Disclaimer: I did receive one or more of the products mentioned in this article for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
A fantastic and mysterious relationship is continuously unfolding between plants and their surroundings but to those of us who love plants, this is no surprise. Plants constantly perform an alchemy with water, soil, air and sunlight. The nearly infinite possible combinations of plant genetics and environmental conditions have allowed for an almost immeasurable diversity of alchemal floral expression, resulting in a vast array of natural botanical materials. These range from simple foods to gourmet fruits and vegetables, rich exotic spices to effective medicinal herbs and from enchanting natural perfumes to complex therapeutic essential oils. The key to find these amazing plants is to continue searching the jungles and rainforests, after all nature is the true master of creation. The more you know about plants – and their healing properties, the more amazed you will be.
The line between plants that produce foods and medicinal herbs is a fuzzy one. Science regularly reports newfound medicinal effects that they have found in plants once taken for granted; many fruits contain some of the world’s most potent anti-cancer agents. The same goes for tea. Green tea is one of the most potent anti-oxidants known. Don’t forget about spices! Cinnamon may prevent the onset of debilitating diabetes – and the list continues to grow. This same lack of distinction exists between natural fragrances and therapeutic essential oils. The oil of a rose, laden with Citronellol, does triple duty as a perfume, an effective agent against the herpes simplex virus and an uplifting aromatic that can help one open up emotionally after a traumatizing experience. Roses are also edible and rose hips are rich in vitamin C.
The use of ‘alternative’ therapies is on the rise as more individuals turn to the wisdom of nature for assistance for all types of ailments, both physical and psychological. Interestingly, the source of most ills, from a naturopathic point of view, is being out-of-balance with nature. This can range from eating unnatural, processed foods to following unnatural cycles or living in unnatural environments. A lack of balance with the earth, from which we are made and upon which we live, leads to ‘disease’ in our bodies and minds. Don’t believe it? Consider how you feel when you walk outside barefoot or work in the soil. When any part of your naked body touches the earth you are being grounded. It is a very healing feeling. As plants have created their wondrous botanical materials in a process guided by the rhythms of the heavens and earth, look to ‘plant wisdom’ to lead your way back into balance.
A depressed emotional state is a common reason for using complementary and alternative therapies. A wide range of psychological, physical, and energetic issues can lead to feelings of depression and a pervasive outlook of negativity. Once you are in a state of depression, patterns can arise that make relief all the more difficult to find – and believe me, I have been there, prescription medication is not the answer to the problem although I do admit it can help short-term. The use of essential oils for uplifting the psyche and spirit is becoming more widespread because of the oils’ broad and dramatic effects. While the oils themselves may not directly affect the underlying cause of depression, they may help individuals break free from their depressive cycles – they may provide the impetus to ‘get off the couch’, so to speak, and begin creating long lasting change. Many natural healers believe depression to be a result of, like many other ills, of being out of balance; being unable to ‘sync up’ with the natural state of harmony that permeates the universe. For this aromatherapy can be a very powerful means to infuse one’s body and mind with the most concentrated, sublime botanicals nature has to offer. This is what I chose to do to help me remain off prescription anti-depressants and break my cycle of depression.
In humans, the olfactory region is an area of about 2 and a half square centimeters, and is located in each of the two nasal cavities between and below the eyes. Containing approximately fifty million primary sensory receptor cells, this region is highly intricate, being 10,000 times more perceptive than the sense of taste. When compared to sight, we find that olfaction is more complex – it is able to distinguish a nearly infinite number of element compounds at very low concentrations. In order to perceive the visible spectrum, humans use only three types of photoreceptors; in contrast, the sense of smell relies on several hundred distinct classes of receptors. This is amazing when you stop to think about it.
Modern research has shown natural plant oils stimulate multiple regions in the brain, including those functions that control the endocrine, immune, and limbic centers. Essential oils have a direct and profound effect on the deepest levels of the body, emotions, and psyche. Through inhalation, essential oils have a strong and immediate influence. Passing through the capillary beds of the sinuses and activating the olfactory nerves, volatile plant oils enter the brain, producing direct and powerful systemic effects – the most immediate being on the emotions. Our emotions and our sense of smell have very strong ties – perhaps more than with any of the other four senses. This is why smelling a certain perfume or other scent can trigger memories – both good and bad. The medicinal properties of essential oils, through their ability to support physiological healing, can also be of great benefit to the heart and mind. A Korean study on the effect of aromatherapy on pain in patients with arthritis found that receiving massage with lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint oils significantly decreased both the pain as well as their mental depression levels.
Following are some oils that have a reputation for being up-lifting. Some of these combinations may have a marked effect on the symptoms of depression. These oils can be used alone or in combination in an aromatherapy diffuser or in an aromatherapy massage oil. Using them in both a diffuser and a massage oil allows them to be inhaled and absorbed through the skin concurrently.
