Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism

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The thyroid gland is a pad-shaped structure located in the front of the neck, behind the skin and muscles and in front of the larynx and trachea. It weighs about 20 grams. It is composed of two lobes joined by an isthmus. The primary function of the thyroid gland is to produce, store and release sufficient quantities of the two thyroid hormones: Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid uses iodine to make its hormones. The glandular tissue of the thyroid absorbs from the blood the iodide that is provided by our food and combines it with the amino acid tyrosine to produce these two thyroid hormones. Subsequently, these hormones are incorporated into the thyroglobulin molecule and stored in follicles.

When the body needs thyroid hormones, they are released into the bloodstream and transported by different proteins to every cell in the body to control the rate of basal metabolism. The blood concentration of the thyroid hormones is controlled by the thyroid stimulating hormone or thyrotropin, synthesized by the pituitary gland, which, in turn, is regulated by the thyroid-releasing hormone of the hypothalamus: the increase of thyroid hormones inhibit the release of thyrotropin, while a decrease stimulates it.

Hypothyroidism is a decrease in the function of the thyroid gland. Since both of the thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of all body cells, a deficit of thyroid hormones can affect virtually all bodily functions. The severity of the symptoms ranges from a barely detectable deficiency to more severe complications.

In our modern society, thyroid problems are an epidemic. We can find cause for this in radiation therapy for cancers of the neck, surgical removal of part or all of thyroid glandular tissue, viral infections, consumption of anti-thyroid medications, and lithium therapy for manic-depressive and psychotic patients, and chronic deficiencies of dietary iodine.

The onset of hypothyroidism is usually slow and progressive. The symptoms of are related to a decrease in the functional activity of all the systems of the organism; they are subtle and gradual and can be confused with a depression states. Some of the principal signs to look out for are a gradual and unexplained weight gain, intolerance to cold temperatures, brittle hair, low blood pressure, low levels of blood sugar, muscle weakness, and goiter.

Since the thyroid is an endocrine gland, that is, it is in charge of delivering several hormones to the tissues and organs of the body; to regulate its function, you can use essential oils as they have similar delivery systems. There are many essential oils that support the function of different glands and organs in the body and are great for the health of the thyroid. Here are some essential oils that you can use to increase your thyroid function:

  1. Lemongrass Essential Oil

    Although there are numerous ways in which lemongrass oil can benefit your health, concerning people suffering from autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto's hypothyroidism lemongrass is especially useful for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal effects. Studies have shown that the compounds found in lemongrass oil inhibit the proinflammatory cytokines IL1 beta and IL-6. So much so that Citral and Geranial both active components of lemongrass oil can be used therapeutically to treat allergic and anti-inflammatory diseases. Other studies have suggested that lemongrass oil protects some forms of cancerous activity. As an antimycotic, lemongrass is especially effective against some strains of the Candida and Aspergillus bacterium.
     
  2. Clove Essential Oil

    Clove essential oil is a product of the distillation from buds of Eugenia caryophyllata from Madagascar, is exceptionally beneficial for thyroid function. The benefits of clove oil for health can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and stimulant properties. The oil is used for the treatment of a variety of health disorders, including a toothache, indigestion, cough, asthma, headache, stress and blood infections, and hormonal imbalances. Clove oil increases the metabolism of your body by increasing blood circulation. An increase in blood circulation usually means a reduction in blood vessel tension, a problem commonly associated with hypothyroidism. Also, increased circulation enhances the oxygenation of the blood which increases the metabolism and increases the efficiency of the organism.
     
  3. Frankincense Essential Oil

    Incense is one of the leading essential oils used for the health of the immune system. This is mainly due to boswellic acids, which are the active compounds of frankincense. The chemical structure of boswellic acids is similar to steroids, although their actions are different from most analgesics and NSAIDs.Although studies have not adequately defined Frankincense's direct action on the thyroid gland, it has been proven to have a beneficial effect on the immune apparatus. Studies have shown that Frankincense oil can reduce autoimmune factors such as Th17 Cytokines. An increase in regulatory T cells has also been associated with Frankincense oil use. This oil also works to reduce the synthesis of 5-lipooxygenase which is an enzyme with powerful inflammatory properties. Patients with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism are great candidates for therapies with this oil. In addition to helping with inflammation, Frankincense oil may also benefit people with memory problems, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes.
     
  4. Peppermint Essential Oil

    Peppermint is an essential oil with great use for hypothyroidism and can help alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease. Peppermint has been used for centuries as a way to prevent hair loss and a remedy for inflammatory disorders. Its anti-inflammatory properties are especially useful for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil acts as a stimulant and can combat fatigue related to a slower metabolism. The easiest way to use this preparation is to add a drop of extract to a hot tea and consume daily.

Essential oils have many beneficial properties, and you should consider them for the treatment of hypothyroidism alongside your prescribed medication. A standard therapy would be to blend four drops each of lemongrass, frankincense, and clove oils and rub directly on your neck over the thyroid gland. It is important to remember that the use of essential oils to treat hypothyroidism should be thought of as therapeutic and not as a cure. Conventional medications prescribed by your primary health care provider should be used accordingly, and as always strive to improve your nutrition and lifestyle to provide your body with as many tools as possible to fight the disease.

References:

  1. Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc; New York.; London., 1950.
     
  2. Bakkali, Fadil, et al. "Biological effects of essential oils–a review." Food and chemical toxicology 46.2 (2008): 446-475.
     
  3. Chaieb, Kamel, et al. "The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzygiumaromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review." Phytotherapy Research 21.6 (2007): 501-506.
     
  4. Mikhaeil, Botros R., et al. "Chemistry and immunomodulatory activity of frankincense oil." ZeitschriftfürNaturforschung C 58.3-4 (2003): 230-238.
     
  5. Cheel, José, et al. "Free radical scavengers and antioxidants from Lemongrass (Cymbopogoncitratus (DC.) Stapf.)." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53.7 (2005): 2511-2517.