Essential Oils Uses For Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Part 1

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH

Essential Oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue

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.

Natural Herbal Essential Oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue include powerful therapeutic effects that must be used with care for recoveryDue 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Among other applications, essential oils uses for adrenal fatigue sufferers include pain reliefEssential 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.
  3. 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.

Read Part 2 Now!

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

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.

Essential Oils uses for Adrenal Fatigue
5 - "Dr. Lam's site is excellent."
Dr. Lam's site is excellent. Go there if you haven't already. I am going to try some of the stuff on there. I was worried it was going to have things that were way too holistic. But it's very common sense and has a medical basis. I'm glad I found this site?


  • Alicia says:

    What is the best way to get started on essential oils? Can I become over stimulated or make me worse?

  • Jun says:

    I heard Oregano oil under the tongue is helpful for colds and fevers. Do you know if this is true?

  • Ralph says:

    Would ingesting essential oils internally potentially cause a crash? Is it safer to use on the skin?

  • Patty Sankey says:

    I am in advanced stage adrenal fatigue. Have been sick for over a year with some mystery autoimmune illness that 12 doctors cannot diagnose. I’ve had horrible skin rashes and disabling fatigue. On several occasions I felt so ill that I thought I was dying. My inflammatory markers have been elevated and I’ve had horrible joint pain. This all started in Feb 2016, about 36 hours after eating 2 slices of wheat/ rye bread. (I had been gluten free for 8 years prior). I’ve since had positive genetic markers for celiacs. I have been on disability since Sept 2016 and the rash is greatly improved after a month of doxycycline for a positive MRSA culture of arm sores. I’m still sleeping most of my days and having terrible joint pains. I’m not feeling any better and I want to use essential oils. Can you advise me on which ones would be best for my situation? Thank you.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Without a lot more information and details, it is not possible to make blanket recommendations. I’m very sorry.


  • Blake says:

    Can essential oils make you worse?

  • Rory says:

    I learned more about the benefits of essential oils through this article. Thanks much!

  • Lenny says:

    Is almond milk and okay carrier to take orally with?

    • Dorine Lam RDN says:

      I don’t see the reason for not ok.

      Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH
      Registered Dietitian and Senior Holistic Nutritionist

  • Nobs says:

    Am so thrilled I discovered this site. Am also new to EOs and find them interesting especially when they deliver the desired effect. Thanks for a stimulating article Dr Lam.

  • Patricia says:

    I’ve heard that adding grapefruit essential oil to water is helpful for weight loss and fat accumulation, but I’m concerned because I’ve heard that citrus is stimulating on the body. Would it be ok to continue adding the Oil to my water and is it true that grapefruit essential oil helps with fat loss?

    • Dorine Lam RDN says:

      Citrus can be stimulating because of the vitamin C content in the fruit for those that suffer advanced stages of AFS. If you have been using grapefruit essential oil and not felt the stimulation, it is ok to continue.

      Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH
      Registered Dietitian and Senior Holistic Nutritionist

  • Victor says:

    Wow, I always used oils to help clear my nasal passage. I had no idea they had all these different uses. I could learn something every day reading your website. Thanks.

  • Rian says:

    Doterra vs Young Living – what do you think?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Both are highly promoted. AFS sufferers tend to be very sensitive so these usually are not very suitable.

      Dr Lam

  • Isabella says:

    Is it safe to make your own essential oils? I’d like to invest in a cold press machine, but am not sure where to start.

  • Diaz says:

    I’ve tried essential oils and they have worked well with me but, when my wife tries them, they can put her in a bit of a worse state. Not sure why. Is that normal ?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      That means the body has some underlying issues that is unable to accept or process the oil

      Dr Lam.

  • Amber says:

    How do cooking oils differ from essential oils. I really don’t understand this whole process and how an oil can be nutrition…

    • Dorine Lam RDN says:

      Cooking oil is extracted and processed from nuts and seeds for cooking only. While essential oils are distilled and extracted the medicinal properties of each herb or flower, so it is very potent. Some can be ingested, inhaled or applied on the body. If you are very sick, it is best to use essential oils under the guidance of a health practitioner.

      Dorine Lam, RDN , MS, MPH
      Registered Dietitian and Senior Holistic Nutritionist

    • Laurie says:

      Amber, here’s a great diagram about how essential oils are created. Might help explain a little bit.

  • Sadako says:

    How safe are oils for adrenal fatigue? I’m thinking I should start with something more mild…

    • Dr.Lam says:

      It is well tolerated if your AFS is mild. If you are in advance stages, it can worsen you.

