essential oils for menopause
Many women suffer from Menopause, also described as the “change of life”. The average age menopause occurs is 50 and the symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, depression and headaches, along with vaginal dryness or loss of sexual desires.
Several essential oils that contain hormonelike substances related to estrogen are helpful during menopause.
- clary sage,
- and to a lesser degree, basil.
Such essential oils, will help relieve hot flashes. Since essenti al oils go right through the skin, applying them to fatty areas of the body where hormones are manufactured and stored will create the most direct effect. Of course, any massage is itself very therapeutic. A bath is also a wonderful way to receive the benefits of these oils.
Geranium, neroli, and lavender are balance hormones and also help modify menopausal symptoms. They are traditionally used in European face creams to reduce aging and wrinkles. As a rejuvenation cream, these oils not only perk up a dry complexion, they make a good cream to counter vaginal dryness. Add some vitamin E oil, which improves the strength and flexibility of the vaginal lining while quickly healing abrasions that can occur during intercourse when the lining is too dry. In addition to aromatherapy, try dietary and herbal treatments to alleviate some of menopause’s unpleasant symptoms.
clary sage closeup
Essential oils that affect estrogen and balance hormones: cypress, geranium, lavender, neroli, rose, clary sage and
Essential oils that ease hot flashes: clary sage, lemon, peppermint
Essential oils for emotional ups and downs: chamomile, jasmine, neroli
Aromatherapy Menopause Treatment
Add this body oil to your arsenal to help ward off the symptoms of menopause.
Menopause Body Oil
- 6 drops lemon oil
- 5 drops geranium oil
- 2 drops clary sage oil
- 1 drop angelica oil
- 1 drop jasmine oil
- 2 ounces vegetable oil or body lotion
Combine the ingredients. Use at least once a day as a massage oil, in a lotion, or in a bath (add 2 teaspoons to the bathwater). If this formula is too oily for you, add the same essential oils to 2 ounces of a commercial body lotion instead. The best type to use is an unscented, basic lotion that contains ingredients that are as natural as possible.
Other Suggestions for Usage:
- Combine the essential oil or blend with a carrier oil and massage into the skin
- Add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the bath and soak for fifteen minutes
Essential Oils for Hot Flashes
To help relieve hot flashes, make the following blend and dab it on wrists, face, or neck when you feel a hot flash coming on:
- 10 drops lemon
- 5 drop peppermint
- 2 drops clary sage
- 1 ounce aloe vera gel.
Another option for hot flashes is to have a bottle of lavender essential oil with you at all times and dab it on your inner wrists or temples as needed.
Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms
EndoGize; EndoGize is especially formulated to support a healthy and balanced endocrine system in women.* see a .pdf of Young Living’s EndoGize (use dist. # 1064822 to receive discount).
Young Living’s EndoGize Ingredients: Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxinnaia somenifera)e HCI), zinc (as z. aspartate), eurycoma longifolia root extract, ashwaganda (withanaia somenifera) root, muira puama (ptychopetalum olacoides) root, l-arginine, epimedium (epimedium grandiflorum) leaf, tribulus terrestris fruit, DHEA (3 beta-hydroxyandro-5-en-17-one), phosphatidycholine, lecithin (soy), black pepper (piper nigrum) fruit extract, amylase 5000 FCC, validase AFP protease, cellulase 4000, glucoamylase, Proprietary EndoGize™ Oil Blend: Ginger (zingiber offininale) root, Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) gum resin, Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) branchlet, Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) flowering top, Canadian Fleabane (Conyza canadensis) flowering top, gelatin & rice flour.
||Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
The Menopause Self Help Book by Susan M. Lark, M.D.,
The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal by Terry Willard, Ph.D.,
Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way by Susun S. Weed
are drawn heavily upon for this segment.
HOT FLASHES AND NIGHT SWEATS
Hot flashes are among the most uncomfortable symptoms that menopausal women complain about, reports Dr. Susan Lark. She goes on to say, “The most common medical treatment for this problem is estrogen replacement therapy” which may be effective in stopping the flashes, but is not curative.
