Best Essential Oils for Depression & How to Use

Quick Answer: Best Essential Oils for Depression

  1. Bergamot Essential Oil
  2. Clary Sage Essential Oil
  3. Frankincense Essential Oil
  4. Lavender Essential Oil
  5. Basil Essential Oil
  6. Orange Essential Oil
  7. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
  8. Jasmine Essential Oil
  9. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
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Depression is a mental and physical state of sadness and negative thoughts that disables a person to enjoy or show interest in daily chores or habits. [1]

It is common, to experience it once in a blue moon, but when days of hopelessness, tiredness, sadness and negative feelings turn into at least two weeks; this condition is known as Clinical Depression. [2] [3]

It leads to a physical and emotional breakdown. The person shows no interest in activities once enjoyed and changes the way he or she thinks, acts or feels. [4]

Women have a higher prevalence of depression.[5]

Causes can be a failure, emotional breakdown, or death of beloved, heredity, thyroid problems, and menopause, etc.

It could be anything that triggers the imbalance in the so-called ‘happy hormones' that are serotonin and dopamine (useful for habit formation and motivation). [6]

Common symptoms include mood swings, disinterest, lost feeling, disability, remotely attentive, thoughtful, guilty and sad, eating disorders (overeating or under eating), sleeping long stretches or not sleeping at all, fatigue, and lastly suicidal or talking of death.[7] [8]

Physically it can lead to joint pain, headache, back pain, digestive problems, and disturbed sleep. [9] [10]

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are volatile extracts from leaves, roots, the rind of fruits, flowers, resin or gum, stem, barks, twigs, nuts, seeds of plants.

They are also known as essence, volatile oil, aetheroleum or etheric oil. They are highly aromatic and have low molecular weight.

These oils are rich in constituents such as saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ethers, ketones, phenols, and terpenes.

They are utilized in cosmetics and toiletries, therapeutic remedies, flavor and fragrance, food, perfumery, and pharmaceutical industries.

Volatile oils are steam distilled or cold-pressed from plant parts having secretary glands, secretary hair, duct, cavities or resin ducts.

They are administered using aromatherapy in spas, steam inhalation, vaporizer, room diffuser, bath blends, topically used as massage oils, lotions, creams, gel, and oral administration, though available but seldom used in form of gelatin capsules or mixed with honey.

Essential Oils For Depression

The fragrance of essential oils stimulates our olfactory receptors. They are capable of boosting and uplifting moods [11].

Grapefruit and tarragon oils have uplifting properties.

They relieve anxiety and tension. Essence oils are stress busters.

Depression can cause body aches which can be easily cured with the use of essential oils as they are analgesic.

Oils such as Basil, Frankincense, Rose, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Cedarwood and many more are uplifting and potent antidepressants.

Their antispasmodic action cures spasms which can be a symptom of depression.

There aperitif property helps to encourage appetite, and food consumption. They increase the satiety level, thereby decreasing depressive mood.

Calmative nature: Volatile oil works on pressure points and relieves both physical and mental tension and calms nerves.

Depression and brain function distortion are primarily related. These oils show a strong cephalic role and impart positive stimulation and clear mind.

These oils constitute esters and aldehydes which have calming and relaxing effects on the nervous system. [12]

Neroli oil is a great choice to treat chronic anxiety, mental shock, depression, despair, and stress. A study reports its recommended use to treat anxiety. [13]

Antiaris toxicaria Lesch is a tall tree, whose leaf extracts have been reported to possess antidepressant, anxiolytic and anti-cataleptic effects in a study done on mice model. [14]

Rose oil alleviates depression and its use dates back to 50 years. [15] It effectively treats postpartum depression.

Rose geranium oil and Sandalwood oil are also recommended for the treatment of anxiety and depression. [16]

Thyme oil is compelling in alleviating postpartum depression, melancholy and re-balances mental distortion. It induces courage, strength in an individual.

