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Menstrual Cramp Relief Essential Oil Blend

Ingredients

Container
5 ml Amber Bottle

Essential Oils
2 drops  Geranium Essential Oil – Pelargonium graveolens
2 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil – Salvia sclarea
2 drops Marjoram Essential Oil – Origanum majorana
2 drops Fennel Seed Essential Oil – Foeniculum vulgare
1 drop Lavender Essential Oil – Lavandula angustifolia

Base Oils
35 drops Sweet Almond Oil – Prunus amygdalis var. Dulcis
35 drops Camellia oil – Camellia japonica

Abstract

A 38 year old female half marathon runner experienced menstrual cycle fluxuations such as increase in cramping, menses beginning sooner then expected, and increase blood flow. Client was given a five ml bottle with geranium, lavender, clary sage, marjoram, and fennel seed essential oils. Almond oil and camellia oil were added to dilute the essential oil mixture. The client noticed a decrease in tension and a reduction in menstrual cramps within three to five minutes of using the oil.

Case Description

The client (C.L.) is a 38 year old Caucasian woman who is running a ½ marathon in three days and experiencing moderate menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding.  She would like an oil that can help balance her menstrual cycle and reduce the cramping experience.

C.L. has been in an intense eight week ½ marathon training program – running three to four times a week with an average of five to eight miles per workout.  She has noticed her menstrual cycle fluxuating during this training – menses begins sooner than normal, increase blood flow, and cramps more intense than usual.  She also stopped taking birth control over a year ago.

C.L. stretches two times daily ten to twenty minutes per session, eats nutritious meals three times a day and drinks six to eight 16oz glasses of water daily.  She is currently not on any medication.

Literature Review

Clary Sage Salvia sclarea essential oil is extracted from the plants flowers.  The main production of Salvia sclarea comes from Russia with smaller quantities from Morocco, the south of France, England, and the United States.

Salvia sclarea’s essential oil is produced from solvent extraction and steam distillation.  Solvent extraction is more common than steam distillation; however, solvent extraction will have different constituents than steam distillation and will contain some solvent residue, therefore, steam distilled essential oil is preferred in therapeutic aromatherapy.

(Ou, Hsu, Lai, Lin, and Lin 2012) conducted a double-blind clinical trial using an essential oil blend on menstrual cramping outpatients diagnosed with dysmenorrhea to determine the analgesic ingredients of the essential oils.  The blend they used was lavender Lavandual officinalis, clary sage Salvia sclarea and marjoram Origanum majorana in a 2:1:1 ration diluted in unscented cream at 3% concentration.  The study results are positive with a conclusion that “this blended formula can serve as a reference for alternative and complementary medicine on primary dysmenorrhea” (p. 822).

Fennel Seed Foeniculum vulgare essential oil is distilled from the plant’s seed.

Modaress and Asadipour (2006) conducted a two month study on 120 high school girls suffering from dysmenorrhea.  Half of the girls received a fennel extract and the other half received mefenamic acid – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat or prevent pain, inflammation, and dysmenorrhea.  The study have a very positive result and concluded that “there was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the level of pain relief” (p. 427).

Geranium Pelargonium graveolens essential oil is distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant.

Several authors have recommended geranium for it’s anti-inflammatory and emmenagogue characteristics.  Keville and Green (2009) recognize geranium’s oil as medically beneficial for treating PMS, menstrual cycle irregularities, and fluid retention.  Cooksley (2002) stated geranium’s physical benefits as menopause, heavy menstruation, excess fluids and psycho-emotional benefits as PMS (p. 348).

Lavender Lavendula angustifolia essential oil is steam distilled from the plant’s flower and flower stalks.  Higher quality oil will use only the lavender flower.

(Han, Hur, Buckle, Choi, and Lee 2006) conducted a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial on 67 female college students who experienced intense to sever menstral cramps.  The experimental group received the essential oil blend: two drops of lavender Lavandula officinalis, one drop of clary sage Salvia sclarea, and one drop of rose Rosa centifolia in a five cc of almond oil.  The placebo group only received almond oil and both groups were instructed to massage the oil over their abdomen.  The control group received no treatment.

“The trial results concluded that this blend is effective in decreasing the severity of menstrual cramps” (p. 541).

