Some of the most frequent questions that I receive regarding using essential oils centers around hormonal and emotional imbalances. Thyroid imbalances are a common concern, and perhaps the number one inquiry. I have plenty of posts on hormonal balance and mental health in my essential oils database, but I realized I haven’t specifically addressed thyroid hormones.
In this post, I will remedy that!
As a naturopathic doctor, I look at the root cause of any imbalance, especially hormonal, and extra especially thyroid. Beyond the legal and ethical reasons of simply listing “an oil for that,” my training in biochemical individuality, love for personalized medicine, and my obsession to exquisitely match the individual with the right oily companion is based on an intimate knowledge of their health history and our therapeutic relationship. This makes protocol medicine something I have never been comfortable with. (Learn more about this topic in my latest post at Saratoga.com.)
For this reason, I will review which essential oils I consider when supporting someone with a thyroid imbalance. This is under the assumption that a full wellness intake has been completed, a diagnosis has been made, and the determination of the underlying cause(s) have been determined.
To accomplish this, I have arranged this blog in categories of what I often see as “top offenders” to thyroid and hormonal balance. Within every section, I’ve provided examples and/or links to which essential oils I reach for in each instance.
The Many Factors Leading to Thyroid Hormone Imbalance
Thyroid hormones interact with practically every function in the body. This is why one can have so many different symptoms that seem disconnected if they are experiencing thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmune diseases (e.g., Hashimoto thyroiditis, Grave’s disease).
Previously, I explored how essential oils modulate the triggers for autoimmunity. Below are some of these same factors that are also important for overall hormonal and thyroid health:
- modulating stress
- dietary enhancement
- microbiome support
- relieving environmental burdens
- direct immune modulation and easing discomfort as the body heals
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.
Stress has system-wide effects. Long term, chronic stress can effect steroid hormone biosynthesis and thyroid conversion which can lead to thyroid resistance and immune dysregulation.
This video summarizes my years of research compilation on the best essential oils for calming stress, and, as a result, supporting hormonal balance. They include:
- The single essential oils of lavender, frankincense, citrus oils, and peppermint.
- Essential oils blends for emotional support: Four Thieves, abundance, joy, hope, courage, and a bright future.
My favorite oils that are specific for stress-related hormonal imbalances include:
- Rose geranium oil for hormonal health throughout the lifespan. It can also support estrogen levels.
- Lavender and bergamot oils are both great for calming anxiety and stress-related cortisol dysregulation.
- Clary sage is one of my go-to oils for low estrogen levels. I sometimes combine it with jasmine essential oil for increasing focus or neroli oil for taming overwhelm.
This post offers some additional blends for hormonal relief and more details on how essential oils can help to balance hormones, which in turn supports thyroid health.
Dietary Support- The Bully of Blood Sugar Imbalance
Blood sugar has an interesting relationship with thyroid and overall hormonal availability. High blood glucose levels increase sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and thyroid binding globin (TBG). This makes a woman more estrogen dominant, because the binding hormones attach to androgens preferentially. At the same time, SHBG and TBG also decrease bioavailable levels of sex and thyroid hormones by keeping free hormones bond to proteins. At the other end of the blood sugar spectrum, chronic hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can result in downregulating steroid hormone synthesis. This is by upregulating the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which “robs” the conversion of progesterone to sex hormones. (source, source)
Many people think that this means they should totally eliminate or avoid carbohydrates, the latest “demon” food. There’s more nuance to blood sugar than simply managing macros; however, and everyone reacts differently to similar foods and the timing of them. Your genetic variances in enzymes, microbiome makeup, and emotional health all impact your body’s response to dietary components and glucose and insulin levels.
For this reason, personalized nutritional approaches that incorporate how to listen to body cues is often helpful in finding peace with food and providing optimal nourishment. Some of the essential oils listed above for stress can be incorporated into this program to assist with emotions, stress, and cortisol balance that can perpetuate blood sugar issues.
Some integrative docs may also advocate for gluten-free, low oxalate or other elimination diets to support thyroid function. These can be helpful, but they need to be balanced, as orthorexia and eating disorders are rampant today. Furthermore, specialty diets should only be done with caution and with a nutritional or medical support practitioner. This is in order to prevent nutrient deficiencies such as selenium, vitamin D, magnesium, iodine, and others which can further exacerbate stress on the body and hormonal issues.
Microbiome & Gut Support
Chronic, underlying, stealth infections such as Lyme, Epstein Bar, and other microbes have been associated with negatively affecting thyroid health. This is through a process of molecular mimicry in which the body mistakes the thyroid for one of these foreign invaders. As a result, the immune system starts attacking the gland based on its similar protein structure to the critter. Candida is another organism that can overtake the body and cause thyroid symptoms by other mechanisms.
Essential oils are both inhibiting of unwanted infestations and offer microbiome support. I just recently released several articles on the reproductive microbiome’s and its importance in hormonal health. This makes essential oils perfect to integrate into a treatment plan that is based on balancing the gut and reproductive bugs.
I will select specific microbial support based on the critter and the symptoms of my client. Oftentimes, I use similar oils that are listed in my article on safe internal use of essential oils for intestinal discomfort.
It is also important to support a healthy digestive tract overall, because thyroid and hormone conversion takes place in the gut and liver, and your digestive tract houses much of your immune function. Furthermore, estrogen is linked to immune response, so as levels fall, so too can the ability to fight off microbial invaders and create a balanced immune response. This makes managing stress, supporting gut and liver health, and enhancing bowel elimination of excess estrogens important for keeping the thyroid healthy.
A list of essential oils that support digestion can be found here.
Relieving Environmental Burdens
The toxic burden of everyday exposures has been linked to various health diseases, including reproductive and endocrine health. I recommend to my clients to go “clean, organic, and green” with personal care and household products. Essential oils also have some evidence of being “detoxifers.”
This means essential oils can support hormonal health as they replace toxic chemicals in personal care and household products, creating a double win!
Direct Immune Modulation & Easing Discomfort of Symptoms
Commonly, inflammation, mood, and fatigue are issues with thyroid disorders. Essential oils such as frankincense, peppermint, Four Thieves oil blend, and copaiba can help address these aspects. Copaiba can also support the endocannabinoid system, which has many roles in the body for overall wellness and easing discomfort.
Other immune and potential thyroid disturbers are mold and other biotoxins. This is something to investigate if someone is not getting better and there is history of exposure. Essential oils can be used internally and diffused for environmental toxicants, but it is best to work with a professional in this instance who can assist with a personalized protocol.
As you can see, there are many ways that essential oils can support someone with a thyroid imbalance. I hope this post has been useful. If you are not getting anywhere with thyroid symptoms, you may want to ask your doctor to investigate some of these areas or schedule a naturopathic consult and/or functional medicine visit. (If you are looking for a naturopathic/functional medicine provider, see this info for my availability here.)
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.