Although the cause of the hot flash is unclear, hormonal changes involving elevation of the hormones FSH and LH during and after menopause are thought to be responsible. In an effort to elevate decreasing estrogen levels these pituitary hormones can be 1,300 percent greater during the menopausal years than before.31
Hot flashes are regarded by the medical profession as deficiency of estrogen and can be triggered by a variety of stimulants such as:
||• Spicy food (cayenne, ginger, pepper)
• Acidic foods (pickles, citrus, tomatoes)
• Hot drinks
• Caffeine (coffee, black tea, cola, chocolate)
• Alcoholic drinks, including wine and beer
• White sugar
• Hydrogenated or saturated fats (meat, margarine)
• Hot weather
• Hot tubs and saunas
• Tobacco or marijuana
• Intense exercise, especially lovemaking
• Anger, especially if you can’t express it
During a hot flash, flushes of heat sweep the body (and often the face), reddening the skin and promoting free perspiration. The reddening may be blotchy or even and the perspiration slight or copious. A hot flash may last from a few seconds to four or five minutes, occasionally fifteen minutes, and rarely more than an hour.31
If you begin to experience hot flashes, dizziness, heart palpitations, emotional uproar, sleep disturbances, night sweats, depression and/or headaches you may slip from feeling “in control” to the sense that things are beyond your control. The idea of controlling these unwelcome symptoms with drugs becomes very attractive, as we are conditioned to believe that menopausal changes are in some way considered an illness. It is possible to influence these changes more effectively with herbal alternatives that carry with them few, if any, side effects when considered carefully.31
A hot flash at night is called a night sweat, which may be accompanied by feelings of anxiety or terror. A solution may be to keep a glass of water and a bottle of motherwort beside you at night, and take 10-15 drops and a swallow of water if a night sweat awakens you. Not everyone experiences hot flashes, and only some of those who do also experience night sweats. Many women, however, experience both.31
Exercise directly decreases hot flashes by decreasing the amount of circulating LH and FSH, by nourishing and tonifying the hypothalamus, and by raising endorphin levels (which plummet with hot flashing). As little as 20 minutes three times a week may reduce flashes significantly.31 Other natural measures that address underlying reasons for hot flashes include diet, nutritional supplementation and plant-based medicines.
HOT FLASHES: HERBAL AIDS
Herbal remedies for women with hot flashes include
- plants that cool the system, such as chickweed, elder and violet;
- plants that nourish or increase oxygen utilization in the liver, such as dong quai, dandelion, Ho Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum) and yellow dock; and
- plants rich in phytosterols, such as black cohosh.31
Herbs and supplements found helpful by Dr. Susan Lark in her medical practice include dong quai, black cohosh, blue cohosh, unicorn root, fennel, sarsaparilla, red clover, wild yam root, yam, bioflavonoids and vitamin E. Dr. Michael Murray finds the four most useful herbs for treatment of hot flashes to be dong quai, licorice root, chasteberry (vitex) and black cohosh.
Hot flashes deplete vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Frequent use of red clover or oatstraw infusions will help replace these needed nutrients,31 or these nutrients can also be found in food, or taken as supplements.
