Using essential oils for hormonal balance gets 12 out of 15 points when looking at science, safety, and simplicity. We can cycle essential oils with our menstrual cycle to get the most benefit.
Many people agree using synthetic products isn’t good for our health. To help balance my hormones, I switched to a natural deodorant, stopped wearing perfume, and threw away my scented lotions. The problem? The resulting lack of smell, or even worse, the sometimes foul smell!
I make my own personal care products and add essential oils for the smell. Creating products is fun and releases stress for me. Plus, I can customize the scents to be unique and something I love, and I don’t need to worry about being the person giving migraines to everyone in the office.
What is a Hormonal Imbalance?
We have so many hormones fluctuating through our monthly cycle. We want to get the balance of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and others exactly right. If any hormone is high or low, it can cause undesirable symptoms.
Stress, nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar spikes, insufficient sleep, and more can all cause a hormonal imbalance. We need to take care of ourselves to get all hormones in balance and feel healthy.
If you suspect a hormonal imbalance, you can use your health tracker (Apple Watch, Oura Ring, etc) data and your cycle to look for trends across your cycle. Learn how by joining the free CHI Method mini-course.
Using Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance
As I’ve gotten into cycle syncing and hormones, I’ve been trying to sync my scents with my cycle. At certain times of the month, different oils will help improve our hormonal balance, giving us energy and health.
With my engineering training and my current job at a hospital, I have to say using essential oils to change our body chemistry took me a while to believe. But as I’ve tried it myself and looked at the research, I’m a believer in aromatherapy.
The Science Around Using Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance
Many studies show that using essential oils changes our hormones, body chemistry, and stress levels.
- Bergamot reduces cortisol levels when diffusing the scent.
- Geranium and rose otto increase estrogen levels in perimenopausal women.
These proven changes can help improve our health. However, I couldn’t find any research about cycling oils or using them to create a real hormonal balance. No studies prove these theories work, so I can’t give a 4 or 5 rating.
I give the science around essential oils a 3 out of 5 for improving hormonal balance.
Safety of Essential Oils
We can use essential oils in lots of different ways, and each method has a different level of safety. No real harm can come from aromatherapy. However, once we start adding oils topically or ingesting them, we can run into problems.
Aromatherapy is safe. Smelling an oil can improve your mood, hormones, and the smell of your house. As long as you’re not continually sniffing bottles of essential oils, no real harm can come from smelling essential oils.
Some oils are so potent they can burn you if you apply them without mixing them with another oil first. We need to be careful with which oils we use topically, or “neat.” When we mix essential oils with a carrier oil like almond oil or coconut oil first, topical application is safer.
Ingesting essential oils
I have to say I don’t know much about ingesting essential oils. As I look into it, some harm can come of it. For example, a single drop of peppermint oil contains the same information as about 15 cups of peppermint tea brewed strong! That’s a lot of information!
Essential oils can act as endocrine disruptors. These properties are why essential oils work to balance our hormones. We need to use them in a mindful way to improve our hormonal balance instead of setting ourselves up for more issues.
I give the safety of essential oils a 4 out of 5 for improving hormonal balance.
The Simplicity of Using Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance
To begin, we can add a couple of drops of essential oil to a diffuser. So easy! If you’re interested in other methods, there are a lot of options. But to get started, it’s so simple.
I give the simplicity of using essential oils a 5 out of 5 for improving hormonal balance.
Cost of Using Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance
Using essential oils isn’t free, but it isn’t overly expensive either. You’ll want to buy a diffuser. Add the cost of each oil, and it can add up. However, one of the benefits I’ve found is when I began to make my own products, like lotions and soaps, my total cost has gone down.
I give using essential oils for hormonal balance two $$ out of $$$$$.
Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance
If you want to try using essential oils to help hormonal balance, where do you start? I’ve pulled together a list of oils to try, with some of their benefits.
- Clary sage seems to be the hormone balancer of all oils! Using this oil can help our cycles become more regular has an almost adaptogenic effect. Clary sage senses what we need and help us reach a balance.
