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Vanilla essential oil and depression treatment

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Over 19 million Americans suffer from depression every year, says Mental Health America. Depression is accompanied by symptoms like sadness, anxiety, and irregular sleeping and eating patterns. Those who are depressed may not enjoy things they once did. Depression can be very serious, even leading to suicide or death. Vanilla essential oil might alleviate some symptoms, but you should contact a doctor or psychiatrist if you think you might have depression.

Essential Oils
Essential oils are extracts from plants used for their healing benefits. These oils work both through smell and by skin absorption. The scent of the oils travels to the olfactory part of your brain, which regulates moods. Your brain reacts to the scent of the oil and releases neurotransmitters to either calm or stimulate you, depending on the type of oil. If applied to the skin, essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream.




Vanilla for Depression
Shelagh Masline and Barbara Close in their book "The A-Z Guide to Healing with Essential Oils: Aromatherapy" explain that either too much or too little stimulation can cause depression. Because of this, you will require different types of essential oils depending on your depression. Stimulating essential oils might help those who generally feel down, whereas calming essential oils are used for those who feel overstimulated. Vanilla falls into the latter category because it calms, relaxes, uplifts mood, and reduces stress, anger, tension and irritability. A 2005 article by Stephen Warrenburg in "Chemical Senses" studied the effect of essential oils on mood. 44.6 percent of study participants found vanilla relaxing while 27.2 percent reported feelings of happiness.

Application
To gain the benefits of vanilla, there are a number of ways you can use the oil. Diffuse vanilla essential oil into the air with either a diffuser or in a mist spray. When applied to your body, the lingering scent of vanilla will stay with you. Dilute vanilla essential oil in a carrier oil like grapeseed oil and apply it to your skin in a massage or dilute it in water and spray it on your body. Add a few drops to your bath for an extra calming experience.


Warning
Depression is a serious illness you should not try to treat on your own. Speak to a doctor or psychiatrist to discuss the best method to treat depression and whether vanilla essential oil can be a part of that regimen. According to Mental Health America, most people are treated with psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants. Vanilla essential oil is typically safe. However, essential oils can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions, so perform a spot test on a small area of skin before applying them to a larger area. Consult a certified aromatherapist for the best method of using essential oils.

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