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 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.
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.
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:
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, 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.