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As I have gotten older dealing with cramps and menstrual pain from my period has increased dramatically. Intense cramping and discomfort from period pain can interrupt your daily routine and even keep you up at night.
And as a chronic headache and migraine sufferer, the changing of hormones with my cycle have made my pain symptoms even worse.
I have personally found great relief from monthly pain and discomfort naturally thanks to the soothing effects of essential oils.
I am not sharing this as a cure for pain from cramping, bloating, headaches, and stress that accompany your cycle (because there is no guarantee that they will work for you the same way).
However, essential oils are a great alternative to traditional pain meds when it comes to menstrual cramps.
10 best essential oils for menstrual cramps
Menstrual pain can feel like just another part of “being a woman” each month.
But if you are looking for a natural remedy to help relieve pain from menstrual cramps, give these essential oils a try.
1. Lavender essential oil
If your mood is low or you have trouble sleeping during your period, reach for the Lavender oil. This well-loved essential oil is perfect for easing stress and headaches associated with your period.
Lavender essential oil can also act as a mild analgesic for cramps when applied topically.
2. Rose essential oil
For bad cramps and strong emotions, Rose essential oil is a great choice. The scent is calming and the perfect antidote when irritability flares.
It can also sooth the physical symptoms by acting as a natural laxative and help to stimulate your period if you’re irregular.
3. Clove essential oil
To shorten your period and reduce cramps, turn to cloves! Clove essential oil is a “hot oil” and has numbing properties.
This oil can help reduce your pain and also help lower high blood pressure.
While clove oil has been traditionally used to help with tooth and gum pain, cloves can help relieve pain all over the body.
4. Ylang-ylang essential oil
If you often struggle with anxiety and stress around your period, grab a mood regulator like Ylang-Ylang. This fruity, sweet-scented oil is a popular ingredient in perfumes.
But it’s also a good choice for the mental side of PMS, and can make it easier to cope with moodiness.
5. Peppermint essential oil
As a fan of Peppermint essential oil it has many uses, especially as a pain reliever for menstrual cramps.
For stress reduction and to help with inflammation and headaches, peppermint essential oil is a strong addition to your arsenal.
Peppermint oil can be used as a tea at bedtime for additional calming and relaxing effects. Fight fatigue and de-stress naturally with some peppermint.
6. Cinnamon essential oil
Though Cinnamon is most often used in the kitchen, anyone can benefit from the well-known anti-inflammatory properties of Cinnamon oil.
Much like Clove essential oil, Cinnamon is considered a “hot oil” so use it sparingly.
This essential oil is a real cramp killer and is a nicely scented addition to any menstrual pain oil blend.
7. Clary sage essential oil
For an all-around PMS and period pain fighter, break out the Clary Sage oil.
This relaxing, herby oil provides quick pain relief and can help lift your mood. It is also useful as an antispasmodic to relax cramped muscles and ease pain.
8. Marjoram sweet essential oil
When headaches or migraines strike, I often turn to Marjoram sweet to help reduce pain, nausea, and light sensitivity.
If hormone fluctuations put your head in a vice, marjoram’s sweet, herbaceous and citrusy smell can help reduce pain and inflammation.
9. Geranium essential oil
This floral, rose-like scent is both lovely and effective for boosting mood when you’re having menstrual cramp pain.
Geranium oil is a nice addition to a blend to make a sweet and pleasant aroma, or to inspire relaxation and sleep when you’re feeling wound up.
10. Cypress essential oil
If you’re often bloated and sluggish on your period, Cypress oil may help! This warming oil improves circulation, soothes your body aches and eases joint pain and cramping.
Cypress essential oil is also an astringent, so it helps your body flush out toxins and release retained water.
5 soothing essential oil blends for period cramps
If you want a done-for-you combination of effective essential oils that really work, try these custom blends that are soothing, calming and actually work.
11. Cloud 9
This blend provides a soothing and calming effect during your cycle, and is good for emotional support and mood enhancement.
The Cloud 9 ingredients will help enhance your mood and relieve pain with natural ingredients.
12. Feminine Aid
Feminine Aid from Rocky Mountain Oils is a sweet, floral blend that is designed to help women embrace all aspects of womanhood.
Ease mood swings and discomfort associated with cramps or use all month long to keep yourself feeling emotionally grounded.
13. Gal Pal
This ladies only blend appropriately named, Gal Pal, promotes feelings of balance.
The serene blend of oils is booth cooling and soothing, making it ideal for refreshing your senses and bringing you back to yourself.
14. PMS ease
If you’re feeling blue, blah, or just a little unbalanced, put an end to your discontent… Period.
This PMS Ease blend is wonderful for easing pain and cramps when applied topically. Bring ease and release to your menstrual cramps and pain.
15. Balance Synergy
This lovely, calming and floral blend can help women feel more centered and emotionally grounded throughout the ebbs and flows of each cycle.
Just a sniff from an inhaler or diffuser can restore your feelings of calm.
Proven essential oil blends for menstrual cramps
While the medical effects of essential oils are not well documented, there are two essential oil blends that have been proven to reduce pain and bleeding related to cramps.
16. Spiced Flowers Cramp Blend
The first proven blend of essential oils for cramps was completed in a 2013 study.
The study was performed in a group of women who suffered from excessive bleeding and cramping that interfered with their school and work life.
By applying this blend of oils it reduced both pain from cramps and bleeding when compared to a placebo oil.
Here’s how you can apply and use the same blend for your menstrual cramps.
- 3 drops Cinnamon
- 3 drops Clove
- 2 drops Rose
- 2 drops Lavender
Items needed: 10ml roll-on bottle
Cramp Blend Recipe
Combine the cinnamon, clove, rose and lavender essential oils to a 10ml roll-on bottle.