Marjoram Origanum majorana is grown in Egypt, Hungary, France, and Tunisia.  The essential oil is steam distilled from fresh and dried leaves, stalks, and flowering heads (American College of Healthcare Sciences, 2012, p. 137).

Jean Valnet, MD (1990) recognizes marjoram’s external use properties as analgesic and tonic (p. 157).  Cooksley (2002) mentions the physical benefits as painful menstruations and psycho-emotional benefits as PMS (p. 356-357).

Treatment Protocol/Methods

C.L. was given the following essential oil blend in a 5 ml amber bottle: two drops of Geranium Pelargonium graveolens, one drop of Lavender Lavendula angustifolia, two drops of Clary Sage Salvia sclarea, two drops of Marjoram Origanum majorana, two drops of Fennel Seed Foeniculum vulgare.  To make the essential oil concentration 11%, Almond Oil Prunus amygdalis var. Dulcis and Camellia Oil Camellia japonica were added as base oils.

C.L. was instruction to massage the oil blend into are abdominal area and over her ovaries and uterus.  She was also given and read the following cautions/contraindications:

  • This blend contains oils with toxic rating II. A skin patch test is required.
  • Do not use during pregnancy.
  • Do not use for more than three weeks.
  • Contraindicated if there is a history of low blood pressure, estrogen-dependent cancer, endometriosis, and epilepsy.

Client Response

Client stated she enjoyed the aromatic quality of the oil during application.  She noticed a decreased tension and reduction in menstrual cramps within 3-5 minutes of using the oil.  She looks forward to using this oil before and during her monthly cycle.

Evaluation

The overall effectiveness of the essential oil blend was positive.  This case study cannot conclude which essential oil or that the oils themselves helped C.L. reduce her menstrual cramp pain.  The massage applying the oil and the act of paying attention to her body may also have helped reduce the pain levels.  However, the client is happy with her results and feels more empowered to reduce her menstrual pain levels.

References

American College of Healthcare Sciences. (2010). Marjoram Monograph. In ACHS Aroma 303 and 304 Essential Oil Monographs (pp 137-141). Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Cooksley, V. G. (2002).  Aromatherapy: Soothing remedies to restore, rejuvenate, and heal. (pp. 348-349).  New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc.

Cooksley, V. G. (2002).  Aromatherapy: Soothing remedies to restore, rejuvenate, and heal. (pp. 356-357).  New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc.

Han, S-H., Hur, M-H., Buckle, J., Choi, J. and Lee, M. S. (2006). Effect of Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea in College Students: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.  The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12(6): 535-541. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.535.

Keville, K. and Green, M. (2009). Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art.  (2nd ed.),  (pp. 191-192).  New York, NY: Crossing Press.

Modaress, N. V., Asadipour M. (2006), Comparison of the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain intensity in dysmenorrhea.  East Mediterranean Health Journal,12(3-4); 423-427.

Ou, M.-C., Hsu, T.-F., Lai, A. C., Lin, Y.-T. and Lin, C.-C. (2012), Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, 38: 817–822. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x

Valnet, J., & Tisserand, R. (Eds.).  (1990).  The practice of aromatherapy: A classic compendium of plant medicines & their healing properties.  (pp. 157).  Rochester, VA: Healing Arts Press.




Stress and Tension Relief Bath Oil

Abstract

Female client’s work stress level is affecting her quality of life at home.  She has a difficult time settling down in the evening and is looking for an essential oil bath blend to calm her physically, emotionally and mentally.  The client was given an essential oil blend of bergamot, clary sage, cajuput, and roman chamomile. She experienced positive results; however, we cannot conclude that the oils were the determining factor that caused her to relax.  Further study of the essential oil blend is recommended.

 Case Description

The client is a 38 year old Caucasian woman that experiences a lot of stress both physically and mentally.  She works for a non-profit and does the work of five people.  She has difficultly unwinding from her high paced day.  She notices that at day’s end she needs to sleep 9-10 hours to feel rested; however, some days her mind won’t turn off for her to fall asleep.  Her current stress reduction activities are running four times per week, having a beer or glass of wine each night and watching television.

The client eats three nutritious meals a day, drinks one cup of coffee and eight to ten 8 oz glasses of water per day.  She is currently not under her physician’s care nor is she taking any medication.

After discussing various essential oil application methods, the client decided she wanted a stress relief essential oil bath blend.

