We are in peculiar times, indeed.
Today is the 3rd week of the community quarantine here in Manila and the world and how we do things have changed dramatically.
The past week has been tough on me. Reports about mortality and inefficiencies everywhere in the world PLUS the general atmosphere of blame and hate were just too much that I had to take down my Facebook (control what you can control, as they say) for a while –
While I do not mean to be apathetic to what is going on around us, I also had to ground myself and take care of my mental health more than ever. Stress and anxiety can affect your physical body and it is important to be mindful of the things we consume and how it affects us so that we know how we can address them and make it better, somehow.
What resonated with me the most are posts from people who are trying to help in little ways as they can in their field of expertise. Homeschooling communities sharing to (now) work-at-home parents how to maximise their time and make this quarantine season work for the school kids who are now stuck at home; freelancers offering support on how to digitise businesses, free masterclasses and learning sessions on how you can make use of this time to be productive – there’s just wonderful help going around.
Thus, the inspiration for this post.
I would like to help, in the way that I can, as an aromatherapist and share with you today some essential oils that can help you manage your anxiety because it can really manifest physically.
So, here is the list of some of the popular oils that are anxiolytic (something used to reduce anxiety) with some evidence-based information:
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- As an aroma, sweet orange is such an uplifting scent. Smelling the oil from the bottle can already give you the feeling of summer and sunshine. But there is more to the scent than what meets your nose! Sweet orange essential oil has shown great potential to address acute anxiety. See study here and here.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Studies show that lavender essential oil has been helpful in reducing anxiety in children, on patients having bone marrow biopsy, and patients in ICU who couldn’t sleep well. It is no wonder that this essential oil is loved by so many enthusiasts (myself included). It is truly the “Swiss knife of essential oils” with its many therapeutic actions and also since lavender is probably the most researched essential oil in the market today.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- I am probably one of the very few people who are not too fond of citruses such as lemon, orange and grapefruit. I think this is mainly because of the ‘energy’ of the oil. I feel like I am already too hyper to be needing its oh-so-positive vibe. Buuuut, save for this wonderful citrus – Bergamot essential oil. There is a floral aroma that balances its ‘fruitiness’ which gives the oil more depth. I find bergamot to be very calming and relaxing. While there are not much studies on this specific oil, initial randomised control trial shows that it can reduce preoperative anxiety and can be useful in reducing stress.
Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum)
- Studies show that there is a significant decrease in the mean anxiety score of women in labor as well as anxiety on patients with acute myocardial infarction after inhalation of the aroma of geranium essential oil. Geranium, for me, is an acquired scent. At first, I was not really that fond of its aroma, especially when it stands alone but in a blend, it can really bring the oils together.
Frankince (Boswellia carterii)
- Frankincense is one of my favorite essential oils, especially during my meditation practice. Many people are adamant in using their Frakincense oil because some brands are crazy expensive. Here are the most common brands I see in the market plus the ones a lot of aromatherapists use (mostly imported from the US and UK). Personally, I order my essential oils from the US because I love to support artisan brands who really love their craft in distilling their oils plus I support those who provide a GCMS report so I can see the chemical constituents per batch of oil. If you want to know how I source my oils from the US, hit me up in my Lana Lane Facebook Support Group.
- Anyway, back to Frankincense. It is one of the essential oils outlined in this study to have helped with anxiety associated with labor. In this animal study, it stated, “Frankincense essential oil can counter the effects of stress by effectively relieving sleep debt and maintaining antioxidant capacity without increasing oxidative stress, and, therefore, may be beneficial in the management of stress.”
There is still a long way to go for aromatherapy and essential oil modalities. We have only seen a number of clinical studies that proves its efficacy but for those who have used, majority would enjoy the benefits of using essential oils, without even knowing the mechanics of its therapeutic functions.
Anyway, before I bore you with all these geekiness, here are some recipes you can enjoy. Stay safe and sane, loves!