From the time a pre-teen girl starts puberty to the time she reaches her 40s and 50s, the hormones in her body ebb and flow, carrying out silent but vital tasks that impact how she feels, acts, and behaves.
When hormones are out of balance or working to move the body through natural transitions (puberty, pregnancy and postnatal phases, perimenopause, and menopause), a woman can experience symptoms that affect her health and her quality of life. Mood swings, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, brain fog, fatigue, hot flashes, and trouble sleeping are just a sampling of the symptoms caused by hormone imbalances. Fortunately, both traditional and holistic medical approaches can be used to treat and relieve symptoms. Recently on the Emotions Mentor podcast, I visited with Mariza Snyder, a functional practitioner and the best-selling author of The Essential Oils Hormone Solution, about some of the more natural approaches women can take to balance their hormones.
Not surprisingly, the first steps involve revamping your lifestyle to make more healthy choices. Look for nutritional gaps in your diet and fill those in with whatever is missing: more leafy greens, lots of omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein, etc. Cut sugar and unhealthy fats. After that: get in 20 to 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise, take up strength and resistance training, practice self-care, learn new breathing techniques, practice meditating or doing yoga.
Finally, turn to the incredible healing compounds that come from plants—essential oils.
Mariza has dedicated her life and career to natural medicine and has recently written and spoken widely about how essential oils can help women who feel like their hormones have been hijacked to reclaim their lives. Her first line of defense is to stock the medicine cabinet with these five oils:
1. Clary sage.
Mariza recommends using clary sage to balance estrogen and progesterone as well as to reduce out-of-control cortisol levels due to stress. Rub a few drops over your abdomen and hips during your menstrual cycle and use daily on the bottoms of your feet. Pair with bergamot or geranium and diffuse to lift your mood.
To improve both your skin and your mood, use geranium oil. Mariza recommends adding a drop or two to your usual moisturizer to help prevent acne and to tone the skin. To lift your mood, try diffusing 3 drops bergamot or lime with 2 drops geranium and 3 drops lavender.
Use lavender for sleep support and stress reduction. Lavender is often called the Swiss army knife of essential oils because it has so many benefits. Diffuse at night before bed to promote easier and longer rest. Or apply to your body’s pulse points: behind the ears, the back of the neck, the temples, wrists, ankles, and over the heart.
Tension and headaches tend to come hand in hand with hormonal shifts and imbalances. Peppermint can fight back against that stress. Apply to the temples or back of the neck and massage lightly to ease pain. To energize yourself, pair 2 drops peppermint with 2 drops wild orange and diffuse.
Brain fog and fatigue can be some of the most troubling symptoms for women who are going through perimenopause or trying to function in the weeks and months after giving birth. A lot of women worry they are losing their minds, when, in reality, it’s likely a hormone imbalance that is creating that fog. Mariza recommends using rosemary to fight back. Just inhaling it can improve focus and memory. A great blend to diffuse is 3 drops rosemary, 2 drops spearmint, 2 drops lemon, and 1 drop ylang ylang.
Here are a few more recipes and oils to try.
(A quick note: if you are pregnant or nursing, be careful about which oils you apply topically or use internally. Talk to a doctor about using oils before treating yourself.)
Great oils for teen girls: lavender, lemon, rose, frankincense, lemongrass, sandalwood, clary sage, and geranium can help teens reduce stress, maintain clear skin, and sooth menstrual cramps.
Acne toner: in an 8- to 10-ounce bottle, combine 15 drops rosemary, 15 drops frankincense, and 8 drops lemon. Add enough witch hazel to nearly fill the bottle. Cap with a lid and shake well. Use a cotton ball to smooth the solution over a clean face up to two times a day. Shake bottle before each use.
PMS bath blend: In a small bowl mix ¼ to ½ cup Epsom salts with 3 drops clary sage, 2 drops chamomile, 2 drops geranium, and 2 drops lavender. Add to warm bathwater and soak for 20 minutes.
Mariza’s Hormone Synergy Blend: In a 10 mL roller bottle, add 10 drops clary sage, 10 drops lavender, 8 drops geranium, 4 drops bergamot, 4 drops ylang ylang, and 2 teaspoons of your favorite carrier oil. Roll over your ovaries and pulse points 2 to 3 times a day. This blend is great for balancing your mood, increasing energy, and reducing cravings.
Mood lifter: Diffuse 3 drops bergamot, 3 drops lavender, and 3 drops ylang ylang.
Headache fighter: In a 10 mL roller bottle, add 15 drops frankincense, 15 drops wild orange, and 2 teaspoons fractionated coconut oil. Roll over the back of the neck and the temples and massage lightly to relieve headache pain.
Other oils that can support you as you work to balance your hormones include thyme, sandalwood, basil, lemon myrtle, and fennel. You can use any of these on your pulse points or in a diffuser. Experiment with some of your favorites and the blends outlined above.
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