Essential Oils for Period Cramps

Essential Oils for Period Cramps: Soothe Those Cramps Away

Essential Oils for Period Cramps. Having your period can be a real pain – literally! Menstrual cramps affect nearly every woman at some point, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to severe and debilitating. Fortunately, natural remedies can relieve period cramps and let you keep going with your day. One of the most popular and effective options is using essential oils for period cramps.

What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

Before diving into essential oil remedies, let’s quickly review what causes menstrual cramps in the first place. During menstruation, the uterus contracts to facilitate the shedding of its lining. These contractions are triggered by prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals that are produced in the uterus. For many women, the contractions can be quite muscular, resulting in painful cramping and discomfort in the lower abdomen. The pain may spread to the lower back and thighs. I made no changes to the spelling, grammar, or punctuation of the original text, as it was already correct.

Some additional factors that can make cramps worse include:

  • A heavy menstrual flow, which causes the uterus to contract more strongly
  • Uterine abnormalities like fibroids or endometriosis
  • A deficiency in magnesium or vitamins like B1 and E
  • Use of birth control pills

While cramping is common during periods, severe pain is abnormal and could indicate an underlying health condition. See your doctor if the pain interferes with your daily activities.

How Can Essential Oils Help with Cramps?

Now that we know why cramps happen, let’s see how essential oils can help relieve some! Here are some of the main ways these aromatic oils can ease period cramps:

Reducing Inflammation
Many essential oils have natural anti-inflammatory properties. This helps reduce the swelling, tension, and discomfort in the uterus and surrounding reproductive organs, contributing to cramping. Oils like lavender, chamomile, and clary sage are great options for their inflammation-reducing abilities.

Improving Circulation
Poor circulation to the pelvis can worsen cramps. Some essential oils help boost blood flow to this area, providing oxygen and nutrients to relax the muscles and decrease tension. Those with the best circulation-enhancing qualities include rosemary, ginger, and black pepper.

Releasing Cramp-Causing Compounds
As mentioned earlier, cramps are often caused by prostaglandins produced in the uterus. Specific essential oils help reduce the production and release of these harmful compounds, relieving uterine tension. Clary sage, chamomile, and lavender oils have this prostaglandin-inhibiting effect.

Alleviating Stress and Anxiety
For some women, cramps can cause anxiety, exacerbating the pain. The soothing aromas from essential oils help calm the mind and relax the body. Try mellow oils like bergamot, ylang-ylang, and frankincense to help relieve stress.

Providing a Soothing Massage
Applying essential oils in a massage can provide two-fold relief from cramps. The massage action itself helps relax tight, cramped muscles. Plus, the oils are absorbed into the skin for cramp-fighting benefits.

Now, look at some of the top essential oils for managing menstrual cramps.

Learn more: Best Drinks for Upset Stomach and Diarrhea.

Essential Oils for Period Cramps 2

Best Essential Oils for Period Cramps


The sweet floral scent of lavender is one of the most well-known aromas for relaxation. True to its reputation, lavender essential oil is very effective for soothing cramps and relaxing tense muscles. When applied to the abdomen and back, it contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate aches and pains. Lavender oil is gentle enough for most people to use undiluted.

Clary Sage

Clary sage oil is derived from the herb clary, traditionally used to address women’s health issues. True to this history, clary sage can relieve menstrual cramps immensely. It helps regulate prostaglandins and relax uterine muscle contractions. Plus, its stress-reducing aroma calms anxiety that can worsen cramps. It is recommended to dilute clary sage with a carrier oil before skin application.


The sweet aroma of chamomile conjures up thoughts of cozy tea by the fire. Like herbal tea, chamomile essential oil provides a soothing, relaxing effect on the mind and muscles. It contains antispasmodic compounds that relieve cramps and inflamed muscles and joints. Add chamomile oil to your bath for better absorption.


Ginger is renowned for settling upset stomachs, and it can also relax menstrual cramps due to its anti-inflammatory and circulatory effects. Ginger oil works best when diluted with carrier oil and massaged on and around the lower abdomen. It promotes blood flow to relieve muscle spasms and provides a warming sensation to ease tension.


The cooling and refreshing aroma of peppermint can provide welcome relief when you’re doubled over from cramps. Peppermint oil contains analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties that address various sources of period pain. Peppermint oil and chamomile, lavender, or clary sage enhance their cramp-fighting abilities.


Rosemary contains compounds that significantly reduce inflammation and relax smooth muscles in the uterus while improving circulation to the pelvic region. When coupled with its stress-reduction properties, rosemary can be a faithful cramping ally. Try rubbing diluted rosemary oil over the abdomen and lower back.

