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I often tell people that PMS is a sign that something is wrong. It may be common but it is not normal. I wrote a post on PMS a few years ago from the point of view of nutritional help, but essential oils have been a wonderful resource in my tool box for PMS for many years. Even better is that there is now some research on these oils.

1. Geranium Essential Oil Pelargonium graveolens / Pelargonium asperum

This oil is from the leaves of the geranium plant and has a sweet floral smell. The oil should be a green/yellow hue and will have a smell that reminds you of rose. If you are not a fan of rose like scents or strong florals, this oil may take a while to get used to and you can mix and dilute it with other oils. It has a middle perfumery note, and has a very low viscosity so will come flying out the bottle.

It has been used to help a whole number of issues such as:

  • Female Reproductive System Disorders: menstrual cramps, infertility, endometriosis, PMS, peri-menopause, acne and hormonal balancing through being a tonic to the liver.

  • Emotional issues: depression, anxiety, emotional crises and even fatigue

If you haven't guessed, this is a key essential oil that I use with my clients as it helps with so many period problems. It's an essential part of my toolkit and I believe women should have this oil on hand after lavender and frankincense.

There was a study that showed that aromatherapy massage with geranium essential oil and massage in general decreased PMS symptoms. (The group that had the aromatherapy massage with Geranium saw a greater improvement in PMS symptoms than those that just had a massage).

2. Bitter Orange Essential Oil Citrus aurantium

This oil is often overlooked in favour of its cousins, sweet orange, neroli, petitgrain and bergamot, but it is an oil that was found to help PMS symptoms in a small double-blind clinical trial. This oil is usually a yellow or green bordering on orange colour with a warm, citrus fragrance. It is expressed (cold pressed) from the orange peel (even notice that when you peel an orange, no matter how careful you are not to dig into the fruit, you get wet, sticky fingers? That's the essential oil in the peel).

It has a top note and a thin consistency but the initial smell is fairly strong. I usually blend this oil with florals such as geranium, ylang ylang and lavender (isn't that a nice co-incidence when checking out the other oils in the post) or if I want to spice it up, add it to frankincense.

This oil is also really helpful for digestive issues, especially those in the build up to your period such as bloating, slow digestion and excess gas.

3. Rose Essential Oil Rosa Damascena

Rose essential oil can be very helpful for PMS. There are several rose essential oils that you can purchase as rose is a precious essential oil (which means hard to collect and therefore expensive, only coming in small quantities). There are several variants you can use which are more "affordable" although they have slightly different scent profiles and therapeutic properties. You may want to have a play around with different scents or the different rose essential oils and see which ones have the best benefit for you.

Rose Otto is at the premium end and is a lighter oil, however, it can solidify easily so I hold the bottle in my hand to warm it up. I don't like to heat oils up in a pan as it can break them down if you go too high and also, if this oil evaporates, there is not going to be much left. When you do get it liquid, it is very light/low viscosity and a yellowish colour with a gentle aroma. Pro tip: make it last longer by mixing with geranium to give the hint of rose but reduce the cost.

Rose CO2 Extract is the other "aromatherapy grade" variant I am happy to use in massage and has a far stronger rose fragrance that hits you when you open the bottle. This oil is extracted by carbon dioxide rather than steam or solvent.

Rose Absolute is extracted by solvent and I am careful using this around some people who are very sensitive to perfumes and who have easily irritated skin (although I have yet to see a reaction from this oil). It is a deep red colour and heavier consistency and has a far stronger fragrance that Rose Otto.

Rose is pretty amazing as it can help reduce stress, improve symptoms of depression and is a wonder for dry skin, mature skin and eczema.

4. Lavender Essential Oil Lavender augustifolia

This is oil is a firm favourite of mine and as far as I am concerned, the key essential oil everyone should have on their person at all times, it is so versatile and can help with so many things. It can also be helpful for PMS symptoms too.

This oil has an interesting profile as it is a high, middle and low note in perfumery terms and this is noticeable in that it is more astringent at first and then mellows out over time.

It is very light in texture and has a slightly yellow colour. It has so many therapeutic uses, that if I don't know which essential oil to use, lavender is my go to by default.

Honourable Mentions

There are a number of essential oils that in my experience can really help to lift the mood symptoms of PMS, however, no one has done a study on them yet (that I can find). But to leave them out would be a crime against aromatherapy. Some essential oils I love to use to help with PMS and mood symptoms include: ylang ylang, peppermint, spearmint, orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, begamot, fennel and of course, clary sage.

Find Out More

Watch videos on Essential Oil Safety

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