Can aromatherapy ease menopause hot flushes?

Lavender essential oil reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flushes, says study.

Hot flushes are one of the most reported symptoms of menopause and affect the quality of daily life for many women. Complementary therapies are often used to help manage the flushes, and aromatherapy is a popular choice, but does it help?

Researchers from Ardabil University of Medical Sciences in Iran designed a clinical trial to find out whether aromatherapy lavender oil altered the frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women.

In the study, one hundred Iranian women aged 45-55 were randomised to receive either lavender essential oil inhalation or a placebo twice a week for twenty minutes, over twelve weeks. The women were also asked to complete a demographic questionnaire and record the number of daily hot flushes for one week before and after the intervention.

The results published in the Journal of Chinese Medical Association found no difference in demographics such as income, education or frequency of hot flushes between the two groups before the intervention. However, there was a significant decrease in hot flushes in the aromatherapy group after the twelve weeks compared with the control. The average number of daily hot flushes halved in the lavender oil group, decreasing from 22 to 11, whilst the control group remained unchanged.

“This study indicated that the use of lavender aromatherapy reduced menopause flushing. Given the impact of stress on flushing and the undesirable effects of menopausal symptoms on the quality of life, it would appear that this simple, noninvasive, safe, and effective method can be used by menopausal women with noticeable benefits”, the authors concluded.

Reference: Kazemzadeh.R., Nikjou.R., Rostamnegad.M., and Norouzi.H. (2016). Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: A crossover randomised clinical trial, Journal of Chinese Medical Association,79,489-492

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