Depression is something mysterious, enigmatic – it is like an accident, something that seems fatal and which hits when we do not even think that it could be us who are the victims this time. And no solution seems to work – although big Pharma sells anti-depressants for billions of Euros in the world today.
And we continue asking: Is it hormonal, is it chemical, is it genetic, destiny, is it a curse….? It surprises us like a lethal virus knocking us out without warning. All of a sudden we may get depressed, “burnt-out”, as if dead from inside, while the body is still breathing and the heart is still beating. And then the questions start within the turmoil, within the sleeplessness, within the never ending days of black in black…
Or something happened in our life, some loss which was not accepted, some regret which haunted us down into obsessional self-pity until we lost confidence in life, some missed “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity…
But one thing is clear: Depression is the moment of truth: to withstand from our soul level the call of nihilism, the call of death, the desire for self-destruction.
A very modern plague
Anxiety and depression are very common problems today. They represent one of the major health disorders, particularly in Western countries. Statistics show that around 7% of adults in the US had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous year even more important is anxiety. Around 18% of adults in the US have been reporting anxiety disorders.
Solitude is often a strong element for depression. It constitutes one of the major problems of public health. Our „fast running“ hectic society with its amazing global social media connections and its easy traveling and „out-housing“ life style shows at the same time the most striking phenomena of inner solitude leading to numerous pathological problems, particularly depression. Human beings are social by nature. Positive social exchange is one of the best remedies for many health issues. The paradox in our modern society is that the rich availability of contacts via internet has at the same time participated in social exclusion and solitude on a global level. Another consequence of our “modern ways” is our alienation from Nature. The growing attraction to metropolitan life style and its challenges of stress isolates the soul from its in-born, genetically anchored potential to fuse with Nature and remember from this contact essential spiritual values of life such as self-appreciation, inner silence, integration, acceptance, etc.
Depression in this light – often called “burn-out” today – is in most cases the result of an imbalance between the “inner” and “outer” directions of life whereby the thrust and “juice” of our human condition are lost in the fog of ignorance about the true values of our existence on Earth.
A cage without exit
“When I was thrown into depression I started to think that – compared to what I was living every day – death must be great. Thoughts of suicide were there but not really as a call to do it but as a daily companion on the intellectual-emotional level to assure me that there was always possibly another solution to escape the total utmost nihilism which accompanied each and every hour of my day.”Testimonial from a friend
“Depression is when you can’t feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. Having both is a constant war within your own mind. Having both means never winning… The physical ramifications of the disorder, such as a racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath and lightheadedness, frequently go unnoticed or are misinterpreted by those who have never suffered from anxiety. Although the physical symptoms make up a great deal of the disorder, the emotional outcome is exceedingly difficult to encapsulate as well.“Katie Crawford, http://www.upworthy.com
And again: it is a crisis for evolution
But depression and anxiety also mean that we can (and have to) find new answers, allow new paradigms for our lives, look out for new horizons to rebuild our spiritual, intellectual, social and cultural existence. If well understood depression and anxiety trigger the most extreme research capacities in us and make us go far beyond the usual tight boundaries of our former life.
So, if depression is that ONE, sometimes decisive, metaphysical moment in our life… From where do we get the answer if nothing seems anymore available from the “out-trodden” pathways of education, religion, society, environment, medicine…? From where do we get the juice of life back?
Could it come from the aromatic Pharmacy of Nature? Let us not forget: Essential oils are subtle carriers of life forces. Their material build up – it is true – is bio-chemical, but their finer levels are structured in sub-particle energies which influence everything from the physical to the mental, psychological and spiritual realm. This is the level which no pharma-drug can ever reach.
They may pass through organic „receptors“ such as the skin, the lungs, the blood, the digestive system, nervous system… but their immediate approach is not on the level of material but rather on the subtle „quantum level“ of our functioning.
We have to change perspectives and look deeper into those areas in ourselves where the „sap“ of our inner „tree of life“ runs and nourishes our whole being. This sap is structured in „ananda“ = bliss.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.“Joseph Campbell
“Out of bliss these beings are bornWisdom of Vedic scriptures – Taittiriya Upanishad
In bliss they are sustained
And in the end
In bliss they go and merge again”
And not to forget
Plant consciousness is connected to human consciousness. Plants are meant to help us in any challenge of our human lives. Deep within the Kingdom of plants is the hidden desire to link to the human beings and to assist them in their secret way in the unfoldment of life and of evolution on our planet Earth. There IS this ancient partnership between Man and plants. They are created for one another and inter-woven into cosmic cycles of ever new becoming and evolving in shining rings of togetherness.
