Which essential oils help soothe monthly cramps? (+ a DIY recipe!)

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Which essential oils help soothe monthly cramps?

Make Ester-Rich Cramp Calm Butter to naturally soothe your belly.

Soothing monthly cramps with a natural recipe calls for essential oils that can help ease spasms.

For this Cramp Calm Butter, I chose to work with essential oils rich in esters.

Esters are a chemical family of molecules that tend to be emotionally and physically soothing. 

Two oils in this recipe contain a variety of esters, so they work together in synergy to help the muscles in your belly relax.

Two ester-rich essential oils

Clary Sage essential oil contains the ester linalyl acetate, which multiple studies have shown can relax muscles and calm pain.  

And Roman Chamomile contains some less common (and less easy to pronounce) esters, such as methylamyl angelate. (Try saying that five times fast! ☺)

While these two oils are working toward the same end (easing monthly cramps!), they’re approaching the task from different angles. That means you get a broader spectrum of relief.

This recipe also includes Anise oil, which doesn’t contain as many esters. I’ll tell you more about Anise’s role after the recipe.

Ester-Rich Cramp Calm Butter

  • ½ oz (14 g) Beeswax (Cera flava)
  • 1 oz (28 g) Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 1 oz (28 g) Shea butter (Vitellia paradoxa/Butyrospermum parkii
  • 36 drops Clary Sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea)
  • 22 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • 13 drops Anise essential oil (Pimpinella anisum)


  1. Set up a stovetop melting method. Try putting a glass measuring cup into a soup pot that’s about ¼ full of gently boiling water. (You don’t want the water at a full boil, where splashes might get water into your measuring cup.)
  2. Melt the beeswax in the measuring cup.
  3. Add the coconut oil and melt.
  4. Add the jojoba and melt, stirring gently.
  5. Remove the blend from heat and add the shea butter to melt. (You can add it while the measuring cup is still over the stove, but keep in mind that shea butter doesn’t like too much heat.)
  6. Add the essential oils and stir gently with a glass stirring rod or a stainless steel spoon.
  7. Pour the melted butter into four 1 oz (30 ml) glass jars, or two 2 oz (60 ml) glass jars. 
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It won’t take long for your Cramp Calm Butter to solidify, so you can use it in about twenty minutes. It will continue to get firmer over the next 24 hours.

Massage your Cramp Calm Butter into your belly and low back as needed. 

If you usually get monthly cramps around the same day each cycle, you can start using this butter before they set in and hopefully side-step some of the discomfort. 

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What’s Anise’s role in this recipe?

Anise oil has a sweet, spicy aroma that might remind you of black licorice.

The Roman Chamomile and Clary Sage in this butter give it a rich, floral, herbal scent, and the Anise underscores that with deeper, spicier notes.

It contains an ether, trans-anethole, which is a powerful spasm-soother! 

Trans-anethole has the effect of helping everything flow smoothly, with no blockages. Studies have shown that it may increase blood flow, so be aware of this if you’re menstruating. 

There are also a few safety considerations to keep in mind for Anise oil.

In Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition, Tisserand and Young recommend avoiding Anise essential oil if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, or if you have endometriosis, estrogen-related cancer, or a bleeding disorder. 

Anise is also contraindicated if you’re on anticoagulant medications. It’s too strong for sensitive skin and for children under 5 years old. 

If you’d like to leave Anise oil out of this blend, go right ahead. You could also substitute another essential oil rich in linalyl acetate. Try one from this blend: Petit Mint & Chamomile Spasm Soothing Oil. That recipe also includes Roman Chamomile, but it’s blended with two other oils that are also helpful for easing monthly cramps. 

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Peanna, A.T., D’Aquila, P.S., Panin, F., Serra, G., Pippia, P. and Moretti, M.D. (2002) Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Phytomedicine 9, 721-726.

Franchomme, P. and Pénoël, D. (1990) L’aromathérapie Exactement. Limoges: Jallois.

Albuquerque AA, Sorenson AL, Leal-Cardoso JH (1995) Effects of essential oil of Croton zehntneri, and of anethole and estragole on skeletal muscles. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 49 (1): 41-49. Cited by Bowles EJ  (2003) The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils 3rd Edition. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin


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