Addison's Disease Remedies

Aug 25, 2016

Periodic highs and lows in both mood and energy are perfectly normal considering your daily activity and stress level, but when those highs and lows become a constant, recurring way of life, you might be experiencing more than “typical fatigue.” These symptoms are characteristics of a fairly common condition known as Addison’s disease. Any adrenal condition can make normal functioning difficult but especially this one, so we’ve come up with a few home treatments for you including hydrocortisone, plant-source cortisol, and a variety of dietary supplements.

What Is Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease is considered an adrenal condition. It is an issue that involves the insufficient production of hormones by the adrenal glands. More specifically, the disease occurs as the glands produce too little cortisol.

The condition is called by a number of other names including adrenal insufficiency and hypocortisolism. It occurs in people of all ages and of either sex and is caused by the irregular functioning of the adrenal glands. While regular treatment typically controls the condition, it can be life-threatening if left untreated.

How Do I Know If I Have Adrenal Insufficiency?

Adrenal insufficiency is a progressive condition that normally begins with limited symptoms that evolve to more involved health concerns. If you are concerned you may have Addison’s disease consider the most common symptoms including muscle weakness and fatigue, weight loss, decreased appetite, hyperpigmentation, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, irritability, depression, body hair loss, and sexual dysfunction. You should consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you suspect you may have the condition based on these symptoms.

Can I Treat Hypocortisolism Naturally?

If you have been diagnosed with the condition or know that your adrenal levels need regulated, you can treat the condition naturally. Hypocortisolism is a condition that responds well to regulatory treatment. Hydrocortisone, plant-source cortisol, and dietary supplements are among the most effective home treatment options.

1. Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is a regulatory medication that can help treat the myriad of symptoms associated with Addison’s disease. It contains specific compounds that relieve inflammation in the system and regulate the production of specific hormones.

2. Plant-Source Cortisol

As the condition is one that is caused by a deficient supply of cortisol, plant-source cortisol is an effective replacement for the condition. You can take this supplement in capsule form or get it from natural sources like grapefruit, coffee, and licorice.

3. Dietary Supplements

Nutritional supplements are another effective option for supporting treatment of hypocortisolism. The most important supplements include vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin B6, L-carnitine, and licorice.

If you’re struggling with fatigue, weight loss, depression, or any of the other symptoms associated with Addison’s disease try one of these remedies or any of our other reader contributed treatment suggestions. See below for many more tips from our wonderful readers!

Alphabetical Recent Post
Peppermint Oil22015-02-14
Plant-Source Cortisol02014-03-13
Supplements, Dietary Changes12011-02-08


Posted by Ze'ev (Dimona, Israel) on 04/29/2013

What is the approximate maximum period of time that it's possible to take hydrocortisone (20 mg. with breakfast and 10 mg. with lunch.) for Addison's disease or adrenal fatigue? I should be very grateful for your assistance.

Replied by Connie
Slc, Utah, Usa

Hi Ze'ev; The amount of time one one needs to be on hydrocortisone depends on the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is Primary or Secondary Addison's Disease, then, one must take hydrocortisone, (HC), for life. The average dosage is 25mgs. Daily in divided doses, usually a higher dosage in the morning. (I have secondary Addison's, and I take 20 mgs. HC daily in divided dosages, 10-5-5).

When I develop an infection, flu, etc., I must "stress dose" HC, to imitate what a healthy body would do in these circumstances. I will double or triple the dosage to prevent a crisis. ( blood pressure could drop, and death could result. ) During this time, I also increase salt intake.

If the diagnosis is " Adrenal Fatigue", then the treatment would be quite different. Many physicians do not accept that term, but I've read of other people reporting low pituitary/adrenal function, or dysfunction, from test results.

Many people with pituitary or adrenal dysfunction will have low morning cortisol, but elevated evening cortisol. It's a good idea to test for that. Salivary testing is good, because it can be done at home.