Human life is by far the most challenging experience of all life forms in the Universe. But these challenges are not only part but essential enhancers of our human evolution… and there are numerous powerful medicinal plants with their essential oils, carrier oils etc. which are indicated to help in case of depression, anxiety etc.
Actually, interestingly enough, there is quite a number of essential oils which have a connection with our internal “bio-chemistry of happiness”. They can trigger for example serotonin or dopamine in our body and many other subtle bio-chemicals – because they sit at the switchboard of our brain-chemistry once we have smelled them, inhaled them, massaged them on our skin, taken them orally…. And they not only influence the neuro-transmitters but access larger areas of our brain like the Hypothalamus, the Amygdala, the Pituitary gland, the Pineal gland etc. – all highly sensitive to olfactive impulses and involved in our inner balance, our psycho-emotional well-being.
The Amygdala – just to take one example – is nestled deep inside the limbic system – the part of the brain which seems primarily in control of memory formation and emotions. The Amygdala is specifically active when it comes to processing emotions and it records our reactions, particularly when panic or fear are involved.
Essentially, it alerts us of danger and has its role in triggering fight, flight or freeze responses and make us take action against threats. Only in 1989, it was discovered that the Amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma and that particularly odor has a profound effect in triggering a response from this gland.
An „odour input“ can be a rescue remedy and can help us to fight depression or free us from a traumatic experience. It is very evident in my personal experience over time that special fragrances from essential oils can break what scientists call the “operant conditioning” of the Amygdala which means to counteract the habit to be in full “stress mode” all the time leading to a permanent more or less sub-conscious state of anxiety or depression.
In Summer 2015 we were on a group outing from our international Seminar Center in High Provence… a whole “caravan” of several cars and minibuses. We suddenly got a call in our front car from one of the minibus drivers behind that a lady participant was not feeling well at all and that they had to stop for a moment on the mountain road. I quickly drove our car back to join the minibus for a moment and try to appease the lady. But since we could not stop on the narrow mountain road for long, I asked the driver to better join us quickly on a parking place in the nearby town. When we arrived the lady had nearly fainted. I slowly helped her out of the minibus and tried to find out from her what had happened. She had a strong flashback into a very traumatic experience with a former partner. She could hardly speak but what I understood was that she had seen the “other side” as she said, “the light at the end of the tunnel”, meaning: she was about to leave her body…
I just had the right oil in may bag… It was a small bottle of Lemon Verbena, and I asked her to hold it under her nose and inhale deeply for a few minutes. That brought her back within a few moments. The oil just entered into the right channels of her sub-consciousness, cleared the trauma and made her come back to reality. She started to speak more clearly and then slowly explained the whole process she had gone through. Quite amazing. I made a 15 minutes walk with her through the beautiful streets of the ancient medieval town until she was completely all right again.
Apart from our own inner responsability to enhance positive thoughts and feelings in order to defend ourselves against depressive moods and the like, the essential oils can give us strong support for the “happiness factors” of our daily routine. …They are filled with life force or “Prana” and contain the most amazing „living molecules“ for enhancing vital energies in man. We just have to „dance“ to the beauty of their music…
Let’s go a little deeper and look at a number of essential oils
These essential oils can be taken by themselves or as a synergy. Each of them has been found to be effective for mood-enhancement, fortifying the psychology and reducing tendencies of depression and anxieties.
BERGAMOT is a premier oil for psychological benefits: An effective anti-stress remedy and anti-depressant and an all-purpose mood enhancer. It calms anxiety, relieves us from fear, and works also as a vital tonic for the skin. It is sedating, tonifying, revitalizing, and helps against insomnia and burn-out syndrom.
NEROLI a miraculous neuro-tonic and powerful helper against depression caused by fatigue or unreleased tensions and frustrations. Neroli belongs to the group of “rescue oils” used in case of despair and unconcious, repressed emotions. In case of excitement or shock, Neroli is famous for making the breath to flow easily and freely again, and calming the heart beat. Its amazing floral depth makes the emotions rejoice with softening impulses of inner peace. Attacks of migraine also may find relief through application of this essential oil as well as vertigo. All in all, Neroli oil can be called a strong emotional stimulant proving wonderful anti-depressant capabilities. Memories from heaven – fragrant purity of the soul.
