8 Essential Oils To Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Painful menstruation is not a disease, but it can cause significant uneasiness and discomfort in women. Worse even, it is distracting and most often than not, affects our productivity. Concentration goes into the trash, and all you can think of is how to find comfort. While over the counter medicines offer short-term relief, there are safety issues involved. Besides, not everyone likes the idea of taking a pain-killer pill. Aromatherapy can help in easing the blood flow and relieving menstrual cramps along with taking care of mood swings and focus-related issues.
Can essential oils relieve menstrual pain? Is there any scientific basis for it? Well, yes. The ancient claims of the therapeutic properties of aromatic oils and there wide popularity in recent times have captured the interest of the scientific community. Their active compounds and their working on the body as part of aromatherapy are being actively researched. Several studies over the years found some essential oils to contain analgesic components and suggested their use as the alternative and complementary medicine for painful menstruation.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Inhalation or topical application of lavender oil has been known to have a sedative effect which inhibits the production of a group of lipids called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause inflammation and are involved with fever and pain. During periods, they cause retraction of uterine muscles that results in ischemia and pain. Lavender also as a relaxing effect on the mind and body, which can help in irritability and discomfort.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural antispasmodic agent. Along with alleviating cramps, massage with peppermint oil also treats nausea, indigestion, and bloating during menstruation. Furthermore, it stimulates the mind and can improve concentration.
3. Evening Primrose Oil
This anti-inflammatory oil can effectively reduce menstrual pain and PMS related symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, irritability, confusion, etc.
4. Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon oil is remarkably effective in reducing abdominal cramps associated with uterine contraction. Cinnamon itself can be added to tea or coffee for pain relief and easing discomfort.
5. Rose Essential Oil
Used for centuries, this is another natural pain killer. Massage with rose oil can loosen muscles and soothe the anxiety associated with periods.
6. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage reduces muscle spasms and uterine contractions. It is known to possess antispasmodic properties and can be used to relieve pain in the lower abdomen as well as back, thighs, and shoulders.
7. Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang-ylang can lessen PMS-related symptoms, including pain and fever. The sweet scent of ylang-ylang also has anti-anxiety properties and a calming effect on the nervous system.
8. Essential Oils Blend
A blend of lavender, clary sage and marjoram oils in 2:1:1 ratio was found to significantly reduce the menstrual pain in a 2012 randomized clinical trial. This blend was found to have as high as 79% analgesic components.
How To Use Essential Oils For Alleviating Menstrual Pain
For inhalation, use a few drops in your diffuser or make a simple room spray. Massage is more effective for releasing pain as it relaxes the muscles. Always use therapeutic grade oils and dilute with a carrier oil before use. Keep the strength up to 5% and gently massage the full abdomen, lower back, and thighs. Massage the neck and shoulders if you are experiencing stiffness there.