The often underrated thyroid gland does so much for your body but unfortunately, up to 20 million Americans have some sort of thyroid disease (1). The most common way to remedy that is through prescription medication, or synthetic hormones, that must be maintained for life. But not to worry, there are other options out there to support thyroid function! So keep reading to learn about the thyroid gland, things that can go wrong and how you can work with essential oils for thyroid health.
What is the Thyroid and How Does it Work?
This tiny butterfly-shaped gland in your throat is responsible for creating hormones that regulate the metabolism by converting food to energy. Since it’s part of the endocrine system, when the thyroid is out of balance it can disrupt many other hormonal functions as well.
The thyroid pairs up with two other glands in the brain, the pituitary and the hypothalamus. Together they secrete different hormones that support the heart, mood, metabolism, and even bone health (2). Having a good amount of iodine in the diet is important for proper thyroid function and this is why food companies started adding iodine to salt. However, as with most things, there’s a balance and too much iodine can actually make things worse for your thyroid.
What Can Go Wrong with the Thyroid?
The thyroid can either be overactive and produce too many hormones or under-active, and both of these are equally problematic.
When the thyroid is under-active it’s called hypothyroidism and usually the gland becomes swollen, something that doctors call a goiter.
It could be caused by low iodine, but the most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is when the body starts to create large amounts of inflammation that attacks the thyroid and wears it down.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Cold hands and feet
- Weight gain
- Diminished fertility
- Depression and fatigue
- Lack of appetite
Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is far too active and in this case, too much iodine is a bad thing. Hyperthyroidism could be caused by benign lumps in the gland but is most commonly caused by an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease. This causes the immune system to create an antibody that stimulates an overproduction of thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss, even when your diet is normal
- A fast or irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety or trembling
- Dry, irritated or thin skin
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Intolerance to heat
There are various treatments for both, but most often people are put on prescription medicine that must be maintained to regulate hormone production. I’m not recommending that you quit your medicine, but people have definitely improved their thyroid health through diet and other lifestyle changes. And essential oils for thyroid disorders are a great way to support yourself.
Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism
Because people with hypothyroidism tend to run cold, the warming properties of clove essential oil for thyroid health can support good circulation and body heat. It is also good for the liver and digestion, something that can be sluggish for hypothyroid folks.
Some people suffering from autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s also struggle with leaky gut and candida, and clove essential oil is a powerful antifungal. It can also support the immune system with its powerful antioxidants. Add a drop or two to your tea, diffuse it around your home or apply a few drops in a carrier oil to cold hands and feet.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism you may also have some digestive discomfort because of a slowed metabolism. This is where peppermint essential oil for thyroid health comes in. Peppermint relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract to ease gas, stomach upset or indigestion. Take a drop or two in tea or water.
Applied topically it can improve circulation and inhaled it can give a much needed energy boost when you’re feeling fatigued, another symptom of people with hypothyroidism.
This essential oil for thyroid health lowers the histamine response in the body. The anti-inflammatory and warming properties can also help sore joints, muscles or other body pains. It supports digestion when that is compromised from thyroid disorders and when inhaled can ease emotional stress.
You can take blue tansy as a drop or two internally to lower inflammation and digestive discomfort. Or add it to a carrier oil for body aches and diffuse it to induce a peaceful state of mind.
Lemongrass is a great multipurpose essential oil for thyroid health. It helps with nausea and stomach upset, is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. If blood sugar is an issue because hypothyroidism is affecting your metabolism, lemongrass can help regulate it. And finally, suffering from any chronic condition can cause stress and anxiety. Lemongrass can soothe that for you.
For nausea, blood sugar regulation or antioxidant effects take a drop internally in water or tea. Apply lemongrass with a carrier oil topically to the thyroid to lower inflammation. And to ease stress and give you energy put a few drops in your diffuser.
Myrrh is a powerful essential oil for thyroid health, and it shows up in both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism sections. It’s antioxidant and immune boosting qualities will support anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease.
It will also help reduce the inflammation that happens with any thyroid problem and some people have found success using it topically to reduce goiters (5). You can take myrrh internally, externally or put it in a diffuser to breathe in its properties.
Another oil, similar to myrrh in its ability to support a healthy thyroid is frankincense essential oil. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, especially on any skin issues, but it works inside the body to ease inflammation too. In these cases, you would ingest a drop or two of frankincense essential oil for thyroid health.
When inhaled, frankincense is very grounding and relaxing. It can also help to improve focus if brain fog is an issue for you.
Essential Oils for Hyperthyroidism
Ginger essential oil for thyroid health works because of its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, some studies have shown that it has similar properties to NSAIDs (3). Since most cases of hyperthyroidism occur because of Grave’s disease, ginger is able to inhibit the kind of inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders.
Add a drop of two of ginger essential oil to water, tea or a smoothie, diffuse some in your home or apply it to pulse points. Ginger is considered safe, even for pregnant women, as long as there are no known allergies to the herb.