“Neroli is a fantastic anti-trauma essential oil, which then only needs to be taken in extremely fine cans. Therefore, a 1ml amount is usually enough for high-quality shopping. It is often used in children and adults who are still prevented from ‘resuming’ the right thread of life by trauma, even long ago. Surely you know all people to whom it applies. With Neroli you can pick up on your own ‘safe’ world and start your life again with confidence. In addition to (as mentioned above) many other great topics, it is also a great anti-depressant.”
LAVENDER If we add the manifold actions of Lavender oil on nervous disorders or psychological problems like insomnia, anxieties, depression, headache, migraine etc., we are not surprised why this oil has impressed man since long and why it has become one of the most used oils in modern aromatherapy. Lavender is a never ending discovery. Hundreds of bio-chemical compounds have been identified so far, and the picture keeps developing. Its spiritual depth inspires empathy, forgiveness, detachment, purity. In the pink and white, purple and blue blossoms of this perennial wonder of nature lie secrets hard to encompass in a lifetime.
“Many traditional hospitals like Vanderbilt University Hospital are catching on to the benefits of essential oils and are using them in the treatment of anxiety, depression and infections in hospitalized patients. A 2009 study found that pre-operative patients who received aromatherapy with lavender oil were significantly less anxious about their surgery than control groups. Other oils such as Sandalwood, Neroli oil…..have also been used in traditional medicine to help patients better manage anxiety.”http://draxe.com/essential-oils-guide/
THYME has been used since ages as one of the major healing plants of Europe, praised for its ability to enliven the spirit and to fight nervous disorders. THYME LINALOOL with its dominating floral alcohol of a sweet balsamic fragrance has a stimulating effect on the adrenal glands and increases hormonal output. It is an excellent energizer, neuro-tonic and utero-tonic – and a recognized aphrodisiac. Its strong, “psycho-somatic” energy charges the batteries of our life (kidney function) and revitalizes our exchange with the world (lung function) – giving us a more optimistic, less anxious outlook on ourselves and on life.
ROSE is cooling like water and is indicated to reduce irritability, anger, and psychological problems linked to stagnant, blocked energies that result in liver congestion, constipation, headache etc. Spiritually the “Queen of the flowers” opens the energies of the heart and frees from fear. Emotionally, Rose Oil is very helpful during times of stress: Its rich fragrant profile unfolds powerful curative properties and appeases those who suffer from varying levels of anxiety, insomnia or burn-out. Rose Oil boosts self esteem, confidence, hope and mental strength and efficiently fights depression. The oil also relieves anxiety. Patients of acute depression who are undergoing rehabilitation can be given a regular doses of this essential oil to bring hope into their lives.
“Recently I had a session with a woman whose husband left her. They had been married for over fifteen years, and he told her he was not in love with her anymore. After he left, she fell into a very deep depression and ended up getting let go from her job. She also stopped eating and was giving up on her life. During a very intense family intervention, she was referred to me by her sister… And that is when I got out the rose essential oil. ….She smelled it first, and we did a patch test, diluted. Everything was fine, so I put one drop in her hand and told her to rub her hands together and then to inhale the fragrance for at least 15 seconds. She did it, and, after she finished, I saw an instant change in her energy. Because rose oil is such a high frequency oil, she literally raised her own frequency… She was opening up her heart chakra… By the end of the session, there was relief in her voice. She was transformed, and I know the rose essential oil was part of the reason this happened.”
CLARY SAGE has a highly euphorizing, neuro-tonic-relaxing nature and makes it a choice oil against nervous fatigue and depression. Clary Sage wakes up dormant desires and unfulfilled dreams and may be a well chosen “aromatic” answer to frigidity and impotence. A liberator from grief and sorrow it is an effective aphrodisiac. Its floral esters convey powerful anti-spasmodic effects useful also to treat asthma. Thanks to its neurotonic-relaxing nature Clary Sage is a choice oil against nervous fatigue and depression. It relaxes the “imp in the bottle”, making the human fate of “contraction in matter” more acceptable. Clary Sage essential oil tranquilizes nervous tensions and unrest as well as vertigo and stress-excited states. The oil is able to strengthen self-confidence, harmonize the mental excitement and promote new zest for life.
