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 oz. evening primrose oil
  • 30 drops clary sage oil
  • 30 drops thyme oil
  • 30 drops ylang ylang oil


  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. Meridith Scherer Says: February 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    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. Do you recommend doTERRA’s phytoestrogen for PCOS? My daughter has just been diagnosed and she is also just starting to try and fall pregnant.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Hello Dr.Anna, I would love to try some of the oils mentioned but am not sure what to use. I am estrogen dominance with low testosterone which is giving me the most painful breasts pain. I had a saliva test which confirmed the above and also noted my cortisol levels are extremely low as are my Dhea levels. Which oils would be most effective for me to use?
    Your response is greatly appreciated.

  20. 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?

  21. 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

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

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

  23. Janice TS Says: January 8, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Low progesterone sorry

  24. 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 🙂

  25. 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?

  26. 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?

  27. I have an almost 5 year old daughter who has struggled with labial adhesion. Using premarin has helped open her vagina but with stop of use it has come back. It currently is better at the moment however she still complains of her vagina area hurting or stinging after she pees. We’ve had a few urine samples for infection and all have come back negative. I’m curious if this whole problem could be a hormone imbalance. I’m not comfortable using the Premarin on her due to the side effects. Do you have any suggestions or if essential oils could possibly help? Thanks

  28. Hi Dr. Anna,

    I was diagnosed with endometriosis and put on the birth control pill. I am using a blend of doTerra oils (clary sage, cypress, geranium diluted in coconut oil) that I rub on my abdomen. My question is could these oils have any negative impact combined with the birth control pill? Can I use these oils together with the birth control pill?

    Thank you!

  29. Monica McDaniel Says: March 12, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Hi Anna
    I’m 54 and had a complete hysterectomy in 2004. I have been off HRT for 4 years. Would this blend help since I have had a hysterectomy or do you have to go through menopause naturally for it help? I do not have hot flashes but I do have other symptoms.

  30. Tangie Nelsen Says: March 14, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    I have estrogen dominance. I’m looking to regulate my hormones naturally. Do you have any suggestions. I’m 42 and have fibroids.

  31. Curious on how or if it could be use for hyperprolactiemia

  32. hi i am 52 yrs old..what would help lose wieght around stomach area and hips after menopose

  33. I was on Tamoxifen for 5 years for estrogen related breast cancer. I am now in the throws of perimenopause. I cannot take estrogren related products. I am taking doterra oils (clary sage, francicense, and rosemary) and also Clary Calm on bottom of feet at night. Are any of these going to effect my estrogen levels? I am at my wits end and I am only 42 years old. My fatigue and brain fog are debilitating. I do not know what else to do.

  34. I am in my 60’s and after my last blood test my medical Dr. told me that my body is screaming for estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and my cortisol levels are too high. I’ve had severe insomnia for at least 10 years. What would you suggest to help with this? Any help would be very much appreciated! Thanks so much!

    • This is a situation where hormone replacement can positively affect your quality of life, so worth considering. Lowering cortisol is really all about great stress management, good sleep, good nutrition (not skipping meals, eating clean, etc).

  35. Ambar Pepper Says: April 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    For post-menopausal women, if they use essential oils to help with hot flashes, will that prolong the number of years for the hot flashes to end? I understand that the adrenal glands should take over producing estrogen after menopause, and I surely do not want to interfere with that process. Meanwhile, hot flashes are bothersome, but sometimes, the hot flashes are drastic and cause tachycardia to the tune of 120-144 beats per minute. It usually begins when I am sleeping, wakes me up, and takes the longest time, 1 hr. to semi normalize. I am hoping that this will only last a couple of more years, but if using EO is going to prolong it because my body doesn’t adjust with the adrenal glands, maybe I am better off without using EO!

  36. I am 40!years old and had a partial hysterectomy two years ago. I since then have very dry hair, extreme fatigue ( despite clean eating and 4-5 work outs weekly ) and have put on belly fat that I cannot lose. Currently I use clary sage and lavender but I’m looking for any other suggestions.

