It’s a rite of passage in every woman’s life: perimenopause, then menopause, bringing a gradual end to menstruation and fertility. Many women welcome this change after a long life of uncomfortable periods—or being done with raising a family.
The hitch: menopause can sometimes bring on very uncomfortable symptoms. Hot flashes can be one of these along with mood changes, sleep problems, and irregular periods. Could natural remedies, such as essential oils for hot flashes, help? Let’s find out.
Can essential oils help with hot flashes?
Essential oils are not the recommended first-line natural or home remedy for hot flashes. But if you have certain kinds of essential oils at home—or if some are the only natural remedy available at a store near you—scientific data on herbs and essential oils suggest that they could help.
Some of the symptoms of hot flashes include increased heart rate, sweating, anxiety, and other issues. Each of these is caused by a drop in estrogen, the female hormone. Some essential oils may help support these issues individually (or collectively) by a variety of natural and botanical means, though they may not be as effective as other treatments.
Best essential oils for hot flashes and menopause
Not just any essential oil will help with a hot flash. Here are the best essential oil choices for a hot flash to go for, according to suggested research connected with hot flashes, menopause, and more.
This European herb has long been used to treat female complaints in traditional botanical medicine: including the root, seeds, stems, and of course any preparations made from these parts (including essential oil). It’s possible that angelica may also help with hot flashes this way. Angelica is also a widely available and common essential oil you can find and use in most areas.
Many different species of angelica are found around the world. Each is phytochemically quite similar and has potential to help with hot flash symptoms. One study on the species Angelica gigas showed that it worked very well for hot flashes in animal studies as a supplement ingredient.1 Though human studies are needed to further prove that angelica could help hot flash symptoms, both traditional use and this research suggest there is no harm in trying—and it may very well work.
Don quai (or danggui) is another species of angelica, but with a very specialized history and use for female health. In fact, the herb is one of the principal holistic treatments used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for female health complaints like menopause, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and more.
Recent tests and research on dong quai/danggui show that, like many other angelica species, the herbal remedy continues to be effective for hot flashes.2
Fennel essential oil may be one of the best choices for women experiencing hot flashes and menopause for 3 reasons: First of all, it’s high in “phytoestrogens,” plant compounds that mimic human estrogen, which drops during menopause. It also has slight anti-anxiety properties that can help with anxiety and fast heartrate during a hot flash. And lastly, it’s also one of the most common essential oils you can find on this list.
Research on fennel shows that it’s an effective natural remedy for symptoms of menopause in women, which can include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and more.3 Overall, fennel essential oil may be best at covering all bases in women experiencing perimenopause and the many discomforts you could experience during a hot flash.
Like fennel, hops is also well-known for its estrogenic properties, making this a great essential oil choice for hot flashes—especially when used regularly. It also has sedative and anti-anxiety effects. This can be great for soothing a spike of anxiety during a hot flash or to improve troubled sleep—especially if you’re dealing with night sweats.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, hops was shown to be substantially effective for early menopause (perimenopause) symptoms, which can include hot flash, anxiety, vaginal dryness, and more.4 Though the trial only focused on internal use with a hops tablet supplement, this suggests that external use of hops essential oil could potentially help with symptoms as well.
Lavender is a classic calming essential oil for stress and anxiety. Apparently, it could come in handy for hot flashes as well, according to research—even when used as a simple aromatherapy treatment, such as using the essential oil in a diffuser.
Lavender essential oil was tested in a double-blind crossover clinical trial on 100 women going through menopause to specifically see if it helped with hot flashes or flushing. Women who smelled lavender essential oil every day (for at least 20 minutes when diffused) experienced significant improvement in their hot flashes compared to women who didn’t.5 This suggests that lavender is a top botanical for helping with menopause, both in terms of hot flashes and anxiety—and with just a few whiffs at a time!
- Lemon balm
For the “hottest” of hot flashes, you’re going to want to give this cooling herb a try at least once. As an essential oil, lemon balm has an incredibly pleasant mint-lemon aroma, which may provide a lot of sensory relief during an episode. It is also strongly sedative and anxiety-reducing which can be helpful during menopausal flushing episodes.