ORANGE oil stimulates liquid circulation in the tissues, giving rise to relaxation and feeling of wellbeing. Its expansive character conveys happiness and the freedom of an optimistic view of events. In liberating blocked body energies, it neutralizes symptoms of irritation and negativity which are caused by blockages and stress.
LIME On the psychic level Lime has proven its potential by giving relief in case of hysteria, depression, nervous shocks or anxieties. It is able to lighten the mood and rejuvenate and revitalize mind, body and soul which means it uplifts and refreshes the complete consciousness allowing it to touch and live anew its divine vitality.
GRAPEFRUIT promotes the functioning of the endocrinal system, helps with the proper secretion of hormones and enzymes thus being beneficial for the complete metabolic system. It activates the brain functioning and harmonizes the nervous system thereby stimulating activity and attention. It also relieves depressions through uplifting and calming the mind and reduces stress and fears. Furthermore, it can be said that Grapefruit has a unique ‘fat dissolving’ characteristic and is able to substantially reduce cellulite.
MANDARIN Mandarin oil has a soothing, harmonizing and uplifting effect. Reputed to be beneficial to the mind, emotions and spirit it is able to balance emotions, reduce mental stress and uplift the consciousness as a whole. These properties have proven to be a good choice in gently calming children when upset or nervous, or filled with fear or sadness. It can help with diminishing depression and filling oneself with zest for life again. These features show a strong influence on the astral body.
HELICHRYSUM Helichrysum’s high amounts of special compounds, called “beta-diones”, rarely found in nature, are supposed to be linked to its special healing properties, physicaly as well as spiritually. The oil is often used against depression, lethargy, nervous exhaustion, and stress related disorders. Helichrysum in its fluidifying nature of high vibrational energy can be seen as the “super-liquid” floral liberator of physical as well as psycho-spiritual blocks and clots or old “scars” that obstruct the flow of our subtle self-healing energies. A magical rod for body and soul, balm on the bruises of unhealed wounds.
JASMINE (ARABIAN or INDIAN) Jasmine is one of the prime rescue oils and extremely helpful in cases of sudden psycho-physiological shocks. It acts as a miraculous uplifter and euphorizer against depressed moods and anxieties and is an excellent spiritual energizer. Its euphorizing fragrance awakens optimism and confidence and adds to its praised aphrodisiac properties. The oil mainly works “through the nose” and does not need any other application than the direct aromatic or fragrant soft “inspiration”. Its highly sweet floral fragrance indicates its capacity to cool hot temperaments and to balance anger and irritation.
LEMON MYRTLE belongs to the “Aldehyde group” due to the dominant presence of Citral in the oil. Besides being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, it energizes the central nervous system and reduces restlessness, over-agitation, anxieties, depression, alleviates sleep problems and lack of concentration.
SILVER FIR with its clear, fresh aroma it exerts a very special calming-tonic influence on the system. Silver Fir encourages restful sleep, while at the same time providing an uplifting feeling. The oil promotes mental clarity. Like other conifer oils, it has an affinity for assisting the lungs. With its revitalizing effect through direct massage on the kidneys (and thereby on the adrenal glands) it bestows immediate new energy to the system.
FOKIENIA (PEMOU or SIAM WOOD) is good in cases of adrenal fatigue and low testosterone levels.
“Pemou is particularly well suited for symptoms such as feelings of: abandonment, isolation, being all alone in the world, disconnectedness, estrangement from society, vulnerability and introversion. Pemou oil may prove useful in addressing the following symptoms: grief associated with the death of a loved one; ailments from grief; depression after grief; fear of death; feelings of isolation.”Dr. Bruce Berkowsky
TOLU BALM with its beautiful phenyl esters finally has a balsamic influence on the lung function. Its sweet and subtle heart-notes cause this oil to exhale a very pleasant fragrance reminding us of Vanilla and Benzoin, and make it one of the “happy oils” par excellence.
ST. JOHN’S WORT as a herbal extract, or essential oil, or as a maceration in Olive oil. It is a natural remedy considered to be as effective as standard traditional allopathic anti-depressants – but free from side effects. Let’s rather say: “better than…”. German doctors prescribed over 66 million doses of hypericum perforatum as early as 1994 and a review of 23 randomised clinical trials of hypericum extracts showed them to be superior to a placebo in the treatment of depressive symptoms.