A study on the mouse model reported its antidepressant effects. [17] Thymol is the key bio-active monoterpenes responsible for alleviating depression-like symptoms. [18]

If you or any of your beloved is going through this tough but curable phase, go ahead and use the following oil blends to pump yourself with the happiness booster and Voila! You are good as new to take on to the world.

Best Essential Oils For Depression

Essential oils are used since ages to induce happiness, strength, activity both physically and mentally. Their actions are as effective as stimulating drugs.

They induce courage, motivation and positive energy. These extracted oils have properties working on every ‘chakra' (energy points in the body) [19].

Continue reading below to know the benefits and use of these powerful oils in alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress in you. overall rating

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is has a warm and spicy fragrance.

Black peppercorns or berries of a woody vine are sources of the oil. They are used due to their highly aromatic and yields more percentage of oil.

This is known as ‘Sunny oil' because of its calming, energizing and uplifting effect.

Sometimes we get depressed due to cold, gray weather which is also known as ‘Seasonal Affective disorder’, bergamot oil is ideal to be used in a diffuser for such days.

Research shows terminally ill cancer patients, in a home care setting, when given aroma hand massage as a treatment showed a significant decrease in pain and depression.

The blend was made with bergamot, Lavender and Frankincense essential oil in a ratio of 1:1:1 diluted in 50 ml sweet almond base oil. [20]

It has been shown to reduce preoperative anxiety when administered in a diffuser form.[21] The oil is also an appetite regulator, thus helps in returning to normal weight.

The use of the anxiolytic property of bergamot oil attenuated anxiety and stress in rat hippocampus species when administered by inhalation.[22]

Best way to use:

  • Used in the bath, massage and room diffuser, taken as the key ingredient of ‘Earl Grey Tea’ for combating anxiety, nervous tension, and depression.
  • Antidepressant bath: make a blend of 3 drops of bergamot, 3 drops of rosewood, 3 drops of lavender, and 2 drops rose otto. Add this to your bathwater. [23] overall rating

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage oil is extracted from white and violet flowers and flowering tops and has a nutty and herbal fragrance.

The sweet and musky oil is highly uplifting and deeply relaxing. It helps in perceiving and revitalizing. [24] It is locally also popular as Saliva plant

Therapeutic analgesic action ceases abdominal pain, headaches, and cramps.

It is as powerful as a drug to alleviate depression, melancholy, and sadness. It is known to reduce stress.

The oil ought to be avoided with alcohol consumption, recreational drug usage, pregnancy and children below 18 years of age.

Best way to use:

Sleep inducing Bath blend:

  • Take ½ cup milk; to it add Lavender oil (3 drops), Roman chamomile oil (2 drops), Clary sage oil (1 drop), Marjoram oil (1 drop), and Ylang Ylang oil (1 drop)


  • Pour milk into a glass bowl.
  • Add all the essential oils to the milk bowl.
  • Take a warm bath and this blend to bathwater.
  • Soak yourself in it until the water cools down after bath dry off and go for a sound sleep.[25] overall rating

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil is steam distilled from resin of the plant. The source of oil is from the leaves of the tree having pinnate shape.

The balsamic fragrance shows rejuvenating and uplifting activity on the body. It provides warmth.

It gives emotional strength and courage through its rich and fresh aroma.

The oil promotes awareness, self-consciousness and brings out from depressive trance.[26] [27]

The oil eliminates sadness, anxiety and uplifts the person.

Best way to use:

Anxiolytic bath Blend: Make a mix of 10 drops each Frankincense, Patchouli, and Bergamot essential oil and store in a dark-colored glass bottle.

Now for bath session, put 3 drops of this blend, diluted in little carrier oil and enjoy the rejuvenating aromatic baths. [28] overall rating

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is extracted from flowering tops. Lavender flowers are spiked blue-violet and the method employed is steam distillation.

The plant is an aromatic green woody shrub and has a sweet, floral aroma.

