Can yuzu be used to alleviate PMS?
01/03/2019 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Many women dread "that" time of the month but the days that come before are just as bad or are possibly even worse. This is because of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is a combination of symptoms like mood swings, swollen or tender breasts, cramps, tiredness, changes in appetite, bloating, and headaches, that occur one to two weeks before a woman's period. Individually, these symptoms are already uncomfortable but experiencing all of them together can be unbearable. A potential natural remedy for PMS was found by researchers from Shitennoji University, Kobe University, and Kyoto University in the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu (Citrus junos).

More than 90 percent of women suffer from PMS, with some of them experiencing mild symptoms while others having symptoms so severe that it interferes with their daily lives. Until now, the exact causes of PMS have not been identified. However, researchers believe that factors like hormone levels and autonomic nervous system activity play a role in the onset of PMS. Few conventional treatments have been shown to completely address PMS so most women turn to complementary and alternative approaches like aromatherapy to alleviate their symptoms. Lavender essential oil is commonly used for this purpose, but researchers hypothesized that yuzu essential oil can also be used.

Yuzu is a yellow colored fruit that looks like a smaller orange or tangerine. It was initially found in central China until it was brought to Japan more than 1,000 years ago. It was commonly used in traditional Japanese medicine to improve blood circulation, prevent colds, and alleviate arthritis and rheumatism. Moreover, inhaling the citrus aroma of yuzu essential oil induces a sense of well-being and relieves stress, just like lavender essential oil.


In this research, which was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the researchers conducted a single-blind randomized crossover study with 22 women in their 20s. They started by determining the severity of premenstrual discomfort for two menstrual cycles. This was based on 46 symptoms that fall under pain, concentration, behavioral change, autonomic reactions, water retention, negative affect, arousal, or control. The team then proceeded to aroma stimulation using either lavender or yuzu essential oil for 10 minutes.

To determine the ability of yuzu essential oil to alleviate PMS, the researchers considered parameters like emotional symptoms and autonomic nervous system activity, which was based on heart rate variability. They observed significant improvements in heart rate variability and emotional symptoms. These effects were attributed to the presence of bioactive compounds like limonene, gamma-terpinene, linalool,  beta-caryophyllene, and alpha-pinene in yuzu essential oil.

From these results, the researchers concluded that aromatherapy with yuzu essential oil has potential use as a natural remedy for PMS since like, lavender essential oil, it can also improve autonomic nervous system activity. (Related: Combination of essential oils halts PMS.)

Other natural remedies for PMS

If you're easily irritated by scents then aromatherapy might not be the best option for you. Fortunately, there are other natural remedies for PMS, which include the following:

  • Diet -- A few weeks before your period, you should start limiting your intake of caffeinated beverages and foods rich in sugar or sodium. On the other hand, you should increase your intake of complex carbohydrates, which you can get from oatmeal, brown rice, yams, and 100 percent whole wheat bread.
  • Calcium -- This mineral, which you can get from supplements or foods like dairy and almonds, significantly improves and reduces the risk of PMS symptoms. Previous studies have shown that women who took calcium supplements experienced a 48 percent reduction in total symptoms scores.
  • Exercise -- Regular exercise improves PMS symptoms associated with mood since it triggers the release of mood-boosting chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Moreover, it also promotes good sleep and increases energy levels.

For more articles about natural remedies for PMS, visit

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