What is a hormone? Our bodies naturally produce lots of different chemical messengers that travel by way of the blood stream to all parts of the body to stimulate either either increase or decrease of some bodily function or to tell other glands to increase or decrease secretion of another hormone. So, hormones are in the business of either up-regulating or down-regulating activity in the body. It does not take much hormone to alter cell metabolism. We have two dominant female hormones-estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen ensures the development of female characteristics at puberty. After this, its role is primarily to build the uterine lining each month prior to fertilization as well as to help regulate the menstrual cycle. Progesterone becomes important in maintaining the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. There is a poor balancing act between these two hormones.
Since this article is dealing with hot versus cold-we are looking at hot flashes and other menopausal unpleasant sensations as the production of these hormones is reduced. Menopause literally means “last period” and occurs somewhere between the ages of 45 to 52 with the cessation of egg production in the ovaries.
What Is the Real Cause of Hot Flashes and Night Sweats?
These symptoms are very common during menopause but can occur at any age when there is a hormone imbalance. Hormone balance is your body's natural state but when there are too many demands on your body, its ability to balance hormones is overwhelmed. The resulting hormonal imbalance gives rise to hot flashes or night sweats. Basically, the heat-regulatory area of the brain is “tricked” into thinking the body needs to dispel heat, causing it to send out signals for blood vessels to dilate, heart rate to increase, and sweat glands to open. The result is the unpleasant rush of heat, perspiration, dizziness, and pounding heart that characterize hot flashes. This demand creates hormonal imbalance that tends to peak in peri-menopause which is why hot flashes are commonly thought of as a menopausal symptom. But women can experience hormonal imbalance at any stage in their lives.
How Can Essential Oils Help?
Here are some “hormone-like” essential oils: German chamomile and clary sage are both hormone-like and act as a decongestant on your system; cypress and niaouli are both estrogen-like and can help to regulate menses; peppermint is an ovarian stimulant and can be cooling. For hot flashes and sweating-clary sage, cypress, peppermint or pine oils for the excess perspiration. Some find a combination of clary sage and geranium oils to be a life-saver.
Clary sage is well known for treating hormone imbalances. It contains sclareol, a diterpene alcohol that makes it estrogen-like in its effect on the body. It has a euphoric effect in general, can act as a uterine tonic, help with painful menses, hot flashes, post-natal depression, panic attacks, impotence, and frigidity. It is considered an oil that is a “gift to the female.” It can get rid of monthly boat, regulate menses, balance the endocrine system including the pituitary and the pancreas making it helpful for diabetics.
Geranium is much more subtle than clary sage. It is used primarily for breast engorgement, vaginal thrush, painful periods, PMS, and uterine hemorrhage. It has a calming, uplifting and strengthening effect. Some find it especially good for hot flashes and vaginal dryness.