Under or over-production of thyroid hormone (thyroxine) can slow down or speed up all chemical prosesses in the body.
Thyrotoxicosis (also referred to as hyperthyroidism, toxic goitre, or Graves' disease) occurs when the whole thyroid gland is overactive, usually because the pituitary gland is producing too much thyroid stimulating hormone, or because there is a 'nodule' (a fluid-filled cyst, a small haemorrhage, or a benign or malignant growth) in part of it; a nodule may be visible as a lump at front of neck, general enlargement as a sizeable swelling. Large amounts of thyroxine are continuously produced and released into the bloodstream, causing a wide variety of symptoms: restlessness, a high level of anxiety, inability to relax or sleep properly, shakiness and poor control of fine hand movements, sweating, feeling hot even on cold days, rapid heart rate, palpitations, breathlessness, weight loss despite
a ravenous appetite, diarrhoea, bulging eyes etc. Accelerated metabolism places extra strain on heart, especially if person already
has high blood pressure, r arteriousclerosis, and increases risk of angina and heart failure.
Orthodox treatment consists of anti-thyroid drugs, destruction of part of the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine, or surgical removal of nodule or large part of gland; blood thyroxine levels must also be checked regularly to ensure that hypothyroidism does not set in.
Each essential oil has a unique quality and ability to soothe or stimulate different parts of the mind and body. You’ve probably got very used to noticing how your mind and body is reacting, to keep track of how well any medicines, such as thyroxine, are working. You can use the same information and awareness to choose an essential oil that will perfectly suit your needs.
There are lots of ways to use essential oils: you can use them in the bath, mix them with carrirer oils for massage or on compresses, or diffuse them into the air, by heating them in a burner.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis) Myrtle is said to help normalize hormonal imbalances of the thyroid and ovaries and support immune function. It is considered to be the most useful oil of all in treating hypothyroidism.
Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare Dulce) This oil and herb helps the adrenals, which is important as many people with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s also suffer from adrenal deficiency. It is also said to balance the pituitary and thyroid – the critical glands for regulating the thyroid.
Lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia/Officinalis/Dentata) This has anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. If your thyroid becomes inflamed, try mixing some Lavender oil with hot water, and dipping a flannel into the water. Press the warm flannel gently over your neck as a compress, preferably while lying down. Do this twice a day, or whenever you feel your thyroid needs calming.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) This oil helps support the respiratory, nervous, and glandular systems. It is said to have a hormone-like activity, and is antispasmodic, so may also help with cramps. It is something of a star performer, as it is also anti-infectious, antiparasitic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory – so may be particularly useful for people with Hashimoto’s disease.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) This oil (and spice) helps support the adrenal glands – so is good for those who suffer from adrenal deficiency. The oil stimulates circulation, which should help with cold hands and feet, and helps with digestive problems such as indigestion and flatulence.
Pine (Pinus Pinaster/Sylvestris) This oil acts on the hormones, having a cortisone-like effect. Since the body needs adequate stores of its own cortisol hormone in order to use thyroxine successfully, this oil might be worth trying if you’re still feeling very tired while on medication.
Camomile (Matricaria Recutita) Chamomile can improve hair growth and condition, soothe inflamed joints, lessen insomnia, dispel migraines, and generally de-stress the body and mind.
Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens) Geranium oil works strongly to help balance hormones, and is also a relaxant (good for cramps), anti-inflammatory (good for those with Hashimoto’s), and stimulates the liver and pancreas. Since the liver does a lot of the good work in converting T4 hormone into T3 – vital for those on thyroxine – this is a big bonus.
Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum/Album) This oil stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands to enhance meditiation and calm stress. It is also thought to help balance the metabolism, which is the hypothyroid patient’s ultimate goal.
Tansy(Tanacetum Vulgare) This oil is an anti-inflammatory and it also improves circulation, which is great for treating those cold hands and feet. It is also said to cleanse the lymphatic system, which is important for those with Hashimoto’s. Use the oil or the herb in teas and cooking.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) This essential oil works wonders on the mind, helping to relieve depression and lift any sense of mental fatigue.
Vetiver (Vetiveria Zizaniodes) This oil has a deliciously fresh smell, and has powerful anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly, it has “warming” properties too, so should help with the low body temperature so common to people with hypothyroidism.
Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) This oil is an anti-inflammatory that can also help with intestinal problems, muscle spasms, headaches, and mental fatigue.
Clove (Syzgium Aromaticum) This oil is renowned for improving the memory (as well as famously soothing tooth pain).
Dill (Anethum Graveolens) This oil and herb helps to lower glucose levels, which can be a problem for people with thyroid conditions. It is also said to help with liver deficiencies, which can be a cause of ineffective conversion of the T4 to T3 hormones in the body.
Marjoram (Thymus Mastichina) This plant is useful as a herb and oil for releasing muscles and blood vessels – it works brilliantly for shifting very stubborn headaches (press a marjoram compress against the back of your neck) and for relieving bad cramps. It also helps to ease insomnia and bring restful sleep.
Always consult your doctor before using any oils, especially if you are on thyroxine medication or are pregnant.
The only essential oils that can safely be used in neat form, and small amounts, are Lavender and Tea Tree. Do not be tempted to use any other essential oil without diluting it: these are strong substances that can cause severe effects if used incorrectly.
If you accidentally get any mix of essential oils in your eyes, put a few drops of pure vegetable oil in the eyes to dilute it and “wash” it out. Do not use water.
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