The oil essentially works on activating the pineal gland and balances body functions. It gives emotional stability. It creates mental alertness and imparts clear thinking. [29]

Linalool and linalyl acetate shows antidepressant action central nervous system when used as massage therapy. [30]

The oil reduces serum cortisol levels, a hormone responsible for depression and anxiety levels. [31]

The oil has positive effects to relieve depression.[32] It is a mood stabilizer and induces positivity, has a hypnotic effect on a person.[33]

Consuming lavender tea and aroma inhalation for two weeks has shown lower fatigue and depression levels in postpartum females. [34]

In a study, women having a high risk of postpartum depression were treated with a blend of Lavender and Rose otto for 15 minutes.

The therapies included inhalation or massage technique and reported significant improvement in postpartum depression and anxiety. [35]

Another research reported the use of a blend of Lavender, Marjoram, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Peppermint essential oil in 2:1:2:1:1 ratio were blended in almond, apricot and jojoba oil showed significantly decreased pain score and depression in the experimental arthritis patients.[36]

Best way to use: Relaxing and muscle easing massage blend

Blend: Take 20 ml carrier oil in a dark-colored glass bottle, now add 4 drops of lavender essential oil, 4 drops rosemary essential oil, and 2 drops ginger essential oil.

Let this lend synergize for 8 hours.

Store this dark-colored bottle in the refrigerator when not in use.


  • Add a few drops 3-4 on your fingertips and start massaging the oil into the skin wherever you have pain and aches.
  • Repeat the treatment as necessary to relieve pain. [37] overall rating

Basil Essential Oil

Basil oil is pale yellow tinged oil. This is steam distilled from ovate leaves of an annual tender herb.

These leaves have a dark green color with an herbal aroma that is penetrating and refreshing.

It is rich in antidepressant properties and stimulates the adrenal cortex. The oil detoxifies channels of the mind and helps to come out of depression.[38]

A meridian related to the brain has shown its maximum effectiveness in the presence of basil oil.[39]

This oil exhibits its powerful use in psycho-behavioral conditions such as depression.

The oil is a mild stimulant, aids in awakening senses and restoring physical mental strength.[40]

The oil sharpens the lethargic mind and alleviates mental fatigue. It is beneficial in countering depression and clears the mind off any negative thoughts.

Best way to use: Make a blend with 15 drops Basil, 5 drops ginger, and 5 drops coriander essential oil.  Use 5 drops of this blend in 5 ml carrier oil and massage on your body [41]. overall rating

Orange Essential Oil

Sweet Orange essential oil as the names suggest has a sweet rich aroma. The oil is cold-pressed from leaves and end-branches of an evergreen tree.

A study (2018) demonstrated that Geriatric depression can be easily treated with 30 minutes of massage aromatherapy or inhalation aromatherapy.

The blend used for intervention was lavender, sweet orange and bergamot essential oil in a ratio of 2:1:1 that was diluted in sweet almond oil at 1% concentration and administered two times for eight weeks. [42]

Another recent research (2019) showed terpenes in orange oil increased levels of serotonin and dopamine in mice brain while exhibiting antidepressant-like effects in them. [43]

A present study (2019) showed limonene in orange oil on inhalation ameliorated depressive behavior in CUMS mice. [44]

Best way to use: Happiness inducing

Blend: Yes! You read it right blends can make you happy, take19 drops of sweet orange essential oil, 5 drops of Rose Maroc essential oil, 5 drops of Jasmine essential oil and 1 drop of clove bud essential oil.

Dilute this in 30 ml of carrier oil and make effective body oil. overall rating

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil is extracted by the method of steam distillation. Beautiful deep blue colored flowers of strongly aromatic herb are used.

The oil has a warm, sweet, herbal scent.