Dong quai is an emmenagogue that has been found very helpful for menopausal problems such as regulation of hot flashes, and it is reported to help relieve mental and emotional upset.35
Dong quai has been shown to both contract and relax uterine muscles in anaesthetized dogs, cats and rabbits. The contractive (excitatory) ingredient is felt to be a water and alcohol soluble, non-volatile oil component, whereas the relaxing (inhibitory) component is considered to be a volatile oil with high boiling point. This, not an estrogenic effect, is felt to be the mechanism underlying the effectiveness of dong quai in dysmenorrhea.34
The effectiveness of dong quai in treating hot flashes may be due to stabilization of blood vessels.19 However, if you feel hot much of the time dong quai may not be your ally.31
Chaste berry (Vitex) has been found to affect pituitary function and has many uses, particularly in regulating hot flashes and dizziness. Beneficial effects in menopause may be due to its role in altering LH and FSH secretion.19 Vitex lowers estrogen levels and increases progesterone levels, thus keeping bones and vaginal walls strong. Daily use enhances progesterone and luteotropic hormone but inhibits others such as FSH and prolactin. It also increases production of the brain chemical dopamine. It contains flavonoids, glycosides and micronutrients, but lacks phytosterols, making it a slow-acting tonic. Results become evident after 2-3 months of use, and permanent improvement requires a 1-year commitment.4
Black cohosh was widely used by the American Indians and later by American colonists for relief of menstrual cramps and menopause. Recent scientific investigation has upheld the effectiveness of black cohosh as a treatment for dysmenorrhea and menopause. Clinical studies have shown extracts of black cohosh to relieve not only hot flashes but also depression and vaginal atrophy. In addition to these vascular effects, black cohosh reduces LH levels; thus the plant has a significant estrogenic effect.19 The use of 10-15 drops once or twice a day for several months significantly reduces LH but not FSH. Black cohosh has also been found to aid digestion by increasing digestive juices; use 3- 5 drops with meals.31
|Contraindications: Do not use black cohosh if you have menstrual flooding or suspect you may be pregnant. The irritating effects (headache, dizziness, visual disturbance, nausea) of black cohosh and other members of the buttercup family are more common and more troublesome in preparations made from dried, powdered roots. Given its estrogenic component, pregnant and nursing women should probably avoid the herb. Some herbalists extend this warning to women with estrogen-dependent cancer and women who are taking birth control pills or estrogen supplements after menopause. The same precaution applies to individuals with certain types of heart disease or those taking sedatives or blood pressure medications.
Motherwort has been found to lessen the severity, frequency and duration of hot flashes, ease stressed nerves, relieve anxiety, and relieve insomnia. For best results with hot flashes, use this herb frequently for 3 months. A common dosage for hot flashes is 15-25 drops of tincture, 1-6 times a day. Do not use if you are experiencing menstrual flooding as motherwort can aggravate this.31
Licorice root contains a saponin-like glycoside, glycyrrhizin (glycrrhizic acid)33 and has historically been used for a variety of female disorders and also as an expectorant and antitussive in treatment of respiratory tract infections and asthma. It is believed to reduce estrogen while increasing progesterone and is used for this reason by Dr. Michael Murray in his clinical practice. Licorice has a steroid component that can change to the estrogen precursors estradiol and estrone, and it can therefore provide mild estrogenic properties. Glycyrrhizin has a regulatory action over estrogen metabolism, i.e. when estrogen levels are too high it inhibits estrogen action, and when estrogen is too low, glycyrrhizin potentiates it. This is a useful factor for many female hormonal problems, including PMS.33
Licorice is considered a powerful drug that is useful in treating a number of conditions, such as peptic ulcers, malaria, abdominal pain, insomnia and infection. This herb’s uses have been substantiated by modern research, and it is generally considered very safe in moderate doses.33 German health authorities consider maximum doses of up to 100 mg of glycyrrhizin (the major active component of licorice) a day acceptable and safe. However, it should not be taken for more than 4-6 weeks without medical advice.23
|CAUTION: *Regular use of licorice can cause high blood pressure and edema (water retention). Women predisposed to these conditions should drink no more than one cup (250 ml) per day or chew on a licorice stick only as needed.31 In large doses it can cause sodium retention and potassium depletion and is not recommended for those with heart or blood pressure problems.33 Certain individuals need to be particularly careful: pregnant and nursing women, those with high blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, kidney or liver disease; or those taking hormonal therapy (licorice may interfere with it). Anyone taking digitalis (sensitivity to it may be increased if your system suffers from potassium loss) or who has had a stroke or heart disease should only do so under the directions of a doctor. Persons with eating disorders who may already be predisposed to hypokalemia for other reasons may be at heightened risk for pseudoaldosteronism. Some sources recommend that anyone who has a cardiovascular-related disorder not consume licorice at all.23
Essential oils basil or thyme may ease hot flashes when inhaled or used in a bath or foot rub or mixed with massage oil.
