Endocrine System
by LaRee Westover & Sharon Moran
Butterfly Expressions, LLC

 

The endocrine system consists of the various glands of the body. This list includes the adrenal glands, the pineal gland, the pituitary gland, the pancreas, the thyroid and parathyroid, the thalamus and hypothalamus, and the glands of the male and female reproductive systems. One of the functions of each of these glands is to produce hormones which act as catalysts for the various body functions. They very often work with each other. Without the proper function of these glands and hormones, our bodies would not function optimally. Almost every cell in our body is affected by at least one hormone.

THE ENDOCRINE (GLANDULAR) SYSTEM           PART ONE

ADRENAL GLANDS, PINEAL, AND PITUITARY

GENERAL COMMENTS

When the glands of the endocrine system do not receive the nutrients they need to function properly, they send signals to the brain demanding more nourishment. The brain responds by informing us—often with great insistence—that we need more . . . and more . . . and more. We develop an unhealthy appetite and find ourselves fighting (and, often, giving in to) food cravings. We frequently find ourselves wanting “comfort foods” as our out-of-balance nerves and hormones contribute to patterns of stress eating.

SYMPTOMS / DISEASES

This is a broad category and a very long list. So many diseases have a glandular system component and many diseases that begin somewhere else eventually affect one or mor glands and impede the ability of the glandular system to work harmoniously together and with the rest of the body.

GENERAL STRESSORS

The glandular system is impacted negatively by envioronmental pollution, thyroid medications, drugs for weight control and metaboilism improvement, birth control pills, anti-depressant drugs, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory medications—both prescription and over-the-counter varieties.

The following drugs contribute to glandular problems on every level. I will list them once here rather than under each organ, over and over again. (Most drugs are destructive to one body system or another.) These two drug groups are just particularly destructive of the immune system.

CORTICOSTERIODS, known generically as Tricycllic antidepressants. These drugs are used for depression, of course, but there are also used for skin conditions such as eczema and hives. Prozac is a leader among this nasty group of drugs.

INDOMETHACIN ingredient in anti-inflammatories (pain relief gels and creams)

VITAMINS / MINERALS / FOODS

A balanced diet, vitamins C, A, and B-complex, chlorophyll, supplemental minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc, amino acids, omega 3’s, and flaxseed.

HERBS / SUPPLEMENTS

Alfalfa, astragalus, dandelion, devil’s claw, echinacea, ginseng, gotu kola, hawthorn, juniper berries, kelp, licorice root, milk thistle, mullein, nettles, olive leaf extract, Oregon grape root, papaya, parsley, passion flower, saw palmetto, uva ursi, white oak bark

EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS

The emotional connections of the endocrine system are discussed individually in each upcoming section.

Adrenals

GENERAL COMMENTS

The adrenals produce and excrete certain hormones, among which are the body’s four major stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA, and norepinephrine. Under circumstances of extreme stress, large amounts of cortisol are released, which can lead to a wide range of health problems.

The highest levels of adrenal hormones are typically released in the morning with the levels becoming a little bit lower as evening approaches. Because the adrenal glands are continually firing when we are awake, it is important that we regularly get a good night’s sleep. Adrenal fatigue is always associated with extreme fatigue and the need for naps during the day as the adrenals cry out for frequent periods in which to rest and rebuild.

Some of the functions of adrenal hormones are the metabolism of carbohydrates, the regulation of blood sugar, the maintenance of electrolyte and water balance, the regulation of blood pressure, resistance to stress, and the response of the body to danger. The adrenal glands are absolutely vital to immune system function.

The thyroid and adrenals are closely connected. If one begins to struggle, it can be assumed that the other one will be in trouble very soon.

The cerebellum area of the brain requires dopamine, which is produced in the adrenal glands.

DISEASES

Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, hyperthyroid, hypoglycemia, mononucleosis, pancreatitis, parathyroid problems

SYMPTOMS OF DECREASED FUNCTION

Weakness, lethargy, dizziness, headaches, memory problems, food cravings, aching joints, allergies, blood sugar disorders, a need for frequent naps

STRESSORS

Cortisone therapy, prolonged stress (real or only the result of our perceptions), a traumatic life event poor nutritional habits, the continual consumption of empty carbohydrates and sugar-filled calories, smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, and the consumption of caffeine can result in adrenal fatigue.

VITAMINS / MINERALS / FOODS

Balanced diet, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, chlorophyll, supplemental minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc

HERBS / SUPPLEMENTS

Astragalus, echinacea, milk thistle, kelp, devil’s claw, bilberry, hawthorn, safflowers, licorice root, ginseng, and papaya. Avoid goldenseal or limit its use to no more than a week or two at a time.

EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS

The adrenal glands are designed to play a lead role in protecting us when we are in real danger. Our daily response to stress determines the amount of work the adrenals are called upon to do each day. The emotions driving our adrenal glands to overwork may include a build-up of tension, the feeling that there is no way we can cope or get everything necessary done, and being overwhelmed by our responsibilities. It makes no difference to the adrenal glands whether or not these stressful feelings are based on reality or are only our perception of events and circumstances.

The adrenals, like the kidneys, are paired organs. This gives us a heads up that we need to maintain balance between work and family, logic and intuition, and our feminine and masculine natures if we wish to avoid excess fear or irrational anxiety.

