Using Essential Oils to Help Treat Depression

Using Essential Oils to Help Treat Depression

There are basically two types of depression: feeling down and clinical depression. When you feel down, there is usually a way to “snap out of it.” It might take a little while, sometimes a few days, but it ispossible to get yourself over it and move on. Clinical is caused by a real chemical imbalance in the brain. With clinical depression, you can not just “snap out of it.” You must seek the help of a professional. Essential oils can help you in your treatment but you also may need to take a medication to balance the natural chemicals in your brain.

Deciding on treatment

“The term depression covers a wide range of emotions with differing psychological states, feelings and physical behavior traits. One depressed person may be lethargic and apathetic, feel numb and fatigued all the time, and do very little, maybe sleeping a lot. Another may have a lot of nervous tension, have difficulty sleeping, feel anxious a lot of the time and have bursts of feverish activity. Obviously the two cases require different techniques and remedies with different essential oils.” (8)

As it is completely beyond my province, I will not presume to tell you what medications you should or should not take. That is between you and your doctor. What I will do, is tell you what oils you can use to help you in your treatment. Oils that could complement your treatment. And it is best to talk to your doctor about the essential oils you want to use and how you want to use them. You can also consult with a licensed Naturopath. (To find a licensed Naturopath in your area, please click here.)

Possible oils

Bergamot, Clary Sage, Rose, Vetiver, Red Mandarin, Lemon, Geranium, Jasmine, Melissa, Neroli, Cassia, Ylang Ylang, Lavender,  Sandalwood, Helichrysum Italicum, Orange, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Patchouli, Black Pepper, Coriander, Frankincense, Pine, Rosemary, Juniper Berry, Hyssop, Cinnamon Bark, Tea Tree, Lime, Balsam Copaiba, Basil,

And for more specifics

For apathy and lethargy:
  • Singles: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Orange, Lime, Lemon, Geranium, Rosemary, Juniper Berry, Peppermint, Tangerine. Rose, Jasmine
For nervous tension and anxiety:
  • Singles: Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Lavender, Rose, Neroli,
 Oils for post-natal depression
  • Singles: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Red Mandarin, Geranium, Angelica Root, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Tangerine, Rose, Neroli,

Things to do

  • For post-natal depression, diffuse oils, take a bath, massage them into your belly,  or put on a 100% cotton cloth to take with you during the day to help you feel better. Use as soon as you start feeling the slightest bit down. Begin using the oils right after the baby is born.
  • Flower oils like Rose, Melissa, Lavender and Neroli are great for lifting your mood.
  • Depression can mess up your immune system so using oils will help boost your immune system as well as your depression.
  • When apathy and lethargy characterize depression, then enlivening, uplifting essential oils are called for.
  • Take a bath with oils, “…not least because it makes you do something positive for yourself, rather than relying on someone giving you a massage, which might increase your passivity. Self-massage, however, can be helpful — again because it makes you do something actively to help yourself.” (8)
  • Bergamot is probably the most sunny and elevating essential oil.
  • Peppermint can clear the head and blow away emotional and mental cobwebs.
  • Melissa can help you find a renewed interest in life.
  • For anxiety and nervous tension, you need calming and soporific oils like Lavender, Patchouli, and Sandalwood.
  • Post-natal depression buster oils: Fennel, Clary Sage, and Geranium. Use on own or together in any combination. Use 30 drops in a carrier oil for a massage, 2-3 drops in a room diffuser, or 4-6 drops in a bath. (12)


Here are a few ideas I’ve found in several of my books. Some things for you to try and see if they work and if they give you other ideas. Look through them, try a formula out and see what works for you. For more recipes of oils to treat depression click on the word “depression” in the tagged section at the end of  this article. This will show you all articles referencing it.

*Please note: With any recipe’s involving bath or massage blends, always test on a small part of your skin first before using all over your body. Please be sure your skin can handle the blend before being covered in it.

Depression/Guilt, relaxant

  • 15 drops Geranium
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops Bergamot

Can diffuse or add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. for a massage. (7)

Depression, stimulant

  • 15 drops Geranium
  • 8 drops Neroli
  • 12 drops Nutmeg

Can diffuse or add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. for a massage. (7)

For Guilt

  • 20 drops Sandalwood
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 5 drops Clary Sage

Can diffuse or add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. for a massage. (7)


To Help Mild Depression

  • 4 drops Lemon
  • 8 drops Coriander
  • 4 drops Neroli
  • 3 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 3 tablespoons F.C.O.

