A lot of women in the world today struggle with hormonal imbalances in more ways than one. It could be in the form of PCOS, Thyroid, PMS and many others. And while the medical system helps us pinpoint the issue, there are very few empowering solutions or treatments available.
This dearth has caused a lot of us to take matters in our own hands and start off on this journey of holistic healing and management of our diagnosis. One such area of alternative healing is Aromatherapy and the use of Essential Oils.
What are Essential oils?
Essential oils are steam distilled from various different parts of plants such as leaves, roots, twigs, flowers, grass etc. These potent plant compounds much like Ayurveda have different benefits and properties. The use of these oils for mental, physical and spiritual benefits is known as Aromatherapy.
There are lots of different ways to use Essential Oils, but they can broadly be broken down into.
- Diffusion (in a ceramic diffuser or humidifier)
- Bath/ Foot Soak
- Added to Bath Water
- DIY Skincare Products
- DIY Household cleaners
How do Essential oils work?
When we inhale the odour molecules of Essential oils they pass through the olfactory membrane that recognizes the smell and communicates with the limbic system and the cerebral cortex almost instantly.
The Limbic System is also known as our emotional brain. It controls emotions, memories, bodily functions like blood pressure, breathing patterns, fear responses, sensory information along with stress and hormone secretion.
Our nervous system has two different responses, one is the relaxed response and the other is a fight or flight response.
When the body is functioning in the relaxed response all the hormones that are needed for our body to work efficiently are released. But its when we are in fight or flight that our glands start releasing cortisol and adrenaline and disrupt the required flow.
Our body does not know the difference between being chased by a tiger and our boss yelling at us, therefore every time that we are stressed our natural flow of hormones is disrupted.
A number of Essential Oils have sedative, hypotensive, cns depressant (anxiety reducers) and uplifting properties and based on the smells that personally speak to us, Aromatherapy is a fantastic way to soothe the nervous system and in turn help balance hormones.
The cerebral cortex is responsible for cognition, regulation, intellectual function, and movement and motor functions. The olfactory membrane is the first from all the other senses to send information directly to the cerebral cortex.
A number of Essential oils are cognition enhancers, cns stimulants and therefore also affect our cognition and productivity levels.
Apart from this when we inhale Essential Oils they get in touch with our sinuses, lungs and nasal passages.
As a lot of them are decongestants, antibacterials, antivirals, antifungals etc and therefore support healthy respiration.
Essential oils based on their chemical compositions have different properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antibacterial etc and depending on what you wish to address they seep into through the skin membrane and help soothe issues.
Essential Oils are extremely potent, to give you an understanding it takes about 18 kgs of Lavender buds to distil 15 ml of Lavender Essential Oil.
Therefore Essential Oils need to be diluted in carrier oils before application.
Carrier oils are chosen based on your skin type.
– Oily and Sensitive Skin – Golden Jojoba Oil
– Combination Skin – Apricot Oil, Grapeseed Oil
– Dry Skin – Apricot Oil, Sweet Almond Oil
As per research here are a few ideal Essential Oils for Balancing Hormones.
- Clary Sage Essential Oil is known to help mimic estrogen in the body, but only when estrogen levels are low.
- Thyme Essential Oil is also known to balance progesterone levels in the body.
- Geranium Essential Oil is known to help regulate menstrual cycles and is a favourite due to its lovely calming aroma.