Arthritis is a major health challenge in America that has affected more than 46 million people. In most cases, the disease is caused by fungal, bacterial or viral infection in the joints. In some cases, the reason may be hereditary, whereas in others it is some injury or the immune reaction of the body that causes arthritis.
In arthritis that is autoimmune, an individual’s body erroneously recognizes its own synovial membrane as a foreign body and begins to attack it. The synovial membrane is the connective tissue that acts as a protective shield for the joints. While an arthritis patient would generally need to follow a proper course of treatment, some types of arthritis can easily be reversed with the help of healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.
What Are The Symptoms of Arthritis?
Arthritis causes tenderness in one or more joints of the body. The most common side effects of arthritis include decreased flexibility, swelling, stiffness and pain. The joints may pop, make noise while moving or may even crack. Some arthritic setbacks may also affect internal organs, muscles or bones. If arthritis stays undiagnosed or left untreated, then that may result in an irreversible joint damage and cause permanent deformation of the joints.
Why Use Essential Oils For The Treatment Of Arthritis?
The choice of treatment most suitable for you will depend on several factors such as your age, overall health and the severity of the condition. Unfortunately, many of the treatments available in market come with a host of side effects. Essential oils, with their natural pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties can prove to be highly efficient at treating all types of arthritis. These essential oils are absorbed directly into the blood, bypassing the digestive system. This allows them to offer immediate relief and makes them highly effective at pain management, controlling the inflammation and calming the nervous system.
3 Best Ways To Use Essential Oils For Best Possible Relief In Arthritis
No. 1 – Massage
Blend 20 drops of essential oil and two ounces of carrier oil before applying it over the area where you are experiencing pain. Note that the “hot” oils such as peppermint and clove are strong enough to cause a burning sensation, so apply them gently over sensitive areas.
No. 2 – Bath
Mix 10-20 drops of essential oil with two cups of Epsom salt and add the blend to your bath. This therapy is excellent for conditions like joint stiffness, muscle pain and digestive problems.
No. 3 – Hot compress
A heating pad can be used for relief in all kinds of joint pain including the arthritis. Use the hot compress for at least 15 to 20 minutes over the impacted joints.
19 Best Essential Oils To Use For Long-term Relief In Arthritis
1. Eucalyptus oil
The essential oil of Eucalyptus is antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory in nature. Being very volatile in nature, Eucalyptus needs to be weakened in the ratio of 1: 1 with any carrier oil. Apply the essential oil of eucalyptus over the affected areas in circular motions and on reflex points to relieve joint and muscle pain caused due to arthritis.
2. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is the extract of the fragrant lavender flowers. It helps in regulating the blood flow and relieves nerve tension and pain. A regular massage with lavender oil over the affected area will offer you great relief in rheumatoid arthritis. Traditionally used to treat stress, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, Lavender is also one of the most soothing essential oils for the skin. A research showed that when lavender oil was used as an ingredient of an acupressure treatment, it helped to reduce the joint pain by 39%.
3. Rosemary oil
Rosemary, which is also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, is the native plant of the Mediterranean region and belongs to the mint family. The oil extracted from the leaves of the rosemary plant is widely used to relieve all kinds of pains of the muscles and joints. The best way to benefit from the antispasmodic and analgesic properties of this oil is either to add it in your bath or to massage the affected area.
4. Marjoram oil
Origanum Marjorana or knotted marjoram is known as the “joy of the mountains”. This plant from the Mediterranean region is a potent anti bacterial, anti-spasmodic and an analgesic. The oil extracted from the fresh and dried leaves of this plant has been used for centuries to relieve stiffness, swelling, sprains and spasms of muscles and the joints. It also relaxes the involuntary muscle groups, offering relief in conditions like constipation, bronchitis, and asthma. The direct application of this oil over the arthritis-affected areas is advisable for quick relief in pain.
5. Peppermint oil
Peppermint, which is the oldest medicinal plant in the world, is a native plant of Europe. Menthol, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, various vitamins and menthyl esters present in this oil make it an excellent choice for joint conditions like arthritis.
The essential oil of this plant anesthetizes the affected area and relieves the pain. Considering that the essential oil of peppermint is too strong, I often dilute it with essential oils such as Marjoram, Rosemary and lemon.
