Yoni oil promises a cleaner, better smelling vagina and improved PH balance, but does it work?
Medically reviewed by Dr Juliet McGrattan (MBChB) and words by Natalie Healey
From vaginal steaming to jade eggs, intimate health trends are on the rise, promising to rejuvenate, tighten and transform the PH balance of your nether regions.
A number of online shops are now offering yoni oil – a herbal product marketed to woman that promises a cleaner, better smelling vagina.
But how does yoni oil work and do women really need to worry about how their vaginas smell? We spoke to Helen Knox, a clinical nurse specialist in contraception and sexual health, about the pros and cons of yoni oil and how to achieve a perfectly balanced vagina:
What is yoni oil?
Yoni oil is a herbal blend that promises to boost vaginal health, improve skin elasticity and provide antioxidant protection, amongst other things. But despite its bold claims, evidence of yoni oils effectiveness is lacking and we’re not sure we can blame Gwyneth Paltrow this time.
Yoni is a name for the vulva and vagina derived from hinduism, but it’s been hijacked by the spiritual herbalist movement in order to flog vaginal health products.
Yoni is a name for the vagina derived from hinduism, but it’s been hijacked by the herbalist movement.
Sellers claim yoni oil is made from natural ingredients and, once applied to the vagina, will banish bacterial or fungal vaginitis, yeast infections, itching, vaginal dryness and unpleasant odours because they’ve been ‘cleansed with sage to clear any negative vibrations’. Bold claims for a herbal product.
Does yoni oil work?
There has been no clinical research for yoni oil, its ingredients or the benefits of putting it on your vulva or inside your vagina, so shop at your peril. There’s also a fairly strong (and science-backed) argument that female sex organs don’t require additional products to work effectively.
‘Vaginas are pretty amazing and women are perfectly balanced in order to keep our vaginas healthy,’ says Knox. ‘Using any products in the vagina, even if they claim to be natural, could upset this balance of bacteria and the natural, slightly acidic pH balance, in which the good bacteria thrive.’
How to maintain your vaginal PH balance
As well as the absence of evidence that they actually work, herbal oils could also do more harm than good. Upsetting your vaginal PH balance could result in some uncomfortable problems such as bacterial vaginitis (BV) – the most common vaginal condition for women which many women mistake for thrush. Often identified by a fishy odour, it can also cause a strange discharge and vaginal itching.
BV isn’t necessarily something to get too worried about – provided it’s not left untreated. Lactic acid gel or pessaries found in your local pharmacy will often do the trick. But if you have symptoms or discomfort and you’re unsure which condition you may have, visit your GP for a diagnosis. There is also a BV online symptom checker that might help.
Using any products in the vagina could upset the bacteria and the natural pH balance.
But it’s always worth remembering that you don’t actually need any product which claims to transform your bits, as vaginas are self-cleaning. Knox recommends you wash around your vulva with plain water once a day – that’s all you need. Avoid aromatherapy or massage oils, soaps, shower gels, scented soaps, or feminine sprays down there, as these can all exacerbate issues and impact your delicate PH balance.
Helen is used to seeing peculiar intimate health trends appear and knows yoni oil won’t be the last of them. ‘I’ve been sent a story about a natural products site selling wasp nests to be inserted into, or crushed up and put around the vagina to help tighten and rejuvenate it!’ says Knox. ‘Please do not put anything in your vagina or on your vulva that has not been recommended by a healthcare professional.’ Especially not wasps.