The pains and aches we experience during diseases or injuries are usually caused by inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, joint pains, pains from injuries and wounds are all inflammatory pains.
Fortunately, today there are several types of treatments to deal with pains effectively. In this article, we are going to explore the best essential oils good for managing inflammation including arthritis and joint pains.
The anti-inflammatory medicines such as the NSAIDs are efficient in getting rid of inflammation. However, these prescription medicines if consumed for a long period could produce severe side effects on health.
Natural remedies like the anti-inflammatory essential oils are the best choice to get relief from inflammatory diseases. They are effective and free of all side effects at the same time.
Facts On Inflammation And Inflammatory Diseases
According to the medical explanation, “Inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection .”
The most expressive symptom of inflammation is pain. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injuries, microbial infections, and certain autoimmune diseases.
The body tries hard to defend itself against the attacks of infectious microorganisms, and this might result in symptoms like pain, swelling, fever, and headache.
‘In inflammation, a substance called prostaglandins sensitizes your nerve endings and enhances pain.’
There are certain diseases like joint pains and rheumatoid arthritis that happen when our immune system triggers a defensive action even without viral or bacterial infection. In such cases, the immune system causes damage to body’s own healthy tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which has symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, redness, and inflexible joints.
It is difficult to get completely cured of arthritis. Most patients who suffer from arthritis have to continue with medication for many years. However, there are essentials oils for arthritis that can soothe this common affliction. In fact, essential oil therapy is one of the best natural solutions for rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the statistical estimates of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 52.5 million adults in the U.S. alone suffer from arthritis; that is about 23% of the total population in the US.
Inflammation usually causes arthritis and all other common types of joint pains. The other major inflammatory diseases are such as Asthma, Chronic peptic ulcer, Tuberculosis, Chronic periodontitis, Ulcerative colitis, Sinusitis, Chronic active hepatitis, and Crohn’s disease. All diseases caused by viral, fungal or bacterial infection also lead to inflammation in the affected areas of the body.
You will find several prescription medicines for containing inflammatory diseases. Some of the common OTC NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).
If you are opting for natural remedies to cure inflammation, then you could go for anti-inflammatory essential oils. I have selectively chosen the top 10 essential oils for inflammation including arthritis and common joint pains.
How Do Essential Oils Work As Anti-Inflammatory Oils?
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds extracted from the seeds, roots, bark, stems, flowers, and other parts of plants.
They have immense therapeutic benefits because they contain antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Several of the essential oils have anti-inflammatory substances that make them worthy of treating inflammation and common inflammatory diseases like arthritis and joint pains.
The EOs contain unique chemical composition like esters, oxides, terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and phenols. These and other useful compounds in the essential oils interact with bodily functions and assist the immune system in fighting infections that cause the disease.
Each of the essential oils has specific chemical compounds that can enhance the particular immune capacity of the body. The anti-inflammatory properties in essential oil provide the immunes system with chemical compounds that help to reduce the inflammation and resist the infections. In short, anti-inflammatory oils enable the immune system of the body competent in fighting infections without causing inflammation.
The minute molecules in essential oils that contain potential therapeutic compounds which are quickly absorbed by the skin when they are topically applied 0n the skin. Some of the essential oils are fit for oral consumption and a few of them beneficial to health through aromatherapy. You will also find mainstream pills and ointments and natural remedies that contain chemical extracts from essential oils.
Top 10 Essential Oils For Inflammation And Joint Pain
You will find several types of essential oils sold over the counter and online. Each of the essential oils contains several natural chemical compounds that have various therapeutic benefits. A few of the essential oils are endowed with a substantial amount of effective anti-inflammatory properties.
Let us now look at 10 best anti-inflammatory essential oils:
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is known for its effectiveness in treating pain and swelling. This contains an anesthetic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties which can provide relief from pain (especially headaches), inflammation associated with arthritis, joint pain, and stiffness.
The major components of peppermint essential oil are menthol (30.35 %), menthone (21.12 %), and trans-carane (10.99 %). Also, we can find some other components of peppermint essential oil, including camphor, isopulegol, and isomenthol (6).
You can simply dilute a few drops of Peppermint oil in any of the good carrier oils and use that oil mixture for massaging the inflamed joints. For headaches, use this oil to massage the foreheads, temples, and back of the neck.
2. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger oil and raw roots are widely used today for relieving pain. Topical application of ginger oil on inflamed areas of the body like arthritis affected joints can quickly reduce pain and stiffness and also promotes blood circulation (6).
Ginger (both roots and oil) contain natural chemicals with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger oil can instantly act on the vanilloid receptors located at the sensory nerve endings, and this helps to suppress the pain in the area where it is topically applied.
According to one of the study report from the University of Miami presented by The Arthritis Foundation, ginger extract could be a substitute for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (7).
You can topically apply a few drops of Ginger essential oil on the inflamed area of the body after diluting it in any good carrier oil. It is a popular inflammatory in pain relief treatment.
3. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil has various traditional uses in ethnomedicine, which include analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, spasmolytic, carminative and choleretic applications (8).
One of the rat studies by the Research In Pharmaceutical Science showed that oral treatment with Rosemary oil extracts helps anti-colitic activity. The study results clearly supported the effectiveness of rosemary plant extracts in curing inflammatory bowel diseases in traditional medicine (9).
