Essentials oils have caught the eyes of individuals seeking natural and alternative medicine. But their use of therapeutic benefits is not anything new. The use of these plant extracts dates back to the origins of aromatherapy and have been central to human wellness and health for many centuries. Aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts, such as CBD oils, to promote a healthy body, mind, and spirit. For example, CBD oil from Sunday Scaries can help in stress relief.
It’s hard to imagine aromatherapy without essential oils. Aromatherapy and essential oils are sometimes used interchangeably. Some essential oils have antimicrobial activity, while others have anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, sedative, and antidepressant.
With mental issues on the rise, scientists are focusing on its use in curing mental health issues. It also comes at a time when people prefer natural remedies with little or no adverse effects. The anecdotal and clinical evidence that essential oils could help with a range of mental health problems explains its increasing popularity.
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Benefits of Essential Oils for Mental Health
1. Stress-Relieving and Antidepressant
Even though depression is a mental health problem, its symptoms include both physical and emotional signs. Depression can affect the way an individual thinks, feels, and acts. People use essential oils to relieve the symptoms of depression. While they are not a cure, and your depression will still exist, they can help manage the symptoms.
Scientists are not sure how exactly essential oils work through aromatherapy. However, they believe that the chemicals found in essential oils trigger olfactory receptors in the nose to signal parts of the brain that controls mood.
Different essential oils have different chemical pathways in which they interact with the body. Some, like lavender, have a calming effect. Scientific evidence shows that lavender tincture provides similar therapeutic benefits to the antidepressant imipramine.
Lavender can help with the symptoms of mild to moderate depression when used as adjuvant therapy. There is not much evidence to support the antidepressant benefits of essential oils. But animal studies prove that they carry potential benefits that can be useful to humans. As is the case with other benefits of essential oils, their antidepressant effects have mainly been studied on animals. While there is strong evidence of their effectiveness, it is necessary to note that the human brain is far more complicated than animals.
2. Nervousness and Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in life, but others worry too much. Too much worry causes anxiety, which, when chronic, can interfere with the quality of life. Essential oils can help with relaxation and calm worries. Various essential oils such as lavender, Frankincense, and Blue Tansy’s can help relax the mind. Frankincense promotes feelings of relaxation and peace, while Blue Tansy’s scent provides an exciting feeling.
Many essential oils contain rich concentrations of the chemical linalool, which inhibits anxiety and sadness. Linalool is naturally available in cinnamon, cypress, ylang-ylang, lemon, tangerine, rose, and spearmint. Linalool has a soft, sweet scent that produces anxiolytic effects. The odor that linalool produces gives its anxiolytic effects since observational studies show that it’s triggered by olfactory input.
The effects of linalool are antagonized by flumazenil, a selective GABAA receptor antagonist. These findings indicate that linalool’s anxiolytic effects are mediated through γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) ergic pathway via benzodiazepine (BDZ)-responsive GABAA receptors.
The conclusion on linalool’s chemical pathway is that it acts similar to benzodiazepines (BDZs), a class of anxiety drugs that modulates γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) ergic. Studies show that linalool odor induces anxiolytic effects in mice, but there is a need for more studies to find out if it works on humans. Regardless, aromatic compounds, such as lavender extract, works well as alternative therapies for patients suffering from anxiety.
3. Sleep Problems
If you are experiencing sleep disturbance, such as finding it hard to fall asleep or staying asleep, essential oils can also improve sleep quality. A recent study found that inhaling lavender enhances the quality of sleep among individuals who experience sleep problems.
Geranium, Egyptian, and lavender are some common essential oils used in aromatherapy to improve sleep quality. While research on their benefits is limited, these compounds are widely recognized as natural sleep aids. Essential oils from plants such as Cistanche tubulosa and Mexican bay leaf have mood-enhancing effects, which decrease feelings of depression and thereby indirectly improve sleep. Essential oils used for sleep problems generally have sedating effects, which help relax the mind. Some help slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, which initiate relaxation or thwart feelings of anxiety.
In the fast-paced world of today, life’s pressures can be overwhelming. You may find yourself depressed, feeling anxious, and even losing sleep due to a heavy mental workload. The solution can sometimes come from unfamiliar sources. Essential oils can help you manage anxiety, depression, feelings of nervousness and improve your sleep quality. Many hospitals use these oils to help patients relax in the waiting room or even in the wards. But even though these oils can help, you should not use them as replacements for your usual treatment.