With the growing popularity of holistic medicine, essential oils have found their way into many of our homes. They help to alleviate physical symptoms, promote emotional-wellbeing and can even help increase our sex drive and build intimacy[i]. Here is a little more science about how they affect our bodies as well as our top list of recommended oils that will impact your sexual health in a positive way.
Essential oils contain the therapeutic benefits of their original plant
Essential oils are aromatic liquids distilled from various parts of plants (bark, leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, etc.). Just a few drops of their potent extract can represent the regenerating, protective and immune-strengthening properties of their plants.
There are several ways to gain the benefits of essential oils but you should do research on the proper way to use each one (topically, aromatically or internally). Aromatically is sometimes viewed as the easiest way because you simply add a few drops into a diffuser and voilà, you are on your way to a more holistic lifestyle!
It’s important to find quality oils that can be traced back to their source
Essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other regulatory body, so it’s VERY important that you use quality oils you can trust. High demand for oils in the perfume industry has also created a shift where many manufacturers are creating oils at higher temperatures and faster rates/methods. When companies do this, however, the essential oils can lose the chemical properties that make them therapeutic. Look for quality brands that show you these four things on the bottle:
- the oil’s Latin name –the exact genus or species
- verification that it is 100% oil
- the country of origin
- any information about types of extraction –distillation or expression.
Essential oils can chemically alter your mood and health
Essential oils each have their own chemical constituent make-up (like DNA) that contain a variety of powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants help to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body while simultaneously providing support to the immune system[ii].
The chemical constituents can impact several regions of the brain (e.g. the olfactory bulb, amygdala and hippocampus) which then affect our emotions and health. Some oils even cross the blood-brain barrier (only about 2% of pharmaceutical medicines can do this) and can therefore even more directly interact with brain cells to elevate mood.
So what are the best oils for you? We did the research for you. Here are top 8 essential oils that will positively impact your sexual health. They can all be used aromatically with a diffuser.
Increase sex drive and elevate mood
Ylang Ylang essential oil is most commonly recommended for increasing sexual desire[iii] as it stimulates the nerve centers, increases body heat and boosts self-esteem[iv]. It has an invigorating sweet, floral aroma that has been found to be emotionally uplifting; studies show it helps to decrease stress and aids with depressive symptoms[v]. Overall, it’s a great oil to have at home for those nights when you want to relax, elevate your mood and enjoy more intimacy.
Rose essential oil also has a very pleasant aroma and is primarily known for its emotionally uplifting properties. It’s a great oil to use when you want to build intimacy or increase your sex drive; it is considered an aphrodisiac as it has been shown to improve sexual function (higher sexual desire, orgasm and satisfaction)[vi]. It is also great to use a few days before getting your period because it alleviates PMS symptoms[vii]. Some people report it also helps them with concentration.
Use caution during pregnancy.
Reduce PMS, cramps or hot flashes
A great essential oil for balancing hormones. It sooths monthly discomfort associated with menstrual cramps and hot flashes[viii] and has been shown to have an anti-depressant-like effect, reducing stress and increasing concentration[ix].
Note that because of its ability to impact cramps, it is recommended that it not be used during pregnancy.
Known for its delicious flora scent, this oil helps to balance hormones and manage PMS symptoms. It has also been shown to relieve depressive feelings, uplift mood and promote sexual arousal[x].
Create relaxation vibes
This citrus-like fragrance is popular for people who love the refreshing scent of lemons. It induces relaxation and calming effects[xi] by decreasing stress and aiding with depressive symptoms. It also promotes blood circulation.
It helps stimulate the mind and reduce mental fatigue[xii]. It is also known as the ‘anti-cancer’ oil because several studies have shown it to inhibit cancer cell growth in the ovaries[xiii], breast[xiv], and other areas of the body. Many clinicians recommend this oil to women for long-term use if they’ve gone through chemo treatments for breast cancer.
A universal oil that has traditionally been known to balance the body in a variety of ways. Known for its soothing floral and woody aroma, this oil is used to calm the body and mind, alleviate stress[xv] and improve sleep. It is the perfect addition to your home for those days when you need some extra relaxation vibes.
#8 Tea Tree
Known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, this oil is great for helping you fight off viral infections to get you feeling better. It can also be used to keep a yoni egg or other sex products sanitized by using a few drops with warm water.
[i] ME Allard, J Katseres. Using essential oils to enhance nursing practice and for self-care. Am J Nurs. 2018 Feb; 116(2): 42 49 doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000480495.18104.db
[ii] Lobo V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods. Impact on human health. Pharmacog Rev. 2010 Jul; 4(8), 118-126.
[iv] Gnatta J., Piason, P., Lopes, C., & Rogenski, N. Aromatherapy with ylang ylang for anxiety and self-esteem: a pilot study. Rev Esc US (in Portuguese). 2014 Jun;48(3):492-9.
[v] Hongratanaworakit, T., Buchbauer, G. Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption. Phytotherapy Res. 2006 Sep; 20(9):758-63.
[vi] Farnia et al. Adjuvant Rosa Damascena has a Small Effect on SSRI-induced Sexual Dysfunction in Female Patients Suffering from MDD. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2015 Jul;48(4-5):156-63. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1554712
[vii] Heydari N et al. Evaluation of aromatherapy with essential oils of Rosa damascena for the management of premenstrual syndrome. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2018 May. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12534.
[viii] O, M., et al. Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. J Obstet Gynaecol Res, 38(5), 817-822.
[ix] Lee, K., Cho, E. & Kang, Y., Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and cortisol plasma levels in menopausal women after inhalation of clary sage oil. Phytother Res. 2014 Nov;28(11):1599-605. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5163.
[x] Hongratanaworakit, T. Stimulating effect of aromatherapy massage with jasmine oil. Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Jan;5(1):157-62.
[xi] Shu-Ming P., Malcolm K., & Zer-Ran Y. Effects of Music and Essential Oil Inhalation on Cardiac Autonomic Balance in Healthy Individuals. J Altern Complememt Med. 2009 Jan. http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0243
[xiii] Zou B., et al. Beta-Elemene and taxanes synergistically induce cytoxicity and inhibit proliferation in ovarian and other tumor cells. Anticancer Res. 2013 Mar; 33(3):929-40.
[xiv] Suhail, M., et al. Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011; 11:1290. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-129
[xv] Motomura, N., Sakurai, A., Yotsuya, Y. Reduction of Mental Stress with Lavender Odorant. Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Dec; 93(3):713-8.