For a portable hot flash remedy, place a few drops of an essential oil or cologne on a tissue, or cotton ball and place in plastic wrap. It may provide instant relief when you open and inhale any time a flash strikes.31
HOT FLASHES: HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
Susun Weed writes that Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, a naturopathic physician, finds homeopathic remedies effective 80 percent of the time in relieving menopausal symptoms. One of her favorite remedies for hot flashes is Lachesis. She describes these remedies below:
Lachesis: If your flashes emanates from the top of your head, are worse just before sleep and immediately upon wakening and are accompanied by sweating, headaches, or easily irritated skin
Sepia: if your flashes make you feel weak, nauseated, exhausted, and depressed
Pulsatilla: if you flash less outdoors, but your flashes are often followed by intense chills and emotional uproar
Valeriana: if your face flushes strongly during the flash, and you have intense sweating and sleeplessness
Ferrum metallicum: if your flashes are sudden; your general health is good but ordinary activities bring exhaustion
Sulfuricum acidum: if your flashes include profuse sweating and trembling, are worse in evenings or with exercise
Sanguinaria: if your cheeks are red and burning, feet and hands hot
Belladonna: if the flash centers on your face, which burns and turns bright red; you are restless, agitated and have palpitations
MORE HERBS for MENOPAUSE relief
Black cohosh ( cimicifuga racemosa)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: This is a good estrogenic herb that acts specifically on the uterus to reduce cramps and congestion. It is also good for relieving hot flashes. Black Cohosh contains two anti-rheumatic agents. It is an excellent herb for relieving muscular pain and cramping. It may also help to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Dosage: Take 250 mg in tablet or capsule form, two to four times daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Chaste tree ( Vilex agnus- castus)
Part Used: Dried fruit
Actions and Uses: This herb is a hormone balancer that is used to alleviate depression at menopause.
Dosage: Take 300-600 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Damiana ( Turnera diffuse)
Part Used: Dried leaves
Actions and Uses: Damiana is a pituitary regulator and antidepressant. It is also an aphrodisiac and is of benefit for sexual difficulties. It should not be taken too frequently, however, or it may irritate the lining of the urinary tract.
Dosage: Take 100-150 mg in tablet or capsule form, for two or three days out of the week. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily, for two or three days out of the week.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Part Used: Leaves, roots, and tops
Actions and Uses: Dandelion is a wonderful herb for the liver. If your hormones are out of balance, then your liver is under extra stress, and dandelion root will be beneficial for this.
Dosage: Take 1,000-3,000 mg in tablet or capsule form, or 2-3 cups of tea, daily. Or take 1-2 teaspoons of dandelion tincture, three times daily.
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
Part Used: Roots
Actions and Uses: This herb is high in natural plant estrogens called phytosterols and helps to reduce the symptoms of estrogen deficiency.
Dosage: Take 500 mg in tablet or capsule form, twice daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
False unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: This plant is an estrogen regulator. It has a direct action on the uterus and ovaries and is considered to be a corrective herb for women. It is a specific for the herbal treatment of ovarian cysts.
Dosage: Take 500 mg in tablet or capsule form, or 1 teaspoon of tincture, daily.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Part Used: Leaves
Actions and Uses: This herb improves brain function, circulation, and oxygenation of all body cells. It is helpful for symptoms of fatigue, memory problems, and depression.
Dosage: Take 1,000 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Or take I teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Panax quinquefolius)
Part Used: Roots
Actions and Uses: Ginseng strengthens the adrenal glands, enhances immune function, increases energy, and normalizes blood pressure. It is useful for symptoms of both mental and physical fatigue. Avoid it if you have very high blood pressure (over 180/100). Siberian ginseng is more effective than the American variety.
Dosage: Take 1,000-4,000 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Ginseng is a safe energy-booster for most people.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: Licorice is a powerful adrenal stimulant and is a wonderful estrogenic herb. For this reason, it is a very useful herb during menopause. Care must be taken, however, not to take licorice too often, or it can deplete potassium and elevate blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, use it with caution or avoid it entirely. On the other hand, if you suffer from low blood pressure, this herb will be useful in correcting the problem. Licorice makes a pleasant-tasting tea. It can also be added in small amounts to other herbal teas to improve their flavor.