Cf. Internet Health Library
FRANKINCENSE has strong anti-depressive, euphorizing qualities and is famous in psycho-aromatherapy to treat anxiety and nervous tension. The oil has the power to uplift human awareness to that “other” level by freeing the nerves from excessive tension, allowing us to focus on the underlying transcendental unity of our inner Self. Frankincense is linked to the psyche, which in Greek also means “breathing”.
PALO SANTO Known among the indigenous people of Ecuador as “the tree that perfumes the axe that wounds”, reminds us of a universal mystery, expressed in the symbols of a paradox: Encountering pain or being frightened by death is a secret key opening the gates of a possible resurrection. The essential oil is a mood enhancer on many levels, very subtle, imperceptible… It helps against depression and helps healing unconscious traumatic experiences.
BASIL (SWEET) The royal oil from the famous plant of the Lamiaceae family (“basileos” means “King” in Greek language) is often used against depression. It strengthens the nervous system and is a good choice in case of mental stress and problems of anxieties. Its capability to improve memory and sharpen the brain functioning is praised in India since old. The Indian Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is linked to devotion and protection of the Divine according to Ayurveda. It strengthens the connection between the heart and the mind.
CAPE CHAMOMILE The presence of linalyl acetate within the oil grants gives some similar properties comparable to Lavender as a sleep enhancer and relaxant. Used on pillows for example, the scent encourages pleasant dreams. It has a rare ability to relax emotions, supporting stress reduction for people in all phases of life, including children. A few drops put on one’s forehead, thyroid, heart or feet, calm over-active emotions and an over-stimulated mind and allow it to drop tensions. It instills a positive sense of well being and helps to overcome depression. Moreover, the plant has a balancing effect for addictive personalities and is excellent at transition times like childhood, adolescence and menopause.
RAVINTSARA on the psychosomatic level works as an active neurotonic agent. It is applied against asthenia and lethargy and supports the stressed nervous system easing forms of mild depression or nervous fatigue, as well as restlessness, insomnia and anxiety. The cooling breath and uplifting freshness of its aroma is able to energize the subconscious areas of the psyche and raise the spirit.
SPANISH SAGE (SALVIA LAVANDULIFOLIA) helps for a proper functioning of the metabolic system which is a precondition for harmoniously working nerves as for example taught in Ayurvedic medicine. Spanish Sage has calming and soothing effects on the nervous system. Therefore it is a good choice in case of nervous tension and also if the emotional side needs treatment as in case of depression. On the mental level it supports – similar to common Sage – memory and learning. Some studies have even shown that Spanish Sage has measurable positive results on memory retention in case of Alzheimer disease or with those suffering from dementia.
TONKA BEAN within the ancient traditions of the natives of the Amazonian areas, the Tonka bean played a specific role. It was said to embody an invisible force empowering the shamans during certain ceremonial rituals to transfer a sort of healing energy to human beings and was used in case of depression, suicidal inclinations as well as inner disorientation.
LEMON VERBENA (also LEMON BALM) are ancient spiritual healer plants. They can help people being stuck in traumatic experiences, sadness and unhappiness caused through negative experiences in the past. The chemical components like Aldehydes and Monoterpenes stimulate the deeper layers of the brain to leave behind anxieties and fears and to return back into the here and now. Due to these characteristics, they assist to also overcome listlessness, mental exhaustion, depression and grief.
VETIVER is a deep tonic-relaxer particularly for massages and baths. Vetiver with its numerous sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols balances “in depth” and bestows the pleasure of “being” versus “doing”. It gives energy and stamina and is particularly helpful for individuals who are unable to unwind, who suffer from insomnia due to an over-charge of mental fatigue and who tend to nervous depression. A grounding call for the “astralized” souls that have difficulties to incarnate in the very present moment and for those who tend to “fly away” from the overpowering hardships and challenges of worldly matters.
YLANG YLANG is an excellent oil for treating insomnia and high blood pressure. It is particularly recommended in case of fears and tensions. The very aromatic molecules of this precious oil reach the receptors of the limbic system and thereby are capable of improving our mood. Ylang Ylang also bestows restful alertness in case of ADHD. One can call it a “social oil” reportedly helping to positively influence the relationship between partners. This potential explains why it is said of being able to dissolve jealousy and increase the zest for life. Ylang Ylang is one of the essential oils creating strong emotional effects on us. It also has a positive psychological effect on depression, disappointment, aggression and fear. Its ability to appease tension and create trust helps to surrender oneself to the life-sustaining spirit in us – thereby supporting spiritual growth within man’s consciousness.