This month, at SAS Institute, we are celebrating and providing education on the topic of menopause! Last week, I had the honor of presenting a seminar on movement, especially as it relates to maintaining and building stronger bones. This week, I offered a yoga workshop which was a calm, restorative session that used essential oils (EOs) to help combat common symptoms related to the change in life. It was also helpful to anyone who was longing for relaxation and better sleep. Since then, I’ve been getting questions about blends to help cultivate calm, reduce hot flashes, and get a good night’s sleep. While I've written other articles that include recipes and education, I wanted to provide a few of my personal favorites that I use daily and weekly that have never let me down.
Where do I begin? I want to give a little history behind menopause. Menopause, the term, can be traced back to ancient Greece with “men” meaning month and “pauein” meaning to cease. Essential oils have been used for health and medicinal reasons for thousands of years in various cultures. Today, I’m going to focus on the science and health benefits as well as provide some specific examples of EO blends that help with menopausal symptoms.
Hormone Harmony – There are scientifically proven essential oils that can assist with progesterone, estrogen, thyroid, and testosterone levels. These include geranium and clary sage which help bring balance to estrogen and progesterone levels and can improve menopausal symptoms. One concoction that I’ve used for years is what I call my New Moon serum that contains geranium and rose that is helpful in women who experience declining levels of estrogen. It’s my go-to and I crafted that a decade ago. It has never failed me.
Motivating Mood – I created a blend a few years ago that lowers cortisol levels and improves mood. It helps when I’m feel a bit blue with no motivation. These blends have been studied over the years and were also found to improve libido in both men and women which is an added bonus.
Energy Boost – There are a few essential oils that can boost energy levels and also improve athletic performance. They work by increasing oxygen to the brain which helps with focus. Check out this article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Cognitive Function – Essential oils have also been shown to improve memory. Eucalyptus is one that can improve sustained focus over a longer period of time. Bergamot is good for those involved in strenuous exercises or life situations. You can learn more in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Reducing Anxiousness – A blend I like to use during difficult times includes Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, vetiver and a couple more EOs. I have my go-to bottle that I dab on in the morning.
Skin and Hair Health – Did you know you can add EOs to your bath routine? I have a few oils I use for aging skin, creating shine in my hair, and even skin breakouts. Check out this article in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine to learn more.
Headache Relief – Headaches due to hormonal shifts can happen. Essential oils can address the root cause of the headache versus masking it. They are beneficial for improving circulation, decreasing pain and assisting with tension. In 2012, a placebo-controlled, clinical trial looked at the efficacy of inhaling lavender oil for the treatment of migraine headaches. Learn more. There are also other oils that relieve pain including peppermint and even rosemary.
Calming Sleep – Some EOs are helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. There’s a great combination I use at night that is part of my bedtime ritual. I’ve played around with the recipe for years and feel I’ve finally gotten the right combination that helps me reach my dream state while not feeling groggy the next day. I wake up alert. Yes, lavender is part of the Dream Cream (which I named my concoction), but there are a few more EOs that work synergistically with the lavender to create sweet slumber.
All to say, I love mixing up essential oil blends and have a significant apothecary of oils, bottles, potions, and creams for myself and jars I mix up for others. It's a lot of fun to create something that's beneficial to health and well-being (and smells great too)! Well, off to the cauldron to brew up some more Celestial Soaks and Potions!