Arthritis is a condition wherein the joints get inflamed and cause a lot of pain. People suffering from arthritis, of any type, suffer an inability to continue with even the simplest of day-to-day activities, like taking a walk or getting off of the sofa. This debilitating condition is alarming as it affects about 20 percent of Americans!
We give you 10 essential oils that provide an effective, natural way to treat arthritis and related pain:
1. Frankincense Essential Oil
The culprit behind all the pain you experience in arthritis is inflammation. Frankincense is one of the best essential oils to treat arthritis because it targets the very same inflammation at a much deeper level. It prevents the growth of molecules that encourage inflammation in the cartilage and thus stops and reduces arthritis.1
How to use: Apply the diluted oil to the affected area and massage. It can also be mixed with myrrh essential oil.
2. Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh oil is often used in combination oils to treat arthritis as it has great anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, it is used with frankincense more often because, together, they reduce inflammation and pain in the joints more effectively.2
How to use: Preferably mix it with other diluted oils and massage the affected area.
3. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, all of which help relieve arthritic pain.3 The oil is known to produce a burning sensation, which might directly target the pain pathways and reduce inflammation. Ginger essential oil is also believed to be a good substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as it can lower the pain and the stiffness in knee joints.
How to use: Massage the diluted oil on the affected area using a warm compress, which increases the absorption. You can mix it with other oils such as lemongrass or lavender.
4. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is commonly used in Ayurvedic treatments for arthritis. This oil is an antioxidant and fights free radicals, which are major causes of arthritis.4 It is also believed to be a good alternative for those allergic to aspirin.
How to use: Boil the oil in water and expose the affected areas to the steam; this will relieve the pain.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender, a nerve relaxant, is most commonly used to improve sleep quality and induce sleep. However, it is also effective in treating arthritis as it is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, thereby reducing pain. Used in the treatment of anxiety and depression, the mild nature of lavender oil makes it a reliable choice for arthritis as well.5
How to use: Use 3–5 drops of diluted lavender oil on the affected area and massage in circular motion for instant pain relief. Repeat as and when required.
6. Orange Essential Oil
The aroma of citrus oils such as orange is quite refreshing and makes you feel wide awake. But that’s not the end of its benefits! Orange essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain, a blessing for arthritic individuals.6
How to use: Dilute orange essential oil with carrier oils such as almond or avocado and rub onto the affected area.
7. Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen is said to have strong analgesic, pain-relieving properties. It is commonly used in combination with peppermint oil, which doubles the effect on arthritic pain.7
How to use: Apply diluted wintergreen oil, with peppermint oil, on the affected area and gently massage.
8. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint, with its menthol content, is famous for its use as a mouth freshener. But did you know that it has amazing healing properties? Peppermint essential oil is a brilliant anti-inflammatory that, along with wintergreen oil, reduces arthritic pain and has fewer side effects.8
How to use: Use 5–10 drops of diluted peppermint oil, in combination with wintergreen or other similar oils if needed, and rub onto the affected area.
9. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil reduces not only anxious and depressed feelings but also inflammation in the body. The oil, which is a good stress-buster, penetrates deep into the skin’s layers and relieves any stiffness in the joints that result from arthritis.9
How to use: Dilute 15 drops of chamomile oil with 2 tbsp of carrier oil and massage the affected area with it. This gives a calming, scented pain relief.
10. Turmeric Essential Oil
Very likely, you’ve mostly heard of turmeric as a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine and in Ayurvedic treatments. This latter use is because of the very effective anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in turmeric that is especially useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.10
How to use: Apply diluted turmeric oil on the affected area and gently massage. You can also use the oil to make herbal tea.
Tips To Use Essential Oils For Arthritis
No matter which oil you use for arthritis, there are certain steps you need to follow:
To every 12 drops of essential oil, add 1 ounce of a carrier oil, such as olive, jojoba, or coconut oil.
- Always dilute the essential oil using a carrier oil. Essential oils are quite strong and will cause irritation on your skin if applied directly.
- Apply and test the diluted oil on a small area of your skin and wait for a day for any allergic reactions. If you do not experience any such effect, go ahead and use it regularly.
- In aromatherapy, try sniffing the oil and observe for any negative reactions. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice on a cotton ball (or any absorbent cloth) and inhale directly, as long as suggested.
- Always consult an essential oil expert for correct usage of the oils.
Most treatment options for arthritis look into managing the symptoms and not the actual issue in itself. So, if there’s a natural option for arthritis, it’s all the more welcome.
|↑1||Blain, Emma J., Ahmed Y. Ali, and Victor C. Duance. “Boswellia frereana (frankincense) suppresses cytokine‐induced matrix metalloproteinase expression and production of pro‐inflammatory molecules in articular cartilage.” Phytotherapy Research 24, no. 6 (2010): 905-912.|
|↑2||Su, Shulan, Jinao Duan, Ting Chen, Xiaochen Huang, Erxin Shang, Li Yu, Kaifeng Wei et al. “Frankincense and myrrh suppress inflammation via regulation of the metabolic profiling and the MAPK signaling pathway.” Scientific reports 5 (2015).|
|↑3||Jeena, Kottarapat, Vijayastelter B. Liju, and Ramadasan Kuttan. “Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from ginger.” (2013).|
|↑4||Olorunnisola, S. K., A. M. Hammed, and S. Simsek. “Biological properties of lemongrass: An overview.” International Food Research Journal 21, no. 2 (2014).|
|↑5||SILVA, GABRIELA L., Carolina Luft, Adroaldo Lunardelli, Robson H. Amaral, DENIZAR A. MELO, Marcio VF Donadio, Fernanda B. Nunes et al. “Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil.” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 87, no. 2 (2015): 1397-1408.|
|↑6||Rantzsch, U., G. Vacca, R. Dück, and A. Gillissen. “Anti-inflammatory effects of Myrtol standardized and other essential oils on alveolar macrophages from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” European journal of medical research 14, no. 4 (2009): 205.|
|↑7, ↑8||Hebert, Patricia R., E. Joan Barice, and Charles H. Hennekens. “Treatment of Low Back Pain: The Potential Clinical and Public Health Benefits of Topical Herbal Remedies.” (2014): 219-220.|
|↑9||Srivastava, Janmejai K., Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports 3, no. 6 (2010): 895.|
|↑10||Funk, Janet L., Janice N. Oyarzo, Jennifer B. Frye, Guanjie Chen, R. Clark Lantz, Shivanand D. Jolad, Aniko M. Sólyom, and Barbara N. Timmermann. “Turmeric Extracts Containing Curcuminoids Prevent Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis#.” Journal of natural products 69, no. 3 (2006): 351-355.|