How to Use Essential Oils for PMS Relief

September 26, 2016

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is an umbrella term that includes all number of unpleasant side effects many women experience shortly before (and sometimes during) their monthly period. Aches, swollen breasts, fatigue, loss of libido, water retention, food cravings, depression, anger, weepiness, acne … the list goes on. Many of the symptoms of PMS may be traced to low progesterone or estrogen dominance, but the thought of balancing our hormones whilst trying to cope with premenstrual symptoms can only serve to add to the stress and frustration.

Sometimes we need some more immediate PMS relief. Enter essential oils. The right combination of oils can lift your spirit as they ease your headache. When used correctly, they can provide effective PMS relief without some of the side effects accompanying over-the-counter drugs.

There aren’t that many scientific studies on the effectiveness of essential oils and PMS treatment, however, but as along as you’re following these essential oil safety tips, you can experiment to find what blends work best for you.

How to Use Essential Oils for PMS Relief

Best Essential Oils for PMS Relief

Valeria Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, lists several essential oils suitable for treating PMS:

Fennel

Rose Bulgar

Rose Maroc

Geranium

Clary-sage

Bergamot

Nutmeg

Grapefruit

Jasmine

Narcissus

Jonquil

Roman Chamomile

Worwood notes that each woman’s experience of PMS differs, so she breaks PMS into four main categories:

Violent/Aggressive PMS (feeling angry):

Narcissus

Jonquil

Nutmeg

Bergamot

Geranium

Parsley

Palma Rosa

Weeping/Depressing PMS:

Rose Bulgar

Rose Maroc

Clary-sage

Bergamot

Geranium

Nutmeg

Irritable/Disagreeable PMS:

Jonquil

Nutmeg

Bergamot

Geranium

Clary-sage

Roman Chamomile

Apathetic/Listless PMS:

Parsley

Clary-sage

Bergamot

Geranium

Grapefruit

Fennel

Roman Chamomile

You can probably imagine several different blends to make from this list as well as different ratios of particular oils.

How to Use Essential Oils for PMS

There are several ways to enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils. I’m a huge fan of using oils in a diffuser and enjoying their fragrance throughout the house. This is a good option if you’re concerned that certain oils may irritate your skin. You can also look up whether or not an oil can sensitize skin (here is a guide to possibly sensitizing oils.) When it comes to essential oils, less is more–and it pays to play it safe. 

You may experience faster relief if you apply the oils to your skin—just be sure that you’re properly diluting essential oils in lotion, carrier oil, or water, depending on which treatment you’re using. (Here is a helpful guide for diluting essential oils.)

Warm Compress. A warm compress is heavenly if you’re experiencing cramps and aches. To create a compress, fill a steel, glass, or ceramic bowl with two cups of warm water. Add six drops of your PMS oil blend, and stir well. Soak a washcloth in the mixture, wring it out, and place it on your abdomen. Repeat as necessary.

Massage. Add two tablespoons of carrier oil to a steel, glass, or ceramic bowl. Carrier oils include sweet almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, grasped oil, macadamia oil, and avocado oil. (You can also use an unscented lotion if you don’t have a carrier oil handy.) Stir in six drops of your PMS oil blend.

Hot bath. Fill a bath with warm water and add a few drops of your PMS blend. I usually only make essential oil baths with oils I know are gentle on my skin. Chamomile and jasmine are my favorites for this purpose.

Linen spray. Fill a small steel or glass spray bottle with two tablespoons vodka or witch hazel, six tablespoons water, and 10 drops of your PMS blend. I spray linen spray on my non-electric heating pad (which is basically a flannel sack of rice I pop in the microwave). It’s not a very direct method of benefiting from essential oils, but it’s a nice ritual, and it smells so lovely and comforting.

*To this list, you can add whichever oils make you feel good. Indeed, this list is not the be-all-end-all of PMS oils! In fact, inhaling lavender (not listed) has been shown to reduce confusion and dejection and relieve depression in women with mild to moderate PMS according to research published in BioPsychoSocial Medicine in 2013. Speaking from personal experience, mint and eucalyptus make a lovely combination (for diffusing) that helps ease headaches and clear mental clutter.

What are your favorite essential oils for PMS Relief?

Related: Feeling Antisocial: The Overlooked PMS Symptom

Healthy Ways to Deal with PMS

What I Wish I Knew Before Taking Birth Control

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Photo: SnapbyThree MY via Unsplash

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Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.

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