Treatment for adrenal dysfunction usually doesn't require cortisol dosing, but many practitioners will prescribe it for temporary use. I've read time spans from as little as 2 wks. , to as much as 2 yrs. Tapering down the dosage must be done Very carefully and slowly. It could take months to do this properly. This should be done under a practitioner's care.

Replied by Rose

Cartinine would not be indicated for someone who is also hypothyroid.

A 2004 study found that L-carnitine acts as a peripheral antagonist of thyroid hormone action. In particular, L-carnitine inhibits both triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) entry into the cell nuclei.[12] For this reason, L-carnitine has been proposed as a supplement to treat hyperthyroidism. A 2001 study found that L-carnitine was useful in both reversing and preventing hyperthyroid symptoms. [13]

12. Benvenga S, Amato A, Calvani M, Trimarchi F (Nov 2004). "Effects of carnitine on thyroid hormone action". Ann N Y Acad Sci 1033: 158?167. doi:10.1196/annals.1320.015.

13. Benvenga S1, Ruggeri RM, Russo A, Lapa D, Campenni A, Trimarchi F (Aug 2001). "Usefulness of L-carnitine, a naturally occurring peripheral antagonist of thyroid hormone action, in iatrogenic hyperthyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial". The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 86: 3579?94. doi:10.1210/jcem.86.8.7747

Peppermint Oil  

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Posted by Lorica (Indiana) on 02/14/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I am hypothyroid with Addison's. I take 40 mg. hydrocortisone, and 150 mg. ThyroGold, and don't want to take anymore. I still have had symptoms, like getting cold easily and poor circulation and fatigue and some brain fog.

The circulation problem is mostly aggravated by the fact that I do a lot of art work sitting down. I have a little cube timer that goes off every 15 minutes so I can get up and walk around or do something else. But still, even 15 minutes of sitting makes my legs feel heavy and stiff.

I started drinking a lot of peppermint tea, sipping on it throughout the day. Also, I have rubbed peppermint essential oil into my adrenal areas and thyroid once a day and rub some of the oil on my upper lip under my nose. I rub the oil into the reflexology thyroid and adrenal areas of the feet, giving some definite massage there.

Studies show that smelling peppermint essential oil (be sure it's real essential oil) improves circulation and mental function and that's what I'm seeing. Within the first two days I noticed a big improvement in circulation, energy, mood and mental clarity.

Replied by Lauren
Queens, US

Hi lorica....I am curious about the did it work for you. I have been meaning to try it for a long time now but have hesitated because there is not much information out there. I am hypothyroid for about five years and am desperately seeking ways to get off these stupid meds..I wouldn't mind staying on them if I was feeling good but instead sometimes I really believe I feel worse after taking them. Please let me know asap....I 've been wanting to try this for a long time....thank you so much

Replied by Cindy
Buffalo, Ny
5 out of 5 stars

I have SAI I am on 10 mg of hydrocortisone in AM and 5 in PM. I love peppermint oil and it is helping me feel like myself again. The brain fog goes away and my circulation is so much better! I'm very happy about this!

Replied by Tracey

I have had Addison's disease and hypothyroidism for 20 years. It ruined my life. I started noticing something was wrong and it took 6 months before they diagnosed me. I was about dead. I still have so many issues and battle for energy on a daily bases. I have never seen anything about peppermint oil till I read this. I am going to see what I can do w it. I would love to b able to live again instead of just surviving.

Replied by Overcomer

Hi Tracey

I feel you. :( I've been diagnosed with the same thing. You are describing EXACTLY what's going on in my life in your input above. I've noticed a good change in my energy and mood levels when I've taken B12 and B Complex injections. I used to have them weekly and I could manage much better. It's worth a try. Also, please have a look at the High-Fat Low-Carb diet (Banting diet). I am convinced right-eating leads to right-living and I know with this condition our bodies will definitely respond favourably. Eliminating toxins like sugar will only help; and not subject you to that vicious cycle of short-lived energy boosts and long-lasting energy lags.