To diffuse, add only essential oils and not the carrier oil. For massage, mix all oils and carrier oil. (6)

Mood Uplifting Massage

  • 5 drops Lemongrass
  • 5 drops Geranium
  • 3 drops Basil
  • 2 drops Lime
  • 1 tablespoon F.C.O.

Massage formula into the upper chest, back of the neck, and the shoulders (9)

Mood Elevation Mist Spray

  • 50 drops Rosewood
  • 35 drops Lemon
  • 35 drops Melissa
  • 30 drops Geranium
  • 4 fluid ounces pure water

Combine all ingredients in a 4 ounce, fine mist spray bottle. Shake well before every use. Spritz room liberally and inhale the aroma as deep as you can. (9)

Balance Emotions Massage Blend

  • 3 drops Blend of Jasmine
  • 3 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 2 drops Clary Sage
  • 3 tablespoons F.C.O.

Use as a full body massage. Can also sprinkle a few drops onto a 100% cotton handkerchief to help you get through your day. Can also mix just the essential oils without the carrier oil and diffuse it. (1)

Banish Baby Blues #1

  • 5 drops Geranium
  • 10 drops Neroli
  • 15 drops Grapefruit

Can diffuse, or sprinkle a few drops onto a 100% cotton handkerchief to help you get through your day. Also can add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. and use as a massage oil. (7)

Banish Baby Blues #2

  • 10 drops Bergamot
  • 2 drops Rose
  • 5 drops Clary Sage

Can diffuse, or sprinkle a few drops onto a 100% cotton handkerchief to help you get through your day. Also can add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. and use as a massage oil. (7)

Banish Baby Blues #3

  • 5 drops Angelica Root
  • 8 drops Geranium
  • 6 drops Bergamot

Can diffuse, or sprinkle a few drops onto a 100% cotton handkerchief to help you get through your day. Also can add to 3 tablespoons of F.C.O. and use as a massage oil. (7)

** Periodically I will add more recipe’s, suggestions and uses to this article as I learn more from others or find  more information in my research. So it would be good to check back in occasionally and see if there is anything new.

Other suggestions

Here is what our RMO family members are saying about it on facebook:

  • GE: “I would try the Bergamot first.”
  • NC: “I would go w/ Bergamot. Or other citrus oils or citrus oil blends. Citrus (which bergamot is) are uplifting, vetiver is more calming, relaxing. If you tend towards depression then you need things that are uplifting and energizing. If you are prone to anxieties then you are in need of more calming oils and activities. Good luck.”
  • PY: “Grapefruit, Rosewood, and Frankincense blend is a very good mood combo.”
  • CF: ” I take Vetiver, Valerian, & Orange at night to help me to sleep. Vetiver acts like a sedative. I also mix Frankincense with Sweet Orange & Turmeric, twice a day, helps fight against cancer!”
  • CEB: “I have been using just Frankincense recommended by a friend who also uses it as an antidepressant. I’m interested in the Bergamot, maybe it smells better!”
  • JMS: “I find that Love and Peppermint seem to lift my mood.”
  • LW: “I have been using Peppermint, Clary Sage, and of course the blends I mentioned. More citrus and Bergamot, a dash of Frankincense, some carrier oil.”

What have you used for treating depression? What has worked best for you? Do you have any recipes you’d like to share? Please post them in the comment section below because we’d love to see them.


  1. Natural Home Spa by Sian Rees
  2. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family by Rosemary Gladstar
  3. Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price
  4. Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt
  5. The Art of Aromatherapy: The Healing and Beautifying Properties of the Essential Oils of Flowers and Herbs by Robert B. Tisserand
  6. The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood
  7. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
  8. The Aromatherapy Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using Essential Oils by Gill Farrer-Halls
  9. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller and David Schiller
  10. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirley Price and Len Price
  11. The Essential Oils Handbook: All the Oils You Will Ever Need for Health, Vitality, and Well-Being by Jennie Harding
  12. Seasons of Aromatherapy by Judith Fitzsimmons and Paula M. Bousquet

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Such oils or herbs are often very effective in treating depression but only to a certain extent. If these treatments are not working for you, try getting TMS therapies. TMS use magnetic waves to stimulate nerve impulses through the brain. As a result, the body exits the state of depression.