The oil is an effective sedative, its aroma relaxing mind instantly and inducing peaceful sleep.[45]

Chamomile oil balances mood swings, emotionality, and anxiety [46]. It restores the raged and depressed mind. [47][48]

A study on the rat model showed Roman chamomile rich in alpha-pinene exhibited antidepressant effects on inhalation of oil. [49]

Best way to use: Room diffuser blend


  • In the water of room diffuser, add lavender essential oil- 10 drops, Sandalwood essential oil – 4 drops, Chamomile essential oil – 6 drops, Ylang Ylang essential oil – 4 drops, and Neroli essential oil – 1 drop.
  • Turn on the diffuser and relax mind and body in the aroma for at least 15 minutes to let it soak in the olfactory channel and release anxiety, depression from the body. [50] overall rating

Jasmine Essential Oil

The oil is a holistic treatment to ward off apathy, it’s stimulating action increases brain wave activity. [51]

A study done on 20 healthy people showed inhalation of jasmine essential oil along with sweet almond oil reported increased activity of brain after administration.

The oil-infused positive emotions, active and fresh feelings among participants. [52]

It is beneficial to treat severe depression and promotes confidence and optimism in the person. The oil is revitalizing and restoring.

Further research showed its effectiveness in treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes pain and depression in climacteric women. [53]

Another study measured the potential use of oil in human autonomic parameters and subjective behavioral components.

Massage therapy with 1 ml of 20% jasmine oil in sweet almond showed participants to be mentally more alert, increased breathing rate and more oxygen in blood indicating towards stimulating the power of oil and its remedial use in depression. [54]

Best way to use: Anti-stress body oil [55]

Blend: Jasmine oil (6 drops), Cistus oil (2 drops), May Chang oil (10 drops).

For massage use, 2 drops of this blend in 5 ml of carrier oil and massage throughout the stressed body part. overall rating

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang- Ylang essential oil is extracted from large yellow and pink tropical flowers of cananga tree. This tree blooms year-round and is based in Indonesia.

The oil is pale yellow and intensely exotic, sedating and sweet-spicy scent.

Studies have shown increased attentiveness and alertness in study participants. [56]

The oil has a relaxing effect and relieves stress and depression in people.[57] Its use builds self-esteem in people.[58]

A study showed Transdermal absorption of oil eased relaxed participants and is of potential use in stress and depression. [59]

Best way to use: Administered using bath blends.

Blend: Use Ylang Ylang oil (8 drops), lavender oil (20 drops), Roman chamomile oil (12 drops), Sandalwood oil (8 drops), Neroli oil (2 drops), add this to 20 ounces of sweet almond base oil.


  • Take a big dark-colored glass bottle and carrier oil along with all the oils.
  • Blend this well and keep for a few hours to synergize.
  • Take a warm bath and add 5-10 ml of blend in the tub.
  • Keep this bottle in the refrigerator and soak in the bath for at least 15 minutes. [60]

Now let’s learn another simple and effective blend: soothing, antidepressant inhaler.


  • You need an organic cotton pad and aromatherapy inhaler.
  • 15-20 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil.
  • Place a cotton pad in the inhaler tube and add oil.
  • Breathe vapors every morning to give a boost refreshing start. Repeat treatment before bedtime.

Precautions While Using Essential Oils

Overdose of anything is harmful; the same goes for essential oils.

They are highly potent and concentrated. 2-3 drops in an undiluted blend, 10-20 drops in a diluted blend or as directed are great for therapeutic purposes

Do not use essential oils near eyes, inner ears, genitals or mucous membranes due to the risk of allergy or sensitivity.

Always perform a patch test on the inner arm to know of any allergic reactions.

Do not step into the sunlight for at least 6 hours after use, as these oils can cause photosensitivity.

The use of some essential oils is contraindicated during pregnancy. For children below age 5 and People with a condition or ailment, they should be cautious while using oils.


Depression is a mentally and physically draining state. The person is exhausted and loses the ability to clearly think and work.

Essential oils are great choice to ward off depression as they strike an emotional balance, rejuvenates person internally and externally, and their bioactive constituents work on balancing hormone in the body.

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