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By Heidi Moretti, MS, RD
There are 7 essential oils that may improve thyroid function. First we will discuss what negatively affects thyroid function.
Diet & Environmental Factors
Toxins and inflammation are known to make our thyroid function suffer. We know this is a real problem because a huge percentage of the population now have thyroid problems, including weight gain, altered metabolism and more!
A great lifestyle can go a long way to helping your thyroid function
Use of essential oils is also emerging as a great way to support our thyroid health. Many plants that are mentioned here support your overall health, your thyroid, and metabolism in many ways.
Inflammation dictates a leaky gut, which in turn increases risk of thyroid problems(1)
The root cause of many thyroid issues is imbalanced diet, processed foods, leaky gut, exposure to chemicals, and too much inflammation. Here is how:
- Low thyroid levels are related to having too few antioxidants
- High thyroid levels cause oxidation and inflammation(2)
- Leaky gut allows chemicals to enter the body that can drive inflammation and toxic burden.
Stressors, imbalanced diet, food intolerances, and lack of protective plants in our diet also create this inflammatory response and low antioxidant levels (2).
What Do Thyroid Hormones Do?
Thyroid hormones control:
- Metabolism and appetite – your energy, ability to burn fat, and even use of nutrients in the body.
- Body temperature and body reactions
- Heart rate
- Brain function
- Muscle maintenance
- Fertility and hormone balance
- Bone strength
How Do Essential Oils Help our Thyroid?
Essential oils can help get to the root of many of thyroid imbalances, especially stress. Essential oils serve as a great source of antioxidants for the body and can help bring down inflammation.
This in turn helps the thyroid.
Here, I will describe some key essential oils that help your body’s balance and may help restore your thyroid function.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil: Lemongrass has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Diluted lemongrass applied to the neck may help reduce thyroid discomfort and provide healing properties.(3)
- Ginger Essential Oil: Ginger essential oil is very beneficial to reduce inflammation. It is also great to help the digestive tract work properly. In cell culture, ginger also reduced leaky gut and inflammation.(4) A blend of ginger and lemon oil used as aromatherapy helped preserve the salivary gland in patients who were undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. (5)
- Turmeric Essential Oil: Ginger’s relative, turmeric, is helpful in many ways to support thyroid health. Leaky gut is a culprit that makes thyroid conditions worse. Turmeric essential oil may be beneficial for inflammatory bowel conditions, a condition known to have leaky gut. These conditions are related to thyroid disorders. (6) High levels of thyroid or T3 can cause stress on the body and inflammation as well. Turmeric also reduced the stress on the body caused by too T3. (7) In a cell culture study, turmeric also reduced the growth of thyroid cancer cells. (8)
- Lavender Essential Oil: Elevated cortisol or stress hormone may impair normal thyroid function.(9)(10) Lavender essential oil reduced cortisol levels by almost 70% in patients preparing for open heart surgery.(11) Lavender also reduces free radicals and oxidative damage while reducing stress hormone cortisol. (12) Lavender has been scientifically proven to promote calm feelings. (13)
- Sandalwood Essential Oil: Sandalwood promotes healthy mood and minimizes anxiety, a symptom that comes with thyroid imbalance. (14)
- Myrrh Essential Oil: Myrrh improved all thyroid functions in mice, including improved conversion of T4 to T3 and increased uptake of iodine. (15) Like many other essential oils mentioned, myrrh reduces inflammation and has antioxidant activities. (15) Frankincense and myrrh block inflammation in a potent way. (16) Myrrh prevented low thyroid levels in female mice by reducing markers of inflammation in the body. (17)
- Frankincense Essential Oil: Frankincense effectively blocks inflammation in the body and also enhances the effects of other essential oils. (16) Frankincense is used also to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. Frankincense also may improve skin disorders that accompany thyroid issues such as dry skin. (18) Frankincense may protect the thyroid by reducing free radicals in the body. (19)
Essential Oils for Healthy Metabolism
Low thyroid can cause a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. Essential oils that are Certified Pure Therapeutic (CPTG) quality can be used to help support healthy metabolism, including grapefruit, peppermint oil, and cinnamon oil as well as ginger oil. (20)
Other essential oils that reduce inflammation include the following (21):
How to Use Essential Oils for Your Thyroid
Apply directly to your neck area with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil.
Combining multiple types of essential oils may increase effectiveness. A good combination of oils for thyroid is clove, myrrh, frankincense, and lemongrass together.
We absorb essential oils directly into the skin, just like most things we apply to our body. Many essential oils use hexane and solvents to extract plant compounds. They even use chemical fillers! Use only Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) oils. (20)
The oils listed above can also be taken internally, using 1-2 drops twice daily, in an empty gel cap or diluted in water if using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) oils. Doterra is one such oil.
As a general rule, use small amounts (1-2 drops) several times a day for the most benefit.
- Essential oils are not a replacement for medication but can support the health of the body.
- Routinely check your thyroid levels with your doctor and adjust medications as necessary.
- Make sure to use caution if you are sensitive to any of the essential oils.
- Do not use these during pregnancy unless under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is the Diet Detective RD. She also has worked as a clinical nutritionist for 18 years and has conducted vitamin and protein research throughout her career. She is passionate about integrative and functional nutrition. She is a blogger and also has a private practice; you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and her website: Diet Detective RD