Tag Archives: depression

Citrus aurantium var. amara – Abundance

Citrus aurantium var. amaraThis is a tree; the bitter orange tree. It yields no less than three different essential oils; from the fruit (bitter orange), the flowers (neroli) and the leaves (petit grain bigaradier). How’s that for abundance?

The tree originated in southern China and northeast India and was later introduced to Italy. It is widely cultivated for its oil in France, Paraguay, Africa, Italy and Tahiti.  The name amara comes from the Latin “acrumen”,  in French amère, which means bitter. This evergreen tree grows to a height of 10  meters, the leaves are dark green and glossy. Old leaves fall after new ones have grown. The trunk is smooth and greyish as are the branches. It carries fragrant white flowers and fruits that are smaller than sweet orange. It is the hardiest of all citrus trees.

Bitter orange (pomerans and bigerade are other names for it) is the essential oil pressed from the rinds of the fruits. In perfumery it is sometimes called “Seville orange”. The scent is reminiscent of sweet orange but sharper and deeper. It is fresh, dry with a slight floral undertone.

USES:

  • Skin: It helps balance the sebum-production, making it useful for oily skin. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities can be used for acne. Use in massage against stretchmarks.
  • Circulation: Can help with water-retention.
  • Digestion: tonic and aiding cramps, indigestion, flatulence.
  • Emotional: Studies have showed that bitter orange oil can “quiet” the brain which makes it useful against insomnia when there is too much “chatter” in the head. It is helpful against anxiety or feeling low.
  • All citrus oils have a shelf life of about 6 months. They oxidize very easily and then turn cloudy. Do not use on skin since they become skin irritants as they age.

Bitter-orange-Citrus-aurantium-L.-RutaceaePetit grain bigaradier: The name comes from the French “petit grain”, meaning small grains as the oil originally was distilled from the small, green unripe fruits of the tree. Now the oils come mainly from distilling the leaves (and sometimes green, fresh twigs). It is an ingredient in the classic “Eau de Cologne” and sometimes called “poor man’s neroli”. The scent is floral and fresh with a citrusy woody undertone, slightly herbaceous.

USES:

  • Skin: Balancing and calming, it is helpful with both oily and dry skin. Helps with acne.
  • Digestion: Works as a tonic when liver is sluggish and can help with nausea. It is useful for digestive cramps and spasms that have an emotional origin.
  • Emotional: Calming, balancing and uplifting. Use for anxiety, depression, shock. It is a good oil to have around when you feel stressed.

ApelsinblommaNEROLI comes from the flowers which are handpicked. The yield of essential oil is 30 times less from the flowers than the fruits or leaves. The oil is very costly, but as always with the more costly oils, little goes a long way. I have found that with these oils, less is more, the scent as well as the effects are actually magnified in lower dosages. The name is believed to come from an Italian princess, Anna Maria de la Tremoille, Countess of Neroli who used the scent as her personal signature perfume. The scent is rich, deeply floral and sweet with fresh overtones.

USES:

  • Skin: Improves skin elasticity by helping cell regeneration, use for dry, sensitive skin.
  • Emotional: Depression, grief, hysteria, anxiety and shock. It is believed to have an aphrodisiac effect by releasing nervous tension.
  • Physical: Neroli can help with a wide variety of physical problems that originate from emotional disturbances. I recently used this oil for a grieving widow. It kept her balanced and calm all through the funeral arrangements and later eased her grieving process.

PERSONAL: I use the Bitter orange oil for people who chatter uncontrollably, often from stress. It helps calm and freshen the mind, allowing a free flow of positive thought-patterns and diminishes the tight feeling around the head, creating a feeling of space. Petit grain is a terrific balancing oil and easily incorporated into blends. It can highlight any aspect of a blend, be it woody, fresh or floral. It calms physical tension and relaxes the spirit. The uplifting, fresh aroma brings a sense of lightness and ease. Neroli is one of the best oils for grief as it is uplifting and gives a feeling of hope, like a ray of light in the darkness. When desperation threatens, Neroli will take you through it by inspiring calm serenity.

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ESSENTIAL OILS AND EMOTION

essential-oilEssential oils are wonderful mood-enhancers. I have many clients experiencing depression and anxiety from stress. While stress takes time to balance, the emotions involved can quite readily be helped with essential oils.
Usually the scents/blends I use for people are chosen specifically for them and then used in a massage. This way the system is programmed for relaxation from this specific blend. I have found this to be an effective way to “open the door” for further work with stress. An overloaded system and/or brain can not assimilate information…this is one of the reasons the downward-spiral of stress is so debilitating; handling stress comes from knowledge and conscious choices. You learn to handle stress, it doesn’t just happen.

When stressed or depressed we are very bad at helping ourselves. Even if we know how to do it, we don’t manage to do it. Everything is too much, and nothing feels very important anymore. The only thing we feel we can do is close our eyes and hope for it all to go away.

This is where the brilliance of essential oils come in: It is actually enough to open the bottle and inhale deeply from it to feel some release. When I say inhale, I mean inhale. Take a deep breath and bring the scent of the oil as deep into yourself as you can. Close your eyes while doing it, and feel what happens to you.
This is the simplest and most basic way of using an essential oil for mood-enhancement. You can also put a few (3-5) drops on a tissue or handkerchief and carry it around with you for use during the day. Since essential oils are volatile, you might need to refresh the oil after a few hours.

The choice of oil is individual. It is all about what you feel. Smell essential oils and see what they do to you. Remember that your system usually can handle only about 5 different oils at a time, then it is suffused. Go outside, breath some fresh air and then you can smell some more. This, of course, is highly individual.

ESSENTIAL OILS:

Woody oils are grounding and strengthening:
Cedar (cedrus atlantica) Warming and calming.
Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) Strengthening and balancing.
Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora) Balancing, relaxing and uplifting

Resinous oils are protective and warming:
Frankincense (boswellia carterii) Uplifting, deepens breathing, meditation.
Myrrh (commiphora myrrha) Warming and emotionally healing.
Benzoin (styrax benzoin) Warming, euphoric, calming, protecting.

Floral oils are calming uplifting and emotionally releasing:
Geranium (pelargonium graveolens) Very balancing when there is also anger, frustration or irritation.
Lavender (lavandula officinalis / augustifolia) Wonderfully calming when there are also sleeping-problems.
Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata) Uplifting, euphoric and very good where there is anger. (High doses can give head-ache and/or nausea)

Citrus oils are uplifting and refreshing. They also blend well with the above-mentioned oils. Citrus oils carry sun-energy and this can be helpful during the wintermonths.
Orange (citrus sinensis) Sweet, uplifting.
Lemon (citrus limon) Refreshing, clears the mind
Mandarin (citrus reticulata) Sweet, helps the inner child.

Another great oil when there is sluggishness, tiredness (physical & emotional):
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) Uplifting, clears the mind, stimulating.

Orange blossomNote: Essential oils are not drugs. They work with the body. If your system is exhausted and you need to sleep, even the most stimulating oil will not keep you alert.
Also note that if depression is severe it is good to bring in some stimulating oils (citrus, rosemary) since the more calming oils can enhance depression in higher doses.

QUALITY: Buy good quality oils. If the oil is of an inferior quality, you will not have the benefits. Essential oils are natural, they have life-energy. If they are handled and stored wrongly they will lose their properties. E.O are quite costly but they go a long way. Always look for the latin name on the label, this way you are sure that you get the real thing. (There are many different cedars, for example, and one of them is slightly toxic to the system.)
The label should also say 100% pure essential oil.

WARNING: Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. Do not use them internally, do not use neat on skin, keep away from eyes, children and pets.