Whether you deal with debilitating period pain every month or just the occasional rough cycle, I don’t know any woman who isn’t interested in finding a way to help with cramps. If you have small kids to take care of or a life to live that doesn’t include sitting on your couch all day, you probably have zero time to be doubled over in pain dealing with menstrual cramps.
While it may be tempting to pop some midol and keep on keepin’ on, the high doses of acetaminophen in it can cause even more problems. Mainly because it’s really harsh on your liver, and while you’re menstruating your liver is busy detoxing hormones from your body. You don’t want it to be overburdened with harsh medication on top of that!
What if I told you there were some natural ways to relieve period pain? Cue the magic of using an essential oil for menstrual cramps. From the onset of the moodiness and bloating that comes with PMS to the belly cramps of your period, there’s an essential oil for that. Many of these not only ease the symptoms but can also help to balance your hormones. Hormonal imbalances are usually the deeper root cause of period problems, so addressing that is crucial.
So let’s get on with it. I’m here to help you discover the best essential oils for PMS and menstrual cramps. There are several options, but there’s one “right fit” for you. Read on to learn more about the different choices.
Using an Essential Oil for PMS and Menstrual Cramps
With a sweet floral scent, ylang-ylang would be great to use as a perfume on your pulse points around your menstrual cycle or misted through a diffuser in your home. Ylang-ylang works in a couple of different ways to support your cycle. For one, it’s an amazing anti-anxiety oil. It also boosts the mood and is a mild sedative. This could help ease any overwhelm and sail through PMS symptoms without any major meltdowns.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but stress is a major factor when it comes to hormone disruption. And PMS always seems to rear its ugly head when you have a million other things demanding your attention. Do yourself (and everyone around you) a favor by trying some ylang-ylang aromatherapy, a great essential oil for PMS tension.
The second major benefit of ylang-ylang essential oil for menstrual cramps is that it’s an anti-spasmodic which is a fancy word for: it can relax muscle spasms (1). Applying undiluted essential oils to your skin isn’t the best idea, as they are so potent, but mix a few drops with a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond or jojoba oil and use that as a massage oil.
Taking just a few minutes to lay down and give yourself a good old fashioned belly rub with this essential oil for menstrual cramps can do wonders for your flow.
This oil also blends well with bergamot – a citrus oil that boosts the mood and calmly relaxes. Add a drop of bergamot and a drop of ylang ylang to your palm. Rub your hands together and cup them over your nose inhaling deeply several times to access the powerful benefits of these oils. Alternatively, you can diffuse them together for longer lasting effects.
Rose essential oil is another sweet floral aroma to take in around your period. Here’s the thing, smelling flowers makes you feel good! And science backs this up too. A 2017 study on rose oil showed that it improved anxiety levels and had a relaxing effect on both the body and the mind (2).
So as a mood elevator and tension soother, rose essential oil is a great ally for PMS. Again, the most common cause of hormonal imbalance is stress. The more tools you have to help you relax, the more your hormones will regulate and the better your periods will be.
Like ylang-ylang, rose essential oil for menstrual cramps also works because of its ability to relax your muscles (3). Cramping is caused by contractions of the uterus, so easing that tension can ease your pain.
Another powerful benefit of rose essential oil is that it works to regulate imbalanced hormones. Painful periods and PMS are often a glaring sign of hormonal dysfunction. When applied topically to the abdomen rose essential oil can help to balance all of that out (8).
This oil is the perfect treatment for menstrual cramps and one that you will probably find in every single blend for hormones. That’s because it works to balance estrogen production and regulate cycles (4).
Because it’s so well known as a stimulant to the uterus, it’s one of the oils that is definitely not for pregnancy (except when you’re at the end and it’s time to have the baby – it can help move things along). Sometimes the reason you have cramps is because the uterus is stagnant and is trying to pass clots. This is when clary sage can help to promote blood flow and help the uterus do what it needs to do to!
Another way clary sage can help with menstrual cramps is that it’s an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, or pain-reliever that has a cooling effect on the skin. Add to that its ability to improve mood and you have an all around powerhouse when it comes to PMS and period relief.
This is also an oil that blends really well with Lavender – a well-loved and naturally relaxing essential oil. Combine a drop of each in your palm and inhale from your hands for relaxing effects. Dilute 1 to 2 drops of clary sage with coconut oil and apply to the abdomen for support during that time of the month. This is an essential oil for menstrual cramps you definitely want to keep stocked in your natural “medicine” cabinet.
A great essential oil for heavy periods, geranium is a pain-reliever and muscle relaxant. It can also tone the veins leading to the uterus, thus having a positive impact on excessive bleeding (5). This essential oil for menstrual pain has a floral scent which makes it great for aromatherapy or adding to unscented shampoos, conditioners or lotions (I love the versatility of essential oils!) . You can bypass the synthetic fragrances (which are known hormone disruptors and can make period problems worse) and boost your mood and wellbeing with essential oils.
Geranium also soothes the nervous system and manages stress, so it can help over time to regulate hormone imbalances. This is the big cause of PMS and believe it or not, when your hormones are ticking along as they should, heavy bleeding, PMS and cramping shouldn’t be an issue.