Pineal

The pineal gland is our body’s internal clock, controlling our sleep patterns and helping us to be alert during the day.

The pineal gland also affects blood pressure, body temperature, motor function, reproduction, collagen, enzymes, and body cycles and rhythms. The pineal affects every other gland as well as the cardiovascular system. Nerve impulses from the pineal gland are fed to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

DISEASES / SYMPTOMS

Depression, discontent, feelings of self-doubt, sleep disorders, and mood swings

STRESSORS

Mercury from dental fillings, a variety of drugs including cortison therapy, poor nutritional habits, smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, caffeine!

VITAMINS / MINERALS / FOODS

Minerals, whole foods diet, B-Complex, calcium, magnesium

HERBS / SUPPLEMENTS

Kelp, stinging nettle, alfalfa, ginseng, parsley, passion flower, cilantro (to remove mercury), gotu kola, nervine herbs

EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS

Problems in the pineal gland are often associated with the misunderstanding, misuse, or fear of spiritual or intuitive gifts with which one has been blessed. Intuitive gifts are meant to be used with love and patience. Their use cannot be forced or hurried. If we have them—and I believe that we all do, to one degree of development or another—they are meant to be used to bless ourselves and others. Their use is part of our personal walk. Gratitude for them and for the other blessings of one’s life are healing and rejuvenating to the pineal gland.

GENERAL COMMENTS

Sunlight (or full-spectrum artificial light) triggers retinal nerve impulses which then travel to the pineal gland and on to the other glands in the body.

Pituitary

The pituitary gland is one of the master glands and gives instructions to other glands, telling them how much to produce and how to function optimally. The pituitary gland protects us from fatigue due to mental stress.

DISEASES / SYMPTOMS

Mental fatigue, trembling, Alzheimer’s

STRESSORS

Much the same as the adrenals and thymus

VITAMINS / MINERALS / FOODS

Vitamin E, B-Complex, manganese, selenium, trace minerals, amino acids

HERBS / SUPPLEMENTS

Kelp, ginseng, stinging nettle, gotu kola, alfalfa, echinacea, red clover, and herbal bitters such as dandelion, cleavers, burdock, milk thistle, yarrow

EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS

The basic emotions demonstrated by an out-of-balance pituitary gland are disconnection between the reality of our physical, material environment and the inner world of the spirit. We may find it difficult to remember, and act as if we remember, that we are all spiritual beings and children of divine parentage.

The pituitary’s role in pregnancy and gestation gives it connections to our feelings about our own maternity and our role as mothers.

GENERAL COMMENTS

The pituitary gland produces the hormones that are essential to fertility. It is the pituitary that induces ovulation and maintains pregnancy, controls lactation, and produces estrogen for the prevention of symptoms associated with menopause.

Communications from the pituitary stimulates the thyroid and the adrenal glands, making then an essential part of normal growth patterns, hair growth, and over-all health, to name just a few functions.

The pituitary governs re-absorption in the kidneys and produces oxytocin. Oxytocin stimulates uterine contraction during labor and promotes uterine tone at other times. Nursing stimulates the pituitary.

An interesting aspect related specifically to the adrenal glands is that there are 2 of them, one on each kidney. The whole concept of two brings into perspective the need for balance – a balance of not only the physical but also the mental and emotionally aspects of our bodies. The adrenals help produce the “fight or flight” response within us. If they are struggling and out of balance the body may become severely stressed and fatigued. This imbalance certainly gives way to such disorders as chronic fatigue syndrome where the body is exhausted and needs to take the adrenals “offline” in order to rest and recoup.

The pineal gland manages our internal clock. Notice how our ability to obtain restful sleep (to rest and take the adrenals off line) is interwoven with the pineal gland. The pituitary is considered a master gland. It monitors the other glands and makes sure that the appropriate amount of each hormone is produced and released into the blood. As I said earlier, the glands work together to produce hormones and almost every cell in your body is affected by them.

Take good care to nurture and balance your endocrine system. It plays a vital role in your overall health and well being.

Oils that have an affinity for the adrenal glands, the pineal gland and the pituitary gland include:
LeAboutFace, LeAcknowledge, LeAngel, LeBalance, LeCherish, LeCinnamonBear, LeDeliverance, LeEndoRelief, LeEnergy, LeEternity, LeEverlasting, LeExpressions,Le EZ Traveler, LeFaith, LeGrace, LeHeartSong, LeInnerPeace, LeIQ, LeIntention, LeKindred Spirit, LeLetting Go, LeLifeForce, LeLiteN, LeLivN, LeMeditiation, LeMillenia, LeQuietEssence, LeRevitalize, LeTranquility, LeTrust, LeVitality, LeWomanWise basil, geranium, jasmine, Melissa, patchouli, petitgrain, rose, sage, sandalwood, spruce, rosemary

Herbs which have an affinity for the adrenal glands, the pineal gland and the pituitary gland include:
AD, BHM, CF, EW, HVC, IBL, KNA, MH, MIN, MW, NV, NS, NT, NVC, alfalfa, astragalus, bilberry, burdock, cilantro, dandelion, devil’s claw, Echinacea, ginseng, gotu kola, hawthorn, juniper berries, kelp, licorice root, milk thistle, neetles, olive leaf, Oregon grape root, papaya, parsley, passion flower, red clover, saw palmetto, uva ursi, white oak bar

Take a look inside the book