      Dr Lam

  • Nikki says:

    What carrier oil would you reccomend? ive often heard that coconut oil is there one that you recommend instead?

    • Dorine Lam RDN says:

      Olive oil, jojoba oil and almond oil are good carrier oil. Coconut oil should be ok too. Always best to get organic oil.
      Dorine Lam, RDN , MS, MPH
      Registered Dietitian and Senior Holistic Nutritionist

  • Felix says:

    Hello, great article, but I was wondering if there was an oil for headaches? Thanks for everything!

    • Dr. Lam says:

      There are many different types of headaches, and depending on the type, the essential oil used can differ. for example, lavender and peppermint may be helpful for migraine headaches, while eucalyptus oil more suitable for sinus headaches.


  • Nicole says:

    To strengthen the ECM overall what essential oils do you recommend?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      It really depends on the dominant weakness presenting. By the time ECM issues are suspected, most bodies are fragile and weak. Target therapy is best. Also do note that “strong” oil is not necessary the best and sometimes can do more damage .

      Dr Lam

  • Lydia says:

    Hi Dr. Lam. I am feeling terribly fatigued and can barely walk more than 5 mins without gasping for breath. I would like to mention that I did have a Craniopharyngioma which was removed in 2015, it then regrew within 12 months and I had to have surgery to remove it again. After my first surgery I was diagnosed with Hypopituitarism and am now taking Hydrocortisone, Thyroxine and Desmopressin. I can’t understand why I am feeling so fatigued, I was told about the benefits of Essential Oils. What do you recommend?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      your situation is complex and first you need to go back to all the doctors and see if there is any adjustments that has to be made with your meds etc. If there is no solution by your docs, then we should look into AFS as a concurrent event which does happen in cases like yours when the body is weakened. A detailed history by knowledgable practitioner is needed. you can call my office if you need help.

      Dr Lam

  • Nicole says:

    Can essential oils be used on pets? Do you happen to know if it is safe for them?

  • Warrior Princess says:

    Dr Lam, Why are you writing your articles as if you are addressing doctorate scholarly students? Most of your readers probably don’t have beyond a high school education! Words you use every day aren’t in their daily vocabulary.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Very sorry. We are dealing often with complex subjects and obviously our attempt to make it easy to read for most may not be good enough. If you have specific issues that you dont understand, feel free to ask.

      Dr Lam

    • lana says:

      Seriously!!??? Not everyone wants a dumb-down version of everything, especially when it is dealing with important issues like health. I guess he could make some diagrams for some who can’t understand his written portion. But I would not trust my health with an article that looks like it was written by a 3rd grader.

  • EMILY SCORER says:

    Thank you. Also really lookiing forward to Part 2 and if there is any more details on which EO’s to use to clear the pollution and toxic load on the ECM

  • Kathy Shelton says:

    Thank you for the fascinating info on essential oils! My daughter just tried peppermint on her knee pain and felt relief. I’m wondering what you recommend for liver congestion as this has been a major hinderance to my adrenal healing.

  • Brenda Lawler says:

    Hi my adrenals are completely exhausted. I have been at stage 3 for 3 years now. I am on also on high doses of hydrocortisone, even more than a typical Addison’s patient. I am waiting for testing results for Lyme and other co infections. There is concern that the source of the adrenal exhaustion has not been found yet. I take loads of daily supplements. I have read your book and I am on many of your suggestions. I have Changed my diet, eat GF of course, I mostly eat organic vegetables and clean meats, very little fruit. I am also hypothyroid. I would like to know how many essential oils to use and any other suggestions. I have just recently been introduced to clinical grade essential oils and my shipment arrives soon.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Essential oils can be considered if you have extra cellular matrix congestion provide you do it right. It can also crash you if you are weak. You need to be very careful before you begin , especially if you have liver congestion within. The key to understand is that “strong” is not necessarily better.

      Dr Lam.

  • Patty says:

    I am currently using Endoflex(Young Living) on my adrenals. What other oils, and how to use them, do you suggest? Stage 2 AF

    • Dr.Lam says:

      The key in proper use of oil is to make sure the dosage and delivery matches the body’s ability to get rid of it once work is done. Everyone is very different and when you are in advance AFS, you have to be very careful with oils. it can be useful but can also crash you. Stage 2 is relatively mild so you have more liberty to “experiment”

      Dr Lam

  • Jessica says:

    I’m looking forward to Part 2. Curious what oils would be helpful for neck tightness and pain. Thanks, Dr. Lam!

  • Cindy says:

    Wow! So much I did not know about oils. Thank you Dr. Lam