Rosemary essential oil for thyroid health can lower inflammation and ease stress. Stress is known to weaken the immunity which could lead to an imbalanced immune system. This creates an environment for autoimmune conditions to occur.
Rosemary essential oil has a great aroma that is best used in a diffuser but can also be taken internally since it is a food item. It has a bright strong taste so use one drop in tea and see how your body likes it. It can be slightly warming and can increase circulation so if you’ve got blood pressure issues, chat to your doctor first.
Myrrh is a potent anti-inflammatory that has been used for centuries due to its healing and antioxidant properties. You can use myrrh essential oil for thyroid issues internally, topically on thin, irritated skin or inhaled.
Breathing in myrrh works on the hypothalamus to calm anxiety, which can be high for people with hyperthyroidism. Try a few drops in a diffuser or mix with Epsom salts in a warm bath.
Juniper essential oil for thyroid health could support anxiety and sleeplessness, a common complaint with people who have hyperthyroidism. Inhale it through a diffuser at night or apply it top pulse points before bed.
Juniper berry is also a potent antioxidant and could enhance the body’s ability to recover from autoimmune induced thyroid issues. Start with just one drop internally and see how you feel. Do not consume juniper berry essential oil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have kidney problems.
doTERRA Cellular Complex Blend
This blend of doTERRA essential oils for thyroid support works on many levels. It helps with inflammation, protects the cells from stress, builds up the immune system and eases anxiety.
This combination makes it a great ally for a variety of hyperthyroidism symptoms. It can be diffused, applied to the skin or taken internally. Add a drop or two to your water tea or juice.
DIY Recipes with Essential Oils for Thyroid Health
Antioxidant Boost for Hypothyroidism
- 1 Drop of Myrrh Essential Oil
- 1 Drop of Clove Essential Oil
Add these to a cup of tea or water to ease inflammation and support circulation.
Uplifting Essential Oil Blend for Hypothyroidism
- 1 Drop of Peppermint Essential Oil
- 1 Drop of Lemongrass Essential Oil
- 1 Drop of Blue Tansy Essential Oil
Add these to your diffuser to ease anxiety, uplift your mood and get a natural energy boost.
Stress-Ease Bath Salts
- 1 Cup of Epsom salts
- 3 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
- 2 Drops of Myrrh Essential Oil
- 2 Drops Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Drop the oils into the Epsom salts and run these in a warm bath. This grounding, anti-inflammatory mixture will soothe anxiety, ease aches and pains and help heal any skin issues.
Anti-inflammatory Support for Hyperthyroidism
- 1 Drop of doTERRA cellular complex blend
- 1 Drop of Ginger Essential Oil
Add these to a cup of hot water with a spoonful of honey. This earthy, citrusy hot toddy will help ease inflammation in the body and boost immunity.
Other Natural Ways to Support the Thyroid
This is always number one. Because the thyroid often becomes compromised due to an autoimmune disease, it is really important to support the immune system and avoid anything that may be overly inflammatory to the body. Gluten, soy and acidic foods like dairy, coffee, and alcohol can cause extra inflammation so minimize or cut these out if you can.
Support Your Gut
Some claim that autoimmune conditions arise because of a leaky gut. This means that the lining of the intestines has tiny holes that allow certain proteins and other undigested toxins back into the body. This would then create an exaggerated immune response, where the body starts attacking things it may not need to. This could lead to autoimmune disease, make sense?
Either way, a big part of the immune system is in the gut so make sure you support it by getting lots of healthy fiber, going to the bathroom at least once daily, and taking a good probiotic.
Take Vitamin C
This is a powerful antioxidant, not only for immune health but also for stress. Because autoimmune conditions and thyroid imbalances can cause so much stress for the body, give yourself the extra support by taking at least 1000 mg of vitamin C each day.
Sleep and Exercise
Need I say more? Getting a good night’s sleep and moving your body is key to health, no matter what you’ve got going on. But with any autoimmune condition, you definitely want to be taking care of these basic needs.
When it comes to thyroid health, a holistic approach is always more helpful than medication alone. And any steps you can take to support better overall health will benefit thyroid disorders or at least the symptoms that come along with them. I hope this helped you understand how using essential oils for thyroid health can support you.
And now I’d love to hear from you… have you had success using essential oils for your thyroid? Do you know of any other good remedies or lifestyle hacks? Leave a comment below and share your experience!
- American Thyroid Association (2018). “General Information.” Retrieved from: https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/
- You and Your Hormones (2018). “Thyroid Gland.” Retrieved from: http://www.yourhormones.info/glands/thyroid-gland/
- Natural Endocrine Solutions (2018). “Ginger and Thyroid Health.” Retrieved from: https://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/ginger-thyroid-health/
- Natural Endocrine Solutions (2018). “Can Myrrh and Frankincense Benefit Thyroid Health?” Retrieved from: https://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/can-myrrh-and-frankincense-benefit-thyroid-health/