‘Tis the season for over-doing it! For most of us, this time of the year is filled with over-planning, over-working, over-scheduling, and over-eating/drinking. Many of us become fatigued and actually exhausted. Although the majority of cases of severe fatigue/exhaustion is the result of chronic health conditions, it is said nearly 40% of the causes of exhaustion are caused by psychological or lifestyle reasons. The holiday season seems to provide the right time for those causes to emerge. For those of us trying to live a healthy lifestyle, being aware of holidays stressors allows us to be aware of and plan ahead for lifestyle strategies to minimize the impact of the holiday season on our mental, physical and psychological well-being. One of those strategies may involve the use of essential oils. So, let’s take a look at the best essential oils for fatigue, anxiety, and stress.
How Essential Oils Provide Benefits
Essential oils are not “magic bullets”, but they can offer genuine health benefits based on their bioactive properties. There are three main ways in which essential oils are used: topical application, inhalation, and oral ingestion.
- Topical application of essential oils is appropriate for targeting the skin as it is absorbed well into the subcutaneous membrane. Additionally, they may also be appropriate for general muscular discomfort as well as effects such as skin soothing, toning, cleansing, and hygiene.
- Inhalation targets both the respiratory system and the nervous system. Aromatic inhalation may be useful for respiratory support or by positively affecting psychological well-being such as mood, calming effects, and cognitive function. Associative memory is the association between an essential oil and a memory or psychological state. When previously established, the essential oil can be used to evoke the associated memory, emotion, or habit when needed.
- Oral ingestion can be useful for digestive support although rarely used. The essential oils of peppermint and lavender oils have reported benefits when consumed orally.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential or volatile oils are extracted from flowers, roots, fruits, bark, stem, leaves, and other parts of plants by various methods and have been used for centuries for the treatment and relief from various disease symptoms and causes. It is interesting that the use of essential oils is considered “new” now that it is being sold and used widely for the same reasons. The use of essential oils is now considered “alternative and complementary” therapy alongside mainstream medicine.
Essential oils are the major therapeutic agent used in a complementary form to treat symptoms. We know historically from 6000 years of use that the oils are able to permeate the skin via inhalation, local application directly and in baths. Once the oils are absorbed by the body, they exert various pharmacologic actions which are beneficial for a headache, insomnia, muscular pain, skin ailments, swollen joints, etc. It is important to note that essential oils are found to be more beneficial when other aspects of life and diet are addressed.
Essential oils are concentrated sources of various phytochemicals. Some essential oils must be diluted with an unscented “carrier oil” to be used safely on the skin. Although some essential oils can be applied to the skin, others are best taken orally but ONLY if they are safe to be taken internally.
Many essential oils were screened for their pharmacological potential and some important actions of essential oils in treating conditions leading to fatigue/exhaustion were identified by the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (Volume 5, Issue 8, August 2015) and are summarized below.
Essential Oils for Anxiety, Agitation, and Stress
Essential oils are known for their penetration potential to reach subcutaneous tissue due to their potency. The mechanism of action involves the volatile portion of the oil inserting into the receptor cells in the nose when inhaled. That signal is sent to the limbic and hypothalamus parts of the brain via the olfactory bulb. Serotonin is released causing a calming effect on the mind and body.
Simple inhalation has resulted in enhanced feelings of emotional wellness, calmness, relaxation or rejuvenation through associative memory. The release of stress is associated with pleasurable scents which unlock odor memories. It is important to note that essential oils are complementary to medical treatment and can never be taken as a replacement for it.
- Angelica archangelica rad. (angelica)
- Cistus ladaniferus (labdanum)
- Citrus aurantium var. amara fol. (petitgrain bigarade)
- Citrus aurantium var. amara per. (orange bigarade)
- Citrus bergamia (bergamot)
- Citrus sinensis (sweet orange)
- Cymbopogon martinii (palmarosa)
- Eucalyptus staigeriana (lemon-scented ironbark)
- Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
- Litsea cubeba (may chang)
- Ocimum basilicum (basil)
- Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram)
- Pelargonium graveolens (geranium)
- Pogostemon patchouli (patchouli)
- Valeriana officinalis (valerian)
Essential Oils for Fatigue
Aromatherapy is a natural and noninvasive gift of nature. Not only are the symptoms of fatigue relieved by using the following essential oils, but the whole body is rejuvenated by the use of aroma that signals the body to release noradrenaline.
- Angelica archangelica rad. (angelica)
- Cistus ladaniferus (labdanum)
- Citrus aurantium var. amara (neroli bigarade)
- Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) (exhaustion)
- Coriandrum sativum (coriander) (including mental fatigue)
- Cymbopogon nardus (citronella)
- Eucalyptus radiata (black peppermint)
- Eucalyptus smithii (gully gum)
- Juniperus communis ram. (juniper twig)
- Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) (nervous fatigue)
- Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
- Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole, ct. camp
- hor, ct. verbenone (rosemary)
- Salvia sclarea (clary) (nervous fatigue)
- Zingiber officinale (ginger)
How to Use Essential Oils for Fatigue, Stress, and Anxiety
Essential oils have been an essential component of medicine chests around the world for thousands of years and formed the basis of our modern pharmaceutical industry. Essential oils are lipid soluble, penetrating cell membranes so rapidly that they have been measured to bring an increase of 21% oxygen to cells within 20 minutes of application. They are also high in sesquiterpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier as effectively as prescription drugs.
Therefore, before using an essential oil topically, most should be diluted with either water or an oil such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, or avocado oil.
- To apply to a small area of an adult’s body, prepare a 3-5% solution. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil or water which is ideal for applying a small amount of essential oil to temples or wrists.
- For an essential oil that will be applied to a larger area of an adult’s body, prepare a 1% solution. Add 1 drop of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil or water for massage oil mixtures and body sprays. As an alternative, you can also purchase ready to use rollerballs complete with the essential oil and carrier oil together in a convenient applicator.
For use in a bath, add 3-5 drops of the essential to bath salts or to a teaspoon of carrier oil and then add the mixture to the bathwater.
Enjoying this Holiday Season
The season for merriment and fellowship begins with the best intentions. Taking a proactive approach to managing time and energy can result in a happy, healthy season to enjoy. Even the most disciplined use of the best essential oils for fatigue cannot substitute for a healthy diet and adequate rest.
Get emergency help if your fatigue is related to a mental health problem and/or your symptoms also include:
- Thoughts of harming yourself or of suicide
- Concern that you may harm someone else
Also get emergency care if your fatigue is accompanied by any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or lightheadedness
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Severe abdominal, pelvic or back pain
Seek immediate medical attention if fatigue is accompanied by:
- Abnormal bleeding (including bleeding from your rectum or vomiting blood)
- Severe headache
Make an appointment with your doctor if your fatigue has persisted for two or more weeks despite attempts to rest, reduce stress, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.
If you think this information may be helpful to someone else, please share it. Please feel free to add your comments to our discussion.
Information and statements made are for educational purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. OlioNaturals does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The information provided by OlioNaturals is not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician. Links to sources for products are provided as a service to the reader for which OlioNaturals may receive compensation.