There are plenty of benefits of using essential oils for women’s health.
So how do essential oils work?
Essential oils are commonly used during the aromatherapy process, where they’re either inhaled or massaged on skin.
When inhaled or rubbed, essential oils can stimulate the limbic system, thus arousing emotions, a sense of smell, long term memory, etc.
In this article, you’ll learn about some vital effects of using essential oils.
Note that I have included both positive and negative effects.
Now let’s get started!
1. Reduced Anxiety & Stress
Reduced anxiety and stress is undeniably the most significant positive effect of using essential oils.
If you don’t have stress, you can be sure to sleep well, eat well, conceive faster and many more benefits.
With that in mind, several pieces of research have confirmed that essential oils are as good as prescribed over-the-counter drugs in reducing stress.
A study result published in the reliable Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine revealed that lavender oil works ‘wonders’ for anybody who has just completed a stressful task.
Another study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice reveals that lavender oil used in aromatherapy can significantly reduce workplace-related stress.
Another effective stress reliever is lemongrass essential oil which, is sourced from the popular lemongrass herb (Cymbopogon citratus).
To relieve tension and anxiety, mix it with a carrier oil (e.g. coconut) and rub it sparingly on your forehead.
A more straightforward method is to inhale it directly from the bottle.
Last but not least is the ylang ylang essential oil which is widely used to lower blood pressure.
The dreaded high blood pressure disease affects over 67 million Americans.
For instance, a 2012 study revealed that inhaling the scent of ylang-ylang essential oil effectively reduces stress levels, thus decreasing blood pressure levels.
Other essential oils for relieving stress are frankincense, orange, yuzu, lemon, neroli, and bergamot.
However, you should not use essential oils as your first line of defense if you’re experiencing tension and stress.
This might be because of different underlying medical issues such as dehydration, brain tumor, blood clots, influenza, concussion, etc.
In that case, you’ll have to seek help from a professional healthcare provider immediately.
Also eating healthy and regularly exercising is very important.
2. Improved Sleep
Having a sound sleep is one of the surest methods of maintaining a healthy living.
Sleeping well reduces chances of headache, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea, which can be underdiagnosed in women.
According to recent research by the US Department of Health & Human Services, sleep deficiency is fast becoming a public health problem.
But the good news is that essential oils can be the elusive tonic you’ve been searching for to improve your overall sleep experience at night.
According to research, the right aroma might send you to your dreamland pretty fast.
That’s because essential oils can help you relax, making it easier for you to sleep and sleep soundly for that matter.
Let’s start with Lavender oil, which is known to relax the nervous system by lowering the heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature.
This product is also known to alleviate mild insomnia and reduce anxious thoughts/memories by altering the brain’s waves.
Now you know why Lavender oil is considered as arguably the best plant therapy to help you sleep.
Another product is Clary sage with numerous studies revealing that it has antidepressant-like effects for menopausal women.
Additionally, a 2013 study revealed that clary oil inhalation could relax female patients with urinary incontinence undergoing urodynamic assessments.
To get the best out of essential oils, in this regard, experts suggest applying them on the soles, palms, or wrists in the morning and evening.
Although you can apply them directly to the skin, be sure to dilute the product with a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation.
Some common carrier oils you should shop around for include the extra virgin olive oils, coconut, and jojoba.
Most importantly, ensure that you practice healthy sleep practices, such as avoiding caffeine after 2 p.m., eating earlier in the evening, and many more.
3. Enhanced memory
You probably know someone who has an answer to every question you throw at them, right?
For centuries now, essential oils (EOs) have been used as effective memory boosters.
They do this by stimulating your brain and the nervous system, thereby fostering your learning and imagination skills.
One essential oil which has been used to improve memory since Shakespearian times is rosemary.
Several studies have been conducted to ascertain this notion, and most of them have turned out positive.
It was confirmed that inhaled 1, 8-cineole after rosemary aroma exposure led to higher concentration and improved mood.
Another study involving 28 adults revealed that consuming low doses of dried rosemary powder significantly improves memory speed.
You only need to diffuse 4-5 drops of it to drive your focus.
Peppermint oil is known to enhance visual attention, memory quality, and alertness.
Maybe you can try sipping peppermint tea during your study sessions to improve your grasp of the information.
Lemon oil not only ranks among the most expensive oils but also the most effective as well.
Studies say that it’s excellent at improving memory, easing digestion, and increasing relaxation.
And lastly, we have lavender oil, which is, of course, a great stress reliever.
This can be very beneficial, especially during exam periods when you need all the concentration you can get.
Again, you can diffuse 5-7 drops of it in the evening before your stressful event to relieve unnecessary pressure.
Fortunately, there are no studies to suggest that essential oils can affect your memory negatively.
In short, if you’re dealing with low brain power, supplementing your diet/medication with these essential oils is a great way to start.
You can click here to view the full list of the best essential oils for memory boost.
4. Skin Irritation
We all know how women are obsessed with having smooth, glowing skin, and rightfully so.
