Essential oils (EO) are highly concentrated hydrophobic liquids derived from plants and possessing strong, very distinct aromas. In the plant kingdom, there are more than 250,000 plants. Only a few hundred of those plants produce essential oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and other therapeutic or medicinal applications.
Chemically, EOs are blends of a variety of volatile chemical molecules such as phenol-derived aromatic components, terpenoids, and aliphatic components. They can be produced by all plant organs such as fruits, buds, roots, seeds, flowers, leaves, wood, or bark and are stored in secretory cells, canals, cavities, or epidermic cells. For centuries, essential oils have been widely used for their bactericidal, antiparasitic, insecticidal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, spasmolytic, local anesthetic remedies, virucidal, and fungicidal properties.
A distillation process, usually with steam, is used for extracting the essential oils from plants. Other common processes include solvent extraction or expression. In addition to the traditional medicinal uses, EO is used in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and other products needing a nice aroma, like cleaning products and incense. They are also used to provide flavoring for foods and drinks.
With the growing popularity of aromatherapy, there are alternative medicine types that maintain essential oils, along with other aromatic formulations are curative. These oils are volatized or otherwise diluted in another carrier oil and can be diffused in a room by a nebulizer, used in massage therapy, burned as incense, or heated with a candle flame to spread the aroma.
Herbs vs. Essential Oils Uses For Adrenal Fatigue
Herbs and EOs although both obtained from plants have very different roles and applications. The same plant can produce essential oil and also be used as herbals. Nevertheless, one may not produce the same results or health benefits as the other. Herbs are wonderful but are very different in their properties from essential oils. Not all plants produce essential oils or they have such small amounts it is not cost effective to put it through the distilling process. Lilacs, for example, the flower, although extremely fragrant, produce no usable essential oil. There are other flowering plants that do not produce essential oils by steam distillation but only through a time-and-labor intensive procedure called enfleurage. These again are rare finds as most suppliers do not have the time, plants or manpower to make it worth the exorbitant costs.
Due to concentration, EO contains virtually all of the plant’s beneficial nutrients, oxygenating molecules, amino acid precursors, vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes, hormones and more. Moreover, because they are concentrated, essential oils are from fifty to seventy times more therapeutically potent than the unfermented herbs or plants they are derived from. Unlike dried herbs that can lose up to 90 percent of their nutrients and oxygen molecules, essential oils do not.
Extracellular Matrix and Essential Oils Uses for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
The term extracellular literally means outside the cell, which explains where the matrix is located. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a network of non-living tissues that provide support to cells. It is a three-dimensional network of proteins, glycosaminoglycans and other macromolecules. In addition to structural support, it also plays a role in other very specific functions. They include cell adhesion, migration and proliferation. The fluid of the ECM initiates crucial biochemical and biomechanical signaling critical for tissue development, differentiation and maintaining homeostasis. Biofilms secreted by bacteria reside within the ECM and can lead to increased ECM toxic load. Over time, this can lead to ECM congestion and pollution. Ultimately, the ECM becomes damaged, leading to defective cellular communications and signaling. Maintaining a healthy ECM is therefore essential for optimum health.
The important role of the ECM is now recognized by researchers. Looking from afar, the ECM is one continuous interconnected ground substance, tying every function and every process in the living body one way or another. It should be considered an organ system on its own. The reason is simple: every cell in the body is nourished via the matrix, and all waste products of cellular metabolism passes through this ground substance, which is the actual milieu.
ECM damage is frequently seen in advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue. Sufferers are typically fragile, weak, housebound and unable to carry on normal daily living or hold a full-time job. In addition to dysregulated neuroendocrine function triggered first by overactive and subsequent dysfunctional hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, ECM congestion is invariably involved as AFS progresses. Those with a history of aggressive antibiotic use for infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, H. Pylori, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes, giardia, parasite, candida, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are most at risk. Their body is already under chronic attack by toxins from these stealth infectious agents after the acute infectious episode is over. However, stealth toxin release continues to occur at the subclinical level. Laboratory tests are negative. Patients are sent home pronounced cured, but a good number of them continue to feel malaise, fatigue, and loss of exercise endurance, reduced libido, and diminished vitality. This subclinical state of stealth infection and toxic state can go on for decades and elude detection as our current laboratory detection model is not sensitive enough. Patients often jump from one doctor to another seeking a solution, but to no avail, because no attention is paid to ECM congestion and pollution as a major contributing factor.
Maintaining an unpolluted and clean ECM is an important step in overall AFS recovery from such advanced stages. Essential oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue can be of great help in facilitating this, especially if one is in a stealth infectious state. Using essential oils for Adrenal Fatigue can penetrate the biofilm produced by infectious organisms, facilitating the transportation of various anti-infection supplements or medications to reduce infectious load.
