Hormones are chemical messengers that control how you feel, think, function and look, including your mood, energy level, weight and the quality of your skin, hair and nails.
Your hormones circulate through your body, influencing and coordinating activity between your cells. Hormones are responsible for countless body functions – from hair growth and skin quality, to metabolizing food, maintaining body temperature, causing our heart to beat, preparing our bodies for sex and reproduction, replenishing energy, weight gain — and of course, our mood. They also have a significant influence over how your body stores fat and when and how your body decides to burn it for fuel.
Hormones are secreted by your endocrine glands and organs and travel through your bloodstream, carrying information and instructions from one set of cells in your body to another.
Specific hormones, like insulin and melatonin, target specific tissues or cells by binding to receptors that are located inside the cell or on its surface, much like a key fits into a lock. Once the hormone locks into its receptor, it transmits a message that causes the target site to take a specific action. For example, your hormones impact your energy level, weight, mood, fertility, mental focus and physical growth.
How Essential Oils Support Hormone Balance
While essential oils are not hormones, they can help support hormonal balance by:
- Helping to balance the organs of your endocrine system (that produce and release hormones).
- Supporting optimal detoxification to ensure that old hormones are eliminated from your body and do not get reabsorbed and recirculated.
- Returning hormone receptors to ensure that the right hormonal signals are sent and received by the cells.
Essential oils derived from plants and herbs possess similar qualities to adaptogenic herbs, in that they promote hormone balance. Your hormones help control mood, growth and development, the way your organs work, metabolism, and reproduction. Too much or too little of any hormone can harm your body. Essential oils can balance your endocrine organs to promote optimal hormonal levels and function.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
A healthy system creates and excretes hormones in balance.
Your endocrine system is made up of glands that create hormones, including your hypothalamus, thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. If any of these organs or regions of the brain are out of balance or if hormones are not properly eliminated, it can present as symptoms like:
- Heavy, painful periods or PMS
- Moodiness or irritability
- Low libido
- Infertility and irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Digestive issues
- Hair loss and hair thinning
- Dry Skin
- Brittle Nails
- Poor memory or word recall
Essential Oils for Your Endocrine System
Your endocrine glands work together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body to keep your body in balance and healthy. Your hormonal health depends upon the optimal function of the organs and regions of the brain that produce and regulate your hormones, including your:
- Pituitary gland
- Pineal gland
- Sex organs (ovaries and testes)
The following blends of essential oils can be used to balance these different organ systems and regions of the brain to support optimal function.
Supporting Hormone Balance by Supporting Your Endocrine System
Your hypothalamus is a pearl shaped gland located just above your brain stem. It is situated below your thalamus, which relays sensory information and above your pituitary gland or “master gland”. Your hypothalamus maintains your body’s state of internal balance, known as homeostasis by linking your endocrine system with your nervous system.
Nerve cells in the hypothalamus make chemicals that control the release of stimulatory or inhibitory hormones, which start or stop the production of other hormones throughout your body. For example, your hypothalamus gathers information sensed by the brain (such as the surrounding temperature, light exposure, and feelings) and sends it to the pituitary. This information influences the hormones that the pituitary makes and releases that stimulate or inhibit many of your body’s key processes, including:
- Heart rate and blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Fluid and electrolyte balance, including thirst
- Appetite and body weight
- Glandular secretions of the stomach and intestines
- Production of substances that influence the pituitary gland to release hormones
- Sleep cycles
Your hypothalamus secretes the following hormones:
- Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH): Increases water absorption into the blood by the kidneys.
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH): Stimulates you adrenal glands to release corticosteroids, which help regulate metabolism and immune response.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH): Stimulates your pituitary to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which work together to ensure normal functioning of the ovaries and testes.
- Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) or growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH): Stimulates your pituitary to release growth hormone which helps aid healthy bone and muscle mass and appropriate fat distribution in adults.
- Oxytocin: Your happy hormone involved in the ability to trust, body temperature, sleep cycles, and the release of breast milk.
- Prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH) or prolactin-inhibiting hormone (PIH) (also known as Dopamine): PRH prompts the pituitary to stimulate breast milk production through the production of prolactin. Conversely, PIH inhibits prolactin, and thereby, milk production.
- Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH): Triggers the release of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which stimulates release of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, energy, and growth and development.
Your pituitary is a pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain near your hypothalamus. It responds to signals from the hypothalamus, either stimulating or inhibiting the release of hormones that help regulate the functions of your other endocrine glands, like your thyroid, adrenals and reproductive organs. Your pituitary glands are made of the anterior lobe and posterior lobe.
Pituitary Gland – Anterior Lobe Hormones: The anterior lobe produces and releases hormones that signal other endocrine glands to stimulate or inhibit their own hormone production, such as:
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH): Stimulates your adrenal glands to produce hormones, like cortisol in response to stress.
- Growth hormone (GH): Supports healthy body composition and for growth in children. In adults, it aids healthy bone and muscle mass and affects fat distribution.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): Supports normal functioning of the ovaries and testes.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH): LH works with FSH to ensure normal functioning of the ovaries and testes.
- Prolactin: Stimulates breast milk production.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): Stimulates the thyroid gland to produce hormones.
Pituitary Gland – Posterior Lobe Hormones: The posterior lobe contains the ends of nerve cells coming from the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sends hormones, like Anti-diuretic hormone and Oxytocin directly to the posterior lobe via these nerves, and then the pituitary gland releases them into the circulation.
Essential Oils for your Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland
Your hypothalamus is the primary driver of your endocrine glands. In collaboration with your pituitary gland, your hypothalamus controls all of the hormonal messages for your endocrine, stress and digestive systems. In essence, your hypothalamus and pituitary tell your other endocrine glands to make and release hormones that affect and protect every aspect of your health.
To this end, it is important that your hypothalamus gauge the hormone levels that are needed in your body. To do so, your hypothalamus monitors your body, by both sending and receiving signals to and from your body. Your hypothalamus therefore needs to be functioning optimally for the appropriate signals to both be sent and received. If the hypothalamus is damaged due to environmental toxins, stress or trauma, incorrect signals may be sent or received and your hormonal health will suffer.
To help return your hypothalamus and pituitary gland to the balance, apply 1 drop of Hypothalamus™ to the forehead right above the third eye (right above the nose between eyebrows and hairline) up to 6 times daily.
Your pineal gland is a small pine cone shaped endocrine gland located in the exact center of the brain, level with your eyes. This proximity to your eyes allows your pineal gland to release melatonin in response to light.
In producing and secreting melatonin, your pineal gland regulates your daily and seasonal circadian rhythms. Melatonin is the chemical in charge of our sleep cycles and the quality of our sleep, and it also regulates the onset of puberty. Melatonin is responsible for fighting against free radicals. A decline in melatonin triggers the aging process in the body. Unfortunately, environmental toxins like fluoride in the water and glyphosate on foods can damage the ability of the pineal gland to release melatonin.
Essential Oils for your Pineal Gland
Essential oils can help the pineal gland return to its innate intelligence and release more melatonin naturally. In fact, activating the pineal gland with essential oils can help prevent and potentially reverse toxicity and damage.
Your nose is a direct gateway into the brain and your pineal gland. To detoxify and activate your pineal gland, you can either inhale Circadian Rhythm™ oil or place a drop in specific spots around the head – on the very top of the head, the very back of the head, on the skin above the ears. The pineal gland is located in the exact center of the brain, so topically applying oils directly around the brain allows transdermal access.
Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located below your Adam’s apple on your neck, coordinates the metabolism (growth and rate of function) of almost every cell in your body. It controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls the body’s sensitivity to other hormones.
Your thyroid produces and releases the hormones T3 (tri-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These hormones control the rate at which cells burn fuels from food to make energy. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone that affects metabolic processes, weight, energy, memory, cholesterol, muscle strength, heart rate, and menstrual cycle. T4 is an inactive thyroid hormone that functions as a storage component for T3.
The more thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, the faster chemical reactions happen in the body. Thyroid hormones also play a role in the development of your brain and nervous system.
Four tiny glands, known as your parathyroid, attach to your thyroid and release parathyroid hormone, which controls the level of calcium in the blood with the help of calcitonin, which the thyroid makes.
Essential Oils for your Thyroid and Parathyroid
The thyroid is often impacted by the hypothalamus, the liver or the adrenals. Balancing these systems can often balance the thyroid.
Balance the Hypothalamus: Your hypothalamus serves as the control center for hormonal messages received from/sent to the thyroid. When the hypothalamus detects low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, it produces Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) which stimulates the pituitary gland to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Increased levels of TSH stimulate the thyroid to secrete more thyroid hormone T3 and T4, returning the level of thyroid hormone in the blood back to normal.
This process occurs as part of the Hypothalamic – Pituitary – Thyroid axis feedback loop and is contingent upon the ability of the hypothalamus to receive clear messages from the body as all outgoing endocrine signals are based on the clarity of the incoming signals. Long term stress can throw the ability of the hypothalamus to send and receive optimal signals out of balance. To optimize the vitality and function of the hypothalamus, consider Hypothalamus™ blend, applied to the pituitary gland (third eye – half inch up from mid-point between eyebrows)
Nourish the Liver: Your liver plays an important role in the chemical process to develop and metabolize thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) as well as regulating their systemic endocrine effects. The liver’s ability to detoxify old thyroid hormones is also key to optimal hormonal balance in the body. Any reduced function of the liver (from toxic overload or overwork) can compromise the function of the thyroid. Supporting the liver with Liver™ helps to optimize vitality and function. Apply to the liver (located on right hand side below breast).
Support Adrenal Glands: Your adrenal glands help determine and regulate the body’s stress response by secreting key hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine) that regulate energy production and storage (blood sugar) that enables you to rapidly respond to stress. Poor blood sugar handling causes the adrenal glands release stress hormones and signal the liver to break down proteins and fats for energy. This process releases amino acids that are anti-metabolic to our thyroid. Muscle catabolism also releases a large amount of hormones that suppress thyroid function. The health and resilience of the adrenals help to determine our tolerance to stress and avoid the negative cascade that impacts thyroid. To keep your adrenals in tip top shape for all other healing to occur, consider Adrenal™, applied topically on the adrenal glands (on the lower mid-back, one fist above the 12th rib on each side) or aromatically under the nose for 3 or 4 breaths.
Support Emotional Thyroid Health: Your thyroid gland relates emotionally to self-expression and the struggle to communicate. This includes speaking up for yourself as well as not suppressing your truth, failing to ask for what you want and or feeling you do not have the right to ask for what you want. Suppressed communication can give rise to feelings of humiliation, never getting to do what you want to do, or thoughts and emotions related to your turn in life. An inability to speak your truth – including difficulty in self-expression, feeling suppressed or shut down in creative endeavors or “swallowing” or “stifling” your words to keep the peace or win people’s approval — will often cause physical problems in the thyroid, mouth, and neck area around the throat. Applying 2-3 drops of Thyroid Support™ over the throat or heart area can help free you to speak your truth.
Your adrenal glands sit on your low back above your kidneys and produce hormones that support your stress response, metabolism, salt and water balance, immune response and sex hormones.
The outer part of the adrenal glands, known as your adrenal cortex, produces the following hormones:
- Cortisol: Helps your body respond to stress and regulates metabolism. Cortisol stimulates glucose production helping the body to free up energy stored in your muscle and fat tissue to make glucose. Cortisol also has significant anti-inflammatory effects.
- Aldosterone: Helps maintains the right balance of salt and water balance in the body and control blood pressure and cardiovascular function. Without aldosterone, the kidney loses excessive amounts of salt (sodium) and, consequently, water, leading to severe dehydration and low blood pressure.
- Corticosterone: Helps regulate your immune response and suppress inflammatory reactions.
- Androgens: Sex hormones that support sexual development and function, including estrogen, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone.
The adrenal medulla, the inner part of your adrenal glands, produces your ‘fight or flight’ hormones that are released after the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated to help you deal with physical and emotional stress. These fight-or-flight hormones include:
- Adrenaline (also called epinephrine): Rapidly responds to stress by increasing your heart rate and rushing blood to the muscles and brain. It also spikes your blood sugar level by helping convert glycogen to glucose in the liver. (Glycogen is the liver’s storage form of glucose.)
- Noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine): Works with epinephrine in responding to stress. Noradrenaline can cause vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels) which contributes to high blood pressure.
Essential Oils for your Adrenals
Your adrenal glands help determine and regulate the body’s stress response by secreting the stress hormones cortisol, which like progesterone, requires the precursor ingredient pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is an important precursor to your body’s production of sex hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. Since the body priorities the stress response over all other bodily functions, high demand for cortisol blocks the body from converting pregnenolone into sex hormones and cortisol is produced instead. This is known as the “pregnenolone steal” resulting in an imbalance of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, which contributes to symptoms like estrogen dominance, weight gain, fatigue, irritability and decreased the sex drive.
It is important to down regulate the need for cortisol in order to increase the supply of available progesterone to produce and balance your hormones. Applying Adrenal™ blend over the adrenal glands (back of the body, one fist up from the 12th rib), can help to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and reduce the demand for cortisol production at the expense of progesterone.
Essential oils can be used like adaptogenic herbs to help support the adrenal glands for the optimal energy reserves required to support your healing. The Adrenal™ blend also contains several stimulatory oils like Thyme, Cinnamon, and Rosemary that you feel invigorated, revitalized and energetic. To use, either smell or topically apply 1- 2 drops of Adrenal™ on the adrenal glands (on the lower mid-back, one fist above the 12th rib on each side).
Although your autonomic nervous system does not directly control the adrenals, a chronic Sympathetic “fight or flight” response can trigger a stress response. In a state of chronic stress, your stress response mechanism, known as the HPA Axis, triggers your adrenal glands to produce high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol which can push the body into adrenal fatigue. The parasympathetic state normalizes an elevated HPA Axis, helping to put the brakes on excessive cortisol output, which can help heal the adrenals. Applying Parasympathetic™ in combination of Adrenal™ can help balance the adrenals.
Your pancreas supports both your digestive system by secreting digestive enzymes and your endocrine system by secreting hormones into the bloodstream. Your pancreas secretes the following hormones to help maintain blood glucose (sugar) and salt balance in your body:
- Insulin: Helps carry glucose out of your blood and into your cells which lowers blood glucose levels and helps to keep your body supplied with stores of energy.
- Glucagon: Stimulates your cells to release glucose which raises your blood glucose levels.
- Gastrin: Aids digestion by stimulating certain cells in the stomach to produce acid.
- Somatostatin: Maintains a balance of glucose and/or salt in the blood when levels of other pancreatic hormones, such as insulin and glucagon, get too high.
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP): Helps control water secretion and absorption from the intestines by stimulating the intestinal cells to release water and salts into the intestines.
Essential Oils for your Pancreas
Insulin is secreted by your pancreas to help regulate rising levels of glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose levels are supposed to remain stable in the blood at all times to ensure that the body has a steady supply of energy. During meals, your digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates from food into glucose, which goes straight into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar concentrations to rise. Your pancreas then releases insulin to transport the glucose into your cells so that blood sugar levels return to normal. When insulin levels are low or cells are not responding to insulin, your pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin which can contribute to overload and fatigue. Pancreas™ blend of Rose Geranium, Anise Seed, Geranium, Cucumber, and Rose helps to tonify and Balances your pancreas to support optimal function and optimal insulin levels.
Apply 2- 3 drops of Pancreas™ to the pancreas (left side of the body two-thirds of the way up from the belly button towards the ribs. If you put your hand on your belly button and move over to the left then up until you feel the ribs, your hand will be over the pancreas).
Your thymus gland, located behind your sternum and between your lungs, serves a dual purpose as both an endocrine and a lymphatic gland. Your thymus releases the hormone thymosin which stimulates the development and production of disease-fighting T cells.
It is believed that your thymus is only active until puberty, transforming white blood cells called lymphocytes into T cells, a specific type of white blood cell that protects the body from certain threats, including viruses and infections. Once T cells have fully matured in the thymus, they migrate to the lymph nodes (groups of immune system cells) throughout the body, where they aid the immune system in fighting disease. After puberty, the thymus is thought to shrink. Stimulating the thymus by gently tapping on the gland (thymus thumping) or using essential oils can increase the release of white blood cells and slow down gland atrophy that occurs after puberty, in part because we have lost the instinct to stimulate it regularly.
Essential Oils for your Thymus
Thymus™ helps to strengthen the thymus gland for optimal immune support against infections, viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, tumors and inflammation. Thymus™ contains the following combination of organic or wild-crafted essential oils that help stimulate immune function against infections, viruses and bacteria. For example, holy basil helps enhance the body’s natural ability to cope with both physical and emotional stress. Clove Bud stimulates circulation to help increase energy and relieve fatigue. Black Cumin aids your immune system, helping to kill and expel pathogens. Frankincense strengthens the immune system by proliferating white blood cells and reducing inflammation. Ginger Root also helps stimulate your immune system, ease respiratory infections, reduce swollen glands and support drainage of a runny nose or excess mucus. Hyssop helps support the immune system with antibacterial and antifungal activity against certain trains of pathogenic organisms.
Juniper Berry is a natural diuretic that supports lymphatic drainage, helps the liver and kidneys function properly. Nutmeg possesses strong antibacterial properties to help support healing of respiratory issues and infections. Oregano is the most antiseptic of all essential oils. Ravensara is anti-infectious and supports your immune system.
Rosemary has antiseptic properties that support your immune system Rosemary is a very detoxifying essential oil in the sense that it encourages the cleansing of the excretory ducts and organs which drains the hepatobiliary system (the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts). This process strengthens natural immunity. It also stimulates blood flow and circulation and is used as a general skin tonic. Finally, Blue Tansy is known to stimulate your thymus gland.
To boost your immune system, apply 2-3 drops of Thymus™ on the thymus (on breastbone at third rib) in a clockwise motion for 30 seconds and then stimulate the thymus by gently tapping. Apply morning and evening and throughout the day as needed.
Your sex organs (ovaries and testes) also secrete androgens, like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. These sex hormones play a critical role in sexual development and function, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
Your ovaries produce and release two groups of sex hormones—progesterone and estrogen – that maintain the health of the female reproductive system. There are actually three major estrogens, known as estradiol, estrone, and estriol. These substances work together to promote the healthy development of female sex characteristics during puberty and to ensure fertility. Estrogen (estradiol, specifically) is instrumental in breast development, fat distribution in the hips, legs, and breasts, and the development of reproductive organs.
Your testes (or testicles) are a pair of sperm-producing organs that maintain the health of the male reproductive system. The testes secrete testosterone, which is vital to the normal development of male physical characteristics, including:
- Growth of facial and body hair
- Lowering of the voice
- Increase in height
- Increase in muscle mass
- Growth of the Adam’s apple
Testosterone also helps maintain libido, sperm production, muscle strength, and bone density. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland control how much testosterone the testes produce and secrete. The hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland to release gonadotrophic substances (follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone). Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates testosterone production. If too much testosterone is produced, the hypothalamus alerts the pituitary gland to make less LH, which tells the testes to decrease testosterone levels.
Essential Oils for Reproductive Glands
Estrogen Balance™ is designed to support the liver with the gentle mobilization of estrogen. Estrogen Balance™ works best when applied over the liver (on the right side of the body under the breast) in combination with castor oil before bed. It is important to use it combination with a binding agent such as chia seeds, psyllium, or a supplement like GI Detox or BIND.
Adrenal™: Adrenal dysfunction is the largest cause of the hormonal imbalance with the sex hormones, as the precursor for sex hormones is the same as the precursor for the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol then causes the imbalance of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Since the body priorities the stress response over all other bodily functions, it is important to down regulate the need for cortisol in order to increase the supply of progesterone and balance your hormones. Applying Adrenal™ blend over the adrenal glands (back of the body, one fist up from the 12th rib), can help to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and reduce the demand for cortisol production at the expense of progesterone.
Gallbladder™ – Efficient bile flow is necessary to eliminate old hormones, like estrogen. Gallbladder™ helps mobilize the toxins out of the body. Apply over the gallbladder (on the right side of the body under the breast.
Hormone Balance™ helps to balance the body so that the liver, gall bladder and thyroid – the key organs that produce and synthesize hormones – can function optimally to enhance metabolism. Hormone-based weight gain is one of the first lines of defense against hormonal imbalance. Without the hormones to direct the release of fat for fuel, the body holds on to the extra weight. As hormones fluctuate during the monthly cycle, pregnancy and post-pregnancy menopause, or when blood sugar is out of balance, the body becomes increasingly resistant to weight loss. Apply 2- 3 drops of Hormone Balance™ (ideally first thing in the morning and before bed) over the liver/gall bladder (right side of the body under ribcage) or thyroid (throat)
Detoxification for Hormonal Balance
Hormonal balance can also be impacted by the levels of hormones already in the blood, or on levels of other substances in the blood, like minerals or toxins. Supporting your detoxification channels can help eliminate excess hormones and return hormone levels to balance.
Supporting Your Liver
Your liver also helps to regulate the balance of hormones in your body, by both producing the cholesterol, the precursor necessary for the creation of hormones, and breaking down and removing excess hormones from your body. Your liver helps to transform and eliminate excess of hormones, including sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones from the body. Your liver functions in your body in much the same way a pool filter functions in a pool. Just as a pool filter cleans a pool by catching the dead leaves, dirt and insects, the liver detoxifies your body from harmful toxins and excess hormones.