For some time now, essential oils have been known to treat acne, black spots, and other skin conditions.
But did you know that these gentle-looking products can be incredibly irritating?
Well, let’s start with the popular tea tree oil which is well-known for curing acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
In its diluted form, tea tree oil (also TTO) can be an effective acne-fighter on sensitive skin.
However, it’s sporadic to find this product in its diluted form.
If you use it like that, the result is that your skin will become dry, itchy, and of course, irritated.
Experts recommend that before using TTO, you should test it under your ear to see any prior adverse reactions.
Also, ensure that TTO is not among the first ingredients listed in a formula.
Another essential oil that is certain to irritate your skin is Lavender oil.
Although this product is an excellent stress reliever, itch-fighter, and an anti-inflammatory, Lavender oil is also a skin allergen.
It’s, in fact, like playing with fire if you apply Lavender oil directly on sensitive skin.
So if you’re frequently battling hives and rashes, it’s best to avoid Lavender essential oil altogether.
Oh, lest I forget, we have Citrus oil which is excellent at skin brightening and fading dark marks.
On the flip side, this product is so acidic and that’s why too much of it causes skin irritation.
Also, citric oil use can result in photo-allergic reactions.
This means that exposure to sun rays can cause phototoxic burns.
But the good news is that every skin has different reactions to essential oils.
If you notice any alien reaction on your skin after applying essential oils, it’s recommended to wash it off immediately.
5. Enhanced Fertility
Fertility struggles is an age-old problem that has been affecting both women and men in equal measure.
Many people spend fortunes yearly in their elusive search for a child.
Lack of children can lead to resentment towards yourself or partner and, of course, unnecessary stress build-up.
Even worse, society might start judging you harshly.
That aside, it’s a good idea to increase your chances of conceiving by using clean, natural remedies.
Over time, essential oils have proved to be a cheap and able alternative/supplement to medical fertility treatments.
These natural plant-based extracts can help you alleviate this problem by promoting positive emotions and general body wellness.
Fertility problems might be caused by high-stress levels, which essential oils can help lower as we’ve already discussed.
Take frankincense, for example, which helps relieve tension/nervousness during sexual intercourse.
Rose otto, on the other hand, is known to relax the uterus, regulate the menstrual cycle, enhance libido, and improve cervical mucus.
Another one is the german chamomile which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, while at the same time improving conception chances.
Other popular essential oils that can enhance fertility include the clary sage, cypress, angelica, melissa, geranium, calendula, etc.
But not all of these products are made equal.
So evaluating the quality of the brand and product is critical.
With all the fertility problems prevalent in western countries, using essential oils is a no-brainer.
6. Headache Relief
Essential oils are used to treat several mild ailments, and headache is one of them.
According to research, headache ranks among the most common ailments and affects everyone regardless of race, age, and gender.
The WHO (World Health Organization) even adds that at least half of all adults globally experience headaches during any given year.
Some common causes of headache are emotional distress or stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, etc.
To cure it, most people turn to essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint, etc.
For starters, lavender oil is very useful in relieving depression, anxiety, and stress.
Peppermint, on the other hand, relieves tension headaches, if applied on the forehead.
However, using these products, especially in their undiluted form, can come with some serious repercussions.
The fact is that almost all essential oils are not regulated by the FDA (US Food & Drug Association), so buying from a reputable maker is paramount.
Some users have reported that instead of treating headaches, some essential oils actually cause the opposite.
To back up these claims, studies suggest that essential oils release VOC (volatile organic compounds) into the air.
This compound is popularly known to trigger a migraine.
But the good news is that if diluted with carrier oils in the right amount, you don’t have to worry about the bad side effects.
7. Relief From Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnancy is undoubtedly a difficult period for most women out there.
It’s during this period that you’re experiencing lots of odd symptoms.
Essential oils can provide a natural and non-toxic solution to most of your symptoms such as nausea, pigmentation and headaches.
For example, essential oils such as frankincense and tea tree oil are very effective for skin support during this period.
Stretch marks develop during pregnancy.
To rectify this situation, applying a drop of frankincense mixed with your favorite moisturizer/carrier oil can do the ‘magic’.
You can try doing this every morning and at night time.
Digize has also been proven to solve digestive problems that are very prevalent during pregnancy.
Simply roll it in the affected area such as throat or chest to get the job done.
Digize is best used during your first trimester, although some still use it in their third trimester.
Another useful essential oil to use during pregnancy is peppermint, which can help with smell sensitivities.
Just open the container and sniff it or dilute it with citruses such as lemon or orange.
Peppermint is also great to use during the summer, as it might help you to cool down a bit.
However, you should be mindful of impure or adulterated essential oils during this period.
For instance, wintergreen essential oil has a high concentration of methyl salicylate (a naturally occurring aspirin) which has blood-thinning properties.
Birch essential oil also contains this compound and should not be used during pregnancy.
Other essential oils that you may want to avoid include clary sage, cinnamon bark, rosemary, and hyssop.
