Stress hormone

Five Ways Essential Oils Support Your Hormones

blog_site_support_hormones.png

Adding Essential Oils to Your Routine to Balance Hormones

You may have heard of essential oils, and maybe you already use them. You might be wondering, “how do these really work?” In this article, I’ll explain five ways that essential oils work to powerfully affect your hormones in a positive way!

  1. Lower Stress and Benefit Sleep

There are several essential oils that have been shown in studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. (1) The speed of this reduction is what impresses me! You can feel calmer within seconds of inhaling a cortisol-reducing oil.

While you need cortisol for energy, immunity, and inflammation, you don’t need too much cortisol! Your cortisol tends to get high thanks to chronic stress.

Symptoms of high cortisol include:

  • Stubborn belly fat

  • Feeling high-strung

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Being too keyed up to enjoy sex

  • High blood pressure

  • Increasing wrinkles and fatigue

Lowering excess cortisol with essential oils can help relieve the above symptoms. If stress and insomnia are chronic issues, I suggest using cortisol-reducing oils a few times a day, and especially in the evening as you wind down for bed.

Good sleep is important for another hormone, human growth hormone. This hormone helps you repair and rejuvenate at night; it’s how you get ‘beauty sleep.’ So lowering cortisol so you can sleep is key.

Common essential oils that lower cortisol are: lavender, basil, rosemary, orange and ylang ylang. The oil blend we use nightly in a diffuser is Serenity by doTERRA.

In a 2007 study, lavender and rosemary were both found to lower cortisol and prevent the free radical damage (hello, early aging) associated chronic high cortisol. (2)

       2. Reduce Appetite & Improve Metabolism

Having excess fat tissue contributes excess estrogen levels. Your fat tissue is an estrogen factory so, like cortisol, you don’t want an excess of body fat.

Avoiding processed foods and losing weight is challenging in our busy, toxic world! Luckily essential oils can give you a helping hand to make better food choices and to process calories efficiently.

Grapefruit oil is a cravings-buster when you place a drop on your tongue, as is peppermint oil. Grapefruit oil contains D-limonene, a compound that boosts metabolism and drains lymph (bye, bye puffy eyes and water weight). It can also be used externally along with a dry brushing technique to reduce cellulite. 
 
Cinnamon oil is a blood sugar balancer, and having balanced blood sugar will mean less cravings and better food choices. (3)

The cravings and metabolism blend I use regularly is Slim and Sassy by doTERRA. It has a dorky name but it works really well! It contains ginger, grapefruit, cinnamon, lemon and peppermint.

      3. Calm Emotions

Inhalation of essential oils directly affects limbic system, where you store emotions and memories. Taming negative emotions and painful memories can get you out of the sympathetic dominant mode that inhibits optimal hormone production.

According to the author of Healing with Essential Oils, Jodi Sternoff Cohen, the most powerful use of essential oils may be their value in emotional recovery and management:

“Fragrant substances pass on to the limbic system without being registered by the cerebral cortex. This powerful emotional reaction in the limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses which, in turn, trigger other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones and neurotransmitters and for regulating body functions.”

“This makes essential oils especially powerful tools for dealing with emotional challenges, like anxiety, depression, fear, worry, grief, trauma, anger and self-abuse.”

Some essential oils help you feel more grounded and others give you a sense of peace. The essential oil cedarwood helps me feel secure and confident, while essential oil of neroli makes me feel euphoric!


      4. Improve Digestion

Strong digestion is critical for healthy hormones. Within the digestive tract:

  • Nutrients needed to make hormones are absorbed

  • Neurotransmitters are produced

  • Hormone metabolites (used hormones) are cleared from the system

If the digestive tract is inflamed, these important processes won’t happen. Some symptoms of digestive distress include:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Bloating

  • Multiple food sensitivities

  • Skin eruptions

  • An autoimmune diagnosis

There are many essential oils that can support proper digestion and help detoxify the gut. I’ll highlight three here:

Lemon oil has been shown to inhibit candida albicans infection. Excess candida yeast can cause sugar cravings and foggy thinking. (4)

Peppermint oil relaxes smooth muscles in cases of IBS, and it also helps break down the biofilms that protect chronic bacterial infections in your gut. ( 5, 6)

Essential oil of ginger promotes digestion, reduces nausea, and has been shown to help prevent and treat stomach ulcers. (7)

A product I love that combines several oils in one formula for both acute and chronic indigestion is DigestZen by doTERRA. I try to use in on my abdomen with a carrier oil at least twice a day, and I also inhale it and sometimes use a drop on my tongue.

I find the warming and bitter nature of the oils in this formula help me digest a meal and have healthy bowel movements.

      5. Lower Inflammation

Inflammation is a process in the body that is helpful and necessary at times. It gathers to do its job when you are injured, when you’re fighting an infection and more.

But chronic inflammation presents various problems, one is which is preventing proper hormone production and signaling.

Inflammation allows less hormone to attach to receptor sites on a cell’s membrane. This means that hormones may be knocking at the door, but they can’t get inside. With an inflamed cell wall, also toxins can’t get out and nutrients can’t get in.

Inflammation also dysregulates the immune system, which can lead to autoimmunity, in which the body is attacking its own tissue. You can use essential oils to lower inflammation, thus allowing your hormones to signal correctly.

