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Dana Dupont smiled as she introduced herself to her table of customers. The Portland, Oregon, mom was excited to be working as a server in one of the top restaurants in the country. But as she began taking orders, her heart started racing and she was overwhelmed by panic. Excusing herself, she hurried back to the kitchen and burst into tears.
Dana had been having these unexplained breakdowns for several years. She’d be driving or talking to a friend, and suddenly she’d go into panic mode. Chalking it up to anxiety, she’d turned to alcohol to calm her nerves…and begun drinking regularly. But realizing that it was doing more harm than good, she’d gotten sober. Now, the daily meltdowns had returned. I can’t go on this way. Dana wept. But I can’t…I won’t…go back to drinking.
A Surprising Balm
Dana didn’t know where to turn. Then, one day, a friend invited her to a class a friend was hosting on using essential oils to manage emotions. At this point, Dana was willing to try anything. I don’t see how this can help, she reasoned. But it certainly can’t hurt! During the class, the practitioner discussed a variety of oils touted to help with a range of emotions, and at the end of the session, Dana shared the symptoms she’d experienced with the instructor. “Is there an oil you think can help me?” Dana asked. “Vetiver oil”, the woman said. Extracted from the root of the vetiver plant, a tall perennial grass grown in Southeast Asia, vetiver oil, she explained, is renowned for promoting relaxation and mental balance.
When Dana did some further research, she learned that one study showed the calming effects of vetiver oil were similar to the anti-anxiety drug diazepam, but without the side effects.
Hopeful, Dana bought the vetiver oil. She mixed a couple of drops of the vetiver oil with a few drops of coconut oil, and carried the mixture with her in a small container. The next time she felt a panic attack coming on, she dabbed a little on her neck. As she inhaled the woodsy fragrance, she felt an incredible sense of calm instantly wash over her.
The Path to Healing
Amazed, Dana began using the elixir to defuse tension, applying a few drops to her wrists and solar plexus when she was facing a particularly stressful day. On occasion, she also wore a special oil diffuser necklace.
As her nerves calmed and her mind cleared, Dana decided to see a therapist and soon discovered the root cause of her emotional episodes: severe PTSD, stemming from a sexual assault in her teens and a near-fatal car accident in her 20s. By combining the calming oil with therapy sessions, today, the 45-year-old has reclaimed her life. Dana is a happy mom to her son, 13, and studying to get a master’s in nutrition.
“Before vetiver oil, I was in raw survival mode”, says Dana, who still uses it to deal with everyday stress. “Vetiver oil helped me get my emotions under control and get the help I needed … it put me on the path to true healing!” — Elisabeth Dunham
Where to buy: $54.67, Amazon