I be having my peppermint tea. :)

Replied by Donna
South Carolina

I came across an article online written by an alternative MD that cured a woman of full blown Addison's disease (adrenals not working at all and non-curable) with homeopathic ayahuasca. The author didn't give the dosage or dilution, but did say it took 3 months. When the woman went back to her regular doctor to get retested, he told her she had no signs of Addison's Disease. She asked him if he had ever seen it reversed and he said, No. With a little Google searching you may be able to find the article, otherwise it may look like I am the Doc promoting myself. I know you can get homeopathic ayahuasca from Helios in the UK. - only place I know.

Replied by Sunny

Donna, I would like to know more about the homeopathic you mentioned. I am on very low dose hydrocortisone and I would like to try getting off it. Is Ayahuasca available in the United States?

Plant-Source Cortisol  

Posted by Jan (Portland, Oregon) on 03/13/2014

PLEASE HELP, if you can. I have Addison's Disease but have been living a healthy, happy, active, normal life for twenty years because of Bezwecken's Isocort. I thought their plant-source cortisol was a miracle. Then they stopped making it. I am in bed, dying, heart pounding wildly as blood pressure dropping, as I search the Internet for a replacement. No luck. All adrenal cortex formulas have hormones removed, and there are no formulas like Isocort. Extremely allergic to synthetic forms of cortisol. Taking licorice, ginseng, ginkgo, schizandra, astragalus, pregnenolone, C, E, Pantothenic Acid and a multi and eating grapefruit. Those help to increase adrenal function, but not if one has "no measurable cortisol. "

Do you know of a natural glandular with the cortisol not removed? or a plant-source bioidentical cortisol? Please reply. Thank you,

Replied by Dave Donate

Fountain Inn, Sc

Hello Jan,

Re the Addison's Disease;

I wrote two extensive posts under the permanent "Addison's Disease" Ailments section on EC. If you'd look there I talk about the wonderful glandular "raw adrenal" and in another post to the same lady (after she had elaborated on her condition) ... I speculate that she may also have a long standing infection effecting her endocrine system. I recommend colloidal silver to knock out infections.

So very sorry to hear what you are going through. Would you please look at those posts I mentioned. Maybe some of the suggestions could be of use to you.

Replied by Mike62

Jan: You can buy the new vegetarian formula on amazon. Some of the reviews said the new formula works. One said he changed to Adrenergize.

Replied by Ella
South Africa

I am seeing a naturopath who is treating me for Adrenal insufficieny. she has recommended a natural herbal med. I have been on it for 3 weeks and feel an improvement with some of my symptoms. The following ingredients are found in this supplement:

  • Vit c
  • Thiamin
  • Vit B6
  • Pantothenic acide
  • Calcium
  • N-acetyle tyrosine
  • Adrenal glandular
  • Citrus bioflavanoids
  • L-carnitine
  • Licorice
  • Rhodiola
  • Bacopa

I feel your pain.. Goodluck..

Replied by Ashley

Jan- I am curious if you have found a replacement that works for you?

Replied by Astrid
Golden Beach Qld

Hi there coul you please let me know the name of the product you mentioned. Sound like a comprehensive list of nutrients ...thanks...

Replied by Holland
Santa Barbara

Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by the permanent Addison's disease section? Is it on this same page or elsewhere? Thank you!

Supplements, Dietary Changes  

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Posted by Connie (Slc, Ut) on 02/08/2011

Hi Robin;
I'm someone who has a similar condition to yours. While Addison's is primary adrenal insufficiency, mine is secondary adrenal insufficiency. (pituitary origin) They are usually caused by an autoimmune assault that results in low to no production of cortisol and other hormones. When cortisol is not produced, there is an extremely high probability of loss of life from even the smallest amount of stress. Cortisol replacement is very difficult to balance because it goes up and down daily, and it goes up with infections, etc. We have to try to approximate this dynamic fluctuation when taking this hormone.

