Lavender & Menopause: How This Ancient Herb Can Ease Hot Flashes, Relieve Anxiety, & Help Promote Sleep
It was early July this past summer when I found myself irresponsibly low on gas and traveling deeper and deeper into the farmlands of Caledonia, Michigan. I turned down a weaving, grassy path that opened up into an oasis of sorts. To my right and left were sweeping fields of lavender and, in the short distance, a charming pond and a warm, welcoming home.
It was on this day that I first met Vic & Vickie of Lavender Life Co. And, oh, what a lavender life they live. I was immediately at ease in their presence, despite a very real fear of becoming stranded in rural isolation because I hadn’t fueled up before leaving the house. All I could imagine is that I’d have to call these folks—potential new clients—and beg for a roadside rescue. By some small miracle I was spared that embarrassment.
I made that journey again, and then again, as summer turned to fall, and the once blooming fields changed from purple to grey. Vic & Vickie opened their doors (and their dinner table) each time, with a greeting of fine food and inspiring conversation. These are the client relationships we freelancers mostly only dream of.
What does all this have to do with menopause? Very little. But, now you know how I came to be a part of Vic & Vickie’s Lavender Life and why I’ve temporarily taken Vic’s place at the keyboard.
At 49+, I’ve been in perimenopause for longer than I realized. Strange symptoms went un- or mis-diagnosed, as much of what I was experiencing is associated with actual menopause—which is defined as the point when a woman’s cycle has ceased continuously for 12 months. The reality is, many symptoms of menopause occur in the last years of perimenopause and are a result of fluctuating, and, eventually, declining estrogen—which, as you might expect, doesn’t occur overnight.
Hot flashes—and their nocturnal counterpart, night sweats—are the most renowned, but other symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia are also quite common. Though there are many more changes during the menopausal transition, as the Mayo Clinic details here, the following can be potentially alleviated by lavender use.
Cool Hot Flashes. Hot flashes (sometimes called flushes) can seemingly come out of nowhere, and without polite consideration for what else may be going on in our lives. They can cause discomfort, break our composure, and disrupt sleep. Lavender aromatherapy could help. In a recent study, menopausal women who sniffed lavender for 20 minutes twice daily over a 12-week period experienced significantly reduced flushing compared to the control group.
Improve Sleep and Mood. Sleep disturbances are a regular complaint for peri- and menopausal women. Getting to sleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep after waking from a night sweat are very real issues. Lack of rest can make us irritable, and, with our mood already affected by shifting hormones, we can be in for a grumpy ride. Research shows that lavender can positively affect mood and sleep. Whether you diffuse the essential oil or put a few drops in your bath before bed, rub a lavender-infused lotion into your hands and neck, or sip a tea made of culinary lavender, you’re likely to feel its relaxation-inducing effects.
Reduce Anxiety. Those same hormonal changes that heat us up in an instant and inhibit a satisfying slumber can also cause nervousness and anxiety. Once again, lavender can come to the rescue. Studies reveal that lavender can be a remedy to treat signs of anxiety in women—and may be a natural alternative to popular pharmaceuticals.
If you’re struggling with perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms, consider bringing lavender into your regular routine. Lavender Lovers Essentials will soothe you from sunup to sundown—or try a warm-able Comfort Neck Wrap or aromatic Lavender Fog spray.
You’ll also want to stay informed, and these resources are a good place to start:
Remember, some symptoms are a normal part of menopause, but they could also be a sign of a more serious concern. Always talk to your doctor if you’re not feeling quite yourself.
Allison Kay Bannister is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based professional writer with 15+ years of experience in the areas of marketing, creative, technical, and content writing. She left the corporate world behind in late 2016 and has spent the last two years building a thriving freelance writing business. Follow her on Facebook or connect with her on LinkedIn.