Fill the remainder with a carrier oil (in the study, sweet almond oil was used). This is a 5% dilution and is safe to be used daily.
Apply the oil blend to your abdomen and massage for 10 minutes in the week before your period begins.
17. Lavender Period Pain Blend
Another study in 2012 tested the aromatherapy effects of essential oils versus synthetic scents. The study found that pain and discomfort were significantly reduced among the women who used the essential oils.
Here’s the master blend they used and how you can customize your own period pain blend.
- 25 drops Lavender
- 12 drops Clary Sage
- 12 drops Marjoram
Items needed: dark glass bottle
Period Pain Recipe Blend
Add the lavender, clary sage, and marjoram to a glass bottle and close tightly. This will become your master blend and can be labeled as Period Pain Blend.
To use this master blend, simply add 15-18 drops to one ounce of an unscented carrier cream or oil to create an aromatherapeutic lotion or massage oil.
This is a 3% dilution that is safe for daily use.
Apply your period pain lotion or oil daily to your abdomen from the end of your last period to the start of your next.
How to use essential oils for cramps
There are many ways to apply essential oils before, during, and after your period to help with cramping and other symptoms.
Here is how to best use essential oils for menstrual cramps for maximum effectiveness.
Watch your dilution level
As with all essential oils and oil blends, be careful with your dilution level. For regular use aim for a 3-5% essential oil to carrier oil or cream ratio.
For fast relief, you can usually double the essential oils (making a 10% dilution), but this is not recommended for long-term use.
Choose the right carrier oil for you
Those with nut allergies should be aware that some common carrier oils are derived from nuts that may trigger allergic reactions.
The most common carrier oils that can be used with essential oils are as follows.
Best carrier oils for cramps:
Use Unscented creams or lotions
If you want a less oily topical application, essential oils can also be added to creams. CeraVe is a popular unscented cream that accepts essential oils well.
If you choose to add essential oils to creams or lotions, be aware that the oils may not stay incorporated in the lotion (causing you to remix the lotion often) or may reduce the shelf life of the lotion or cream.
For best results, mix small batches, use quickly, and you may want to store the cream in the fridge to lengthen its life.
Apply oils hot or warmed up
For stronger effects, you may choose to apply the oils followed by a hot pad or hot water bottle.
In addition to the soothing effect of the heat, the warmth may strengthen the aromatherapeutic qualities of the oils, increasing absorption and relief of pain.
If you apply your oils warm, remember to remove the source of heat after 15 to 20 minutes to protect your skin.
Another popular “hot” application for oils is in the shower or bath. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the walls of your shower or to your bath water.
This is a great way to naturally vaporize the oils for added relaxation and absorption benefits.
Essential oil applications for menstrual pain
Speaking of baths and showers, there are many ways to add essential oils to your routine to help with PMS and cramping throughout your cycle.
Different methods work better for different people, so experiment with applications to see what is most effective for you.
Here are some of the most popular and effective ways to apply essential oils topically to help with PMS and cramping.
Add 6-15 drops of essential oil to a 10ml roller ball and fill the remainder with a carrier oil.
A good rule of thumb for roller balls is 6 drops for a 2% dilution, and 15 drops for a 5% dilution.
Any 2-5% dilution will be safe for daily use, and you may choose to work up to a higher dilution if a lower one is not effective enough.
For faster results, you may choose to add as many as 30 drops, for a 10% dilution, but this is not recommended for daily use as it can increase skin sensitivity.
Lotion or cream
If you prefer a less oily application, add essential oils to a lotion or cream.
As with carrier oils, you should start with a lower dilution and work up to higher dilutions to reach the effect you want.
15 – 18 drops per ounce of lotion or cream will create a 3% dilution, which is safe for daily use.
Diffusing essential oils is a simple way to add essential oils to your daily routine to get some relief. This is most effective with the mood regulating oils rather than the pain relief oils.
Depending on the size of your diffuser, add 8-10 drops of essential oils as well as some distilled water. Run your diffuser for 30-60 minutes daily.
Diffusers work quickly and are a simple way to create a soothing environment when you’re feeling maxxed out.
Long baths or showers are great sources of natural stress and tension relief.
For sore muscles or a tired soul, you can add even more benefits to a hot shower by adding some essential oils.
Add a 10-15 drops of an essential oil or master blend to your next bath, along with a scoop of Epsom salts.
The combination of salts and oils will relieve pain and relax your mind and body while you rest in the hot water.
A personal inhaler can be a wonderful way to take in the soothing aromas of essential oils. Depending on your preference, you can find both glass and plastic inhalers.
Soak the cotton wick in up to 15 drops of your essential oil blend, insert the wick into your inhaler, and replace the cap.
When you’re ready to use the inhaler, take off the cap and hold the inhaler under your nose.
Breathe deeply a few times until your stress, headache, or other pain symptoms are relieved.
Be sure to close the cap between uses to preserve the aromas for the most amount of time!
If you’re feeling crampy and uncomfortable, a gentle abdominal massage using essential oils can help to ease your period pain.
And if you’re holding lots of tension in your neck, shoulders, and back, massage can relax tired muscles.
Using essential oil-laden lotions, dilutions, or a few pure drops of oil, an aromatherapy massage can be just what you need to unwind.
If you’re like all menstruating women on earth, you probably deal with some period pain.
I have found that the aromatherapy and healing properties of essential oils reduce my pain, stress, fatigue, and headache symptoms before and during my cycle.
I hope this guide helps you, too!
Disclaimer: The information presented is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for medical care or to prescribe treatment for any specific health condition. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult individual product labels for safety information.