Geranium blends well with Rose so you can add 1 drop of each to your palm, dilute with coconut oil or another carrier oil and rub into your abdomen for hormone support.
A strong aromatic oil, this one is better as aromatherapy than on your skin. Try putting a few drops in your diffuser and imagine you’re relaxing in a cypress forest. If you don’t know what a cypress forest is… it’s a cold weather tree that smells piney and fresh.
Cypress is another great essential oil for women suffering with heavy periods because like geranium it works to regulate blood flow (6). But cypress doesn’t stop there, it can can also relieve pain and relax muscles. A cocktail of benefits that works as a natural pain reliever to support all sides of menstrual issues.
Another symptom of PMS is headaches and migraines. And if cramps are bad enough and your periods are super heavy, you might also feel a little nausea. Peppermint essential oil for heavy periods works to ease headaches, nausea, and can refresh your state of mind too. It’s invigorating and energizing if you’re feeling fatigued, without over stimulating your adrenals like caffeine does. Try just one drop directly on your pulse points or gently massage into your temples and breathe your pain and tension away.
Peppermint oil doesn’t treat menstrual cramps per se, but it can support your PMS and cramping by easing any bloat caused by slowed digestion. Rubbing a drop over your belly can help speed things up in that department. You can also try drinking a cup of peppermint tea – either the herbal kind or if you have essential oils that are safe to ingest you can use them that way too.
So now that you know all about how to use an essential oil for menstrual cramps and PMS, what do you do with it? Massaging them directly to the skin (in a carrier oil of course) is a great way to use them, but so is breathing them in, whether in a diffuser or as a single drop on your wrist or temples. If you’re stuck on how to work with the essential oils above, here are a few recipes that I think you’ll love.
Essential Oil for Cramps Massage Blend
- 1 oz of sweet almond oil
- 6 to 7 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- 6 to 7 drop of clary sage essential oil
- 6 to 7 drops of rose essential oil
Mix all of these together in a small glass bottle or jar and use as needed. The best way to apply essential oils to reduce menstrual cramps is in a blend with a carrier oil, like the one above. Use a dime size amount and slowly massage them on your belly. Adding a heating pad on top of your abdomen and lying down for 30-45 minutes when you’re done is a great way to help these essential oils penetrate your skin.
Essential Oil for Cramps Diffuser Blend
- 3 drops of cypress essential oil
- 3 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 3 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix these together in your diffuser, turn off the lights in your bedroom and give yourself 10-15 to really relax with some aromatherapy. It’s amazing what can happen when you just allow yourself a little time for self care. If there is anytime to invest a little extra love in yourself, it’s that time of the month.
Essential Oil for Menstrual Cramps Floral Bath
- 5 to 8 drops of rose essential oil
- 5 to 8 drops of geranium essential oil
- 1 cup of magnesium flakes or epsom salts
This is by far one of the best period rituals yet. So go all out. Light a candle, run a hot bath and relax. The essential oils will support any cramping and ease your mind, while the epsom salts and hot water double down on the muscle relaxing. Use more essential oil for larger soaking tubs and less for standard size.
As a woman, periods are just something you have to deal with each month, but menstrual cramps and PMS do not have to be part of that! Good sleeping habits, reducing stress and eating a healthy diet will support your hormones and improve your periods over time. But you can take that to the next level by incorporating essential oils into your lifestyle.
I hope this has given you a good place to start and I would love to know what you think about using essential oil for menstrual cramps and PMS. Have you tried them? Do you have any other ideas to share? Leave a comment below and let me know your input, I always love to hear it!
- Anthony, Amy (2018). “Essential Oil Allies: Ylang Ylang.” Retrieved from: https://aromaticstudies.com/essential-oil-allies-ylang-ylang/
- Mohebitabar, Safieh. Shirazi, M. Sodabeh, B. Rahimi, R. Malekshahi, F. Nejatbakhsh, F. (2017). “Therapeutic Efficacy of Rose Oil: A Comprehensive Review of Clinical Evidence.” Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5511972/
- Stewart, Erin (2016). “Essential Oil Therapeutics Properties: Antispasmodic.” Retrieved from: https://www.aromaculture.com/blog/2016/8/3/essential-oil-therapeutic-properties-antispasmodic
- Dr. Mercola (2016). “Clary Sage May be Pricey But It’s Benefits Are Priceless.” Retrieved from: https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/clary-sage-oil.aspx
- Carrioon-Proano (2013). “Geranium Essential Oil: For Balance and Beauty.” Retrieved from: https://www.thearomablog.com/geranium-essential-oil-for-balance-and-beauty/
- Gruber, Bryce (2018). “8 Essential Oils That Help Ease Your Menstrual Cramps.” Retrieved from: https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/essential-oils-for-menstrual-cramps/
- Guerra, Julia (2017). “ Essential Oils For PMS That’ll Make That Time of the Month A Total Breeze.” Retrieved from: https://www.elitedaily.com/p/8-essential-oils-for-pms-thatll-make-that-time-of-the-month-a-total-breeze-5516338
- The Essential Life Book, 3rd edition, page 102.