6. Chamomile Oil
This oil is the extract of the chamomile plant flower and comes in two forms – German and Roman. Both are equally good and have anti-phlogistic and anti-rheumatic properties that regulate the blood circulation and detoxify the blood. Arthritis is mainly caused by improper blood circulation and the accumulation of uric acid around the joints. Regular massage with this oil breaks the uric acid deposits around the joints and relieves the pain. Adding Chamomile to your bath helps to cure the disease further.
7. Clary sage Oil
While being soothing and calming for the skin, Clary sage is an antispasmodic agent that helps to relieve muscle spasms and joint pain. This oil is strong in nature so use it in small quantities.
8. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood is an essential ingredient of Ayurvedic medicine. This essential oil is often used to treat conditions such as sciatica, lymph node congestion and muscle spasms. Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, this oil is helpful in alleviating all kinds of joint pains. One of the most important qualities of sandalwood is to sedate the nervous system, which helps to reduce the nerve, muscle and joint pain. For the same reason, Sandalwood is quite popular among those that are suffering from joint conditions like arthritis. Mix sandalwood with a carrier oil and apply it to the bottom of the feet.
9. Juniper Oil
Juniper has antispasmodic properties, which helps in relieving joint pain, muscle spasms and nerve pain.
10. Ginger Oil
The essential oil of ginger slows down the synthesis of eicosanoid, which is an enzyme signaling the pain sensation. In addition, Ginger can reduce back pain and improve the mobility of the body, making it suitable for conditions like sprains, muscle pain, rheumatic pain and arthritis.
A study that was conducted on the aged individuals suffering with chronic knee pain and arthritis found that after four weeks of massage with a combination of essential oils of orange and ginger, the rigidity level of muscles and intensity of pain came down significantly. It was also noted that the overall physical mobility of individuals using orange and ginger essential oils was much better in comparison to the group receiving only Olive oil massage.
Another study establishes that 75% of patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis when treated with ginger oil experienced reduction in pain and swelling. None of the patients ever complained about any side effects even after using the essential oils for more than two years.
11. Frankincense Oil
Apart from being a potent anti-inflammatory agent, this oil also acts as a mild sedative. It relieves the pain and stress involved in conditions like arthritis.
12. Yarrow Oil
With its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and restorative properties, Yarrow is one of the best oils for joint and muscle pains.
13. Wintergreen Oil
While there are not many people recognizing the therapeutic properties of Wintergreen, those that know this oil bank upon its ability to relieve pain in joint conditions like arthritis.
Wintergreen plant is one of the few plants in the world that are rich in methyl salicylate. Native Americans used this plant as a common pain relieving tonic due to its analgesic qualities that are similar to aspirin (salicylate is the main element of aspirin).
It is also important to note that Wintergreen is one of the strongest essential oils. Therefore, it should never be ingested or used on young ones and pregnant women. In addition, people with the history of epilepsy should avoid the use of this oil.
14. Vetiver Oil
While the essential oil of Vetiver is yet to gain popularity in the west, it has been an essential ingredient of the ancient Ayurvedic medicine system since long. Extracted from the roots of a grass Vetiveria zizanoides, this oil helps in getting relief from headache, muscular pain, arthritis and rheumatism.
15. Helichrysum Oil
Helichrysum is one of the more expensive oils in the world of aromatherapy that is valued for its pain reliving properties. The analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of Helichrysum support the nervous system and help to relieve arthritis pain. Some have even reported that the pain starts to subside within minutes of the application of the oil.
16. Spruce Oil
This essential oil is refreshing, sweet and aromatic. Spruce is acknowledged since ancient times for its ability to improve concentration of mind and relax the body. Additionally, it protects against all kinds of infection.
It is also an effective stimulator of the immune system that can help prevent conditions like sciatica, arthritis, bone pain, lower back pain and rheumatism. This oil can also stimulate the adrenal glands, which provides energy to the whole body.
17. Fennel Oil
Fennel essential oil is prepared by crushing the seeds of the Fennel plant and then refining them in the steam. Studies have proved that this oil has a relaxing effect on muscles, respiratory system, intestines and nervous system. As a potent antispasmodic, it can alleviate many different kinds of pain including the pain caused by arthritis.
18. Clove Oil
This essential oil is extracted from the dried flower buds of clove. The anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties of clove make it efficient at treating all kinds of pain.
In addition, the essential oil of clove is able to stimulate the metabolism and improve blood circulation. This indirectly counters any kind of pain in the body. However, make sure that the oil you are buying is derived out of the clove buds and not the leaves or stems. Low quality oil is likely to cause skin irritation.
