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Aromatherapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

February 20th, 2017

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has several causes, including the generally cold weather of the season and the decrease in sunshine during the winter time, and can lead to symptoms including tiredness and depression.

In the United Kingdom there are many people feeling these effects, and it is common to find a belief that the weather affects health.

sad Seasonal Affective Disorder


Increasing serotonin with essential oils?


According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it is believed that the cause of SAD is simply due to the lack of sunshine hours in winter. The amount of serotonin in the brain decreases when the light is insufficient, which makes it more likely for people to experience depression. See this link for a study.

It is said that aromatherapy has an action to promote the secretion of serotonin, a naturally-produced chemical sometimes called the “happy hormone”. This is because the scent component of the essential oil is transferred from olfaction to the brain, and acts directly on the hormonal system. The effect is proved with lavender.

In addition, essential oils thought to have an effect on SAD include citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, bergamot and orange, which increase cheerful or gentle feelings in the personality. Floral essential oils such as rose and jasmine, and sandalwood’s calm woody tone are also said to be helpful as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. Robert Tisserand talks about this in his article here.

In particular, bergamot and lavender contain the common ingredients of linalyl acetate. It is said that linalyl acetate has a positive effect on the secretion of serotonin.

The best way to attain these benefits is to use a scent burner or aroma pot, or to use a scented roll-on over the skin. Use as appropriate to incorporate the fragrance of the essential oil directly into the brain, through the natural process of breathing.


In the following article I will tell you about the specific fragrance blend and usage.