Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts distilled from plants. They‘re commonly used for relaxation and aromatherapy, but have become popular in recent years as holistic treatments for everything from depression to bacterial infections. Essential oils are also believed by some to provide relief for thyroid conditions.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that produces and releases hormones. Your thyroid helps regulate your metabolism, your emotions, your brain function, and almost all the other processes in your body. The American Thyroid Association estimates that more than 20 million Americans experience some type of thyroid disease.

There isn’t much medical research to show a direct correlation between the use of essential oils and thyroid health. But there is anecdotal evidence, and studies suggest essential oils can help treat symptoms of certain thyroid conditions. Keep reading to find out what we know about using essential oils for a few common thyroid conditions.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition where your body produces too much thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms include weight loss, anxiety, heartbeat irregularities, and muscle weakness. The thyroid gland itself may look or feel inflamed.

Essential oils can’t stop your body from producing too much thyroid hormone but some oils can help improve the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass oil has been studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. If you have a swollen or inflamed thyroid area, applying lemongrass oil topically may provide relief.

Frankincense

Frankincense oil has anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and pain-relieving properties. It also helps repair your skin barrier and treats dry skin. Rubbing a few drops of frankincense oil on dry skin caused by a hyperactive thyroid could relieve itching and flaking and help skin heal. Frankincense oil is quite potent, so dilute it with another soothing oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil before applying.

Lavender

If you have anxiety caused by hyperthyroidism, consider the use of lavender oil. Lavender oil has been used for centuries as an agent to promote relaxation. When diffused in the air, lavender oil has been found to increase feelings of calm and well-being.

Wintergreen

The active ingredient in wintergreen oil, methyl salicylate, is a well-studied pain reliever that works similarly to aspirin. Wintergreen oil can be used as a topical treatment for aching joints and tired muscles caused by thyroid conditions.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood oil has been tested in several contexts for its anti-anxiety properties. Using a few drops of sandalwood oil as a topical treatment applied at your pressure points, or diffusing sandalwood oil through an aromatherapy diffuser, could effectively treat anxiety caused by an overactive thyroid.

Pine

Pine essential oil may decrease inflammation and treat sore joints when applied on your skin, but current evidence is mostly anecdotal. Essential oils should not be ingested. Pine oil is toxic.

Thyroid nodules are lumps that form in the thyroid gland. These lumps can be solid or filled with liquid. On rare occasions, thyroid nodules are cancerous. They can compress your esophagus, making it difficult to breathe. They can also cause your thyroid to produce extra thyroxine, a hormone your thyroid regulates. Thyroid nodules sometimes carry no symptoms, or they can have many of the same symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Essential oils used to treat symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be tried to treat symptoms of thyroid nodules.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms such as joint pain, difficulty getting pregnant, and weight gain can result from an underactive thyroid gland. In many cases, symptoms of an underactive thyroid are easy to miss. Some people don’t have any noticeable symptoms at all.

Essential oils can’t be substituted for the thyroid hormone, but they can help with some symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Spearmint

Mentha spicata (spearmint) has been shown to be a natural analgesic for joint pain. Using spearmint topically on aching joints caused by hypothyroidism could improve circulation and relieve pain.

Peppermint

Peppermint oil is known to aid digestion. Inhaling peppermint oil can also reduce nausea. If your metabolism is sluggish from an underactive thyroid, try adding food-grade peppermint to a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea each night. You can also add the essential oil to your diffuser or dilute in a carrier oil and massage on your belly.

Myrrh

Myrrh has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory agent. Mixing a few drops of myrrh with another anti-inflammatory oil, like frankincense, as well as carrier oil like sweet almond oil, will create a potent topical remedy.

Rose geranium

Rose geranium oil has been used as a proven anti-inflammatory agent in clinical trials. Inflammation related to an underactive thyroid can be addressed by topically applying a few drops of rose geranium oil. It may also help anxiety related to hypothyroidism.

Cedarwood

Cedarwood is potent, fresh-smelling oil that can be used to treat dry skin, a symptom of thyroid conditions. Mix a few drops of cedar wood oil with carrier oil like grapeseed oil or jojoba oil and apply topically to relieve dry skin.

There are plenty of traditional approaches to treating thyroid-related conditions. In many cases, essential oils can be used in conjunction with prescription treatments, but it’s important to discuss this with your doctor.

Hyperthyroidism is often treated with beta blockers, antithyroid medications, or radioactive iodine treatments. In some cases, a thyroid-removal surgery will be necessary.

Hypothyroidism is often treated with synthetic thyroid hormones. These drugs take the place of the thyroid hormone that your body is not producing. Levothyroxine (Levothroid, Synthroid) is an example of this kind of drug.

Essential oils are not meant to treat severe thyroid imbalances. Though there is some evidence to support the use of essential oils for thyroid conditions, replacing a prescribed thyroid treatment with essential oils could lead to side effects such as weight gain, sluggishness, and organ damage. If you suspect that you have a thyroid condition, you should speak with your doctor before you try using essential oils.

Essential oils are mostly nontoxic for human use when they’re diffused through the air or diluted and applied on your skin. Essential oils are not meant to be swallowed. But essential oils aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning their active ingredients can vary wildly. Only buy essential oils from suppliers that you trust. Check out these essential oils to treat symptoms of thyroid conditions at Amazon.

Essential oils can be used to treat some symptoms of thyroid conditions. But there is not enough research to prove a direct correlation between essential oils and the treatment of thyroid conditions. If you suspect you have a thyroid condition, you should speak to a doctor before you try any type of home remedy.

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