Benefits of Implementing Essential Oils Uses
Proper essential oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue can serve as an invaluable tool in optimizing ECM health and function. The following physiological pathways are involved:
- Essential oils for Adrenal Fatigue can quickly penetrate the surface of the skin and the membranes of cells. They can literally disperse throughout the bloodstream and tissues almost instantly. These oils penetrate the blood-brain barrier and reach the amygdala and the other limbic regions of the brain responsible for controlling our emotions, moods and behaviors. This means essential oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue can help if we’re anxious, angry, stressed or in any other emotional state.
- Essential oils uses include acting as a natural anti-inflammatory and an effective pain relieving home remedy. They can be used to relieve the pain from broken bones, torn muscles or any type of bodily injury to humans or animals.
- Essential oils provide a hostile living environment for anything dangerous to cells, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Many bacteria have the ability to form multicellular communities, termed biofilms. An important characteristic of a biofilm is the ability of cells to synthesize and secrete an extracellular matrix which serves as a first line of defense against antibiotic attack. This matrix offers structural support, community organization, and added protection, often making the cells impervious to desiccation, predation, and antimicrobials. Some essential oils have antimicrobial properties that can eradicate bacteria within biofilms with higher efficiency than certain important antibiotics, making them interesting candidates for the treatment of biofilms. Oil of Oregano, for example, has been used for centuries in combating systemic candida. Other EOs with anti-microbial properties include lavender, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil), peppermint, and thyme.
Most Effective Methods of Essential Oils Uses
The most effective ways for most essential oils uses is by external application, as a mouthwash or by inhalation. Selected EOs can also be orally taken under supervision when diluted with milk, soy milk, olive oil or some form of carrier. In general, the respiratory tract offers the most rapid way of entry followed by the transdermal pathway.
Essential Oils Uses Safety
Essential oils uses, when applied properly are generally thought to be perfectly safe and very beneficial. But, since their appropriate uses are not widely known, people can harm themselves by using these very concentrated substances in the wrong manner. The following cautions apply:
- Essential oils should not be used internally unless supervised by a healthcare professional or labeling recommendations state that it is safe for ingestion.
- Essential oils should not be applied directly on the skin unless supervised by a healthcare professional. It should first be diluted with carrier oil.
- Keep essential oils out of the hands and reach of children.
- Cover eyes and mucous membranes when using.
- Do not use citrus essential oils before going into the sun or any UV light.
- Use pure essential oils only; always avoid using synthetic fragrances.
- Essential oils should never be used on children of any age including infants, pregnant women, elderly people, or anyone with serious health issues unless under the supervision of a medical professional.
- Avoid lengthy exposure without ample ventilation.
- Keep essential oils and carrier oils stored properly in cool dark places to avoid having them become degraded and/or rancid.
There are many kinds of essential oils uses and products on the market. Quality and price varies tremendously. Here are some alerts to keep in mind when shopping for EOs.
- Purity – In the United States, the word pure is used loosely. There is no legal meaning to it and it is widely applied to all manner of things.
- Synthetic Fragrances – There are specific oils that do not exist in nature and only come as synthetic fragrances, or combined fragrances, which are referred to as bouqueted. These are a combination of essential oils, synthetics and absolutes and include gardenia, honeysuckle, frangipani, and linden.
- Chain of Supply – The fragrance industry involves many different levels of suppliers and buyers. The more levels there are, the more likely there is adulteration. False and misleading advertising is widespread in the world of aromatherapy. The best place to purchase oils is from a reputable source. In some oils pesticides are still present after the extracting process, and in some they are not.
- Extenders – Many oils contain extenders made up of natural or synthetic solvents. Higher priced oils are often extended using jojoba. Some oils contain extenders to make them easier to pour, such as benzoin; but the solvent used is often questionable.
- Bulking – Bulking is the practice of combining the oils from one or more species of plants post-distillation, or loading the same species of plants, but from separate harvests, together into the still. Inevitably dried out plant material from different years are bulked in with fresh plant material. Bulking is done in order to sell the product cheaper and/or to make it fit a standard set by the fragrance or the flavoring industries.
Essential Oils and Dermatological Alerts
Generally, all essential oils should be diluted before they are applied to the skin, as they are highly concentrated. Use fatty oil, or dilute in water when using on a compress.
The two circumstances under which this rule does not apply are as follows:
- When using attars as natural perfumes. Since floral essences are actually distilled into basic sandalwood oil, the sandalwood oil ends up acting as a carrier oil, which effectively dilutes the potency and concentration of the pure essential oil.
- When using mild essential oils that have a sound history of safety, they can be applied to the skin reasonably and as recommended. A great example of this would be lavender but lavender too can cause problems for certain people.
Skin reactions are becoming a more frequent problem as more synthetic aroma chemicals are being used as adulterants throughout the essential oil industry. It is recommended that one should never put more than just one or two drops of undiluted essential oil on the skin. A patch test ahead of time is always recommended.
