Essential Oils For Arthritis – Knees, Hands, Fingers, Joints

The inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can be very painful and decreases the range of motion. It can make your life difficult by causing painful swelling and stiffness in the knees, hands, fingers, wrists, ankles, shoulders, or elbows. Using essential oils for arthritis can soothe inflammation and stiffness arising from this disease.

The winter and rainy seasons are the most challenging time for arthritis patients. According to a Mayo Clinic report, the risk of joint inflammation is high among older adults.

According to one estimate released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 52.5 million adults in the U.S. alone are suffering from this inflammatory condition.

Arthritis Overview

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. Arthritis is of two types; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing down of the cartilage between joints due to overexertion of legs, hands, or the spine. It mostly occurs in the knees, hands, fingers, spine, and hips.

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by autoimmune dysfunction that involves the destruction of cartilage by white blood cells. It can be caused by food allergies, excess acid in the body, stress, or bacterial infection. Proven scientific explanations are still lacking in the occurrence of autoimmune dysfunction.

Depending on the type of arthritis you have, the signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

Treatment Options for Arthritis

Arthritis has a different variety of treatments depending on the type and severity of the disease. Here are a few commonly followed treatment options:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
  • Analgesics medicines like acetaminophen, tramadol, and narcotics containing oxycodone
  • Counterirritants – creams and ointments containing capsaicin or menthol
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine
  • Biologic response modifiers – tablets like etanercept and infliximab
  • Corticosteroids – drugs such as prednisone and cortisone
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Joint repair with procedures like arthroscopy
  • Joint replacement
  • Joint fusion

Natural Remedies for Arthritis

Several natural remedies work well for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. Here are some of the best home remedies you can use for joint pain and arthritis:

  • Essential oils
  • Herbal Creams
  • Oil blends with herbal extracts (Ayurveda)
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • A healthy diet with nutrients for joints’ health
  • Regular exercises
  • Yoga exercise
  • Massage with herbal oils and warm compress

Do Essential Oils for Arthritis Help?

You may have already tried and tested a couple of over-the-counter (OTC) medications to manage the symptoms of arthritis. Just forget about that OTC stuff as there are better natural remedies to look for. There are a few essential oils that help in relieving joint inflammation.

For hundreds of years, essential oils have been in use for treating various common infections and inflammatory issues.

Aromatherapy with essential oils has powerful effects on improving physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Aromatherapy can relieve the pains and stress caused by diseases. It relaxes and comforts both body and mind.

It is possible to make use of essential oils in unison with other types of alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, Ayurveda, or homeopathy.

A good number of patients prefer to use essential oils simultaneously with prescription medicines.

According to a study published by the Journal of Lipid Research, many essential oils contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Antioxidants in essential oils can reduce the harmful effects of inflammation in the body. So, using some of these essential oils can quickly lessen the symptoms of arthritis.

Sufficient scientific evidence is lacking to support the effectiveness of these oils in dealing with joint inflammation. However, traditional natural remedies existing across the globe vouch for the efficacy of essential oils in managing the symptoms of arthritis.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Essential oils are extracted from various plant sources. Most of these oils contain one or more therapeutic elements such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, or analgesic properties.

Research literature shows that oils from ginger, orange, black cumin, and frankincense have a promising effect in dealing with joint inflammation from arthritis.

Essential oil massage on the affected area allows the therapeutic elements in the oil to penetrate through the skin and reach the plasma. Therefore, topical dermal delivery of essential oils gives the infected region the anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants necessary for calming down rheumatism.

According to a report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine informs that the topical application of an ointment containing essential oils may reduce the severity of arthritis.  The suppression of arthritis may even change the disease-related to immunological and biochemical mediators of inflammation.

Best Essential Oils for Arthritis

Using essential oils for relieving the symptoms of arthritis is more advantageous than prescription medicines. These oils not only reduce the pain and stiffness but also relax the body and mind. Most importantly, they do not have any side effects, unlike conventional medicines.

Going by the anecdotal evidence from research, topical application or aromatherapy with essential oils help to reduce joint inflammation caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Using anti-inflammatory essential oils treatment for arthritis should be done daily and regularly to achieve the desired result.