  37. Karen Wisman Says: April 27, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Hello Dr. Anna. From reading through this site, it seems Clary Sage would not be a bad idea for me to try. I wear a cpap machine when I sleep and have been using lavender oil in the resovoir, would the clary sage work in that manner?

  38. Jessica Says: May 11, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Hi, Dr. Garrett!

    I’m 33 and have some hormone acne is the biggest problem. It changes sometimes…lately I’ve been only braking out during ovulation but I also can break out right before my period and sometimes right after. I’m a big doterra user. I have a roller blend of thyme and clary sage but it didn’t seem to be helping. Any suggestions? How long does it usually take for the hormones to balance out? I also have adrenal fatigue and use a blend for that as well.
    Thank you in advance.

  39. Is it a white thyme oil or red thyme oil we are talking about? Is white thyme oil enough to elevate progesterone level ?

  40. Hello I’m currently perimenopause I missed a period for 3 months then gotta period again but I’m currently taking Clary sage, thyme and ylang with evening promise oil for my hormones and it’s helping but I still feel depressed at times and sometimes I can’t sleep get up to use bathroom at 4 or 5 and can’t go back to sleep and then I feel super tired the next day I take melatonin it helps to fall asleep but not to keep me asleep all night. What supplement do you recommend to include with my essential oils for hormones and depression and fatigue.. thank yo so much in advance.

  41. […] Dr Anna Garret suggests that Thyme oil is helpful in balancing and improving Progesterone levels. This could be helpful for women with PCOS because we tend to struggle with low progesterone. Progesterone is mainly produced by the corpus luteum once we have ovulated. If ovulation isn’t happening, we aren’t getting the progesterone that we should be getting. […]

  42. I am currently on pills, can I replace these using the oils?

  43. Karen Monroe Says: August 21, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I am 56 and had a complete hysterectomy in 2016. I am currently on BHRT but was hoping to either substitute with doTERRA or supplement. I have a good stash of oils and I take the LLV at full dose. Your thoughts? I sleep well and have no hot flashes on the BHRT. Just wanted to add in something natural.

    • Hi Karen,

      A complete hysterectomy depletes all of your hormones and as much as I love natural approaches, this is one situation where I don’t think you’d be well-served trying to substitute. You could certainly add in oils but I would not try to replace your BHRT with them.

  44. Marty Messersmith Says: September 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I’m 74 years old. Low estrogen. What oils can l use and how much.

  45. I am 48 Dr. thinks perimenopause, I have had my cycle 2 times this year recently July and September which has lasted more than 10 days and very heavy. Dr. RX Provera.-20 mg first day than 4 days 10 mg. And to take slow fe (iron) for the next theee months. Second day hardly any bleeding third day more bleeding. Can I use essential oils like Like Clary Sage and thyme or cypress to help stop the bleeding? Without worry. How about a natural progesterone cream? With the iron supplement can you direct me to a more natural iron supplement the slow fe has so many additives, dyes and unnecessary chemicals. I need the iron but try to keep our bodies free from those unnecessary chemicals. How do you know when your cycle is too much and you need additional medical advice beyond what I just received. A bit scared never had this before. Thank you

  46. Judith Dent (age 65) Says: October 23, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    De Garrett

    I have using bio-identical progesterone and testosterone (tioically) for 13 yrs (prescribed by practitioners with training in BHRT).

    I started in the US and now live in Australia. Progesterone BHRT controlled controlled nightly night sweats, and helped me sleep better. This therapy including DR visits and the compounding pharmacy creams are prohibitively expensive in Australia. Since stopping use of the progesterone and testosterone creams, about 6 months ago Ive noticed a major increase in my skin droopiness. It literally looks draped on, in all parts of my body,: abdomen, arms, legs, back. Night sweats have come back.

    1/ Might these developments be due to stoping use of the progesterone and testisterone creams?

    2/ Can I hope to compensate (re the above) with your clary sage and thyme oils?
    Thank you

  47. VENESSA OTTEY Says: December 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    I have pcos and dont get any periods and im trying to conceive what kind of essential oil i need

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