Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting tens of millions of adults aged 18 and over according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
The ADAA points out that is it not uncommon for those who suffer from one of these disorders to also suffer from the other. And the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates 16 million adults in America suffer from at least one major depressive episode every year.
“Depression can be a dangerous health condition which can lead to severe consequences, including suicide, if not addressed correctly,” says Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., author of “Cycles of Life, Herbs for Women.”
“Therefore it is a health concern that should be evaluated by a licensed professional. However, there are times when self care is appropriate. For example, if the depression is mild, seems to be a passing phase within a short period of time, caused by a specific event such as moving, retiring or some other life change or linked to SAD [Seasonal Affective Disorder], natural therapies can be helpful.”
Among the most powerful antidepressant therapies are pure essential oils.
Kamhi tells Newsmax Health that aromatherapy – the use of essential oils as inhalants – engages the olfactory system that connects the nasal cavity to the brain. The natural constituents of the oils help bring the brain back into balance and relieve stress and mild depression.
“Do not confuse essential oils with herbal extracts,” she says. “While herbal extracts are prepared by soaking herbs in water or alcohol, the production of essential oils requires a more sophisticated process of distillation, which yields a highly concentrate product.
“Using essential oils as an inhalant is a safe way to experiment with these scentsational, powerful products.”
Kamhi recommends placing a few drops of oil on a cotton ball and placing it near your nose. You can also make a refreshing mist by filling spray bottle with 3 ounces of pure spring water and adding 10-12 drops of essential oil or place the oils in a diffuser, carefully following the directions.
Some of the essential oils that can be useful in staving off depression are: