Essential Oils For PCOS: The Ultimate Guide (2020)
Have you recently come across the hype surrounding essential oils for PCOS?
I get it, I was in that same place too. I began hearing a lot about essential oils but didn’t know what they were or how they could help PCOS.
So, I did a little research. I learnt a lot about how they can improve and alleviate many of the PCOS symptoms women struggle with on a daily basis. In this post, I have distilled everything I have learnt and picked out the 13 best essential oils that can naturally reverse the symptoms of PCOS.
I personally purchase my essential oils from Barefut. They are a reputable brand that offers 100% pure therapeutic essential oils at affordable prices.
They have a range of single and blended essential oils to choose from that contain only natural ingredients. No fillers, chemicals or additives.
In this post, you will find out how these 13 essential oils have been scientifically shown to help PCOS. And I will show you the safest and best way to use essential oils to reap the benefits.
Let’s get started.
13 Essential Oils For PCOS
- Ylang Ylang
- Sweet Marjoram
- Black Cumin
What are Essential Oils?
Aromatherapy (essential oil therapy) is an alternative form of therapy that uses essential oils. Essential oils are removed from a plant’s flowers, leaves, stem, root, bark, fruits and other parts using various methods.
While essential oils may have recently become a household topic, they can be traced back thousands of years.
They are a natural remedy used to improve ones physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Now, let’s find out which essential oils are best for PCOS.
Essential Oils for PCOS
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of trees in the "Cinnamomum" family. It is native to Sri Lanka, Burma and Bangladesh.
Cinnamon is commonly used in cooking, adding a slight kick and sweet taste to a meal. But it is also a great essential oil for PCOS.
How Does Cinnamon Help PCOS?
Check this out:
Women with PCOS produce too many male hormones. One of the causes of this is insulin resistance. This is a condition where the cells in the body have become unresponsive to the effects of insulin. As a result, there is a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream.
Researchers suggest that cinnamon acts like insulin and helps make the bodies tissues more sensitive to it. A study found that consuming 120mg/day to 6g/day of cinnamon for approximately 4 months can reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels.
Lavender is a flowering plant from the mint family. It’s is believed to have originated from the Mediterranean, Middle East and India. While lavender is known for its bright purple color and sweet floral scent. But there is more to it than that!
How does Lavender help PCOS?
Lowers Stress Levels
Here’s the thing.
When we are stressed we go into fight or flight mode. The adrenals respond by releasing cortisol into the bloodstream. In addition to cortisol, male hormones including DHEA, DHEA-S, and androstenedione are produced.
Linalool, a chemical component in lavender, can help lower stress levels. A study done on mice revealed that when the lavender was smelt, it helped relieve the feeling of stress and anxiety.
While this was a study done on mice and more trials need to run to establish linalool’s safety and efficacy. The results are encouraging for women with PCOS who need to work on lowering their stress levels to help reverse their PCOS.
Ylang Ylang essential oil is made from the flowers of Cananga odorata plant. It is a plant native to the rainforests in South East Asia.
How does Ylang Ylang help PCOS?
Women with PCOS have increased levels of oxidative stress. Meaning there is an imbalance of free radicals (these cause the body harm) and antioxidants (these protect the body). Many dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors (e.g. pollution) can cause oxidative stress.
But get this.
Ylang ylang contains antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals. A study found ylang ylang’s antioxidant activity and ability to fight off harmful compounds was greater compared to other plant extracts.
Above I spoke about why lowering stress levels is important for hormonal balance and PCOS. Well, ylang ylang is another essential oil that can help promote relaxation. This is because it has soothing effects. A study found that pulse rates reduced in the participants who smelt ylang ylang.
Chamomile is a popular ancient medicinal herb. There are two varieties of chamomile, German and Roman. German chamomile is originated in Continental Europe. While Roman chamomile was derived in the UK and Western Europe.
But the herbal extracts used in essential oils tend to be obtained from the dried flowers of German chamomile because it has a higher concentration of chamazulene (the key compound which holds all the benefits).
How does Chamomile help PCOS?
Lowers high blood sugar levels
As discussed above, lowering high blood sugar levels is important for PCOS women who suffer from insulin resistance. Chamomile is another natural remedy that can improve high blood sugar levels and diabetes. As well as prevent damage to the part of the pancreas that releases insulin.
Knowing chamomile can help improve blood sugar levels and protect the pancreas from damage is great for women with PCOS.
Sweet Marjoram is a herb native to the Mediterranean region and Anatolia (Asia Minor) but grown in various countries around the world.
How does Sweet Marjoram help PCOS?
Most women with PCOS have high levels of inflammation in the body. Many factors can cause it including insulin resistance and high cortisol.
But, researchers suggest the compounds found in sweet marjoram can stop harmful molecules from causing inflammation in the body.
This finding is encouraging for women with PCOS who must work on lowering inflammation levels in the body to help reverse their PCOS.
Next on the list is fennel.
Fennel is a herbal plant that has been used as a natural source of medicine for thousands of years. It is said to help with various health problems including hormonal, reproductive, digestive and cardiovascular.
How Does Fennel Help PCOS?
Hirsutism (excess hair growth on the face, chest and back) is a common symptom women with PCOS experience because of the high male hormones. This is one of the most difficult symptoms to deal with because it can affect a woman’s self-confidence. However, research shows fennel has anti-hirsutism activity.
Researchers divided forty-four women with hirsutism into two groups. One group received fennel gel 3% and the other group received a placebo. The Results showed that the fennel gel 3% was more effective at treating hirsutism and did not have any notable side effects compared to the placebo group.
This result is motivating for women with PCOS who suffer from excess hair growth and are looking for a solution.
But wait there’s more.
Lowers blood sugar levels
Fennel can help with insulin resistance because it can lower blood sugar levels and improve the activity of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme protects the body from damage caused by high blood sugar levels.
As you can see, fennel has powerful medicinal abilities for treating high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Now, let’s look at one last benefit.
Here’s the thing.
Researchers have found women with PCOS have a 1.5 fold increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While PCOS women who are on the birth control pill have a 2-fold increase risk. This finding is certainly scary. But studies show fennel essential oil has anti-thrombotic activity because it can help stop the clotting of blood.
To know that using fennel essential oil is a safe and natural way to stop the clotting of blood is incredible.
Rose oil is obtained from the petals of different Rosa plants. The Rosa plants originated from the Middle East but are grown all over the world. They are one of the most popular and widely used medicinal plants.
How does Rose Oil help PCOS?
A recent study was done to see the effect rose oil had on the stress levels of participants after the oil was massaged into their skin. To make it a fair test, the participants wore breathing masks so they didn't breathe in the fragrance.
The researchers used rating scales to assess the individuals stress levels against a placebo group. The participants in the rose oil group rated themselves as more calm and relaxed than the control group.
Rose oil may, therefore, be an effective natural remedy for lowering stress levels.
Cumin is a popular spice known for its distinctive aroma. But it is also known for its healing abilities.
Black cumin is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region but is now grown worldwide. It has a history of being used in traditional Indian Ayurveda.
How Does Black Cumin Help PCOS?
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Black cumin oil can help you do that. Results from a study on diabetic rats show significantly lower blood sugar levels after 2, 4 and 6 weeks.
While this was a study done on rats, the results are promising for PCOS women looking to lower their blood sugar levels. To know that blood sugar levels can improve in a short period of 2 weeks is highly motivating.
Now, moving on to the next essential oil on the list.
Pomegranate Seed Oil
The pomegranate fruit is native to Iran and the Himalayas in Northern India. Pomegranate seed oil has been used as medicine for thousands of years and it is held sacred by many religions and countries because of its beneficial properties.
How does Pomegranate Seed Oil Help PCOS?
As discussed, women with PCOS have high levels of inflammation. But researchers have found pomegranate seed oil (PSO) has anti-inflammatory properties. Meaning it can help lower levels of inflammation in the body.
This is great for women with PCOS who need to work on reducing levels of inflammation to reverse their PCOS.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity
So, we have discussed the link between insulin resistance and PCOS, as well as the importance of lowering blood sugar levels in this post. Now, one the ways of improving insulin resistance is by increasing insulin sensitivity.
A study looked at the effects of using PSO on obesity and insulin resistance. The results from the study showed that after 12 weeks the mice who used 1% PSO had increased their insulin sensitivity.
The results show PSO is a natural and effective remedy for increasing insulin sensitivity and treating insulin resistance.
