Psychoneuroimmunology and Aromatherapy: A Neuropsychologist’s Perspective

Essential Oils to Reduce Stress and Support the Immune System

There is a wealth of information on the use of specific essential oils for improving mood, reducing stress and addressing specific maladaptive emotional states. Some of those which I have found to work well include the following:

Essential Oils for Relaxation:

    Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
    Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
    Clary Sage (Salvia sclerea)
    Bergamot (Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia)
    Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
    Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
    Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

Essential Oils to Ease Fear/Anxiety:

  • Frankincense, Somalia (Boswellia carterii)*
  • Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • Rose (Rosa damascena)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
  • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
  • Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Essential Oils to Help Lift the Spirits:

  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuine)
  • Bergamot (Citrus aurantium ssp .bergamia)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
  • Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

Essential Oils for Adrenal Support:

  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Nervines/Nervous System Tonics:

  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
  • Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Palmarosa ( Cymbopogon martini)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

Essential Oils That May Stimulate Immune Response:**

  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Cajeput (Melaleuca cajaputi)
  • Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora)
  • Bergamot (Citrus aurantium ssp. Bergamia)
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
  • Lemon (Citrus limonum)

Essential oils may be used singly or as blends. I have had good results in some cases with the use of Melissa essential oil for controlling acute panic attacks when that oil is inhaled at the onset of an attack or just before and is used in conjunction with relaxation techniques or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is another oil that can be used alone to help promote relaxation and relieve stress. This is the first essential oil that I discovered and used in practice and in the years when I was working in the operating room and performing cortical mapping procedures on patients who were awake during brain surgery I found that if I applied a single drop of lavender essential oil to my own arms before entering the operating room it helped to calm my patients’ anxiety (as well as my own) during this long and stressful procedure. Frankincense is another oil that works well on its own to induce deep breathing and relaxation and I have found it to be a favorite among acupuncturists and dentists who are looking for something to reduce client anxiety since it can be diffused in the office without causing drowsiness.

It is chronic stress and chronic mood disturbances, however, rather than situational ones which eventually lead to on-going suppression or imbalance of immune function and to compromise of vitality and health. In these situations, the use of essential oil blends is generally more effective than single oils. By using two or more oils in a blend, several aspects of a problem can be addressed at one time and there are synergistic benefits that arise from the interactions among the oils. The oils can also be rotated over time to keep the blends fresh and interesting to the client, to address changing symptoms, and to avoid any potential problems which could arise from long-term use of particular oil. For example: lavender, bergamot, frankincense and ylang ylang blend well for use with someone who has prominent symptoms of depression and exhaustion as a part of the clinical picture. Frankincense is an essential oil that I use frequently with people who are exhausted and debilitated as I find it has an overall strengthening and fortifying effect on the mind/body/spirit. Other essential oils listed under the category of nervines/nervine tonics will also help to strengthen and restore the nervous system when it has been exhausted or thrown out of balance by chronic stress. Where chronic anxiety is a prominent feature and there is restlessness lavender, cedarwood, vetiver and neroli could be tried and, again, frankincense and other nervines could be of use for their calming and restorative properties. Effective blending is the true art of aromatherapy; there are no hard and fast rules and all of us who practice in this field have our own favorite combinations. In all instances, however, a blend must be aromatically pleasant to the person using it and must not contain aromas that the user associates with a bad experience.

*Note: Boswellia carterii is endangered in Oman

** Immune stimulating essential oils should generally be avoided in the presence of autoimmune disorders/diseases

This document is copyrighted and may not be copied, published or reprinted in any form without written permission of the author, Joie Power, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2010 Joie Power, Ph.D. / The Aromatherapy School | All Rights Reserved

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

© 2019 Highlands Natural Healing