Celebrating American Heart Month with February’s Oily Promotions for Balanced Hormones
This Month’s Heartfelt Summary So Far
For “American Heart Month,” I have been exploring the mysteries of the heart and moving beyond the conventional viewpoint of cardiovascular disease prevention. Last week, I presented more integrative philosophies that demonstrate that the connection between the brain to the heart is evidence-based and has impressive results. Research on the synchronization of physical, emotional, and mental systems (coherence), measured with heart rate variability (HRV), has been shown to enhance stress adaptability and overall well-being, support emotional balance, and promote calmer responses to perceived tension in social situations.
To begin Valentine’s Day week, I followed up on the heart-brain link with a passionate two-part article on the importance of social connections. In Part 1, I reviewed several studies which evaluated how social relationships shape health. It was found that positive connection leads to beneficial outcomes through behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological effects.
In Part 2, I reported on some eye-opening truths that revealed the deadly trio of heart: toxic connections, ambivalent relationships, and perceived social isolation. Isolation is so detrimental, that has been used to torture prisoners. In less severe situations, it has been shown to negatively influence many health parameters. These include: higher blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, alteration of gene expression of stress and inflammatory pathways, lowered immunity, and more.
Thankfully, the news wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for those with strained relationships. I closed with tools and techniques to help with building more positive connections. Of course, these included the use of essential oils!
Now, I will focus on using essential oils to support more healthy relationships through balancing stress and hormones. When one is overly stressed, and/or in hormone havoc, explosive, destroying, emotional outbursts have been known to occur. 🙂
How Essential Oils Calm the Brain, Body, Balance Hormones, and Promote Bonding
1. Stress Resiliency with Hormonal Balance
Below is an explanation of how essential oils accomplish this hormonal and stress modulation in a holistic way:
Usually, a psychological action also has a physiological or biochemical impact on the body. For example, hormonal support could be provided by calming emotion from inhalation, effecting stress hormones or enzymes, and providing direct physiological effects as a result of phytoesterogens modulating estrogen levels.
One small study with 22 menopausal women in their 50’s examined changes in neurotransmitter concentrations, cortisol, and thyroid stimulating hormone in relationship to inhalation of clary sage oil. The researchers found that inhalation of this oil decreased cortisol and increased 5-hydroxytrptamine (the monoamine, serotonin) as well as alleviated mood.
In another randomized study of sixty-three healthy postmenopausal women, researchers found effects of inhalation of the essential oil of neroli to have positive effects on menopausal symptoms, stress, and estrogen levels.
A psychological and psychological effect was seen with jasmine oil reported in the Journal of Health Research. Inhalation of jasmine caused an increase in beta wave power (indicating increased alertness) in the anterior and left posterior region of the brain when they tested 20 subjects with inhalation and measured the response with an EEG. Subjects also reported a greater feeling of well-being and were less drowsy when inhaling jasmine as compared to the resting and control condition (almond oil).
Another well-known oil for its calming effect on the heart-brain-hormonal connection is ylang ylang.
A full list of references on this topic can be found here.
2. Promote Positive Moods and Beneficial Behavior
There is evidence on how emotional blends can effect behavior and provide support for more positive moods. This is due to their combination of physiological effects from the secondary metabolites and the biochemical and psychological impact of smell. You can click here for the summary of six reasons why emotional blends of essential oils are scientifically legit.
3. Assist with Bonding and Alleviating Discomfort in Times of Stress
One small study with eleven pregnant women found that clary sage can elevate oxytocin, the “bonding” hormone, for 15 minutes after inhalation in several subjects. All participants experienced a decrease in cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
This variation in response of oxytocin with these woman is another trial which shows the innate wisdom of essential oils. The constitutes found in oils balance the body based on the individual’s needs, environments, preferences, and microbiome. For example, most pregnant women can use a little stress relief, but maybe not all of them need the bonding hormone at the particular time of the study.
There were some limitations to this trial I should mention. The first was that it was a small sample. The second, more disturbing one, is that researchers combined the oil with propylene glycol. What?! This chemical may have impacted results due to it being an endocrine disruptor (see below).
Adulteration of essential oils makes my geeky brain go coocoo! I am a stickler for purity (see my database on articles on quality)!! I literally grabbed my bottle of lavender to inhale to calm my brain and body after reading this.
Regardless of this chemical addition, there were no negative effects.