Here are the best essential oils worth using for arthritis:


Frankincense oil has the potential to inhibit the production of certain inflammatory molecules causing arthritis. This oil helps to prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue. It has high potential anti-inflammatory properties that lessen the degree of inflammation.

In fact, frankincense oil is a proven remedy for treating painful conditions that affect tendons, joints, and muscles.

According to a Phytotherapy Research report, B. frereana (frankincense) prevents collagen degradation and inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and MMPs


The ginger essential oil contains medicinal properties that produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It acts directly on vanilloid receptors in the sensory nerves and relieves pain caused by joint inflammation.

A group of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles discovered that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level.

Another study conducted at the University of Miami found that ginger extract can produce the same effect as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This study results showed that ginger extracts helped to reduce stiffness and pain in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.


Turmeric oil contains curcumin, an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Many of the popular natural remedies for arthritis have turmeric as a chief ingredient.

One of the recent studies from Japan discovered that curcumin has a close relationship with interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process. Thus, curcumin has the potential to reduce joint inflammation.


Myrrh is another useful essential oil that works well for managing arthritis inflammation pain and swelling.

A study published by Neural Plasticity vouches for the usefulness of myrrh and frankincense for the treatment of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

Using myrrh and frankincense extracts or oils in combination reduces the intensity of joint inflammation.


Orange oil is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. They help to fight pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by arthritis.

A 2009 study that appeared in the European Journal of Medical Research, projects orange oil as one of the essential oils which is highly useful for combating the symptoms of arthritis.

Massaging the inflamed area with a few drops of orange oil dilute with a spoon of avocado oil gives quick relief from pain and stiffness.


Lavender oil is well known for its several medicinal properties contained in it. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of this oil are particularly beneficial for treating arthritis.

According to a medical review published by the Natural Medicine Journal lavender oil relieves your body and mind of the stress, anxiety, and depression caused by pain from inflammatory diseases.


One of the research published by the Molecular Medicine Reports (MMR) says that chamazulene and other flavonoids in chamomile oil possess anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties.

Roman chamomile essential oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe and calm down pain and swelling. Besides the oil, other herbal extracts of chamomile are also widely used in natural remedies for their soothing anti-inflammatory effects.

Massaging arthritis-affected joints with chamomile oil reduces pain and stiffness.

Best Essential Oils For Arthritis

How to Use Essential Oils for Arthritis

Essential oil treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis works well to alleviate their symptoms. There are a couple of nice ways to make use of these oils for arthritis treatment.


Diffusing the essential oil in your living room and bedroom can produce a physically and mentally relaxing and calming effect.

Topical Application

Use the essential oils blends for massaging the affected area. This allows the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties to penetrate the plasma and reduce inflammation.


Some of the essential oils are fit for ingesting. You can safely consume a few drops of ginger oil, turmeric oil, or orange oil either diluted in water or mixed in food.


A few essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or frankincense work well for relieving pain by using them in aromatherapy.

What are the Risks of Using Essential Oils?

Essential oils contain high potential chemical concentrates from plant sources. Using them in undiluted form may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Your body may become oversensitive to some of these oils. Do a skin patch test if you are using the oil for the first time.

Patients with serious heart conditions should use the oils with caution and after consulting their doctor.

Always purchase essential oils from reputed brands which are known for providing 100 percent pure essential oils.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use essential oils without the approval of their doctor.

Most of the oils are safe for children when used in low doses and diluted with carrier oils.

Patients under serious health conditions on regular medication should exercise caution in using essential oils for the treatment of arthritis conditions.

The Bottom Line

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis have become major health issues that affect millions of elderly adults across the globe.

There are several ways to get relief from arthritis. However, most of the treatments for arthritis are just about reducing the symptoms of joint inflammation temporarily.

Instead of availing of expensive treatments for arthritis, you can always use natural remedies like essential oils for managing joint inflammation.

The best essential oils for arthritis are ginger, turmeric, frankincense, chamomile, lavender, myrrh, and orange.