Essential Oils and Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Cramps)

6:45 PM Posted by jo

Painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea, can really put everything on hold in a woman's life. I remember several occasions when I spend almost a whole day in bed due to painful menstrual cramps. 
Today, as long as I keep eating healthy, cleanse, exercise, and take my supplements I manage to go through my periods without pain.

The hormone balancer
The liver plays an important role as a major hormonal balancer. It's job is to destroy excess hormones so that the aren't an overload of hormones in the blood stream, which that could cause the pituitary not to send out more hormones. Lemon is a detoxifying oil and has traditionally been used for congested liver and sluggish pancreas. It counteracts stomach acidity and speeds up digestion also.

As I mentioned earlier, aromatherapy is considered one of the most effective methods of dealing with menstrual, pregnancy, and menopausal problems.

Essential oil properties
As suggested by Battaglia in his book, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, I always include essential oils with antispasmodic, emmenagogue, and analgesic properties when I choose oils for treating menstrual cramps. Traditionally,  essential oils such as aniseed, clary sage, juniper berry, jasmine absolute, Roman chamomile, sweet fennel, sweet marjoram, peppermint,  rose absolut or otto, and rosemary have been used.

What kind of pain you have should be a guidance to narrow down the selection of oils you need. Battaglia suggests that Roman Chamomile and cypress are more useful for congestive pain.  He says spasmodic pain has traditionally been relieved by oils such as clary sage, lavender, or peppermint.

How I apply the oils
I find relief from compresses and massage over the lower back, 
I massage the  lower back and abdomen.
Sometimes I lie down with a hot water bottle. I warming essential oils such as fennel, sweet marjoram, or rosemary in a massage blend before using the hot water bottle. 
My favorite is that I apply the oils to the reproductive Vita Flex points on the feet.

Other information
The diet is very important, many foods can aggravate cramping, muscle tension, and overall toxification in the body. In general, a healthy diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains (grain-free is even better) will promote the body's ability to cleanse and detoxify.

The cause of dysmenorrhea can be several, such as muscle cramping, inflammation, or some other underlying cause usually associated with a disease of the female organs in the pelvic cavity. Some cramping during the period is normal due to the release of the hormone oxytocin, the same hormone that causes contraction during labor. Menstrual pain due to congestion and inflammation in the pelvic region may be relieved by herbs that decongest pelvic circulation and reduce inflammation. This pain often occurs before the period starts. Liver cleansing herbs may be helpful as well 

Severe cramping is often a sign of magnesium deficiency.

My dysmenorrhea corrected itself when I started building health and I started to:
  • change the diet - started eating lots of organic fresh foods, whole foods, high quality protein, the processed junk was eliminated
  • increase my exercise
  • add essential fatty acids, coconut oil, and real butter from grass fed cows to my diet. 
  • drink protein shakes (very cleansing and nutritious)
  • increase my water intake
  • eat foods from animals not fed hormones
  • supplement with super foods, minerals, Probiotics, and an herbal synergy blend high in calcium/magnesium
  • add therapeutic essential oils to my drinking water - especially lemon
  • cleanse a couple of times a year with herbs, I also cleanse with essential oils
  • use essential oils in baths and massages

Build health
The best you can do is to start building health with real and fresh foods, and make sure you get enough nutrients in your body. Avoid things that rob the body of nutrients such as refined and processed products. Balancing your hormones is very important, we are exposed to way too much synthetic estrogen in the environment today. My post  Hormonal Balance the Natural Way shares more information about it.

More female health information
You might enjoy my posts What's Your PMS Type? and Essential Oils Especially for Women.

Oils not listed as therapeutic grade should not be ingested. Please see the Safety Information, Dilution Chart, and  Ways to Use Essential Oils, for more information about essential oils.

As always, this information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or prescribe.  If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from a medical condition, consult with your health care practitioner prior to using essential oils.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. AlsoRead this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.


Salvatore Battaglia (1995). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion Pty Ltd

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