Clary sage oil has also been studied with chamomile oil in another trial to evaluate its use for labor discomfort in midwife care. This study was over an eight-year period and included over 8,000 moms. The authors concluded:
The evidence from this study suggests that aromatherapy can be effective in reducing maternal anxiety, fear and/or pain during labour. The use of aromatherapy appeared to facilitate a further reduction in the use of systemic opioids in the study centre, from 6% in 1990 to 0.4% in 1997 (per woman). Aromatherapy is an inexpensive care option.
Several studies which include combinations of essential oils, including those with phytoestrogens, have been found to alleviate menstrual discomfort which can make anyone moody (1, 2). The oils in these studies were lavender, clary sage, marjoram, cinnamon, and ginger.
Clary Sage essential oil; therefore, may be a go-to-oil to help to promote positive emotions in labor, decrease discomfort, and alleviate stress in women.
4. The Smell of Trust
Smell can trigger emotional responses and influence feelings. One study with 90 healthy young adults found that lavender aroma influenced participants to transfer more money units to the transferee in a game of Trust. Peppermint, on the other hand, being stimulating, caused more pause to be so giving to the trustors. Again, variations may occur based on the uniqueness of the individual and past associations with specific odors.
Still, you may want to dab on some lavender oil if your heading to the bank to ask for a loan? If you do and it works, share the prosperity in the comments section!
5. Balancing Stressful Hormonal Effects in Relationships
Many are aware of how hormonal alterations and stress can cause emotional alterations and have the potential to negatively impact relationships, especially parents of young adolescents. Furthermore, falling in love can alter hormones which can contribute to desire in connected partnerships. Interestingly, one study showed that women tend to have an increase in testosterone when in love, and males have a decrease. This may mean that men have less “desire” when they are mated “for good.” Alternately, females may crave more physical connection. This has a lot of implications that I’ll go more into in an upcoming blog.
As discussed in number one above, clary sage, neroli, and jasmine oils may be helpful for many of these symptoms. Constituents in fennel have also been studied for balancing hormones and assisting with lactation.
6. What Essential Oils Won’t Do to Hormones
Another benefit of essential oils is that they can be used to replace toxins and chemicals that can cause hormonal havoc. If your hormones are off balance, you may want to consider trashing hormonal agitators, such as xenoestrogens, and cleaning up your home safely with essential oils.
Essential oils won’t act as endocrine disruptors.
Examples of Essential Oils for Healthy Hormones and Heart Connections:
These blends combine many of the above-mentioned oils. Let’s remember that everyone has a different biochemistry and the oils metabolize and are processed different in every individual. This means that you may want to try different oils or blends that resonate with you the next go-around. You will eventually find your own favorites. I share two of mine in the video above.
Below are what qualifying orders can receive the following freebies to balance hormones, stress, and promote emotional resiliency in relationships:
A Heart Calming, Invigorating Blend: Cananga odorata (Ylang ylang) flower oil, Citrus aurantium bergamia (Furanocoumarin-free Bergamot) peel oil, Jasminum officinale (Jasmine) oil, and Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) flower oil.
A Mood-Hormonal Balancing Blend: Salvia sclarea† (Clary) oil, Mentha piperita† (Peppermint) oil, Salvia lavandulaefolia† (Spanish sage) leaf oil, and Foeniculum vulgare† (Fennel) oil.
Patchouli oil: its constituents can promote immune balance and liver, skin, and digestive health. Supporting the liver and gut can positively impact hormones and stress response.
Please blend with a carrier oil, which contains beneficial fatty oils and will allow for safe use of essential oils topically. These also have many wellness effects on the skin and whole body that you can explore here.
Conclusion and Summary
Essential oils can be used to balance the heart, mind, and hormones to promote better behavioral responses to stress and emotional regulation. This can result in healthier social relationships.
Essential oils aren’t the sole “magic drop” for all things stress and hormonal, but they are a big player in my practice. They are especially synergistic with healthy nourishment, movement, rest, and other life-enhancing practices, which each have dramatic impacts on well-being.
A Shout Out to the Guys
Men, you may feel these oils are formulated specifically for the women. However, you can take advantage of the Patchouli and carrier oil and give some of these blends to a special female in your life.
I’ll be doing a quick oily tip soon that provide a summary on how to enhance “adult relationships” for both genders. This may make some blush, others smile. Be forewarned to get your earbuds ready and cover the kids ears and eyes, there will be adult language. Stay tuned!
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)