How to Use Essential Oils for Hormone Balance
24 Mar 2016

How to Use Essential Oils for Hormone Balance

As a healthcare practitioner who helps women find natural solutions to balance their hormones, I’m always on the lookout for new options to share with my clients. There are many great herb and vitamin supplements that I recommend to combat the myriad of symptoms that go along with perimenopause and menopause, but one area I haven’t really dived into is the world of essential oils.

Over the past few months, I’ve been playing with different oils myself (for insomnia) to see what I notice and I’ve been really impressed by the versatility and effectiveness of the ones I’ve tried.

After my own bio-hacking experiment, my next step was to take a look at some of the literature out there on the benefits of oils for hormone balance. Trials are small and not powered for statistical significance, but the trends appear to support the utility of oils for hormone balance. Here are 3 oils that can be especially helpful for women across the menopause spectrum.

1. Clary Sage Oil

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research found that inhalation of clary sage oil had the ability to reduce cortisol levels by 36% and improved thyroid hormone levels (TSH). The study was done on 22 post-menopausal women in their 50’s, some of which were diagnosed with depression and at the end of trial the researchers stated that “clary sage oil had a statistically significant effect on lowering cortisol and had an anti-depressant effect improving mood”. This is just one of the many studies proving clary sage oil benefits hormones.

The biggest benefit of clary sage is that it helps balance out estrogen production in the body. A lot of women’s health issues today like infertility, PCOS and estrogen-based cancers, are caused from excess estrogen in the body.

Because clary sage helps balance out estrogen levels, it’s an incredibly effective essential oil for a wide array of hormone imbalances. So, whether you’re looking for natural relief from cramps or you’re dealing with estrogen, clary sage is a great essential oil to consider using. You can also find it in blends that promote hormone balance and calm.

2. Thyme Oil

 Thyme oil benefits the body by improving progesterone production. Many women in midlife become low in progesterone as they approach menopause. Low progesterone is associated with insomnia, mood swings, weight gain and hot flashes. It is also one of the hallmark symptoms of PCOS.

Thyme oil is a great first step to help balance progesterone or can be used in addition to other natural alternatives like chasteberry or bioidentical progesterone.  Add oregano oil for even more potency.

3. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most well researched essential oils. It has so many beneficial properties including helping balance hormones, offering pain relief (particularly abdominal cramps associated with PMS and menstrual symptoms), as well as decreasing feelings of stress and depression, calming the stomach, and relieving headaches.

One of the most frustrating symptoms of PMS or hormone imbalance is feeling emotional or suddenly depressed for no apparent reason. Research shows that inhalation of lavender can alleviate some of the depression and emotional symptoms of hormone imbalance. Put a drop of the oil on your palms, rub together and inhale for 10 minutes to lessen symptoms.

Tweet: The 3 essential oils that can be helpful for women across the menopause spectrum.

Ways to Use Essential Oils

Personally, I prefer to use essential oils aromatically by diffusing them into the air. Diffusing provides many of the same benefits as topical use.  Clary sage and lavender smell great when combined. The amount of oil you add to water in the diffuser depends on the size of the water tank, but it’s usually a total of 10-15 drops of oil per container of water.

Another way to use them is to mix them with some fractionated coconut oil (it’s a liquid) and rub all over your skin. It’s great for dry skin and the essential oil molecules are absorbed through the skin.  You can also do this using a rollerball vial.

Note: some oils can be used internally, but I do NOT recommend doing so without checking with an expert first

Here’s a recipe for a hormone balancing blend you can mix up at home:



  1. Mix all ingredients together in a 2-ounce bottle. Put mixture into a glass vial with a dropper.
  2. Rub 5 drops onto neck twice daily.

This will keep your hormones in check and make sure you’re feeling your best 24/7.


Need a source for essential oils? I highly recommend (and use) dOTERRA oils. They are therapeutic grade oils and independently verified for purity. If interested, click here to purchase the oils at Wholesale prices, and then, click the green “Join doTERRA” button at the bottom of the page. Then, simply follow the remaining steps. 


Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Find out more about working with her at

Dr. Anna Garrett


  1. Rochelle Hackmann Says: August 17, 2016 at 9:07 am

    can you use clary sage while taking hormones? (such as Birth Control Pills, IUD, or Depo Shot etc…

  2. I have read contradictory reports on clary sage and oestrogen. How does it regulate oestrogen if you are a,ready high?

  3. I need to raise my estrogen levels according to my doctor. It’s a little low. What essential oil can I use to do that. Thank you.

  4. You say to run it on your neck. Do you mean the back of the neck or the front?

  5. Patty Stechman Says: January 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    I had breast cancer that was estrogen positive. I’m now taking Arimidex to prevent reoccurrence. Are there any essential oils I should avoid?

    Patty Stechman

  6. Do you recommend doTERRA’s phytoestrogen for low progesterone?

    • Phytoestrogens are most helpful if estrogen is low. In perimenopause, it’s usually high and phytoestrogens don’t change progesterone levels. They can improve the relative balance of the 2, but I’ve found them to be more helpful close to menopause or after it has happened.

  7. Jeanie Myers Says: February 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    There are many different types of thyme, which is besst?

  8. I have severe chronic fatigue syndrome and am post menopausal. I used to take EPO but then it made the night sweats worse so I stopped taking it. My hot flushes and night sweats have stopped but I still have insomnia which aggravates my CFS. Should I take the above formula without the EPO? Or is there something else that you could suggest that would balance my hormones, so that I can sleep but also have energy through the day.

    • Hi Rose! You could try altering the formula and leaving out EPO…maybe add lavender. Or there is a dOterra blend called Clary Calm that you might want to try.

      • wendy olivieri Says: June 30, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        I use Do terra too . Is the clary calm strong smelling. That is my concern. My naturopath wants me to take primrose oil and I don’t feel well taking it. I have too many issues , allergies. So I was wondering if I use your sage, thyme and primrose where would I apply? Back of neck and belly or just neck? And I can’t use ylang too strong should I add lavender and how much to mix. Thank you so much for advise.

  9. Melissa Donovan Says: April 28, 2017 at 9:16 am

    my 14 year old daughter is having two periods a month. I would like to use an essential oil to get her back in balance. Any suggestions?

  10. Do you suggest rubbing the oil on the front or back of the neck?

  11. Hi Dr. Anna,

    I was glad to find your site. I am 54 and going through perimenopause. It was June of last year when I had my last period (I don’t know whether to count a week of just spotting last Jan or not).

    I have on average 10 to 12 hot flashes a day and 3 in bed at night (accompanied with sudden pain in feet, legs and sometimes hands). I have the burning tongue, itchy skin, tingling extremities, hair loss, fatigue, memory lapses, incontinence, irregular heartbeat, and anxiety.

    I really don’t want to try anymore ssri drugs. They have awful side effects! Will this essential oil blend be good for me?

    I appreciate your advice.

  12. Hi Dr. Anna,

    I’m 35 years old and I have very low progesterone which has affected my fertility. I’ve had two miscarriages, one still born baby boy, and I have one child. I’ve been using bioidentical Progesterone cream day 14-28. Do you think your hormone balancing blend could help, or hurt my low progesterone/ estrogen dominance issues?

  13. Hi! I am 58 and see a functional med doctor but he doesn’t do much with essential oils yet. He’s in the process of researching them. I stopped using the bioidentical hormones and was just tested recently and my estrogen and progesterone are balanced but low. I really want to do this naturally if possible. My only real symptom is vaginal dryness which makes intercourse very uncomfortable. That piece was totally fine when my levels were in the normal range when on the bioidenticals. I don’t want to use them just for this one issue. Do you think the hormone balancing blend you mention will raise my levels to help this issue, or do you have other thoughts on how to help this? Thank you, Karen

  14. please can I use thyme oil and coconut oil to balance my hormones? I have PCOS.

  15. I just ordered Clary Sage and Vetiver for insomnia, anxiety and elevated testosterone. How should I use them? I don’t have a diffuser that last long enough while I sleep.

