What the Heck are Adrenal Glands?
If you would have asked me six years ago what my adrenal glands were, I would have said, “um, what in the world are you talking about, drena what?”
Since my health crash, I have learned the profound impact that loving my adrenal glands has on my overall health and ability to heal autoimmunity.
Just in case you’re in the same boat I was, not even knowing what an adrenal gland was, I want to educate you about what these glands are, why they’re important and what natural and holistic remedies you can use to help them function properly again or keep them properly functioning.
Every Organ Matters
While conventional doctors tend to discount the importance the adrenal glands play in our bodily processes and they poo-poo the idea that a person’s adrenals can even get fatigued, adrenal fatigue is a very real threat to your quality of life.
Within functional medicine, the approach that all body systems and organs are interconnected and need one another to help all cells stay healthy, the adrenal glands are valued and their importance is well understood.
Where Are Your Adrenal Glands?
First, let me tell you where your adrenal glands are. They are two triangular shaped glands that sit atop each of your kidneys. They work directly with your brain and other organs in processes which you’ll learn more about in a second.
When the brain registers a threat and releases adrenaline hormones (think fight-flight response), the adrenal cortex (perimeter of the adrenal gland) releases cortisol into the body which causes a myriad of metabolic processes to happen in the ENTIRE body. I will share those processes below.
With the proper functioning of adrenal glands, this fight-or-flight response is a good thing. It helps your body get out of danger and protect itself. God did such an amazing job designing this system.
When your adrenals get fatigued, it’s because the adrenaline hormones are always pumping and signaling your adrenal glands to pump out more cortisol. The problem is that the adrenals are constantly working and never get to rest.
Bodily Processes the Adrenal Glands Play a Role In
As I mentioned above, your adrenal glands are involved in a lot of bodily processes.
When cortisol is produced, the hormone actually attaches to your cells and it:
- Inhibits digestion
- Controls your blood sugar
- Tells your body to protect itself by holding on to fat
- Controls the use of carbohydrates and proteins
- Balances the salt and water levels in your body
- Helps to control blood pressure
- Helps to develop a fetus during pregnancy
- Helps regulate sex hormones
- Aids in good memory
- Supports good cardiovascular functioning
- Support a thriving immune system
- Helps promote good sleep (when Cortisol naturally lowers.)
When Your Adrenal Glands are Constantly ‘On’
As you can see, proper functioning adrenal glands are very important for your well being. Your body is designed to use Cortisol and Adrenaline for good things.
The problem happens when these hormones are overused and your body is communicating the need for more and more to be created. With that ‘need’ the adrenals never have time to relax and rest and the stress hormones they create are constantly circulating in your body causing damage and the glands get fatigued. They simply run out of steam and stop creating cortisol in the way they were designed too.
Things That Happen When Your Adrenal Glands Get Fatigued:
- Digestion slows
- Weight gain or extreme weight loss
- Lack of sleep or always sleepy
- Low libido (or none)
- Achy body
- Can’t concentrate
- Increased bone loss
- Racing thoughts
- Hormone imbalances
- Food cravings
- Hindered learning
- Memory loss
- Poor immune function
- Impaired cardiovascular function
- Cushing’s Syndrome (excess Cortisol)
- Addison’s Disease(not enough Cortisol)
The Root Cause of Adrenal Fatigue
The Root Cause is plain and simple. You are overdoing it in one or all of these areas:
The number One Remedy to Combat Adrenal Fatigue
Reduce and manage your stress better. You can do all of the natural remedies I will share with you below but if you don’t make lifestyle changes to change the physical, mental and emotional stress you’re under, your adrenal glands will not heal.
If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve. Tony Robbins
Maybe you need to get some coaching to help you make some lifestyle changes?
Maybe you need to find a counselor to help you work through some mental and emotional turmoil?
Maybe you need to find a mentor to walk with you through life’s mountains and valleys?
Maybe it’s time to find a new job?
Maybe it’s time to let go of the unhealthy friendship or relationship?
Maybe it’s time to turn your phone off and only have it on during certain times of the day?
An Assignment for You
Today, sit down and do a genuine evaluation of what you need to change in your life that will help reduce the stress. Write a list of all the things that are stressful. Then, by each item put a star by the ones that are in your control and you have the power to change. Next, choose one item and address it. Once, you have conquered that one, move on to the next one.
Also, check out 15 more practical and powerful ideas I have to holistically reduce your chronic stress.
7 Natural Treatments to Defeat Adrenal Fatigue
Before I get into the seven recipes and treatments, I wanted to talk about several essential oils I will be referencing and give you details about them here. If you want your own, at wholesale prices, through FOJO, click here or on the names below.
- Basil Reduces adrenal fatigue and balances adrenal hormones due to its antioxidant constituent eugenol *Do not use when pregnant.
- Clove Helps to prevent oxidative stress which can fatigue adrenals because the body is working overtime to clean itself up.
