Essential oils are a powerful tool for our health. You’re taking all the goodness from the plant and concentrating it. They have been used for relieving headaches to relaxing muscles, correcting digestive issues to calming nerves. Naturally, we want to know if essential oils can helpduring our menstrual cycles! Here are some practical and easy tips to help you.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being. Essential oils are basically plant extracts. They’re made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil. In addition to creating scent, essential oils perform other functions in plants, too. Essential oils are the essence of the plant that are captured via distillation or mechanical methods like cold-pressing, depending on the plant type.
How do essential oils work?
Some of the health claims associated with these oils are controversial but they are incredibly popular if you are seeking alternative medicine or a more holistic approach. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. Essential oils can also be absorbed by the skin. They are popular in massage therapy as they are mixed in a lotion or carrier oil before being applied to the skin.
How can I use essential oils safely?
Because essential oils are incredibly strong and concentrated, it is vitally important to read up on the individual oil prior to using. Some are safe to apply full strength and others have to be heavily diluted with a carrier oil or lotion to diminish its concentration. Something as common and loved as peppermint needs to be significantly thinned so it doesn’t chemically burn your skin.
Please always read the instructions on the side of the bottle before administering.
Common ways to safely use essential oils include:
Aroma Therapy. Diffusing is the most popular essential oil use! Diffusers can be found in all shapes, sizes and colors and use water to vaporize the oils. Necklaces, bracelets and keychains made with absorbent materials you apply essential oils to and sniff throughout the day. Even something like an essential oil inhaler! These portable plastic sticks have an absorbent wick that soaks up essential oil.
Topically. A mixture of essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba or coconut oil that can be massaged into skin. But again, because essential oils are concentrated, they can cause irritation. Avoid using them full-strength on skin.
How can I use essential oils during my menstrual cycle?
Hormones are all over the place during our menstrual cycles, we know this, right? We feel empowered during parts of our cycle, potentially anxiety-ridden during other parts and overall fatigued depending on the day of our cycle! Certain essential oils or oil blends are tied to potentially giving relief for different symptoms. Here are some popular essential oils to use during your period and menstrual cycle.
Menstruation. This is where we feel most exhausted! You’ll most likely crave alone time or rest. Frankincense or sandalwood or a grounding blend to overall settle you. At this point in the menstrual cycle, you should do things that aid in your comfort. To help with cramping, there are blends of essential oils for your menstrual cycles like this DIY recipe . If you’re prone to cramping, have you thought about trying a menstrual cup?
Pre-Ovulation. At this point you’re feeling your best! Your energy has come back and peaked and you’re ready to conquer the world. If you ever see a pattern of motivation or need for accomplishment, you’ll probably notice it’s just after your period ends! During this time you’ll reach for energizing oils such as peppermint and citrus like orange or grapefruit.
Ovulation. You’re feeling good about yourself, sultry, attractive, and active! You may find you’ll apply a little more makeup or pick an outfit that makes you feel the best about yourself. Floral and earthy essential oils are popular during this menstrual phase. Scents like jasmine, rose, vetiver, and patchouli.
Pre-menstrual. Our body is gearing up to release and let go and this is the phase we start craving the comfort foods and the desire to curl up and relax. If you’re feeling crampy, clary sage diluted with a lotion and rubbed on the abdomen can help relax the muscles and balance the hormones that are spiking during this time. Much like we reach for ginger tea when we feel unwell, ginger essential oil can help ground and calm us.
If you’re prone to cramping like we mentioned earlier, you should consider trying a menstrual cup! Women have commonly said that tampons cause cramping especially during the first couple days of your period. Menstrual cups are an egg-shaped vessel that collects menses versus a dry, porous material that absorbs all fluid it comes in contact with. You’re able to safely leave them in your vagina for up to 12 hours! The first couple days of your period you may have to empty the cup sooner than that due to heavy flow. If you’ve ever wondered which menstrual cup size or style is best for you, we have some pointers. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve used essential oils for a menstrual cycle and if you’ve ever considered switching to a menstrual cup!
PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to menstruation. If you have any concerns about using a Pixie Cup, consult your doctor before use. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician before using any menstrual cup. Pixie Cup has not been sponsored in this post and any links or suggestions are not affiliates, they are purely from personal use or experience.