Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism, or suspect a low thyroid is behind your symptoms, there are certain essential oils that can stimulate thyroid hormone production and help relieve symptoms naturally.
Before we get into which essential oils hold the most thyroid healing potential, it helps to understand the role of the adrenal glands in thyroid function. This is because most of the research done on essential oils discusses their benefits for the adrenal glands, which directly benefit the thyroid.
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The Adrenal and Thyroid Connection and Why Essential Oils Can Help
The adrenals are best known for helping you cope with stress (via the “fight or flight” response) by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol (2). When these hormones are released in response to stress, they tell your body to shut down any function that isn’t immediately helpful in that moment in order to deal with the stressful situation at hand. This includes digestion, immune system function, and hormone production. In fact, studies show the production of T3 and T4 (the primary thyroid hormones) declines during periods of stress (3).
Inflammation as a result of chronic stress also suppresses thyroid function, as well as dietary and environmental factors such as heavy metals, consuming processed foods, and not getting enough fiber from plant based foods (4)(5).
For this reason, we can see that adrenal function due to chronic stress is an underlying cause of an overactive or underactive thyroid.
Additionally, when you’re under periods of prolonged stress, your adrenal glands can also become exhausted. This can lead to feeling mentally and emotionally burnt out, as well as a condition called adrenal fatigue. Not surprisingly, many symptoms of adrenal fatigue mirror the symptoms of an underactive thyroid, such as mid-section weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety and depression (6).
While one of the main benefits to using essential oils is their ability to calm the mind and body, some plant extracts also contain active compounds that support endocrine and immune system function, which can be absorbed through the skin (7). According to research, here are the essential oils that work best for improving thyroid health.
5 Essential Oils to Improve Thyroid Health (& How to Use Them)
Forget the caffeine, lemongrass is known for having an invigorating aroma, which can instantly boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue. While lemongrass essential oil can help manage the symptoms of low thyroid function, research also shows that lemongrass has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and helps reduce oxidative stress, which suggests it can support immunity and the body’s overall healing process (8).
Myrrh has been used for thousands of years to heal all kinds of ailments, and is still commonly used to improve health conditions today, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is because myrrh is rich in a class of antioxidant compounds called terpenoids, which can help reduce inflammation and support the immune system (9).
The immune supportive action of terpenoids may also be helpful for managing symptoms of both Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Studies also show that terpenoids can protect against hormone related cancers, which suggests myrrh may play a role in supporting overall hormonal health (10).
There’s nothing like the smell of fresh rosemary when you’re making dinner, but this festive herb may also be helpful for managing symptoms of hypothyroidism, including digestive issues, and hair loss (11). In fact, some studies have shown that rosemary can help stimulate hair growth in those with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), which can be caused by autoimmune conditions, and chronic stress (12)(13).
One study done on clary sage oil and its effect on depression, showed that it was actually able to reduce the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (14). High levels of TSH in your blood indicate that your body is trying to produce more of the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, which suggests your thyroid may be underactive (15).
The same study also showed that clary sage has an antidepressant-like effect, which makes it even more beneficial to use for managing symptoms of low thyroid function.
Spruce essential oil has an earthy scent that promotes a deep sense of grounding and relaxation, which is one reason why it’s commonly found in essential oil blends for stress relief, and supporting the adrenal glands. On a physiological level, black spruce contains antioxidant compounds called monoterpenes, which have been shown to have “anti-stress” action in the brain, and reduce the body’s response to negative stress.
One study showed that rats who were administered monoterpenes and exposed to non-pathological stress, were significantly less disturbed, retained more focus and concentration, and displayed fewer signs of stress in general (16). The anti-stress action of black spruce suggests it’s helpful for reducing inflammation, which is needed to support thyroid health.
How to Use Essential Oils to Improve Thyroid Health
While studies show that inhaling the aroma of essential oils initiates healing in the body, applying them topically allows their nutrients to absorb through your skin, which may be more beneficial for improving thyroid function. Simply rub 1 drop of essential oil diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil or jojoba oil) at the front base of your neck where the thyroid gland is located, as well as your lower back (right above your kidneys), where your adrenals are.
You may also want to do a little reflexology at home by rubbing essential oils on both of your big toes, and the middle of the soles of your feet. These are the reflexology points for the thyroid and the adrenal glands. (Reflexology may also help improve sleep, which makes it an ultimate wellness nighttime ritual.)
When choosing essential oils for your thyroid, be sure to use 100% organic, pure essential oils, which will ensure you’re getting the most health benefits from pure, quality ingredients. While many essential oils are safe to apply topically, some of them are extremely potent and powerful, which can burn the skin. Always be sure to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before using.
Essential oils are a generally safe and effective way to improve thyroid health naturally. While these essential oils have properties that can benefit the thyroid specifically, any essential oil that helps you feel calm and relaxed will support thyroid function by lowering your stress response.