- Bergamot – Studies have shown diffusing bergamot for a short period can reduce cortisol levels in the blood.
- Rose otto and geranium – In a study that tested many different oils to determine which change hormone levels, these two oils are statistically significant at increasing estrogen in perimenopausal women. I want to note, rose otto is pretty expensive. Geranium is as effective at promoting estrogen, so rose otto is not something we need to seek out.
- Rosemary – Conversely, rosemary can help remove excess estrogen when levels are too high. Rosemary also helps lower cortisol.
- Thyme helps increase progesterone levels.
- Frankincense acts as an anti-inflammatory and can help boost mood. The scent also reduces symptoms of menstruation.
- Peppermint is great for an upset stomach. It aids in digestion and helps alleviate nausea and bloating. Peppermint also helps keep our liver healthy and reduce feelings of pain. Plus smelling it can help clear your mind and reduce mental fogginess.
- Lavender seems to be the scent added to everything meant to reduce stress and promote sleep. Everyone sells lavender scented lotions, candles, and more because it works. It’s also adaptogenic and can help balance the body.
- Ylang ylang is a pleasant scent that calms the mind. It can help with racing thoughts and anxiety.
- Lemon and oregano increase available antioxidants while helping detoxify the liver.
- Cinnamon can help improve immune function and can help ease menstrual cramps.
- Clove bud is another spicy scent that helps increase immune function while reducing the sensation of pain.
Rotating Essential Oils During Phases of Our Cycles
Clary sage is one oil I like to use throughout the entire cycle. Because it’s so balancing, we can benefit from it all month. Other oils will be more beneficial during specific times in our cycle.
As I put this list together, I realized the oils that support us best follow our cycle’s seasonality.
- Menstrual phase – Winter – The oils that support us best remind me of spicy, winter scents
- Follicular phase – Spring – The two oils I picked both come from flowers – very springlike.
- Ovulation phase – Summer – The oils that will best support us are fresh and clean, like a summer day.
- Luteal phase – Fall – The oils overlap a lot with the menstrual/winter phase, but with some extra florals to remind us of the warmer times.
During this phase, we want to relax. We can take the time to take care of ourselves and not do things that create a lot of stress. When we have our period, oils that promote stress reduction are great, and we can add oils that help with cramping and pain.
- Clove bud
We want our estrogen to increase during this phase, so our body gets the signal to ovulate. We also tend to feel our best, so we won’t need oils to reduce stress.
- Rose otto
At ovulation, we want to help our liver detoxify extra estrogen. If we’re not efficiently eliminating estrogen, we might get some brain fog. Peppermint can help both liver detoxification and brain fog. Some other oils that can help are:
During the luteal phase, many women experience PMS. Here are some oils that can help with PMS relief, anxiety, low progesterone levels, and immune function. Our immune function is lower during the luteal phase, so it’s vital to support immunity.
- Ylang ylang
- Clove bud
How to Use Essential Oils
We’ve already covered a little about how to use essential oils. Here are my favorite, overall safe ways to use them.
- Diffuser – This is the safest and easiest way to use essential oils. Select a diffuser, fill it with water, and add 4-8 drops of your favorite oils. Easy!
- Ayurvedic massage – This is the first way I’ve used essential oils. I take a small cup, like a mouthwash cup, and fill it with sesame oil. Then I add four drops of oil and massage it on before a shower. I leave it on while my shower warms up, then bathe as usual. It sounds a little weird to add oil before a shower, but it keeps my skin soft and not at all oily after my shower. I don’t even need to apply lotion post-shower.
- Apply to feet – Using the same oil blend created for a pre-shower massage, we can add the oil to our feet before bed. Our feet are the least likely area to react with essential oils, so it’s one of the safest places to add them topically. Also, our feet connect to other areas of our body, which is why foot massage is so prevalent in Eastern medicine.
After researching essential oils, I use them even more. I haven’t found a noticeable difference in my sleep or energy levels, but the science says it’s changing some of my body chemistry. And the best part is, I can use natural products and not worry about giving migraines to my coworkers.