Essential oils are timeless and have been used since time immemorial, for example the Egyptian priests used aromatic substances not only for embalming their pharaohs but also in their role as “psychiatrists” for treating many manias, depression and nervousness. As a naturopath addressing issues like anxiety or stress is not only very prevalent at the moment with the Covid crises we are all experiencing but it’s also for me a major one to delve into during the first consultation with my patients. As we know many physical illnesses stem from emotional or mental traumas and distress. One of the most satisfactory aspects of using essential oils medicinally and cosmetically is that they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind.
Here are my favourite oils and how to use them to help alleviate stress, anxiety and related afflictions.
1) Lavender essential oil (lavandula officinalis or lavandula augustifolia) is a must have in your basic home care kit as it has such a wonderful wide scope. So if you have to have just one, this is the one. It is an antidepressant, sedative, helps reduce anxiety and insomnia (which is a by-product of being stressed) it is also a mood tonic and helps to deal with the psychological shock of injury too.
2) Bergamot essential oil (citrus bergamia) is known to help reduce anxiety and stress and thereby alleviate symptoms of depression. The oil’s α-Pinene and Limonene constituents make it uplifting, refreshing, and stimulating. Be aware that citrus oils should be avoided topically before direct sunlight or exposure to artificial UV rays as they are photosensitive and can cause permanent damage to the skin.
A study in 2011 (Tapanee Hongratanaworakit 1) found that using both lavender and bergamot oil worked synergistically to help reduce anxiety and stress. Furthermore, the study concludes “This finding suggests a decrease of subjective behavioural arousal. In conclusion, our investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils. This synergistic blend (90ml sweet almond oil, 9.6ml Lavandula angustifolia, 0,4ml citrus bergamia) provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans.” 1ml of the mixture massaged on the lower belly for 5 minutes.
Topically you can use the following formulas, massaged into the skin. Always try on a small patch on your wrist and wait 24 hours to make sure you are not reacting to any of the oils.
Mix all the oils in 5ml sweet almond oil (make sure the oils are well mixed with the vegetable base oil) and massage 3 drops of the mixture on the solar plexus and the internal face of the wrist 2/3 times a day.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) 2 drops
Petitgrain (citrus aurantium ssp aurantium) 2 drops
Mandarin zest (citrus reticulata var. «mandarin ») 1 drop
Mix all the oils in 5ml sweet almond oil (make sure the oils are well mixed with the vegetable base oil) and massage 3 drops of the following mix on the solar plexus and/or on the internal face of the wrist 3 times a day or 6 drops of the mix along the spine twice a day.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) : 1 drop
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata): 1 drop
Ravensare aromatica (ravensara aromatica) : 1 drop
Lemon verbena (lippia citriodora): 1 drop
Mix all the oils in 5ml sweet almond oil (make sure the oils are well mixed with the vegetable base oil) and massage 3 drops of this mixture on the solar plexus twice a day or 2 drops on the internal face of the wrist
Chamomile nobile (Chamaemelum nobile) 2 drops
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) 2 drops
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) 1 drop
Finally the benefits of essential oils can also be enjoyed via a diffuser, this lovely blend will help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation.
Mix 70 drops of Lavender (lavandula angustifolia), 70 drops of Marjoram (Origanum majorana) and 70 drops of Petitgrain (citrus aurantium ssp aurantium) together and use 30 to 60 drops of the mixture in a diffuser. Diffuse the mixture in cycles of 10 to 5 minutes 2 to 3 times a day.
NB: essential oils are very potent and can be harmful if not used suitably. They should be used with care and kept away from children and pets. They should NOT be used by pregnant women unless specifically prescribed by a trained health practitioner.