Literature Review

Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamot essential oil is expressed from the fruits peel.  The plant mainly “grows near the Mediterranean, including Sothern Italy, Sicily, and Spain” (American College of Healthcare Sciences, 2012, p. 33).  Cooksley (2002) describes bergamot’s psycho-emotional attributes benefits depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, nervous tension, anger, and frustration.  Keville and Green (2009) support Cooksley’s description and adds that bergamot balances a person’s emotions and installs composure.

Clary Sage Salvia sclarea essential oil is grown mainly in Russia with smaller quantities produced in Morocco, south of France, England and the United States.  Solvent extraction and steam distillation are the means in which the oil is removed from the plant’s flowers.  In July of 2010, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that Salvia sclarea oil had a strong anti-stressor and antidepressant effect.

Cajuput Melaeuca leucadendron essential oil is steam distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs of this tree.  Cajuput can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, and Southeast United States.  American College of Healthcare Sciences’ Essential Oil Cajuput Monograph (2012) states the oil’s therapeutic action relevant to this case study as anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative, decongestant, and vulnerary.

Chamomile (Roman) Chamaemelum nobile is grown for oil distillation in Europe, Britain, Italy, France, and the United States (American College of Healthcare Sciences, 2012, p. 53).  Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. (1995) attributes this oils main effects as “Antispasmodic, calming to the central nervous system; relieves symptoms related to shock” (p. 63 – 64)

Treatment Protocol/Methods

Client was given a five ml amber bottle with the following essential oils: ten drops of Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamot, three drops of Clary Sage Salvia sclarea, three drops of Cajuput Melaeuca leucadendron, three drops of Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile.  She was instructed to fill her bath with warm water, apply five drops of the essential oil blend to the bath water and stir before getting into the water.  No specific soaking time was given.

Client was read the following cautions/contraindications:

  • This blend contains oils with toxic rating I and II. A skin patch test is required.
  • Avoid using this blend during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Do not use if there is a history of epilepsy or hypertension.
  • Do not use this blend at the same time as homeopathic remedies.
  • Do not exceed recommended doses. RDD: 5 drops/3 times daily.
  • 2 hours after use, do not expose skin to direct sunlight.

 Client Response

Client stated that the dominant scent initially was the clary sage essential oil.  After a few minutes the other oils’ scents became more noticeable.  The aroma was very pleasant and she felt her body relax during and after the soak.  She did notice that after twenty-five minutes of soaking, the back of her legs, stomach, and lower back started to tingle.

Evaluation

The overall effectiveness of the bath blend was positive.  Because of the tingling sensation, it was recommended to the client to either soak less using five drops of the blend or only place two to three drops of the blend in the water when soaking for twenty minutes or more. If she continued to experience the tingling sensation while soaking with the oil, she is to stop using it and a new bath blend would be created for her.

This study cannot conclude that the essential oils, the warm bath water, the bathing time or a combination of these three items were the main cause of her relaxation. We do know that the client still experiences stress throughout her busy work day and that she now has an additional option to help her relieve tension after work.  Additional studies are recommended.

References

Akko, E. K., Güvenç, A., & Yesilada, E. (2009). A comparative study on the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of five Juniperus taxa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 330-336.

American College of Healthcare Sciences. (2012).  Bergamot Monograph.  ACHS Aroma 303 and Aroma 304 Essential Oil Monograghs. (pp. 33)  Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

American College of Healthcare Sciences. (2012). Cajuput Monograph. In ACHS Aroma 303 and 304 Essential Oil Monographs (pp. 45-48). Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

American College of Healthcare Sciences. (2012). Chamomile (Roman) Monograph. In ACHS Aroma 303 and 304 Essential Oil Monographs (pp. 53). Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Amsterdam, J. D., Yimei, L., Soeller, I., Rockwell, K., Mao, J. J., & Shults, J. (2009). A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 29(4), 378-382.

Kurt Schnaubelt, P. (1998). Choosing Essential Oils. In Advanced Aromatherapy (pp. 63-64). Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Seol, G., Shim, H., Kim, P.-J., Moon, H., Lee, K., Shim, I., . . . Min, S. (2010). Antidepressant-like effect of Salvia sclarea is explained by modulation of dopamine activities in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 130(1), 187-190.

Valerie Gennari Cooksley, R. (2002). Aromatherapy. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc.