Aromatherapy for Menopause Relief & Hot Flashes
How are you handling (or will you handle) menopause?
Hot flashes. Insomnia. Mood swings. Fatigue. These are just a few of the well-known and universally loathed period (no pun intended!) in a woman's life called menopause. Some women opt for prescription hormones to get relief, but maybe that's not for you. You're looking for a home remedy for menopause symptoms--something simple and natural that helps you get through this difficult time without tricking your body into believe it isn't happening.
What is Menopause?
Technically speaking, menopause is simply one date--the day after a woman's final menstrual period ends. In common speech, however, the term refers to the transitional phase clinically known as perimenopause, which encompasses the years up to and immediately following a woman's last period. During this time, the production of reproductive hormones (notably estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) gradually lessen and become more irregular. This causes a wide variety of symptoms, including weight gain, loss of sexual appetite, irritability, inability to sleep, and of course, the infamous "hot flash."
If you haven't yet experienced the full range of these symptoms, you're sure to have heard accounts from women who have, and are likely terrified at the prospect. If you're already in the middle of peri-menopause yourself, you've probably got a few horror stories of your own. Thankfully, there is natural relief from these symptoms in the form of aromatherapy.
Essential Oils for Menopause
Aromatherapy is the ideal home remedy for menopausal symptoms. It is natural and non-invasive. You do not need to go to the doctor to get a prescription; you do not need to remember to take a pill. Once you have the essential oils you need in your cupboard at home, they will be there whenever you need them. Of course, the fact that they smell nice doesn't hurt.
One of the very best essential oils for menopause is clary sage. Steam-distilled from the leaves of this European herb, essential oil of clary sage addresses many of the most distressing unpleasant symptoms of menopause. It is an estrogenic herb, meaning that it has similar properties to the hormone estrogen, and behaves similarly in the human body. Some of its specific benefits are listed below:
- Cell regeneration (reduces wrinkles)
- Hormone balance (lessens mood swings)
- Aphrodisiac (revitalizes lost libido)
- Relaxant (relieves anxiety)
Other essential oils that are particularly helpful in dealing with menopause include lavender, Roman chamomile, and geranium for their mood-stabilizing and relaxing properties, as well as peppermint for pain relief, orange for nausea, and basil or rosemary for an energy pick-me-up when fatigue sets in. If you suffer from menopause-related sleeplessness, visit my article on aromatherapy for insomnia for further specific recommendations.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are many effective ways to apply the essential oils, once you've decided which ones are right for you and your symptoms. One of my favorite ways, especially in the treatment of irritability, insomnia, or anxiety, is to put 5-7 drops total (a few drops each of several different oils) in a hot bath. This way, you are opening your pores and allowing the oils to enter your bloodstream transdermally, as well as inhaling the oils in the steam that rises off the bathwater.
Other options include putting a few drops on a handkerchief and inhaling whenever symptoms arise, using an aromatherapy diffuser, or making your own aromatherapy candles, which you can light and burn as needed any time you feel a symptom coming on. Even easier, mix 20-25 drops of a combination of essential oils into 4 oz of unscented lotion, or a carrier oil like apricot kernal or sweet almond oil, and apply daily as a moisturizer, or as needed for natural, effective menopause symptom relief.