With Addison's disease when cortisol is low, there is low sodium, low chlorides, and resulting high potassium in blood serum. There is often times metabolic acidosis. (low bicarbonates, etc. ) When cortisol is replaced correctly, sodium and chlorides are then held, and potassium returns back into cells from the serum in blood.

If cortisol replacement is too high, sodium and chlorides can become too high, bicarbonates may increase to push out high chlorides, and potassium will be flushed out of the body. This can result with Alkalosis. (often indicated along with low potassium in serum blood test).

Addisonians often have difficulty metabolizing calcium, and it can be high in blood and tissues. Cortisol usually lowers ca in blood, but ca can remain in tissues.

There can be high magnesium with low and high cortisol, because there is probably kidney distress. With electrolyte imbalances, there is most often kidney distress.

Most Endocrinologists now are recommending that patients try to keep maintenance cortisol dosages below 30mg. Daily and as close to 20mg. as possible. If dosage needs to be reduced, then it must be done very slowly, with Dr.s care and attention. (we don't want a crisis to occur).

I have struggled to reduce my daily dosage in the past, but I have found that certain natural substances I've learned about here, and through my own research have made my dosage reduction possible.

I found that increasing my potassium intake reduced my pain exponentially. I did not decrease my sodium intake. (sea salt) I do take a potassium supplement at this time as long as I seem to need it. ( I usually take potassium gluconate because it is more neutral, "plant like"). It is absorbed very quickly, so I take small amounts at a time so as not to disturb the other electrolytes. (250mgs) The amount I take daily varies, and I have a set of symptoms that indicate the need for more. I also eat a high potassium diet, but I salt it to good flavor.

I have found that, reducing the amount of acids that I have each day, helps with pain and helps with lowering my cortisol needs. It is also helping to lower my potassium needs. (less autoimmune, viral, infectious outbreaks).

I take Iodine (Lugol's) for glandular support and infection resistance. I couldn't take thyroid meds. (too stimulating for me). People take it in a wide variety of ways and amounts that change, so it's up to us to find that amount, but I like to put 4 to 6 drops of 2% lugol's in 1 oz. water, and hold it in my mouth for several minutes, then spit.

I also take H2o2 on occasions. When a lung infection arises, I use Bill Munro's method of intake until the infection ceases. I also apply it to my skin a few times weekly.

I also take Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root, (and leaf) regularly, off and on for kidney, liver support. I believe they really help this condition. They are powerful, so I take them 1 hr. apart from meds.

These practices have been so effective with keeping away infections for me, that I'm not sure I can remember when I had to double my cortisol dosage for an infection.

I really hope that this can ease the pain, Connie

Replied by Chris

Been reading your posts ref to cortisol. I was diagnosed about 8 yrs ago with producing too much cortisol, had all the tests & found a small mass on @ of my adrenal glands, which dr said is very unusual so removing glands is not a good option. Doctors wanted me to go to state of Maryland for testing, every indication of what I should have with this is just the opposite, my blood pressure is low, cholesterol normal, blood sugar normal and yet they all should be just the opposite, I chose not to go to Maryland as I figured I would be used as a guinea pig, I am still a little concerned about this because of the masses but not much else I can do, does anyone know of any supplements or herbs I could take to help me, I do take cats claw and cortisol support. thank you for any info.

Replied by Steve

Two supplements that will lower cortisol are Seriphos and Holy Basil. They really help to get a good night's sleep as well.

Replied by Heather
Yuba City, Ca

Connie, Your post has given me great hope! I have Addison disease. I have had a horrible time trying to control it.. I have had countless episodes of crisis. 3 in the last 4 weeks.. Just 2 days ago I was told that I now have Cushings disease to top it off! What type of doc/doc's do you see? How did you learn of all these supplements that you can use? I want my life back so bad! I'm scared to death that this is going to kill me sooner than later... Please any information is greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! Heather

Posted by Natasha (Williamsfield, Illinois) on 02/10/2010
4 out of 5 stars

As someone with diagnosed Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's Disease), I would recommend to anyone who suspects that they may have this problem to ask your doctor (MD) to run a morning cortisol test to begin with. The range of normal is quite large, and you may have a low normal reading that would indicate you may need cortisol replacement or prednisone. Some other tests can be done to determine whether the problem is in the adrenals themselves or in the pituitary or hypothalamus. The A.M. cortisol test is a blood test and should be done in conjunction with other tests for blood counts, electrolytes, and hormones. Cortisol is at its highest level first thing in the morning, so if it is low, it is only going down from there for the rest of the day.

Low sodium and postural hypotension are common symptoms as are abdominal and flank pain, sleeplessness, low body temp and feeling cold, hypoglycemia, an unusually dark tan, extreme fatigue(an overused term), and cravings for caffeine, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances to boost you up. If you have all of these symptoms, you need to be tested for adrenal insufficiency asap.

Anything that you use to boost your metabolism-- thyroid hormone, diet products, adrenal stimulating complexes--will make your problem worse. I take supplements that strengthen my body and its overall function: Vit C, 1-3 g/day; Vit E, 400 IU/day; L-Tyrosine, 500 mg/day; liver cleanse product; green foods tabs. I tried licorice for about a month and noticed no difference. DO NOT TAKE POTASSIUM. Adrenal insufficiency causes hyperkalemia (excess potassium) and hyponatremia(low sodium). Be careful of B viamin complexes, too much B6 in the presence of low sodium causes magnesium overabundance which is manifested by tingling in feet, legs, hands, and arms. Low magnesium is not a symptom of adrenal fatigue. Avoid taking supplements that do not have a cal/mag ratio of 2/1.

Someone suggested tin chloride supplements. NO. Tin salts are toxic.

I also have tried to detox my enviroment by eating organic food, avoiding pesticides and chemicals, and changing all the products I use on my body. I juice organic fruits and vegetables almost everyday. The Blood Type Diet has made a big difference by eliminating agglutinating foods from my diet that were making me feel lousy.

I try to control my stress as much as possible by making choices about how I spend my time (as much as a mom with 4 kids can) and with whom I spend it. Some of these are tough choices and require a change in expectations on your part and those you interact with.

Not everyone who is fatigued has adrenal fatigue. Toxic enviroment, toxic food, and toxic relationships all cause a great deal of stress.

Replied by Alice
San Bernardino, Ca

Hi, Natasha. I have read your post with great interest. For a year now I have been suffering from adrenal pain, and some other symptoms, such as low blood pressure, dizziness, hypoglycemia, MSC, etc. I have seen many doctors, and still no diagnosis.

It is obvious that you know a lot on this topic. I wonder if there is a way to make a direct contact with you (if you are willing), without broadcasting our email addresses. If you reply to my message here (I will be checking often), I will create a dummy email address for just one contact, and I will delete it after the contact is established. I look forward to hearing from you,


Replied by Tess
Vancouver, Bc

I just wanted to add that the morning-cortisol blood test is actually a very poor indicator. Unfortunately, many conventional practitioners are either ignorant/unaware of it. (as per adrenal fatigue in general)

For the most accurate results, a saliva test is the preferred method. Otherwise, a 24-hour cortisol-urine test is the next best option to request.

Best of Luck

Replied by Nurse Jon
Scranton, Pa

Hi All,

I am the executive director of the new We are merging the site into the new site. Part of our mission is to research and fund clinical trials on the use of unprocessed sea salt. We are trying to line up studies on topics that are low priority to health care in general. Addisons is one such condition.

What we are curious about is the unprocessed sea salt benefits. Is there a difference between sea salt and mined salt. We are looking for anecdotal testimonials at this point.

Does the alkalinity of the body make a difference. Thus, would naturally produced alkaline water be of benefit. The salt does this to a small extent.

I'm also personally interested in out of the glass thinking as to treatments that work. Consider this study on the NIH site that looked at soy sauce and licorice.


Jonathan Steele, RN (Nurse Jon)

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