When you set out to learn about essential oils, you inevitably end up learning about so much more—especially about how the human body works.
I’ve had way more than just a few moments where I thought to myself, “Why didn’t they teach me this in school?”
For example… we’ve all heard of hormones. We know we have them. But what are they really? What do they do? Where do they come from?
In a nutshell, hormones are natural chemicals produced by the body. Their purpose is to send messages from one part of the body to another. Hormones are responsible for everything from letting you know that you’re hungry to regulating the amount of glucose available to your brain for higher order executive functions like deep concentration or decision making.
Needless to say, these little chemical messengers are important.
Hormones have a significant impact on…
- …Your emotions and the way you feel,
- …How much weight you lose or keep,
- …The quality of your sleep,
- …How energetic you feel,
- …Memory, both short term and long term,
- …And many, many other vital functions of the body both for survival and overall well being and quality of life.
Unfortunately, many people have turned to the pharmaceutical industry to balance their hormones. While I’m not suggesting that all pharmaceutical hormone balancing products are bad news, it’s also not a stretch to say that some of these products are overly aggressive and result in undesirable side effects.
Essential oils are a holistic, all-natural approach to balancing your hormones.
Let’s begin by exploring which essential oils are most effective for hormonal balance.
Essential Oils for Hormonal Imbalance
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should give you a pretty good idea about which essential oils you might want to consider picking up for improving your hormonal balance:
- Clary sage
- Lavender (of course!)
At the end of this post I’ll let you know what I would do if I was going to buy only one of these oils for hormone balancing.
Balancing Cortisol Hormone Levels With Essential Oils
You’ve probably heard quite a lot about cortisol and its association with stress. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in the body in response to both emotional or physical stress.
When in balance, cortisol serves a valuable purpose—it lets us know when something is wrong.
This is why the old cliche about “listening to your body” really is so important. It can be tough raising a family, pursuing a career, and goodness knows what other demands tend to get thrown at us on a daily basis. If you’re feeling “stressed out,” that’s your cortisol hormone telling you that it’s perfectly OK to give yourself a break.
When your cortisol levels are unbalanced, you can tell because you’ll have some of the following problems:
- Tiredness even after a good night’s rest
- Craving really carby foods or straight up junk food
- Irritability and “brain fog”
- More energy at night than in the morning
That’s no joke.
The oils you want to focus on to balance your cortisol levels are clary sage, basil, and lavender, plus for aromatherapy with your diffuser, anise can amplify effects.
Clary sage is the big one here—it’s actually a very powerful “all around” hormone balancing essential oil. We’ll be revisiting clary sage in other sections, but for now take a look at this study where researchers determined that it can lower cortisol levels by as much as 36%.
Check out this study on the effects of basil. Researchers found that 39% of both women and men enjoyed reduced trouble sleeping, “brain fog,” daytime tiredness, and other general symptoms of cortisol imbalance. Diluted basil oil should be topically applied to the forearms and behind the earlobes for best results.
As for lavender, we’ve long known that it’s is an excellent way to improve your sleep (among a bunch of other things). If you’re diffusing, add a drop of anise to your blend for added stress relief, since the properties of anise pair well with lavender.
Essential Oils for PMS Hormone Balancing
While I wouldn’t classify premenstrual syndrome as a hormonal imbalance per se—it’s a perfectly natural part of being a woman—it’s definitely worth knowing which oils can boost your mood.
Having said that, it’s also true that the same hormones responsible for PMS can be responsible for other problems like reduced libido, sweating, and hot flashes (even prior to menopause). The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, both hormones that need to be balanced to avoid these kinds of troubles.
Whether you’re experiencing those kinds of difficulties or simply wish to soothe the symptoms of PMS, the best oil to use is hands down clary sage.
As we discussed in the previous section, clary sage is a highly effective hormone balancing oil. This oil can help balance estrogen production during all times of the month, not just during menstruation. And that’s a good thing, because proper estrogen levels may help you avoid complications like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
But when it is that time of the month, clary sage has been shown to soothe both PMS and cramps. Apply topically or diffuse.
Essential Oils for Controlling Metabolism & Thyroid Hormones
Did you know that around 20 million people in the United States alone have thyroid problems?
The thyroid produces two hormones, the names of which you’ve likely never heard before: triiodothyronine and thyroxine.
Regardless of their names, when those two are out of whack, you’re not going to feel great. You might feel overwhelmed, lose control of the weight you gain or lose, have trouble sleeping, or even have inexplicably dry skin. The bottom line is that it’s not good!
We once again must visit clary sage. If you looked at the study I mentioned earlier, you know that it has also been shown to improve the balance of thyroid hormone levels. Topical application is best for this purpose. Remember to dilute and rub gently into the forearms and neck.
While clary sage is once again the star of the show, it’s also important to know that myrtle essential oil can aid in thyroid hormone balancing. For women, myrtle has also been shown to have properties that help normalize imbalances of the ovaries.
This is because myrtle oil, a floral extract in the same family as eucalyptus, is considered an “adaptogen,” meaning that it can have relaxing or stimulating properties based on what your body may need at the time (like hormonal balance). Most of the other oils mentioned in this post are similarly adaptable.
Myrtle can be used in your diffuser (bonus, it has a wonderful aroma) or applied topically after dilution. In addition to hormone balancing, myrtle is also quite good for decongestion and easier breathing, just like eucalyptus.
When You Feel Balanced, You Feel Alive
If you were to implement just one essential oil into your daily routine for the purpose of keeping your hormones balanced, it should definitely be clary sage. I recommend adding it to your essential oil collection as soon as you get a chance.
The importance of doing your best to maintain hormonal balance cannot be overstated. You’ll have more energy, have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight, and when you sleep, you’ll actually get the rest you need.
Remember, pay attention to your body—then give it what it needs.