against depression, anxiety, anger and postpartum hormone imbalances. While sometimes difficult to use and potentially harmful to those with allergies and/or sensitive skin, vetiver interacts directly with the central nervous system and features an extremely distinct smell that’s not only potent and immediately recognizable but also pleasant and long-lasting.

Furthermore, vetiver essential oil may help to reduce body pain and hypersensitivity – two symptoms that often plague those with depression and/or anxiety. When used properly, and especially when combined with other essential oils on this list, vetiver absorbs into the bloodstream quickly to provide swift yet gentle relief.

  1. Chamomile Essential Oil

Easily attainable and commonly respected as one of the best essential oils for depression and anger, chamomile’s soothing effects are widely known and even backed by modern science. In fact, chamomile essential oil is sometimes used as an aromatherapeutic treatment option for animals. Found in many modern-day health and beauty products, chamomile smells great and is generally safe for those with allergies and sensitive skin.

The oil, regardless of its form, can instill an immediate sense of calm in an otherwise nervous or anxiety-ridden person. Chamomile essential oil naturally tranquilities the nerves while elevating mood and supporting a more balanced sleep cycle – three common challenges that people with depression and/or anxiety face. Generally, however, chamomile essential oil is either inhaled through a diffuser or applied directly to the skin.


Although not always effective for every case of anxiety or depression, the right essential oils can be useful to many people. While some cases of depression and anxiety require more invasive treatment techniques such as psychotherapy and/or medication; however, most bouts of the blues can be remedied with essential oils.  It’s important to keep in mind, therefore, that a little market knowledge and discernment go a long way.

With so many options out there, buying essential oils can seem like a daunting task. Below are 5 things to look for when searching for the best essential oils for anxiety and depression:

  • Ingredient Quality

You may find that many essential oils have the same ingredients. It’s crucial to consider the quality thereof. You wouldn’t eat a rotten apple; don’t use essential oils that are derived from low-quality sources.

  • Potency

You want essential oils that are potent enough to produce the side effects desired. Although some manufacturers list the oil’s potency on the label, many do not.

  • Quantity

While some essential oils are rarer and therefore come in smaller, more expensive bottles, the quantity should always be conducive with the quality and cost. Don’t be fooled by suppliers who try to sell you tiny containers at ridiculous prices; there are plenty of good deals available.

  • Labeling

Look for essential oils that are sold in containers that have labels with plenty of information on them. Although the simple look may be attractive, it’s not always the best bet for those making purchases from an unknown manufacturer.

  • Process

If possible, find out how the essential oil was made. Organic, cold-pressed options are always best. However, each oil is unique and is thus derived in its own way.

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If you enjoyed this article, you have to check out my article, The 7 Essential Oils Everyone Should Use.