You may use clove oil in several ways. Weaken it with carrier oil and massage over the painful joints or add a few drops to your bath to experience significant relief.
19. Copaiba Oil
Copaiba essential oil is extracted from the sap of the copaiba tree. Natives of South America have used this oil for its relaxing and calming properties. The high amount of alpha-humulene and beta-caryophyllene present in this oil reduces the body’s natural response to pain.
Beta-caryophyllene is also present in rosemary and clove essential oils, making both these oils efficient at reducing the arthritis pain. Alpha-humulene is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent that helps to relieve any kind of pain.
If you don’t know which essential oil to choose from the above list, may be you can try Amoils Amoils H-Arthritis.
6 Best Essential Oil Recipes For Quick Arthritis Relief
Recipe 1 – Joint Soaking Bath For Arthritis
- 1-2 cups of bath salts
- Rosemary essential oil – 2 drops
- Cypress essential oil – 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil – 2 drops
- Juniper berry essential oil – 4 drops
Mix Epson Salt and Baking Soda in the ratio of 1:1 and add this mix along with the essential oils in the abovementioned amounts to your bathtub. Additionally, if you have Sea Salt and Magnesium Chloride flakes then add a little of that too and soak in for 20-30 minutes.
Recipe 2 – Warming Massage Blend
- Ginger essential oil – 1 drop
- Essential oil of Black Pepper – 1 drop
- Rosemary essential oil – 3 drops
- Cilantro essential oil – 3 drops
- Marjoram essential oil – 4 drops
- Chamomile essential oil – 6 drops
- 2 ounces of carrier oil of your choice (sweet almond oil, jojoba oil)
Mix all the ingredients well in a glass or a plastic bottle. Massage your knees, legs or other painful joints with this blend on a daily basis.
Recipe 3 – Anti-Inflammatory Arthritis Recipe
This is one of the excellent blends when it comes to reducing the inflammation caused due to arthritis. The following essential oils can be mixed in 200 ml of carrier oil and stored in a dark amber bottle away from direct sunlight:
- 20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops of Peppermint essential oil
- 20 drops of the essential oil of Spruce
- 60 drops of Helichrysum essential Oil
Mix all the above ingredients and let the mixture settle for next 24 hours before applying to the skin. Use this mixture as massage oil and apply as required to the painful joints to reduce inflammation.
Recipe 4 – Arthritis Bath Oil
This bath oil will help in reducing joint pain while allowing you to have a relaxing bath. Mix the following oils in 10 ml of carrier oil.
- 4 drops – Ginger Root Essential Oil
- 10 drops – Lavender essential oil
- 10 drops – Essential oil of Cypress
For this recipe, just add the essential oils to the carrier oil of your choice and add the blend to your bath water. Have bath and relax!
Recipe 5 – Massage Oil For Arthritic Knees And Hips:
This blend targets the most important joints of your lower body- knees and hips. Blend the following essential oils in 100 ml of your favorite carrier oil.
- 8 drops – Black Pepper essential oil
- 16 drops – Bergamot Essential Oil
- 24 drops – Lavender Essential Oil
- 16 drops – Marjoram Essential Oil
Blend all the ingredients well and store in a dark amber glass bottle away from direct sunlight. This blend of essential oils can be applied whenever required in order to relieve the pain in arthritic knees and hips.
Recipe 6 – Arthritis Pain Massage Oil:
Massaging with this blend starts to show its effect within minutes of application. It reduces the pain and inflammation and helps to improve the blood circulation in the joints. Mix the following essential oils in 100 ml of your favorite carrier oil:
- Essential oil of Ginger root – 10 drops
- Essential oil of Helichrysum – 30 drops
- Essential oil of Sweet Birch – 30 drops
- Essential oil of Peppermint – 30 drops
Blend all the ingredients and massage well over the impacted joints. If you feel this blend is too strong for you, add few drops of lavender oil to dilute the blend.
The Bottom Line
The recent growth in the world of aromatherapy has made it one of the best alternative therapies for painful conditions like arthritis. Even the most contemporary of the clinical practices have started including therapies that emphasize on the interconnectivity of the mind and body. The consumer of today can certainly afford to not opt for invasive treatment methods as they can have their pain relieved with the use of essential oils.
Always do a small patch test to make sure that your skin is not sensitive to the oil you are going to use. Every individual’s body works differently and because there is no standardization of natural substances like essential oils, they can have different effects on different individuals.