Many are diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. In 2013, a medical expenditure survey determined that 1 in 6 Americans take a psychiatric medication on a daily basis. Consequently, 90,000 adults and countless children visit the emergency room yearly for side-effects of these medications including, increased depressive or anxious symptoms, brain fog, confusion, heart palpitations, dizziness, muscle spasms, seizures, tics, and psychosis.
Despite these side-effects and the many black box warnings including death by suicide, many continue using them. It is about time we start addressing root causes of these emotional issues such as poor diet, trauma, leaky gut syndrome, toxicity, and nutritional deficiencies. It is also important that everyone recognize the power of plant medicine. Here we take a look at the healing benefits of essential oils.
"Nature itself is the Best Physician." - Hippocrates
It's Not Pseudoscience
Essential oils stimulate the limbic system – the part of the brain involved in memory, mood, motivation, and behavior. And, scientific studies demonstrate that the purest essential oils are powerful plant medicines that have a wide range of emotional wellness applications, including depression.
According to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, essential oil is the oil extracted from a plant through careful steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing. Essential oils get extracted from many parts of the plants including flowers, barks, stems, leaves, roots, and fruits.
16 Essential Oils for Brain Health
Bergamot: boosts feelings of joy, and increases energy.
Caraway: soothing effect, encourages positive thinking, energy, and harmony.
Cedarwood: improves calm feelings, induces sleep, encourages feelings of happiness.
Chamomile: relaxing, helps calm nerves, improves sleep.
Clary Sage: lifts the mood, reduces stress, gives one a sense of security.
Copaiba: a wonderful substitute to CBD oil. It contains antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is fantastic for symptoms of ADHD and autism. It provides neurological, immune, and digestive support.
Fennel: increases motivation, and improves self-esteem.
Frankincense: dispels negative feelings, and promotes focus and calm.
Lavender: helps to bring calm, lifts one’s spirits and helps with sleeplessness. “There is growing evidence suggesting that lavender oil may be an effective medicament in the treatment of several neurological disorders.”
Orange and Mandarin: boosts feelings of joy, alertness, and calmness.
Peppermint: is mood elevating, improves focus, and reduces headaches.
Sandalwood: improves mental clarity and induces calm.
Thyme: relaxes the body and mind, beats depression and boosts mood and memory.
Vetiver: reduces stress, invites sleep, improves patience, boosts concentration, and emotional balance
Ylang Ylang: increases mood and energy levels, and reduce anxiety.
Using Oils Safely
Quality matters: Organic oils from reputable companies or homegrown is the best. You want pure, organic and authentic oils to decrease the likelihood of adverse reactions.
Dilute certain oils: Those rich in aldehydes (e.g., citronellal, citral) and phenols (e.g., cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol) should always be applied with a carrier oil like almond, coconut or avocado. Mixing irritant oils with others to create a blend can also reduce an adverse reaction.
Application: Oil may be applied to the skin or diffused with relatively no risk. Some essential oils are ingestible. However, ingesting oils is not recommended unless under the advisement of a qualified herbalist or alike. Anecdote: It is never one size fits all. Most aromatherapy oil-based blends will be between 1 and 5 percent dilutions, which typically does not represent a safety concern. As one increases dilution, potential dermal (skin) reactions may take place depending on the individual essential oil; and the area in which the oil is applied. One may be sensitive to a particular essential oil, just as they may be sensitive to a specific food. So, make sure to take precautions is always recommended.
Not one size fits all: A particular oil may invite relaxation for one, and may create the opposite reaction for another. We need to remember that we are all bio individual. People with specific allergies to ragweed and other plants need to be more careful about having a similar reaction to oils.
Age matters: Babies and young children may be more sensitive to the potency of essential oils. Certain oils should be avoided, used highly diluted or under the guidance of a certified aromatherapist. To prevent reactions, applying diluted oils to the soles of the feet are often recommended in younger children.
Particular caution should be exercised with potentially toxic essential oils such as Birch and Wintergreen which are both high in methyl salicylate, Eucalyptus which is high in 1,8 cineole and Peppermint which is high in menthol. Elderly clients may have more skin sensitivities so a reduced concentration/dilution may be indicated.
Please be careful about diffusing essential oils around pets. Research them first. Many are too powerful for animals and can cause toxicity and even death.