Essential oils have been used for generations to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Some caregivers are now using these trusted oils to ease anxiety, boost memory and improve the mood of loved ones living with dementia.
As the search continues for a cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, some research suggests that aromatherapy and the use of essential oils may treat certain symptoms of the disease.
While research on the effectiveness of essential oils is somewhat limited, some studies have shown aromatherapy can:
Ease symptoms of anxiety
Offer relief from symptoms of depression
Improve the quality of life for people living with chronic health conditions
While oils have been used for generations and many are thought to be safe, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so be sure to consult with your doctor before using to ensure oils will not have any negative interaction with medication.
In addition to the therapeutic benefits of the oils themselves, studies have also shown that sensory stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s can decrease agitation, improve sleep and improve the overall quality of life for those living with the disease.
7 Essential Oils That May Help Those Living with Dementia
Here are oils that have been shown to be effective in treating and controlling different symptoms of dementia:
Lavender is thought to be calming and able to balance strong emotions. It has also been used to help with depression, anger and irritability, and can help in some cases of insomnia. Lavender can be directly inhaled, used a massage oil or sprayed on linens.
Peppermint is an energizer and can be used to stimulate the mind and calm nerves at the same time. Best used in the morning, peppermint oil can be inhaled directly, diffused in a room, used as a massage oil, sprayed in the air or even placed in a bath.
Similar to peppermint, Rosemary is an uplifting oil used to stimulate the mind and body. It may even improve cognitive performance and mood. Rosemary has also been known to ease constipation, symptoms of depression and also reinvigorate the appetite. Rosemary oil can be directly inhaled, diffused through a room or used as a spray.
Bergamot can be used to relive anxiety, agitation, mild depression and stress. This mood elevating and calming oil can also be used to relieve insomnia. To use bergamot oil, place a few drops in a bath, use as a massage oil, diffuse through a room or use a spray on clothing or linens.
5. Lemon Balm
While lemon oil may be among the more expensive oils, it is also one of the most studied and more effective oils. It has been shown to help calm and relax people who are dealing with anxiety and insomnia, improve memory and ease indigestion. Lemon oil can be dropped into a bath, inhaled directly, diffused, sprayed or applied directly to the skin as a massage oil.
6. Ylang Ylang
Ylang Ylang oil can help ease depression while also promoting good sleep. This is a great oil not only for a person living with Alzheimer’s, but also for caregivers struggling with restlessness and lack of sleep. Ylang Ylang is often combined with lemon oil and can be placed in a bath, inhaled, diffused or sprayed.
Ginger oil is helpful for anyone struggling with digestion issues. Commonly used to treat a loss of appetite and constipation, ginger can help promote good eating habits. Ginger oil can be applied directly to the skin as an abdominal massage, inhaled, diffused, sprayed or placed on a compress.