Essential Oils for Women
Essential oils are the aromatic quality found in plants and flowers. They can be used to enhance physical, mental, and emotional health, and they facilitate a smoother connection between these intrinsically-linked aspects of our overall well-being. Essential oils give a harmonious feeling to the body, providing balance and peace of mind. As the extractions of the volatile oils within plants, essential oils deliver powerful therapeutic effects. Besides the curative effects of their beautiful, potent scents, as are commonly used in aromatherapy and massage, essential oils can deliver many other potent remedies, from combating pathogens to providing antioxidants. Essential oils have been used since ancient times to help with stress, mood, sleep, pain, nausea, memory, and energy. They hold positive psychological effects but also have medicinal properties that affect our physiology. Generally, these oils are used for their positive effects on the CNS (central nervous system), anti-inflammatory compounds, and antimicrobial effects.
How Essential Oils Work
Essential oils act in our bodies in several different ways. They stimulate tissues and cause vasodilation (the widening of the capillaries), which increases circulation. They also work by providing stimulating or calming effects to the central nervous system, respiratory system, and digestive system. This means you can rely on essential oils to help with colds, flus, nervous system issues, and upset stomach, and to either induce relaxation or provide a boost to your mood and energy levels. Essential oils can be a helpful solution for women experiencing menstrual cramping, headaches, tissue swelling, and mood imbalances.
Where to Purchase Essential Oils
There’s some controversy around the overuse of essential oils in the western world. A significant amount of resources are needed to create an oil. We must be mindful of this when using oils, and careful to remember their value and to not waste them or use them carelessly.
Organic oils will always hold a higher therapeutic value than non-organic oils.
How to Use Essential Oils
The first most important tip for using essential oils correctly is to never put them directly on your skin. Always use a carrier oil, and mix small quantities of the essential oils into larger quantities of the carrier oil - you want to aim for a 3-5% dilution, so typically 3-5 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil is plenty. Some excellent carrier oils include sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, olive oil, rosehip oil, and black seed oil. Even if adding essential oils to a bath, it’s best to first dilute them in a carrier oil as they will not mix well with the bath water, and could still end up directly on your skin. Direct contact with essential oils can cause skin irritation, allergic responses, and other adverse effects.
Consumption of essential oils should be done cautiously and only upon the guidance of your holistic health care practitioner or after extensive research. If consuming essential oils, make sure they are food-grade and keep your intake level very low. It’s also important to always avoid contact with the eyes.
Never store essential oils in plastics as they can degrade the plastics, even when diluted. Keep this in mind if you’re mixing essential oils into your own homemade concoctions, such as lotions or cleaning products.
You can use essential oils in a variety of different ways to provide various therapeutic effects. Here are a few practical applications for essential oils:
Infused into lotions and/or toners
Directly on skin/affected area (diluted in a carrier oil)
Applied to open cuts and wounds
As a treatment for fungal infections
In homemade cleaning products
Or taken internally *if food grade
The Best Essential Oils for Women + Their Healing Properties
Clary sage: Supports hormonal balance, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, warming, nerve tonic, improves circulation, helps with restful sleep, helps the body deal with stress, and aids in digestion.
NOTE: Do not use clary sage if pregnant or nursing, unless under the care of a midwife.
Cypress: Antispasmodic qualities (relieves cramping), increases circulation, helps relieve anxiety, and promotes relaxation.
Peppermint: Cooling effects soothe the digestive tract, helps eliminate sensations of nausea, provides a natural energy boost, relaxes muscles, relieves headaches, helps with acne, reduces bloating, and eliminates bad breath.
NOTE: Do not use peppermint if pregnant or nursing.
Rose: Mood uplifter, promotes self-love and self-care, soothing, good for skin health, balances hormones, and increases sex drive.
Lavender: Promotes relaxation and sound sleep, reduces anxiety, good for skin health (acne and wounds), alleviates headaches, and improves mood.
Geranium: Reduces inflammation, reduces anxiety, balances hormones, increases energy, and lifts mood.
Bergamot: Improves circulation, increases energy, relieves depression, balances hormones, reduces pain and headaches, helps with insomnia, and aids healthy digestion.
Ginger: Good for nausea, muscle spasms and cramps, reduces inflammation, and relieves anxiety.
Frankincense: Helps the body deal with stress and anxiety, reduces pain and inflammation, and helps with acne. Also a powerful energy + space protector.
Orange: Helps relieve motion sickness, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant.
Creating Essential Oil Blends
Taking a bath is a lovely way to soak up the health benefits of essential oils. Run yourself a warm bath and add a few drops of the desired oil(s) mixed with a carrier oil in order to soak in all of the medicinal properties. This can be especially relaxing and beneficial if you’re experiencing cramps or anxiety. If you’re not a bath person or don’t have the time, shake a few drops of essential oil into your shower before you turn it on and enjoy the steam infusion you’ll receive. This will help to cleanse the senses of the body and mind.
When menstrual cramping gets intense, you can make a blend of oils with a carrier oil and apply them directly to your abdomen, rubbing the oils on in a clockwise motion. This will help to reduce inflammation, promote circulation, aid in elimination, and provide soothing and comforting effects. There’s also the option to add any of these oils to a cloth with some warm water and to apply this directly to the affected area, for example where you’re experiencing cramping or pain. Add a hot water bottle on top to keep the area warm and to reduce inflammation.
If it’s within your budget, treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage. Ask the massage therapist to use oils based on your symptoms or to simply promote relaxation.
A casual everyday way to utilize essential oils is with diffusers. They’ll keep your home smelling fresh and floral, and help to improve air circulation. This is a great way to enhance mood stability on a daily basis. Various oils have different effects. For example, peppermint provides mental clarity and is a great accompaniment to working, lavender is calming and soothing, and clary sage is a great mood uplifter.
Infusing household products with oils:
You can make a blend of oils, or take a single oil and use it as a perfume. Add a few drops of your favorite oil(s) to a carrier oil and shake in a glass bottle or glass roll on bottle. Now you’ve got a custom oil blend made by you that smells great and will help to modulate your symptoms. You can also infuse your hand creams, body lotions, or face toners by adding a few drops of your desired oils into the mix.
Quick, Easy-to-Use Formulas
Dilute the following with a carrier oil:
Headaches: Peppermint oil on temples
Insomnia: Lavender drops on a pillowcase (this one is OK to use undiluted)
PMS cramping: Clary sage, rose, peppermint, & cypress rubbed on the belly
Anxiety perfume blend: Rose, bergamot, lavender, & geranium (you will smell SO good!)
Back pain: Epsom salts, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, & lavender
The wonderful world of essential oils is a great place to play and explore. Essential oils have potent healing properties, and can benefit both mind and body alike. Get to know the oils that have especially therapeutic effects for women, and play around to find your favorite ways to incorporate them into your life. Enjoy!