To be safe, you can dilute these products or avoid them altogether if you’re not sure about anything.
Also, note that it’s recommended that you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider first before taking or using any essential oil during pregnancy.
8. Asthma Relief
Asthma is a breathing medical condition that affects millions of people all over the world.
It affects over 25 million Americans, and there is no cure for this chronic breathing disease.
Common symptoms of asthma to watch out for include chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
To prevent frequent asthma attacks, doctors prescribe medications and inhalers.
Also, some people claim that essential oils can be used to curb asthma attacks, but the Asthma Allergic Foundation of America thinks otherwise.
The AAFA claims that asthma attacks are triggered by inhaling foreign particles such as dust, smoke, and essential oils.
All essential oils have a unique chemical composition that affects their smell and other characteristics.
Inhaling or rubbing these compounds can lead to allergic reactions.
As I have noted earlier, essential oils release VOCs which can trigger asthma symptoms.
VOCs are pollutants that negatively affect the indoor air quality and are released as gases from both liquid and solid products.
According to several studies, up to 24 commercial essential oils such as TTO, lavender, eucalyptus, etc. emitted 188 different VOCs.
A common type of VOCs emitted by essential oils is terpenes, a hydrocarbon compound found in animals and plants.
Terpenes are known to cause shortness of breath at night and wheezing, even on patients without asthma.
On a bright note, a 2014 study by the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine revealed that some essential oils could be very beneficial to asthma patients.
It was concluded that young women who inhaled 50 microliters of peppermint oil before exercising experienced improved lung function.
Another study by Life Sciences revealed that lavender essential oil reduces airway inflammation when inhaled.
But despite these promising revelations, experts advise against using essential oils to treat asthma because they may worsen the situation.
Again, talk to your doctor first before embarking on any asthma treatment.
9. Constipation Relief
Constipation is refers to difficulty in bowel movement.
You’re constipated when you pass stool less than three or four times a week.
Some common causes of constipation include lack of exercise, dehydration, certain medications, low-fiber diet, and of course, pregnancy.
There are several medications for treating constipation, including over-the-counter drugs and drinking lots of water.
But did you know that essential oils have been used as a remedy for thousands of years now?
Well, it all boils down again to the relaxation factor.
Essential oils help relax the body muscles, hence more natural bowel movements.
Ginger oil is known to reduce nausea and improve constipation, which is very common during pregnancy.
It does this by increasing gastric motility.
All you have to do is to mix 3-5 drops with an ounce of carrier oil and rub the mixture onto your abdomen.
Peppermint oil also has antispasmodic properties that help relax the muscles in your digestive tract.
Several studies have successfully confirmed that peppermint oil relieves IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
You can either inhale the aroma or rub its mixture with a carrier oil on your abdomen.
Another one is lemon oil which possesses potent antioxidants for reducing inflammation and improving digestion.
Don’t also forget to check out rosemary oil which is effective at suppressing and relaxing muscle spasm.
However, don’t take these essential oils orally because some of them are toxic.
But generally, essential oils are safe to use on adults when treating constipation.
10. Environmental Degradation
Although this point is not related to women’s health, it’s still worth giving it a shot.
That said, the majority of essential oil products are extracted from large quantities of plants.
Obviously, this leaves a negative effect on the environment.
According to Earthisland, you’ll need around 10000 pounds of rose petals, 6000 pounds of melissa plant, 250 pounds of lavender, 1500 lemons, etc. to produce a pound of essential oil.
In light of these, it’s paramount to understand how essential oil plants are cultivated.
Most popular essential oil companies source their raw materials for this resource-intensive product from corporate farms.
And as it’s the norm in the agricultural sector, most of these farms use pesticides to maximize yields.
In the end, consumers and the soil texture are the losers.
Additionally, most essential oils come in glass containers/bottles which pose recycling challenges.
Fortunately, it’s possible to recycle glass containers easily.
However, big cities in the world like New York direct that all glass containers holding flammable materials be disposed of in regular trash.
So to be on the safe side, you should check the purity of the essential oil you intend to buy by looking for the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).
This is where you’ll get all the information about the toxicity, flammability, and disposal directions.
In the United States, all companies are required to provide this information on their products.
However, big producers such as the Mountain Rose Oils, DoTerra, and Young Living ask users to contact them to get this MSDS information.
In the UK, however, most companies post this information on their respective websites.
All in all, disposing of essential oils and their containers should be done carefully to avoid leaving a negative impact on the environment.
To sum it up, essential oils are a clean and safe treatment of several ailments.
However, in most instances, research is still ongoing to gather enough evidence to support this.
And if you use them correctly, you shouldn’t experience any adverse side effects.
You should also be mindful of how you dispose of essential oil bottles to safeguard our environment.
But as I have insisted on this article, you should first and foremost talk to your care provider before starting any treatment.
If you have anything you’d like to add to this list of benefits of essential oils for women’s health, let us know in the comments below.