- Coriander Melts away stress and naturally supports adrenals with its constituent called linalool.
- Rosemary Lowers Cortisol, boosts mood, improves memory, relieves muscle aches, and helps to regulate hormones and blood sugar.
- Clary Sage Strengthens kidneys and adrenals and is the best oil for balancing hormones. It’s ultra calming due to its constituent linalyl acetate. *Do not use when pregnant.
- Roman Chamomile High in esters, it can help with occasional sleeplessness and getting your body into the parasympathetic (or restful) state. Supports good digestive health and helps with joint discomfort and well as anxious thoughts and feelings of self doubt or sadness. Due to its high levels of flavonoids is also helps support good cardiovascular health. *Do not use when pregnant.
1 | Recipe for Adrenal Compress
Apply 1 drop each of Rosemary, Clove, and Basil essential oils with 1/4 tsp. fractionated coconut oil to your kidney area and then apply a warm washcloth on top of that. Do this for 20 minutes each day to bring Cortisol levels down and help your body get into that parasympathetic state and out of fight-or-flight mode.
2 | Adrenal Support Rollerball Remedy
When you know your adrenals are getting exhausted, you can make this rollerball blend and keep it on your bathroom counter to use every morning. You can also keep it in your purse to help you remember to apply it when you’re out and about.
In a 10ml rollerball bottle (I love these new black matte glass ones), add 20 drops each of Rosemary Essential Oil, Clove Essential Oil, Basil Essential Oil and Coriander Essential Oil. Then, fill the rest up with Fractionated Coconut Oil. Apply 2-3 times a day over kidneys. If you keep this blend with you, I love these silicon sleeve holders that attach to your purse.
3 | Foot Reflex Points for Adrenals
Using the rollerball recipe above, apply it 2-3 times a day to the adrenal reflex point on the feet. The adrenal reflex points are on the sole of your foot, just about halfway up the foot, in line with your big toes.
4 & 5 | The Best Adaptogenic Herbs for Adrenal Support
Adaptogenic herbs are literally amazing. They have the capability to help your body adapt to find balance again. It’s important to use them wisely because not all adaptogenic herbs are for everybody. That’s why I recommend reading this book to learn in depth about these special herbs.
The first adaptogenic herb that I can help rewire your adrenals and help them function properly again is Ashwagandha (warning: only buy from a company that tests for heavy metals! This herb is sourced from India and can have really high levels of metals in it. This brand tests all their products for purity and to be free of heavy metals and it’s my favorite.)
Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen that can help with balancing Cortisol levels and help the adrenals adjust to stress. It has a direct effect on the endocrine system and can stimulate the thyroid. It is excellent at regulating the adrenal glands. A normal dose is 1-4, 500mg capsules per day.
*Do not use it if you have hemochromatosis and avoid using it when pregnant. It is also a nightshade so if you can’t tolerate nightshades, it’s best to avoid this adaptogen. However, there’s an alternative that you can use.
The second adaptogenic herb that I gravitate to more than Ashwagandha is Rhodiola. This herb is a cooling adaptogen and has a direct effect on the adrenals. It is the least likely to cause overstimulation. It reduces fatigue, improves memory, helps with depression, helps prevent immune depletion, and relieves muscle spasms. A normal dose is 2-4, 120mg capsules per day. *Do not use this adaptogen if you are bipolar, manic or paranoid.
6 | Daily Adrenal Relaxation Recipe
When I was struggling with Adrenal Fatigue, one of the remedies I used faithfully (every single day) were Epsom salt baths. I strongly recommend them.
To do an Epsom salt bath, first, you’ll need Epsom salt with NO fillers or fragrance. This is my favorite choice.
Using 1/2 C. – 1 C. of Epsom salt per bath, add 1 drop each of Basil Essential Oil, Coriander Essential Oil, and Roman Chamomile Essential Oil to the water. Relax in the bath for at least 20 minutes a day. To truly decompress, don’t bring your screens into the bathroom with you (no phone, etc.)
7 | A Powerfully Relaxing Tea for Adrenal Support
Not only is drinking tea a very relaxing thing to do because it forces you to take a moment and slow down, but drinking Organic Holy Basil Tea (or Tulsi) will have a dramatically positive effect on your adrenals.
Holy Basil is another adaptogenic herb that powerfully lowers Cortisol levels and helps to regulate hormones. It helps the body to adapt to stress and fight adrenal fatigue. Drink one cup of this tea a day for at least a month and enjoy optimally working adrenal glands again.
Love Your Adrenals and Defeat Adrenal Fatigue
Now that you know how important proper functioning adrenal glands are and the processes they help control, and you have many practical ideas to implement to get them healthy again, you are well on your way to healing.
The first step is awareness. However, the second step is action!
Which of these practical ideas are you going to implement? I’d love to know in the comments below.
Remember, you can have all the knowledge in the world but if you aren’t taking actionable steps, the knowledge will not do you any good. Take the steps to love your adrenals!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.