Bergamot (pressed from the peels of bitter oranges) has a strong reputation for its ability to gently uplift. In terms of Chinese medicine, this is a direct result of its smoothing the flow of Liver-Qi (‘Chi’ or Life Force), the liver being thought of as the seat of the eternal soul. Bergamot combines the ability to both relax the nerves and refresh the Spirit; it is suitable for many types of depressive states.
Neroli (from the flower of bitter oranges), like Bergamot, regulates the Qi – and like Jasmine flower oil, comforts the mind and heart. Neroli is called for at a core level, for the type of depression that comes from nervous and emotional exhaustion. Neroli uplifts the mind and Spirit with its potential to nourish and unify. Neroli assists in retrieving and releasing repressed emotions, with potential to nourish and unify a fragmented psyche. Neroli is specifically indicated for individuals who, in order to escape from emotional pain and suffering, cut themselves off from their feelings and senses.
The Chamomiles (German and Roman) are wonderful oils to use when the depression manifests in a moody, irritable, dissatisfied outward expression associated with stagnant Liver-Qi. These flower oils are earthy, rich, and grounding with subtle uplifting qualities. Be aware that those who suffer from hay fever might be negatively affected by the use of Chamomile.
For those who suffer from an overly aggressive depression, it often involves an imbalance of joy and love – the root emotions of the heart and mind. Joy is an extension of spiritual essence or innate sense of harmony and perfection, an experience of emotional and spiritual well-being. The depression that afflicts the heart involves a loss of one’s natural sense of joy. There is often an accompanied lack of enthusiasm and interest as well as an inability to become inspired. Rose otto – steam distilled rose essential oil – or Rose Absolute may have a profound effect on this state. Rose is thought the premier heart opening aromatic, bringing joy, uplifting and restoring balance.
What follows are a few recipes for uplifting and releasing depressed emotional states – use your intuition to find the right one. Often, the single essential oil or blend you find most attractive will be the one that serves you best. Experiment, explore, and have fun with these fantastic gifts of nature. These blends may be used in a diffuser or candle lamp, unless where a carrier oil is indicated – blends with carriers are intended specifically for aromatherapy massage.
For releasing and opening the heart:
1 part Rose
3 parts Sandalwood
1 part Sweet Orange or Bergamot
3 parts Jasmine
1 part Ylang Ylang
1 part Sandalwood
Brightening, refreshing and uplifting:
3 parts Bergamot
1 part Ylang Ylang
1 part Grapefruit
2 parts Bergamot
2 parts Clary Sage
1 part Frankincense
3 parts Sweet Orange
1 part Lemon
1 part either Jasmine or Neroli
1 part (Roman) Chamomile
1 part Vanilla
10 parts Carrier oil of choice
Floral and earthy:
1 part Neroli
1 part Vanilla
1 part Orange
1 part Sandalwood;
1 part Chamomile
1 part Bergamot
1 part Helichrysum
Single oils can be used and should be used so one can learn the different energies of each plant.
For depression associated with negativity:
For a profound lack of joy:
For overthinking and worry:
For pessimism, regret and remorse:
For doubt of one’s capacity to cope with overwhelming situations:
For cases of moderate to severe depression, professional help should always be sought. It is important to consider if you one requires professional help if the depression is overwhelming – while aromatherapy can provide support in a significant number of situations, it may not be for everyone. Essential oils can safely be used in conjunction with other treatments – consult your care giver to ensure there are no conflicts if medications have been prescribed. I had to seek out a grief counselor for a while – and a friend helped me find one, plus take anti-depressants to get me past the worst of my depression. I must say the essential oils really helped and that is the only thing I am using now. I find that a combination of lavender, eucalyptus, lemon and peppermint is the most beneficial for me.
Simply Earth Peppermint Essential Oil Review
The brand of peppermint oil I am using now – and really enjoying is called Simply Earth. I can tell it is pure essential oil by the scent alone because I do distill my own peppermint essential oil. I love that this comes in 15ml amber glass bottles. It is important that essential oils are protected from sunlight and the amber glass bottles are the best for doing this. This particular brand of peppermint essential oil is not diluted or filtered and it is non-toxic. Peppermint essential oil is also a great one for colds or migraine headaches if you suffer from those. Besides all the great things about the essential oil itself, Simply Earth shares their profits to help end human trafficking. This is pretty important in and of itself. It is also a good choice of an essential oil for anxiety which often goes hand-in-hand with depression. As someone who suffers from both I simply cannot stress enough – that even though I am not a doctor – this peppermint oil has been one of the oils that has helped me. As always I encourage you to seek advice from a licensed medical doctor and believe me, there are ones who do believe in both the science of medicine and natural cures.