Spearmint is a very well-known species of mint and is native to Europe and Asia. It is used in many health food products and as a natural alternative to medicine. Spearmint contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are necessary for hormonal balance.
How does Spearmint help PCOS?
Lowers Testosterone Levels
As discussed, women with PCOS have high male hormones. A study found spearmint oil significantly lowered testosterone levels in rats with PCOS. Results also show that the spearmint oil led to a reduction in ovarian cysts because of the decrease in testosterone.
The fact that spearmint oil can reduce the level of male hormones and the production of ovarian cysts is great news for women with PCOS.
Aniseed is a flowering plant that originated from the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. The main component in anise oil is anethole and this is what gives anise its flavor and smell. But it is also what provides anise its health benefits.
How does Aniseed help PCOS?
Aniseed is yet another essential oil that can reduce high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance.
Anethole (the main component) lowers high blood sugar levels by altering several of the enzymes found in the liver and kidneys. But it can also improve the function of the pancreas that releases insulin.
As you can see, anise is a great natural treatment alternative for women with PCOS who struggle with high blood sugar levels.
Thyme is an evergreen herb that is part of the mint family. It originated in the Southern Mediterranean. The thyme herb can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
You might be wondering.
How Does Thyme Help PCOS?
As mentioned above, PCOS women suffer from high levels of inflammation. A study found thyme oil has anti-inflammatory properties. So, it can lower levels of inflammation in the body that are causing the excess release of male hormones and PCOS symptoms.
But, the researchers state the changes were dose-dependent and based on the thyme content of each plant variety.
We have reached the final essential oil on the list.
Peppermint is a combination of spearmint and water mint. The herb originated in Europe and the Middle East but is now grown worldwide. While peppermint is known for helping keep peoples breathe smelling fresh, it also has health benefits.
How does Peppermint help PCOS?
The high male hormones associated with PCOS can cause male pattern balding in women. But researchers have found peppermint oil can help with hair regrowth. A 4-week study found it improved hair growth, length and thickness.
The results also show peppermint oil lead to 92% more hair growth compared to Minoxidil, a popular hair loss treatment medication, which produced 55%.
You now know the 13 essential oils for PCOS. But you are probably wondering ‘how do you use them?’
Well, let’s get into it.
How to Use essential oils for PCOS?
There are three ways you can use essential oils. They include
- Inhaling through the nose or mouth.
- Massaging into the skin
- Ingesting through a drink or food, taking drops or in capsule form.
What Approach is Best?
When essential oils are massaged into the skin, the absorption is much slower. This is because some of the chemical compounds found in essential oils must first pass through fat layers in the skin before they make their way into the bloodstream. As a result, there is a chance they will never pass through and instead be stored as fat tissue. Also, dermatologists advise not applying essential oils directly to the skin because it may cause an allergic reaction.
Ingesting essential oils is not recommended. The reason for this is because the body absorbs more when swallowed which can increase the risk of an allergic or toxic reaction.
Can Essential Oils Be Harmful?
When using an essential oil, I recommended that you do a skin-patch test. Whether you inhale or massage the oil, it will come into contact with your skin, so it is best to test for any adverse reaction before you fully commit to the essential oil.
Experts suggest that chronic overuse and not following the recommended dose can result in the essential oil becoming toxic to the body. So, do not misuse them.
So overall the safest and most effective way of benefitting from essential oils is to inhale them. This is what I personally do.
So, you might be wondering.
How Do I Inhale Essential Oils?
Well, the answer is with a diffuser.
What’s a Diffuser?
A diffuser disperses the essential oils into the air you breathe. The 4 best types of diffusers you can buy are:
- Heat diffuser
- Evaporative diffuser
- Ultrasonic diffuser
- Nebulizer diffuser
Now, let’s look at how each diffuser works and identify their pros and cons.
A heat diffuser works by heating the oil until it evaporates into the air. There are different types of heat diffusers such as candle, electric and lamp ring. They are easy to use, quiet and generally inexpensive.
The major downside of the heat diffuser is that the oil changes at a chemical level due to the heat. As a result, you can lose the health benefits of the oil.
- Easy to use
- Not as effective because when the oil evaporates its components are separated, causing it to lose some of its properties.
The evaporative diffuser is possibly the cheapest and most basic out of the four diffusers. This diffuser uses a fan to create a flow of wind that causes the oil to evaporate into the air.