Frankincense is an oil derived from a tree resin that contain a high percentage of boswellic acid. Boswellic acid is able to lower inflammation and modulate immunity. It has become a popular oil in autoimmune thyroid conditions for this reason. (8, 9)

Lavender reduces the inflammation of a bug bite or a sunburn but also the systemic inflammation that interferes with your hormones.

Conclusion

Many oils overlap in their functions; many simultaneously lower cortisol, prevent bacterial growth and lower inflammation. This is because the ‘essential oil’ of a plant protects it and keeps it healthy. Essential oils can provide some of the same protection to you as you endeavor to stay healthy through the changing seasons of life.

What I love about essential oils is that they are easy and enjoyable to use. There are some cautions to take, for instance some oils need to be diluted or they will feel hot or burning on your skin. A few oils can make you sunburn easier, so you need to avoid applying them on an exposed area before a day in the sun.

With a little education, essential oils are fun and creative to use, and you can reap benefits immediately in reduced stress or a calmer stomach, and you can enjoy long-term benefits in better periods, less hot flashes, thicker hair and more.


Learn More!

Balance Your Hormones with Essential Oils

 Join me for this webinar recording, where I explain my favorite ways to balance hormones with essential oils.

 

My Five Top Essential Oils for Thyroid Support

Free guide: You want help for your thyroid symptoms ASAP! Cut to the chase with this straight-forward guide, outlining the exact techniques I use to help keep my Hashimoto’s in remission.

Let me help you start addressing your symptoms now!

Questions? Please post below.

 


Bridgit.jpg

Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Case Study: A Functional Approach to Hormones and Gut

EL's Case Study.png

How Functional Health Coaching Treats Mood, Gut and Hormones in an Integrated Way

The Symptoms

When Emily joined our coaching program, she was struggling with depression, anxiety, fatigue, and brain fog. She said that she did not have the energy to improve her diet or exercise regimen to support her health. She feared that trying to make major changes could have the potential to elicit panic attacks that would prevent her from moving forward.

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Emily felt “tired almost all of the time.” Up until a few years before joining our functional coaching program, she had lived an active life. She had spent years gaining her education and working as a public health professional. And, at 38-years-old, she found herself barely making it through the day.

Emily had resorted to some of the most common coping mechanisms available: coffee in the morning to give her enough energy to get going, and alcohol at night to help her sleep.

Emily had resorted to some of the most common coping mechanisms available: coffee in the morning to give her enough energy to get going, and alcohol at night to help her sleep.

She suffered from symptoms of gas, bloating and indigestion. Her symptoms eased when she was strict about her diet but returned whenever she wavered slightly. 

The First Steps

The first thing we advised Emily to do was to take the huge step of removing coffee and alcohol from her diet. Within a matter of a couple of weeks, she was amazed at how much better she felt, just from those small changes. While this is not always as impactful for everybody as it was for Emily, it does show that sometimes a couple of small tweaks can have big effects.

The Labs

As Emily made those early changes to diet, we ran a handful of functional labs, including:

  • DUTCH Complete hormone panel

  • Comprehensive thyroid panel

  • GI-Map stool pathogen test

  • Micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) test.

The Test Results

The test results showed that Emily was quite deficient in the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone but it is also responsible for providing a sense of energy and plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythms controlling sleep/wake cycles.

Emily was also very low in all of her female sex hormones (the estrogens and progesterone) and she was also very low in melatonin, a hormone that helps promote restful sleep.

Emily's thyroid appeared to be slightly sluggish and she was deficient in seven different important micronutrients.

Her stool test detected two different parasites, an overgrowth of two different opportunistic yeast species, suppressed immune response in the small intestines, and a very strong sensitivity to gluten-containing foods.

Part of the Hormone Report

Case stury - EL's hormones.png
Melatonin.png

Stool Test Results

EL's test.jpg

The Protocol

Emily remained free from coffee and alcohol and began to adopt a gluten-free diet.

She started doing moderate exercise, managing her stress levels, eradicating gut pathogens through an herbal protocol, and supporting her healthy hormone balance through diet, herbs, and lifestyle changes.

She introduced some herbal tinctures such as black cohosh, red clover, vitex, and motherwort to support her female hormone levels. She used a product called Adrenotone from Designs for Health to support the adrenal glands and the balance of stress hormone production through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Emily supported her micronutrient balance through the introduction of a complete mineral support formula and used the Designs for Health GI Microb-X product as one of the antimicrobial blends for eradicating infectious microorganisms. She also introduced Megaspore probiotic to rebuild beneficial gut flora and to support the immune system. 

For dietary support, Emily began seed cycling and introduced more healthy fats into her diet. She also incorporated detoxification strategies such as dry brushing and rebounding into her daily routine to help her move toxins out of the body in a natural way.

The Transformation

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Photo by Patrick Hendry

As Emily gained energy, she was able to reintegrate exercise into her life and she enjoys mountain biking and outdoor sports of many kinds.

After six months on the coaching program, Emily reported feeling better than she had in years despite experiencing some extreme stress, including the sudden death of her partner’s mother.

Over the course of her six months on the program, Emily gained enough energy and mental clarity to make big decisions about her life, including the purchase of a new home and a desire to have a baby.

Emily is now thriving, pregnant, happy in her life, and excited about her future.

 

 

Are You Ready for Your Transformation?

Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come check out our coaching options to see if it’s a fit.


Bridgit.jpg

Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.