Essential oils have many purposes. It is used in serving as a natural mosquito repellent and also in reducing pain. New study reveals that essential oils can help in treating depression. Essential oil cannot cure depression and should not be used as alternative to prescribed medicines to treat depression.
Essential oils can however be used as a complementary therapy in conjunction with conventional treatment such as antidepressants and behavioral therapy. Studies on essential oils are hard to conduct because researchers and participants do not know what essential oils are being used. Because of this, many studies that explore essential oils and its effects on anxiety and depression are inconclusive.
Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from bark, leaves, flowers, stems, roots and other parts of plants. Oils used in aromatherapy are either inhaled through the nose or mouth or rubbed on the skin. Essential oils are mixed with carrier oils such as olive or coconut oil before it can be applied to the skin as it may cause allergic reaction, sun sensitivity and skin irritation in some people.
A research article summarizing systematic reviews on aromatherapy and its application for depression, hypertension, anxiety, dementia and pain relief concluded that aromatherapy is an infective therapy for any of the conditions. More research is required to better understand how essential oils can be used as a first line treatment for depression.
However, essential oils can be used as a complementary therapy as essential oils may improve and reduce individual symptoms and enhance the effectiveness of other treatment. Essential oil’s chemicals interact with the body when it is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. When inhaled, it can stimulate some areas of the brain. The limbic system of the brain which is responsible for memory, mood, behavior and emotions are stimulated with the smells of the oil.
To find out how essential oils interact with other treatment and medications, further research must be conducted. The use of essential oils is not recommended for children, breastfeeding women, and pregnant women as its effect is still unknown. Anyone considering using essential oils must speak to a doctor or aromatherapist to discuss potential risks and benefits as reported by Medical News Today.
According to a study done in 2008, 58 hospitalized hospice patients with late stage cancer received general massage or a hand massage for seven consecutive days. People who received the aromatherapy massage had significantly reduced depression and reported less pain as reported in an article by healthline.