Evaporative diffusers hold the oil using an absorbing material like a wick or pad so that oil evaporates slowly into the air.
A major drawback of evaporative diffusers is that they cause an uneven diffusion of essential oils. Meaning if you were to use a blended oil. The lighter oil components (top notes such as cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint) would be released quicker than heavier ones that last longer (base notes like rose). So, this can disrupt the therapeutic benefits. As a result, they are often recommended to be used in small rooms.
- Least expensive
- Simple to use
- Uneven in the diffusion of essential oils
- Effective in only small places
This is a cost-effective diffuser that uses water and electric frequencies. The essential oil is mixed with water, so, unfortunately, the potency of the oil is diluted slightly. The electric frequencies then vibrate the water, causing the oil to breakdown into a fine mist so it can be dispersed into the air along with steam.
The ultrasonic diffuser can be great for those who do not like the overwhelming smell of the oils.
- Oil isn’t heated so they keep their benefits.
- Works as a humidifier which can be beneficial during winter months.
- Perfect if you don’t like strong and overwhelming smells.
- Requires water to work
- Mixed with water so the oil is less potent.
- The evaporated water can result in a build-up of residue around the diffuser, so it will require regular cleaning.
Let’s look at the final diffuser on the list.
The nebulizing diffusers work by using pressurized air. Air is blown through a small tube creating a vacuum in the diffuser. This then pulls the oil up through the tube breaking it down into tiny particles and blowing them into the air.
Because the oil is not diluted or heated its benefits are retained. Also, as the oil is more concentrated it can be used in much larger spaces.
Nebulizing diffusers often come with a timer control which allows you to set how long you want it to run for and how much you want it to release into the air. This is a great feature if you are using it at night to help you fall asleep.
Some of the major drawbacks of the nebulizing diffuser are that it goes through essential oils really quickly compared to the ultrasonic diffuser. Also, they are more expensive as they use more advanced technology.
- Timer control
- No water or heat needed so the benefits of the oil are retained
- No lights on the diffuser
- No plastic in the diffuser
- Can be used in large spaces
- Most expensive
- Uses the essential oil quicker
- Some models can be loud
So, you might be wondering.
Which Diffuser is best?
Well, here’s the thing.
Aromatherapy experts say the nebulizing diffuser is the best. This is because it does not use heat or water to disperse the oil into the air so the chemical properties of the essential oil remain intact. And I personally agree with the experts in this case.
Best Essential Oil Diffuser Brand in 2020
I personally own the ‘Dark Radiance’ by Organic Aromas and I believe this is the best diffuser of 2020.
The Dark Radiance diffuser is beautifully designed, it is made from 100% whole plantation hardwood. It is quiet and has an elegant LED rainbow-carousel mood lighting which can be turned on or off.
How long does the diffuser run?
It diffuses for 2 minutes and then pauses for 1 minute and repeats this cycle for 2 hours before shutting off. Unless you choose to close it beforehand.
It is generally recommended to run the diffuser for 20 minutes during the day. Otherwise, the smell may become overwhelming. However, this can depend on the size of the room where it is being used. If the room is large it may need to run for a little longer. The best way to find out is by experimenting. The more you use your diffuser, the better you will understand how sensitive you are to the smell.
Taking care of your diffuser
Do bear in mind though that the diffuser must be cleaned regularly because it can get clogged up. The manufacturer suggests cleaning it weekly. Using alcohol to remove all oil build-up from the glass.
Essential Oils are not a Magic Cure for PCOS
Essential oils have great benefits for women with PCOS. They can lower testosterone, inflammation, stress and blood sugar levels. As well as increase insulin sensitivity, help with excess hair growth and even help with hair regrowth. However, despite all of these benefits, essential oils are not a magic cure for PCOS.
Now, this doesn’t mean essential oils cannot be included in your PCOS treatment plan. It means that there are other components involved in reversing your PCOS and these include diet and lifestyle changes.
Just so you know: This post includes affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I will get a small commission, with no extra cost to you. It helps me keep my little website going. Thank you for your continued support!
Hey there! I am Despina Pavlou, founder of PCOS Oracle and online coach. I want to share with you the diet and lifestyle changes I made to naturally reverse my PCOS and achieve hormonal balance. I believe using my holistic approach you too can take back control from PCOS.