  16. Anna,
    I have been told that I have vaginal lichens sclerosis (dry, sensitive, thin vaginal skin with some grey colored patches of skin) due to my low estrogen levels. However, two separate biopsies have come back negative for LS. I am in my early 20’s and have had this for 4 years. Traditional medicines do not work and I have been told this is not curable. Do you know of any oils I could use on my vagina to help raise estrogen levels naturally? Any help you can give me would be tremendously appreciated! Thank you so much! Beth

    • Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil. It has a vast array of medicinal uses and is known to be one of the most gentle oils for your sensitive skin. You can apply lavender oil undiluted but it is probably better to dilute it with a carrier oil like virgin coconut oil before you apply it.

      According to people who have used the remedy, it can have a very dramatic effect in a very short space of time. Applying lavender essential oil should help stop any burning and itching that you may be suffering from.

  17. Nicole van den Hoek Says: November 17, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Dear Anna,

    I have been using the Doterra Phytoestrogen supplement for 2 weeks now. I am 33 years old and have had low progesterone levels in the second part of my menstrual cycle since my firstborn. This means that my cycle is only 20/21 days and I get my period a week after my ovulation (short luteal phase). For the first time in years, this month my cycle was 28 days. I think it does have something to do with the Phytoestrogen supplement I have been taking for 2 weeks now. I do encounter contradictory advices though on whether or not this supplement could further harm the hormonal balance (low progesterone level/oestrogen dominance). Some say you shouldn’t take this supplement as it stimulates oestrogen production.

    Could you please advise?

    Thanks and regards,

    Nicole van den Hoek

  18. I’ve been using clary sage in a diffuser at night for a couple weeks when I go to sleep for my hormone imbalance because my doctor suggested trying it when progesterone treatment didn’t help. Can I do it every day? Or should I stop at certain points of my cycle?

  19. Hi Anna! I am 46 and peri-menopausal (irregular periods, fatigue, occasional vaginal itchiness (which I treat with lavender), occasional brain fog, abdominal weight gain, increased cravings/appetite…) I am reducing sugar and carbs in my diet and doing gentle exercises in an effort to find sustainable ways to enter this next phase of life.

    I have a great DoTerra oil collection and would like to start using these to journey with me on the menopause road. I am not on any other medication and only take a good probiotic daily.

    Can I apply (topically) Clary Calm and a thyme/oregano blend daily to try and balance hormones – or is that too much? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This is an exciting new phase to reinvent myself, but a rocky road to navigate without good advice.

    Many thanks, Sonia

  20. Janice TS Says: January 8, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    What is the best blend for high oestrogen lie progesterone? Thank you

  21. Hi Anna
    Thanks for sharing this post. I was curious what your thoughts are on bioidentical hormones like these – ? I’m currently hesitant given some of the horror stories and studies I’ve read, but I’ve also heard other people mention that the benefits tend to outweigh the risks in my case. Especially in recent years after the hysteria following the major study that came out a few years back calmed down.

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • The recommendations changed in July and now basically what they say is that hormones (I prefer BHRT) can be used as long as needed for symptoms. It’s best to start within 5 years of menopause. I would not recommend synthetic progestins (not the same as PROGESTERONE) as they were linked to breast cancer risk…and recently a study was published that linked birth control pills and hormone-releasing IUDs to breast cancer risk as well. All of there contain synthetic progestins.

      • Thanks so much for your reply! Super insightful and much easier to understand than some of the responses I’ve been getting. Thanks for your time 🙂

  22. I am 43 with no serious health issues. Recently ended up in er with flutter in my right chest. Results were normal, I tried itovi, everytime it.shows me oils related to hormonal balance. I am guessing it is.premenopause symptoms. What oils would you recommend. Any supplement recommendations? Endogize, thyromin, maca powder?

  23. Can you keep using the essential oils the same throughout the month or do you need to quit using them once you get your period or when you start ovulating?

Leave a Reply to Dr. Anna Garrett Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *