The Important Role of Hormones
Hormones are messengers in your body that generally travel through the bloodstream to convey a message that regulates various body functions such as growth, reproduction, immune response, emotions, hunger, metabolism and tissue regeneration. These special hormone messengers typically live in endocrine glands such as the thyroid, ovaries and testes. Cells respond to a hormone when they express a specific receptor for that particular hormone. The hormone binds to the receptor protein, which results in the activation of a signal transaction that ultimately leads to a cellular response.
Hormonal imbalance can result in a myriad of symptoms such as:
- allergy symptoms
- fibrocystic breasts
- hair loss
- libido, decreased
- urinary tract infections (UTI)
- uterine fibroids
- weight gain
Since essential oils contain properties that stimulate cells to regain their natural functions, they are able to help balance internal health issues so that your body can function as it should. Exactly how they do this has not been well-defined by science, but we know by experience that these responses occur and bring many benefits. Although essential oils do not contain hormones needed by the human body, they seem to trigger beneficial hormonal actions which support the endocrine system. Any hormonal properties they may demonstrate are supportive and compliment our endocrine system as it manufactures and seeks to balance the natural hormones our body makes.
Franchomme and Pénoël in L'Aromatherapie Exactement showed that essential oil molecules have the ability to mimic hormones, stimulate hormonal receptor sites and even act as raw materials from which our human bodies can build hormone molecules.¹
Some essential oils are noted to have estrogenic properties which means that their presence in our bodies seems to stimulate the same receptor sites that estrogens do and thus they help balance our hormones.²
Four Ways to Achieve Hormonal Balance
1. Reduce Stress
Chronic stress uses the progesterone that is needed to balance estrogen and converts it to adrenalin and cortisol (the death hormone), which lead to estrogen dominance. Sometimes it's not possible to completely eliminate the ongoing stress in one's life, but we should try to make adjustments to better our situation. Many essential oils are noted to help calm anxiety; so while the oils themselves don't produce more progesterone, they may help bring the stress level down so that the body can function properly.
These blends have been noted to help with stress and anxiety:
2. Eliminate Toxins
We live in a toxic world. Our food is toxic; our food containers are toxic; we cook in toxic cookware and apply toxic personal care products. Growth hormones in meat and dairy, soy products, plastics, Teflon and so on are a constant assault to the delicate balance of our endocrine system. These and many other products contain Xenoestrogens, which are man-made chemicals that mimic natural estrogen, thus causing hormonal imbalance. Avoiding the toxins mentioned above is a giant step toward eliminating toxic exposure and regaining balance.
Adding citrus oil to every glass of water is a simple and effective way to flush the toxins out of the lymphatic system. We suggest that it is beneficial for most people to drink a minimum of ½ their body weight (in pounds) in fl. ounces of pure water daily. To each quart, we add 1-3 drops of our favorite citrus oil, Tangerine. Other favorite choices are Grapefruit, Lemon or our Weight Loss blend. [Don't put essential oils in plastic: drink from glass or ceramic to avoid adding Xenoestrogens to your system.]
Consider cleanses for the colon and liver. Our Liver/Gallbladder essential oil blend applied over the liver may assist the liver in a cleanse and support its function.
3. Balance Estrogen
Estrogen is naturally produced by our ovaries, adrenals and fat tissue. We acquire toxic Xenoestrogen through man-made chemicals that mimic estrogen (for a brief list of these chemicals, see above under "Eliminate Toxins"). We also acquire estrogen from plants in food sources. These phytoestrogens protect cellular tissues from the effects of Xenoestrogens and other hormonal disrupters. They appear to stimulate the body's normal hormonal processes. Most importantly, phytoestrogens do not overstimulate or cause the body to stop producing its own normal levels of estrogen. Tisserand writes: "We do not consider that essential oils containing phytoestrogens pose any significant risk to people with estrogen-sensitive cancers."³ Grains, beans, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables and seed oils have phytoestrogens that can be consumed in their natural state on a daily basis to help bring balance. Probiotics assist gut assimilation of phytoestrogens.
Essential oils that are known to have phytoestrogens are:
The phytoestrogen in essential oils is low and functions as a placeholder in the body's cells so the body can produce its own estrogen. These oils can be applied to the abdomen over the ovaries (or the ovary location if they've been removed).
Single oils and Blends noted to help bring hormonal balance:
Fleabane (stimulates the growth hormone and is felt to be anti-aging)
Frankincense (felt to bring balance to the endocrine system as a whole)
Geranium (felt to bring balance to the endocrine system as a whole)
Woman Ease (generally for women up to age 30)
Master (generally for women ages 30-45)
Vitality (generally for women over 45)
As a caution, Tisserand writes:
"Because of their probable estrogenic action, essential oils high in (E)-anethole should be avoided in people with endometriosis or estrogen-dependent cancers. These include uterine cancers and some breast cancers. The essential oils to avoid are:
Fennel (Bitter and Sweet)
4. Support Progesterone Production
To counter the increase in estrogen caused by toxins and stress, there are things that can be done naturally to encourage progesterone production to balance the estrogen levels:
- Antioxidants, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamins A, B's, C, E and Zinc. Endurance essential oil blend has the highest antioxidant and DNA-protecting oils.
-Oregano essential oil can be applied topically, diluted for about 8-10 days, and then a break is typically recommended.
-Geranium applied topically over the liver and adrenal glands (kidney area) is felt to help the body produce progesterone.
-Frankincense has helped with uterine disorders such as fibroid cysts and other imbalances of the endocrine system. Some apply it topically, others use it diluted on a tampon.
Testing Hormone Levels
Saliva testing is easy and seems to give accurate results.
Menopause is a natural adjustment in a woman's life, and the transition should be from one period of fulfillment to another. Unfortunately, this natural transition is many times preempted by toxins in our lives that cause a hormonal imbalance. This imbalance produces disturbing symptoms. Besides taking steps to eliminate the root causes of the imbalance, many have found the following essential oils/blends to assist in reversing symptoms.
In conclusion, with all health issues, prevention is so much more desirable than sorting out the best remedy once you are suffering. We can take a proactive approach by trying to eat meat, fruit and veggies we grow ourselves or from local farmers who raise grass-fed cattle without harmful chemical treatments or pesticides on their crops. Avoid soy, plastics and aluminum or coated cookware. Drink plenty of filtered water to keep your body well hydrated and the lymph system flushed.
I certainly don't consider myself an expert on hormone therapy and have pulled this material together as more of an outline or springboard for personal research than an exhaustive effort. My hope is that we can all benefit from the information and take steps to remedy hormonal imbalance. Feel free to pass this along to family and friends if you feel it may help them.
Blessings to all,
¹ David Stewart Ph.D, D.N.M., The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple,
Care Publications 2005, p. 415.
² Ibid., p. 414.
³ Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, page 185.