Aromatherapy Support for Living with Lyme Disease
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Yesterday, January 12th, I spoke once again to my local Lyme disease support group on how aromatherapy can be used to support them on their healing journey. Aromatherapy is not going to cure Lyme disease. I really wish it could, but it can be used to relieve some of the symptoms that come with Lyme disease.
In yesterday's talk we covered fatigue: general & mental. Lyme disease can wipe out your energy levels and make it seem like you are in a continuous brain fog. It is important to learn how to relieve the fatigue so you feel more awake and more capable of traveling this arduous healing path.
I always love presenting to this group because they keep me on my toes and ask lots of questions!! Some of the folks who were in attendance were also at my last talk a year ago and some were new. I really enjoy all of the questions and the interest in learning this group brings to the table!
We talked about diffusion vs personal aromatherapy inhalers. I may come across as opinionated on this topic, but for good reason. 😊 I rarely ever diffuse, and it always for a specific purpose. I believe I have written on this before, but if you have not seen it, let me explain. EOs are medicine. Plain & simple. And should be used with care. Similarly to how antibiotics stop working with overuse, EOs do the same. When we diffuse all day every day, they stop doing what they are meant to do.
Also when we diffuse, we affect everyone in our space. Everyone. Our kids, our partners, our parents, our neighbor who just popped over, our pets, everyone. Sometimes what we would like to use for our own health goals may not be suitable for others. But when we diffuse, we affect everyone in the space.
Another reason I am not a fan of extended diffusion is it unsustainable. This is a big one for me. When we are working with plant medicines, especially EOs, we are using mass amounts of plant material. Many of the plants we use in aromatherapy have entered the threatened stage, and several are endangered. More on sustainability here
So let's look at personal aromatherapy inhalers now. They are portable (use them anywhere & everywhere). They do not affect anyone else (use them anywhere & everywhere). And they can last a really long time. Depending on the volatility of the EOs being used in the blend, they can last for years. I have some inhalers that have been in my desk drawer for a couple of years and they still are putting off an aroma! So instead of refilling the diffuser daily or weekly, a personal aromatherapy inhaler lasts & lasts.
Why am I rambling on about diffusion vs personal aromatherapy inhalers? Well, when we are talking about fatigue, inhalation is the quickest, most efficient way to use aromatherapy to help relieve it. We can use topical applications for fatigue, especially if we want to address muscle fatigue, but for general and mental fatigue, inhalation is the way to go. Inhalation has a direct influence on our limbic system, lungs, and nervous system. And I never advocate casual ingestion. Never ever.
Here is the list of EOs I recommend for relieving fatigue. By no means is the list complete, but I chose EOs that have the least amount of contraindications for it is very important to know if any EO will make your medications not work fully. Please take notice of where I have indicated any safety precautions.
Essential Oil for Fatigue
Balsam Fir/Fir Needle Abies balsamea: mental or emotional fatigue; clarifying; relieves stress by encouraging deep expansive breathing
Black Pepper Piper nigrum: general fatigue; stimulating; emotional coldness
Black Spruce Picea mariana: profound fatigue; mental & emotional exhaustion
Cardamom Elettaria cardamomum: mental fatigue & sluggishness; anxiety; allows for mental clarity during excess worrying
*Keep away from face of infants & small children; use in low dilution
Cistus/Rock Rose Cistus ladaniferus: chronic fatigue; sedative to nervous system; insomnia; anxiety; soothing
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea: mental fatigue; imbalanced emotions; insomnia
*Avoid in pregnancy & breastfeeding; MAX DERMAL: 0.25%
Coriander Corandrum sativum: mental fatigue; nervous exhaustion; muscle ache
Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii: mental or emotional fatigue; increases deep breathing; uplifting; relaxing
Eucalyptus Eulcalyptus radiata: chronic fatigue; mental exhaustion; stimulating
*Keep away from infants & children under 2; avoid in pregnancy & breastfeeding
Frankincense Boswellia carterii: relieves mental fatigue & stress; live in the present; lifts depression; supports introspection
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens: general fatigue; mood swings; stress
Grapefruit Citrus x paradisii: muscular fatigue; muscular stiffness or weakness
Juniper Berry Juniperus communis: chronic fatigue; mental exhaustion; fluctuating energy levels; recovery from illness
Lemon Citrus limon: mental & emotional fatigue; uplifting; clarifying; depression
*Expressed Lemon is phototoxic; do not use topically in sun for 12-24 hours
Orange, Sweet Citrus sinensis: mental & emotional fatigue; refreshing; uplifting
Palmarosa Cympobogon martini: general fatigue; over-exercised muscles
*Avoid in pregnancy; drugs metabolized by CYP2B6; low risk skin sensitizer
Peppermint Mentha x piperita: chronic fatigue; mental sluggishness; stimulating
*Avoid w/ infants & children under 5; avoid undiluted application; avoid in pregnancy & breastfeeding; avoid with cardiac fibrillation; G6PD deficiency; avoid with damaged or diseased skin
Pinon Pine Pinus edulis: mental fatigue; uplifting; evokes deep breathing
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis: chronic fatigue; excessive physical activity; clears the mind; sharpens memory
*Keep away from infants & children under 5; avoid in pregnancy
Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris: mental fatigue; nervous exhaustion; uplifting
*Avoid with major respiratory issues
Silver Fir Abies alba: mental or emotional fatigue; relaxing & soothing; uplifting
Spearmint Mentha spicata: mental fatigue; nervous stress; encourages positivity
*Low skin sensitizer; MAX DERMAL: 1.7%
Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata: chronic fatigue; relieves depression; dispels anger
*Keep away from children under 2; do not use if you have low blood pressure; moderate skin sensitizer; MAX DERMAL 0.8%
Yuzu Citrus junos: chronic fatigue; relieves stress & burnout; soothing to emotions
*Low skin sensitizer
A good amount of the EOs recommended are conifers because they are excellent at helping us take deep breaths. When we breathe deeply, we awaken our body systems. Conifers are wonderful for bringing us out of our brain fog. I recommend blending conifers with citruses for a nice pick-me-up when feeling fatigued.