Plant Essential Oils As Treatments For Anxiety

Essential oils are volatile compounds produced by plants that have a strong odour. Essential oils can be extracted from plants, a process that has been understood for centuries. Essential oils are interesting from a nutritional perspective, because many appear to have biological effects in animals and humans. For example, traditional medicine has known for along time that essential oils are useful antifungal antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic agents. In addition, plant essential oils may possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and this makes them useful in the treatment of diseases, including mood disorders. Essential oils appear to be useful nutritional, but can also be used in aromatherapy, whereby their volatile compounds can enter the body through the lungs or skin. Studies have shown that essential oils can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, sleep disorder and depression when used in aromatherapy. The low cost and safety of essential oils therefore makes them a very useful treatment of various mood disorders.

anxuety mood depression essential oil

Essential oils are a complex mixture of many compounds, often containing over 50 identifiable components. One feature of essential oils is the high amount of one or two of these components. Often two chemicals may make up to 70 % of the total percentage of chemicals by volume, within the oils. For example, carvacrol and thymol make up 30 % and 27 % respectively, of the essential oil from Origanum compactum, Linalool makes up 68 % of the essential oil of Coriandrum sativum, and α- and β-thuyone and camphor make up 57 % and 24 %, respectively, of the essential oil of herba-alba. These major component may confer many of the health benefits of the essential oils.

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Fradelos, E. and Komini, A. 2015. The use of essential oils as a complementary treatment for anxiety. American Journal of Nursing Science. 4(1): 1-5
Bakkali, F., Averbeck, S., Averbeck, D. and Idaomar, M. 2008. Biological effects of essential oils–a review. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 46(2): 446-475

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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