For people who have sensitive skin, they should always test out a small spot with diluted oil before they apply it over a larger area. For non-medical purposes, essential oils should not be used on highly sensitive skin, or if the person is allergic, has severe dermatitis or inflammation. Essential oils that are pure are certainly not as dangerous as the chemicals in synthetic aromas.
Skin reactions depend of the kind of oil being used, the concentration or potency of the oil, and the skin condition. It is recommended that any history of adverse skin reaction to oils be considered before any essential oils uses, either for respiratory or dermal applications. Old oils or ones that have already oxidized are more likely to cause skin reactions, most likely rashes.
Fatty carrier oils should always be refrigerated to prevent them becoming rancid. The shelf life of essential oils is usually one to three years. Some oils actually improve with age, like patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. The citrus oils are likely to degrade and should always be used within a year.
There are a few common forms that skin reactions take when essential oils are applied:
A few essential oils can cause a strong or severe skin irritation and for that reason these oils are very rarely used in the practice of aromatherapy. They include garlic, horseradish, mustard and onion.
Some oils used in massages can be moderately irritating and should be used with caution or avoided altogether, when there is skin sensitivity – cinnamon bark oil, clove, fennel and verbena
This is the same as an allergic skin reaction and usually shows up as a rash. There are not very many oils used in massage practice that produce allergic reactions when applied in a carrier oil. However if you consult PubMed you will find a number of citations reporting allergic skin reactions to different essential oils. These include asthma, contact dermatitis, and eczema. When this happens it usually involves someone who has been using numerous different essential oils and it’s likely that the oils were of poor quality.
There are certain essential oils that dramatically increase sensitivity to sunlight or UV rays when applied on the surface of the skin. The danger increases when the oil is undiluted and applied to the skin. However, even when the concentration is low in a carrier oil, it can still cause problems if the person goes out into the sun or lies under a tanning lamp.
The phototoxic skin reaction will be much stronger immediately after the oil is applied to the skin, but gradually decreases over eight to twelve hours. If the oil is highly concentrated, it can take longer. The majority of oils that are phototoxic are photocarcinogenic as well. The citrus oils are the most common phototoxic oils, with bergamot oil being the most reactive. Some citruses, when expressed, are phototoxic but not when they’re distilled, like lemon and lime oils. Other phototoxic citrus oils are angelica, marigold (Tagetes patula), and verbena.
It is always best to follow the recommendations and use proper dilutions, do not go out into sunlight or have any exposure to UV rays after applying, and do not use citrus oils at all if you are planning on going out into the sun at some point after treatment.
General Essential Oils Uses Guidelines
- Avoid or take special care when applying in areas of delicate skin.
- Any overexposure to essential oils, particularly in small confined areas, can cause blood sugar imbalance, dizziness, euphoria, irritability, lightheadedness, headache, and nausea.
- Light, air and heat degrade essential oils so they must be kept sealed tightly and stored in a cool, dark place.
- Before you experiment with or use an oil, become very familiar with all its properties, recommendations as to dose, and take all precautions.
- When in doubt about a particular oil, or a health condition, consult a qualified medical practitioner.
Essential Oils Uses: Blends vs. Single Oils
The stronger and healthier a person is, the less it matters. Those who have chronic illness or a weak constitution need to be more careful. Sufferers of advanced Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, for example, fall into this category. The use of EO in such cases is focused on cleansing the ECM. As such, the oil(s) selected should have excellent skin penetration ability, easily blend into the ECM, and have low viscosity for easy movement through the ECM and easily metabolized by the liver so by-products are excreted out of the body promptly without stasis accumulation.
When considering essential oils uses, the situation determines whether a single oil or blend is best. Generally speaking, blends tend to be more effective given the synergistic effect of properly selected oil. Multiple blends can be used to have a broad effect as needed. For example, those with ECM congestion and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome can consider EO with adrenal properties as well as foundational ECM properties.
A weak body often needs multiple modalities on a rotational basis because single tools usually cause metabolic toxin accumulation over time. Essential oils uses serve very well as part of the toolbox of multiple tools including marine phytoplankton, activated charcoal, clay, high resistance water etc.
It is very important to begin carefully when leveraging essential oils uses and start any EO program slowly in the presence of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. The more advanced the Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, the more careful one should be. What is considered small amounts for most healthy people, say a few drops, can be too much for those in advanced Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome when the ECM is congested. Even the mere smell or coming into contact physically with EO can trigger an adrenal crash. EO does not work for everyone, but can be of immense value when used properly under correct guidance in advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome as part of a broader arsenal in cleansing the ECM.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
What are the benefits of using essential oils?
Essential oils can be used to elevate health benefits. You can use it through aromatherapy, ingestion, or fragrance through a carrier oil that is used for massage.
What do you think about using essential oils like Young Living Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are a very good option for improving health. You need to follow someone who knows to get the best benefits in the setting of AFS because wrong use can worsen the condition quickly.