A 2013 study by Japanese researchers at the Shitennoji University in Osaka found the essential oil of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) increased the parasympathetic nervous system activity in participants experiencing mild to moderate premenstrual emotional symptoms. They sought to answer the question: “Does lavender aromatherapy alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms?”

In the researchers own words:

This study indicates that short-term inhalation of lavender could alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms and could, at least in part, contribute to the improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity.

While this does not mean women suffering with mild to moderate premenstrual emotional symptoms should simply toss out their SSRI medications in lieu of a Lavender linen spray from the department store, it is encouraging news to a clinical aromatherapist like myself. One way I would encourage women, and their loved ones, to respond to this exciting news is to reach out to a qualified aromatherapist and talk about adding essential oils into one’s wellness routines.

Lavender essential oil is a very popular choice for many but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all oil. It is quite possibly overused in some households – as a fragrance it shows up in dish soap, laundry products, bath bubbles, and body lotion. Most aromatherapists will tell you to rotate through your essential oil kit so that overuse doesn’t occur. If I used Lavender 7 days a week to make the house and clothes smell nice and help me drift to sleep would my body respond to it in the same way if I needed it for first aid or to calm me in a crisis situation? And what about sensitization?

In a previous blog post I wrote about a handful of essential oils that I consider when I am consulting with a client suffering from PMS or other types of menstrual cycle disorders. Working with the body holistically moves beyond just putting a band-aid on a imbalance that affects multiple systems. In an aromatherapy consultation I bring several options to the table for you to use at home, the office, on the way to yoga.

If I can be of help, don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’m available for in-person consults as well as consults over the phone or Skype.

Matsumoto T, Asakura H, Hayashi T. Does Lavender aromatherapy alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms?: a randomized crossover trial. Biopsychosoc Med. 2013 May 31;7(1):12.