If the liver cannot do this properly, excess hormones can build up in your system and lead to hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance. Here’s what this looks like. Once estrogen has done its job in the body, it is sent to the liver so it can be broken down and removed through the colon. Unfortunately, if your liver is congested or overwhelmed, then it is unable to function optimally and thus cannot remove estrogen at its normal rate. Estrogen is not metabolized properly and can be reabsorbed back into the body, contributing to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, irritability, low libido and depression. Read more about Estrogen Dominance HERE.
Excessive hormonal build up in your body further taxes and overwhelms your liver, contributing to a viscous cycle of hormone imbalance. What’s more, if too many excess “used” hormones float around in your bloodstream, your hypothalamus might fail to signal the pituitary gland to send out fresh hormones. Supporting your liver with essential oils can help to improve its vitality and capacity to support hormonal balance. Apply 2- 3 drops of Liver™ directly over your liver (right side of body, under your breast) upon waking and before bed to help improve liver function and with it, hormonal balance.
Gallbladder™ – Excess estrogen can make the bile from the gallbladder too thick and less able to efficiently detoxify excess hormones. Gallbladder™ helps mobilize the toxins out of the body. Apply over the gallbladder (on the right side of the body under the breast).
How Essential Oils Support Cell Receptors
Essential oils are lipophilic (fat-friendly), allowing them to access and bind to cell membranes, which are also comprised primarily of fat. Your cellular membranes serve as a semi permeable, protective barrier, regulating what enters and leaves your cell.
Surface receptors that line the outside of your cell membranes allow your cells to receive hormonal signals. When the appropriate hormone binds with these receptors, it initiates a cascade of chemical changes inside your cellular membrane, triggering modifications in the function of the cell.
The selectively permeable nature of your cellular membrane relies on specialized transport mechanisms to help permeate your cell membrane and move into the cell without being limited by the cell’s transport machinery. This process is known as passive diffusion and only a few substances – including gases like oxygen, nutrients, alcohol, some drugs (like anesthetics) and essential oils — are capable of moving in this way.
Research is demonstrating that essential oils can interact with the receptor sites on your cellular membranes, influencing the excitatory and inhibitory effects on your brains chemical messengers. It is believed that the compatibility of chemical composition allows essential oils to bind to and modulate cell receptors and transporters. This is because, like your brain cells, your cellular membranes are composed of lipids. Essential oils are lipid soluble and small, allowing them to directly traverse your cellular membrane.
This is one reason that short chain fatty acids help heal inflammation – the fatty acids are composed of lipids so they can actually access the cell membrane. Essential oils have the same chemical composition and work in the same way! They support the normal electrical functioning of your hormones.
This is also how endocrine-disrupting chemicals work. Endocrine disruptors found in BPA (bisphenol A) plastics and pesticides like DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) bind to your cell receptor and block your body’s hormones from binding.
An often cited 2007 study has suggests that essential oils like lavender and tea tree oil are hormone disruptors. Essential oil experts, like Robert Tisserand, have disputed this study as poorly constructed, with a sample pool of only three people.
Tisserand notes other research which found that lavender had no estrogenic effect even in concentrations 6,000 and 30,000 times greater than estimated exposure from multiple cosmetic products containing lavender oil.
Unlike endocrine disrupting chemicals, essential oils do not mimic or enhance your body’s own naturally occurring hormones. Instead, they help clean the cell receptors so that your body’s own hormones, like estrogens and thyroid hormones, can naturally bind to your cell receptors and elicit the desired chemical reaction in your body.
“The effects of aromatherapy are theorized to result from the binding of chemical components in the essential oil to receptors in the olfactory bulb, according to the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ online database.”
In his book The Chemistry of Essential Oils, David Stewart suggests that essential oils not only bind to, but clean cell receptors, noting that constituents of essential oils known as phenylpropanoids “clean the receptor sites on the cells. Without clean receptor sites, cells cannot communicate, and the body malfunctions, resulting in sickness.” Phenylpropanoids are found in essential oils of clove, cassia, basil, cinnamon, oregano, anise, and peppermint.
Ready to get started? Click the links below to order today:
- Adrenal™ available here
- Circadian Rhythm™ available here
- Estrogen Balance™ available here
- Gallbladder™ available here
- Hypothalamus™ available here
- Liver™ available here
- Parasympathetic™ available here
- Pancreas™ available here
- Thymus™ avialable here
- Aromatherapy With Essential Oils
- Lavender oil is not estrogenic
- Uterotrophic assay of percutaneous lavender oil in immature female rats