You can get relief from muscle pain, muscle cramps, and rheumatism by doing Rosemary oil massage. It is also beneficial for increasing blood circulation to the inflamed areas of the body which usually becomes stiff and swollen in most cases.
Add a few drops of Rosemary oil in 2 mugs of warm water and use this water for doing a hot compress on aching or swollen areas of the body to get instant relief from pain.
4. Turmeric Essential Oil
Turmeric oil and raw turmeric roots contain a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called curcumin. It is very beneficial in helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis.
The curcuminoids compound in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant besides producing excellent anti-inflammatory effects.
According to one of the research articles published by the Journal Of Natural Products, use of essential oil-depleted turmeric fraction containing 41% of the three major curcuminoids was found to be efficacious in preventing joint inflammation (10).
Massaging the inflamed area of the body with turmeric essential oil helps in reducing pain and stiffness especially that of arthritis and joint pain.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
Several studies have researched the antinociceptive, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of compounds found in the lavender essential oil.
One of the studies has reported the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of LEO to be effective for pain relief treatment including arthritis, muscle spasm, and joint pains.
Add 5 drops of lavender oil in 2 Tbsp carrier oil and use this oil mixture for massaging the inflamed areas of the body. A lavender oil bath or compress is also effective for reducing body pain and relieving stress and anxiety.
6. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is traditionally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis patients for reducing inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
This oil contains natural properties that can suppress the production of key inflammatory molecules which are responsible for the symptoms of conditions like arthritis. Studies on Frankincense essential oil have shown the effectiveness of this oil in lessening the severity of inflammation. No wonder why this oil has been in use since hundreds of years as a natural treatment option for pain-related health issues (11).
Massaging Frankincense oil on the inflamed areas helps in reducing symptoms of arthritis, joint pains, and muscle pains.
7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the essential oil extracts of Eucalyptus possess central and peripheral analgesic effects as well as neutrophil-dependent and independent anti-inflammatory activities (12).
It is a versatile oil that has several therapeutic properties. It is a traditional remedy for treating inflammatory diseases like infections and respiratory congestions. Eucalyptus Essential Oil is most popularly used for curing asthma.
This is an anti-inflammatory oil that works well for treating muscle and joint pains including rheumatism.
You can get relief from inflammatory pains and swelling just by rubbing the Eucalyptus Essential Oil on affected areas.
8. Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh oil contains many natural compounds which are beneficial to health in many ways. The terpenoids compound in this oil is a class of chemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
One of the study results published in the Scientific Reports indicated that the essential oils of Myrrh and Frankincense are effective remedies for treating inflammatory diseases. In this study, the subjects who used Frankincense or Myrrh or the blend of both oils together showed a significant result in reducing the symptoms of Arthritis (12).
Use the Myrrh essential oil for massaging the affected areas to get relief from inflammatory health issues.
9. Patchouli Essential Oil
The anti-inflammatory properties of Patchouli essential oil are effective in healing a wound, fighting allergies, and getting rid of swelling and itching. Besides the anti-inflammatory effects, this oil also has several therapeutic goodnesses which include its qualities like antiseptic, cicatrisant, astringent, antidepressant and sedative properties.
Applying this oil on inflamed areas provides soothing effects and drastically reduces the pain and swelling. You should dilute this oil in other carrier oils like coconut oil or jojoba oil for using it. Doing a hot compress with Patchouli essential oil diluted in warm water is effective for removing arthritis and muscle pain.
10. Orange Essential Oil
One of the study report published in the European Journal Of Medical Research showed the presence of powerful anti-inflammatory properties in myrtol, eucalyptus oil, and orange essential oils. Among the three essential oil subjected to this study, the Orange oil was found to have the highest potential anti-inflammatory properties in it. (13).
Just take a few drops of orange oil and dilute it in almond or avocado oil and then run this oil on the inflamed area of the body to get relief from pain and swelling.
How To Use Essential Oils For Joint Pain?
Essential oil with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties are hugely beneficial for curing inflammatory diseases. There are a couple of ways you can effectively use the essential oils for inflammations:
- Gently massage the essential oil on the inflamed area of the body (make sure to dilute them in carrier oils before applying)
- Use them in aromatherapy to achieve relief from stress and insomnia; this is useful for faster healing of inflammation;
- Use the essential for cold or hot compress on the affected area;
- Add few drops of desired essential oil in your warm water bath for reducing pain;
- Use OTC lotions and ointments that contain essential oil extracts;
- Make use of natural remedies that have essential oil as ingredients in them for curing inflammatory diseases.
Risks Of Using Essential Oils
Most of the essential oils can be harsh on the skin as they come in concentrated form with powerful natural chemical compounds in them. Always lighten the essential oils by diluting them in any of the carrier oils before applying it on the skin.
So you should be using essential oils sparingly; all EOs are not fit for internal consumption and aromatherapy.
If you have over sensitive skins, it might cause an allergic reaction on your skin, and thus you should do a ‘skin patch testing’ of the oil before you begin the treatment.
If you are under medication for blood pressure or heart diseases, it is better to consult the doctor before you use anti-inflammatory oils.
Finally, the essential oils for inflammation are effective only when you use 100% pure oils.