Methods to Use Essential Oils for Cramps

Now that you know which oils to use, let’s look at the various ways you can apply them to find the relief you need:

Topical Application
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to use essential oils for cramps. Apply a few drops of the oils – diluted in a carrier oil if needed – directly on the abdomen, back, and legs where you feel cramps. Gently massage the area to allow absorption into the skin. You can apply as needed throughout your period.

Hot Compress
Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out excess water, and add 2-3 drops of your chosen essential oil(s). Place the compress directly over your lower abdomen or back and relax as the warmth and aroma provide relief. Reheat the compress when it loses heat.

Massage Oil Blend
For an intensive massage, blend several drops each of 3-4 different essential oils into 1 ounce of carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, or jojoba. Have your partner gently massage this oil blend over your lower back, abdomen, hips, and upper legs.

Bath Salts or Oil
Enjoy a relaxing aromatherapy bath for cramps by adding up to 12 drops of essential oils – like lavender, clary sage, and peppermint – into Epsom salts or carrier oil. Soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes to allow the oils’ benefits to set in.

Diffuser Blend
Add your chosen oils to an essential oil diffuser and breathe in the therapeutic vapors as they fill the room. This is an easy way to benefit from the oils’ inflammation-reducing, relaxing, and stress-relieving properties.

Lifestyle Tips for Coping with Cramps

While essential oils can provide helpful relief from cramps, your overall lifestyle habits also play an indispensable role in managing pain. Here are some additional tips:

  • Exercise – Regular aerobic exercise helps reduce cramp severity by lowering prostaglandin levels.
  • Heat – Placing a heating pad on the abdomen and lower back can ease cramp discomfort.
  • Magnesium & Vitamin Intake – Getting adequate magnesium and vitamins like B1 and E supplements for menstrual cramping.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water prevents cramp-causing dehydration and flushes out excess prostaglandins.
  • Reduce Stress – Stress-relieving practices like yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy lessen anxiety that can worsen cramps.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol – These can exacerbate dehydration and inflammation, making cramps feel more severe.

Learn more: Do Muscle Relaxers Help with Period Cramps?

Essential Oils for Period Cramps Lavender

How to use lavender oil for period pain?

Lavender oil is an excellent natural option for easing period pain due to its combination of analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant properties. To use lavender essential oil for menstrual cramps, dilute 5-6 drops in one teaspoon of carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil. Gently massage this diluted oil directly onto your lower abdomen and back where the cramping occurs.

The lavender oil will be absorbed into the skin to reduce inflammation of the uterine muscles as well as pain signals to the brain. Add several drops of lavender oil to a hot compress and apply them to the cramping areas for a warming, relaxing effect. For whole-body relief, add 10-12 drops of lavender oil to warm bath water and soak for at least 15 minutes to allow the aromatic compounds to provide anxiety relief and relax the muscles.

Diffusing lavender oil throughout the room is another excellent option for its pain and stress-relieving aroma during your period. Its pleasant floral scent provides a calming ambiance while you experience its antispasmodic effects. It’s essential to dilute lavender oil with carrier oil before applying it to the skin to avoid irritation.

Can peppermint oil help with period cramps?

Peppermint oil can be an effective natural remedy for alleviating painful menstrual cramps. The active ingredient menthol provides peppermint oil with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve cramping in several ways. When applied topically to the abdomen and back, peppermint oil produces a cooling, numbing sensation that blocks pain signals to reduce muscle spasms and tension. When massaged, the oil also improves blood circulation to the pelvic region, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the uterine muscles to aid in relaxation.

Additionally, peppermint oil contains antispasmodic compounds that prevent the uterine muscles from contracting as intensely. This helps decrease the severity of cramping. Peppermint oil also has stress and anxiety-relieving effects through its calming aroma, which further aids in relaxing the body and muscles. The combination of peppermint oil’s pain-relieving, muscle relaxing, and stress-reducing properties can provide much-needed relief from cramping during your period when applied topically or through aromatherapy.

Say Goodbye to Debilitating Cramps!

There is no need to just “grin and bear it” when it comes to period cramps – not when essential oils offer such soothing relief! With so many cramp-fighting oils, you can create custom blends and regimens to find your perfect match. Aromatherapy and positive lifestyle habits provide a holistic approach to managing even the worst menstrual cramps.

The next time Aunt Flo calls, don’t reach for just any over-the-counter painkiller. Turn to the potent properties of lavender, clary sage, chamomile, ginger, and other oils specifically made to provide natural, fragrant relief from those monthly aches. You’ll be feeling comfy and relaxed in no time!