This is currently the most asked question we yet through our social channels. And it is no surprise. The past 16 months has had an impact on us all in some way or other. For some of us it has been an acutely stressful time, bringing our anxieties to the fore. Lucky for us essential oils provide a wonderful solution and can help us bring anxiety and stress under control.
How essential oils work
Essential oils are therapeutic plant oils usually extracted through the process of steam distillation or expression. They can be applied to the skin when diluted with a fixed oil (into the blood stream) or used through a variety of inhalation methods to stimulate the bodies limbic system. Essential oils when used correctly can have powerful therapeutic effects.
There are many essential oils that are wonderful for those of us suffering with anxiety. These are our top recommendations: -
A rose is much more than a beautiful flower. Rose damask oil is amongst the most highly prized essential oil and with good reason. It can take up to a quarter of a million rose petals to distil just one 5ml bottle of essential oil.
The therapeutic benefits to those suffering with anxiety are positive. One study conducted in 2009 concluded that dermal application of rose oil had a relaxing effect reducing blood pressure and pulse rate. Subjects reported as feeling more calm and relaxed. In another study of 100 pregnant subjects, the rose essential oil was used in childbirth, anxiety scores in the experiment group were significantly lowered compared with the control group.
Who can resist its mellow citrusy aroma? One of our favourites here at Bramble & Blossom. The essential oil is expressed from the rind of the fruit and is predominantly sourced from Italy.
There have been a few limited studies on bergamot, however in some smaller scale experiments bergamot was shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress by sending signals to the brain to release dopamine and serotonin.
The canga odorata tree is native to southeast Asia and Madagascar. The precious ylang ylang oil is extracted via the flowers of the tree through the process of steam distillation. Farmers must work meticulously when harvesting the flowers to ensure none are bruised before the process starts.
It’s worth noting that there are varying degrees of distillation. At Bramble & Blossom our Ylang Ylang is sourced from the first distillation, as subsequent distillations yield a more diluted oil.
From a therapeutic standpoint Ylang Ylang is said to boost mood and reduce stress levels. A study from 2014 showed that in a group of 34 subjects it boosted self-esteem and reduced anxiety. There is additional anecdotal evidence that it has aphrodisiac properties.
We advise moderate use of this oil as it can overwhelm due to the strength of its aroma and in some cases cause mild headaches. When selecting for use at home, we would encourage you to seek a sustainable source from a reputable supplier.
Grapefruit oil is predominantly sourced from the USA. It is extracted via expression of the peel of the citrus x paradisi fruit (the oil is located in the glands). It has a wonderfully uplifting aroma. Various studies have shown that grapefruit may reduce blood pressure when inhaled. Other studies have indicated that grapefruit oil may stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, lowering stress levels. At Bramble & Blossom we always refer to it as our happy oil.
As always, if you are unsure of which essential oils are right for you, we advise working with a qualified aromatherapist who can guide you. Our article is never intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Remember plant oils are powerful and can interfere with any medication you are on, so always consult with your General Practitioner before you use essential oils.
Karen and the team x