One study on lemon balm showed that it could help reduce the intensity of hot flashes when used internally as a syrup. It was also effective when used alongside fennel.6 While it wasn’t tested in essential oil form, that doesn’t mean lemon balm couldn’t help reduce anxiety and cool down the body when used as a diluted essential oil in a topical compress.
How to use essential oils for hot flashes
The best recommended way to use essential oils for hot flash symptoms is with a cold compress. Dilute 2-3 drops of your chosen essential oil (or blend – see section below) with 1 cup of cold, clean water. Use this cooling water in a compress, using a clean rag to dab on your face and neck when experiencing a hot flash to experience cooling and relief.
Alternatively, you can dilute your chosen essential oil or blend in a carrier oil and apply to the back of the neck. Diffusing one of these oils or below blends may relieve hot flashes as well.
Best blends for hot flashes
Use these blends for specialized discomfort or issues related to hot flashes, depending on the symptoms.
Combine fennel, hops, lavender, and lemon balm essential oils. Dilute 4 drops (1 drop each) in every cup of water used. Use in compress if there is a spike in anxiety or heart rate related to your hot flash.
Combine angelica and/or dong quai, fennel, and hops essential oils. Dilute 3 drops (1 drop each) in every cup of water used. Use in a compress daily; the “estrogenic” qualities of these oils may holistically support menopause and hot flash.
Are there risks to using essential oils for hot flashes and menopause?
If using essential oils safely and as directed, choosing them to support symptoms of hot flashes and menopause ought to be completely safe. That said, they should not be relied on as your only support—only to help find relief and support symptoms. Don’t replace your doctor’s recommendations, professional advice, or prescriptions with them.
Though symptoms of hot flash or menopause are never life-threatening, it’s possible that essential oils may not be effective enough for helping manage them or finding relief. In that case, refer to other approaches or methods.
Other natural treatments for hot flashes
Thankfully (and generally speaking), issues like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and overall perimenopause/menopause are effectively treated or managed at home by most women. Many use simple home treatments or other natural remedies to manage their discomfort, such as:
- Cool water compresses
- Holistic diet high in phytoestrogens
- Eating a principally plant-based diet
- Phytoestrogen supplements
- Cold showers
- Anxiety supplements
If symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, such as hot flashes, are interfering with your daily life and health, talk to your doctor or other health professional about other options that may be available to you. A healthcare professional can help you manage your hormone levels or hot flashes in other ways, especially if essential oils for hot flashes alone are not helping.
About Adrian White
Adrian White is a certified herbalist, organic farmer, and health, food, and agriculture freelance writer—and upcoming author. She is a past contributor to Healthline with bylines in The Guardian, Civil Eats, and Good Housekeeping. Adrian is also the co-owner and operator of Jupiter Ridge LLC, an organic farm growing diverse vegetables, mushrooms and herbs.
1. Lee, G., J. Kim, H. et. al. “Effects of Herbal Mixture Extract on Menopausal Hot Flashes and Pharmacokinetics in Ovariectomized Rat Models.” Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 2, no. 6 (2018): 116-123.
2. Lin, H.Q., A.G.W. Gong, et. al. “Danggui Buxue Tang (Astragli Radix and Angelicae Sinensis Radix) for menopausal symptoms: A review.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 199 (2017): 205-210.
3. Ghaffari, P., M. Hosseininik, et. al. “The effect of Fennel seed powder on estradiol levels, menopausal symptoms, and sexual desire in postmenopausal women.” Menopause 27, no. 11 (2020): 1281-1286.
4. Aghamiri, V., M. Mirghafourvand, et al. “The effect of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) on early menopausal symptoms and hot flashes: A randomized placebo-controlled trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 23 (2016): 130-135.
5. Kazemzadeh, R., R. Nikjou, et al. “Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: A crossover randomized clinical trial.” Journal of Chinese Medical Association 9, no. 79 (2016): 489-492.
6. Tansaz, M., N. Faridi, et. al. “Fennel-Lemon Balm Syrup for Alleviating Hot Flash in Post-Menopausal Women, a Pilot Study.” Research Journal of Pharmacognosy 10, no. 1 (2023): 15-22.