Dosage: For hot flashes, drink 1-2 cups of licorice tea or taking 500-1,000 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Or take 1/2-1 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Liferoot (Senecio Bursas)
Part Used: Dried plant
Actions and Uses: Liferoot is a uterine tonic that contains plant estrogens. It helps to reestablish emotional and vascular stability and eliminate hot flashes. It may also help to treat irregular, painful, or excessive menstrual bleeding.
Dosage: Take 500 mg daily in tablet or capsule form. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Part Used: Fresh or dried leaves and fruit
Actions and Uses: Raspberry is an astringent and nutritive estrogenic herb. It has a direct action on the muscles of the uterus, helps to tone weakened uterine muscles, and relaxes uterine and intestinal spasms. It also assists in correcting prolapse of the uterus and/or vagina.
Dosage: Take 2,000 mg in tablet or capsule form, or drink 2-3 glasses of rasp- berry tea daily. Or take ‘/,-I teaspoon of rasp- berry tincture, up to three times daily.
Red clover ( Tritolium pretense)
Part Used: Dried flower heads; fresh plant
Actions and Uses: Red clover contains a plant estrogen called coumestrol that stimulates the ovaries. It is a good ‘alkalinizing’ herb that restores healthy body functions. Red clover is a specific for the herbal treatment of ovarian cysts.
Dosage: To relieve hot flashes, take 1,000-2,000 mg of red clover in tablet or capsule form or drink 3-4 cups of red clover tea daily. Or take 1/2-11/2 teaspoons of red clover tincture, up to three times daily.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Part Used: Fresh or dried leaves
Actions and Uses: This herb has many medicinal properties and is very useful during menopause for the treatment of hot flashes. Sage reduces excessive sweating and it contains plant estrogens. You will find sage particularly helpful in eliminating night sweats.
Dosage: Drink 3-4 cups of sage tea daily to relieve hot flashes, or take 1/2-1 teaspoon of tincture, three times a day. Sprinkle finely chopped fresh sage in soups and on salads and vegetables.
St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Part Used: Fresh or dried flowering plant
Actions and Uses: This herb is a mild sedative that is specific for anxiety states. It may also be useful for combating depression.
Dosage: Take 500 mg in tablet or capsule form, or 1/4-1 teaspoon of tincture, two or three times daily.
Sarsaparilla (smilax officinalis)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: Sarsaparilla is another alterative herb that stimulates the production of testosterone and therefore improves a flagging libido. It also helps to increase energy.
Dosage: Take 1,000-2,000 mg in tablet or capsule form or drink 2-3 glasses of sarsaparilla tea daily. Or take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of tincture, up to three times daily.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa serrulata)
Part Used: Dried fruit
Actions and Uses: This herb is an astringent diuretic that is beneficial for the treatment of urinary incontinence, fluid retention, and prolapse of the pelvic organs. Dryness and lack of tone in the tissues of the bladder often lead to irritation and weakness. This is reduced by saw palmetto. This herb can also be useful for combating chronic urinary tract infection.
Dosage: Take 1,000-2,000 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.
Shepherd’s purse (CapseIla bursapastoris)
Part Used: Dried flowering plant; fresh plant
Actions and Uses: Shepherd’s purse is a pituitary regulator with androgenic properties. One of its primary attributes is its ability to normalize progesterone levels. It you are moving into menopause and have been experiencing excessive, irregular bleeding or spotting, this herb will help to regulate and increase the length of your menstrual cycles until the natural cessation of menses.
Dosage: Take 500 mg in tablet or capsule form daily, or take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of tincture, up to twice daily.
True unicorn root (Aletris farinosa)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: This estrogenic herb stimulates and strengthens the female genital organs. It is a bitter herb that is also useful for indigestion and has a mild sedative action.
Dosage: Take 500-1,000 mg in tablet or capsule form daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice a day.
Wild yam (Dioscarea villosa)
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes
Actions and Uses: Wild yam is a powerful estrogenic herb used by women around the world. It has a good anti- inflammatory action and gives relief from menopausal arthritis. It also has progestogenic properties, and may help to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
Dosage: Take 1,000-4,000 mg of dried extract daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice a day.
Also, take this test to see if you have a hormonal imbalance; by Abundant Life Essentials
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