Essential oils are plant extracts that are super concentrated and capture the plant’s scent and beneficial properties. These oils can have many therapeutic properties from aromatherapy and relaxation to support for digestion and even hormone balance. While I do not recommend essential oils as a first line therapy, you can use essential oils to support healthy female hormone balance.
Oils can be inhaled, diffused, applied to the skin, or taken internally (use CAUTION taking oils internally!) to rebalance your system. Because they are so concentrated, only a drop or 2 is needed for an effect. The oils do not contain hormones but have properties that may support hormone balance.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands (like your thyroid and ovaries, for example) that give your body directions and signaling to regulate your weight, fertility, mood, and sex drive. Having balanced hormones means your cycle Is regular, you don’t have trouble maintaining your weight, and you feel pretty good generally.
The female endocrine system (hormonal system) is very sensitive to stress. That could be dietary stress (eating the wrong foods for your body, or too many processed foods), emotional stress, too much work and not enough sleep, environmental toxins, or pain and inflammation. Under chronic stress, your cortisol levels rise, which over time causes problems with your main sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This can cause menstrual irregularities, weight gain, estrogen dominance, and infertility.
My nutrition consulting practice focuses on women’s health, and that means I spend a lot of time focusing on healthy hormone balance with my clients. Most of the women with whom I work experience the following:
- overweight, find that they’re gaining weight, or can’t lose weight
- struggle with anxiety and/or depression
- have irregular digestion
- have irregular periods
- experience fertility challenges
- menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia
Symptoms that indicate your hormones are haywire include the following:
- irritability, anxiousness
- menopausal symptoms that interfere with day to day life
- heavy periods, irregular cycles
- inability to lose weight
- breast tenderness
- hair loss
- fatigue, insomnia
- lack of sex drive
- increase in belly fat
I have many resources to help you balance your hormones naturally by changing your diet and lifestyle habits (see resources section, below). Supporting your liver, which is in charge of metabolizing hormones, is a great place to start. I also recommend diet changes, stress relief, adaptogenic herbs and nutrients to support hormone production. But did you know essential oils can also support protocols used to balance hormones?
How to use Essential Oils for Healthy Hormone Balance
NOTE: I’ve used both Young Living and DoTerra oils. I also like Floracopeia.
The following oils have been shown to exhibit therapeutic effects similar to that of phytoestrogens, meaning they balance estrogen levels:
- Clary Sage: Stimulates the pituitary gland, which regulates ovulatory and sex hormone function. Clary sage is also a uterine tonic pairs well with geranium. Great for cramp relief & PMS.
- Fennel: used to balance cycles. Also a wonderful digestive aid.
- Basil: recommended for delayed menstruation or scanty periods.
- Cypress: useful for circulation, can relieve stagnation associated with heavy bleeding or mid-cycle bleeding
- Geranium: has an overall balancing effect on female hormones
These oils would be useful for those with low estrogen levels or dropping estrogen levels, as is the case in peri-menopause or menopause. Stress can cause low estrogen in menstruating women, but I recommend hormone testing so you’ll know your estrogen and progesterone levels.
There are certain Young Living blends that support hormone balance (use these topically):
- Sclar Essence combines phytoestrogenic oils like clary sage, peppermint, fennel, and sage. Useful for menopause, hysterectomy.
- EndoFlex supports overall endocrine function. I’ve recommended it for thyroid and adrenal support, both of which positively influence female hormone support.
- Dragon Time is a favorite! This blend relieves PMS, cramping, and irregular periods. Contains clary sage, fennel, lavender, jasmine, yarrow, and marjoram.
- Lady Sclareol has a divine fragrance and can improve mood and positively influence low estrogen. Great for menopause. It’s a blend of rosewood, vetiver, geranium, ylang ylang, jasmine, and more.
- Progressence Plus boosts progesterone. I love this one to balance the effects of estrogen dominance and promote regular cycles with fewer PMS symptoms.
You can use all these oils topically with a carrier oil (like coconut oil or avocado oil), and in some cases, take them as a supplement. You can also mix up your own blends for use depending on your unique physiology.
For menopause: try clary sage, Dragon Time, SclarEssence, Lady Sclareol topically.
For cramps: try Dragon Time, valerian, ginger (few drops internally), clary sage, lavender
For PMS: try Dragon Time, EndoFlex, fennel, clary sage
Make Your Own Blends
Irregular Periods: Use topically daily.
- 10 drops chamomile combined with 10 drops fennel
Menstrual Cramps: Apply topically daily.
- 10 drops Dragon Time combined with 5 drops hops
- EndoFlex, Progressence Plus
Heavy Bleeding: diffuse or apply topically.
- 10 drops geranium, 5 drops helichrysum, 5 drops cistus combined
Top Tips for Hormone Balance
4 Easy tips to balance hormones right away
My recommended 21 day detox program for hormone balance
How to cut the cramps
Solutions for hair loss
Hormones & Women’s Health podcast with Dr Dan Kalish
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.