Did you know that depression affects every 1 in 10 Americans? Moreover, 80% of those affected by the disease are not receiving the correct treatment. The same goes for anxiety, which is one of the most common mental illnesses in the US and affects around 20% of the population. One of the key ways to relieve depression and anxiety is to use essential oils.

Aromatherapy involves using natural and essential oils that have been extracted from parts of plants and distilled. The oils are then applied to the skin via massage, bath salts, or lotions.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has conducted a number of studies into the health benefits of essential oils and the practice of aromatherapy, and they continue to make strides into research on the topic.

Aromatherapy works by stimulating the smell receptors.

As a result of the stimulation, the receptors send messages to the limbic system in your brain through your nervous system. The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls your emotions, from anger to fear, and your memories.

This is why some smells can trigger memories or feelings. In fact, it has been proven that anosmia (when you lose your sense of smell) has been known to cause depression.

The great thing about essential oils is that they don’t have any side effects, other than allergy symptoms. So check you aren’t allergic to anything and get in that bath!

Here are the top three calming essential oils to relieve depression and anxiety:

1. Lavender

One of the most well-known scents of all of the essential oils, lavender, is already used in a number of products on the market, including soaps, bath lotions, and massage oils. This is because of its super calming attributes.

It has been proven to work as an antidepressant, an anti-anxiety tool and as a mood stabilizer. It has also been shown to help reduce pain and tremors, as well as alleviate stress.

2. Bergamot

Bergamot is a type of orange that is mostly grown in Italy. Most people do not eat the fruit as it is said to be very bitter, but the peel is used to create bergamot oil. In fact, the peel is the key ingredient in Earl Grey, the ingredient that makes it taste so different.

Studies have shown that the oil can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is also known as the rest and digest system.

3. Sage

Sage is a very common herb that you may know from a number of European meals. It’s distinctive smell and taste is very popular in a number of cuisines, but did you know that it also has antidepressant capabilities?

In fact, a 2013 study showed that clary sage essential oil may even be more effective than lavender oil, particularly for female patients who are undergoing urodynamic assessments.

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