When treating arthritis, essential oils can be an effective home remedy. Research has found that essential oils may aid in symptom relief as they offer anti-inflammatory properties and treat other symptoms related to arthritis (for example, anxiety).
Many patients choose essential oils as a treatment option for arthritis because they are generally safe to use and are associated with minimal side effects.
The use of essential oils is becoming commonplace with the rising popularity of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses scent to promote a physiological response. Users report relaxation, stress relief, and overall comfort.
Essential oils can be used in other practices as well, including acupuncture and massage therapy. Many patients combine the use of essential oils with their traditional treatment for extra benefits.
What the research says about essential oils for arthritis
Numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of essential oils in treating and managing arthritis symptoms. A 2010 animal study found that essential oils prevented joint swelling. Even after inflammation peaked, essential oils were found to relieve pain by 68 percent.
Essential oils can also improve emotional health. Arthritis patients often complain about anxiety and stress, but using lavender oil can help combat those emotions to promote calmness instead. In clinical trials, lavender oil was found to successfully reduce anxiety. An alternate study had patients sniff vanilla and found that it greatly reduced stress as well.
How to use essential oils for arthritis
The first and most important point to consider prior to using essential oil is that they must be diluted to avoid irritation, as they are highly concentrated. Common carrier oils you can use to dilute your essential oil are coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil.
For every ounce of carrier oil use about 12 drops of the essential oil.
At first, you should test this combination on an area of your skin and wait 24 hours to determine any possible reaction. If no reaction occurs, your mixture is safe to use.
If you’re using an essential oil for aromatherapy purposes, you can use it directly and either saturate a cotton ball and sniff it or purchase an essential oil diffuser for your home to disperse the scent.
Risks of essential oils for arthritis
Generally speaking, essential oils are safe to use for arthritis treatment, but there are some risks involved. As mentioned, before applying on the skin, essential oils should always be diluted to prevent irritation.
Even with aromatherapy you may develop a headache or become nauseous. This could signal that the scent is too strong or that you need to try a different scent.
15 best essential oils for arthritis
Below you will find the top 15 essential oils to treat and manage your arthritis.
Orange essential oil: This common fruit can also be found in oil form. It’s citrusy energetic scent is great for stimulating the senses. Additionally, orange oil can be used to make you feel more productive and focused. The oil also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce pain caused by inflammation.
Ginger essential oil: This root spice has been long known for harboring many beneficial health effects when consumed, but its oil can also be used externally on your skin as well. Thanks to ginger’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is great for aching muscles and easing muscle spasms. Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis will benefit from ginger oil.
Frankincense essential oil: A great healing essential oil, Frankincense helps promote pain relief throughout the body. It is thought to work by blocking leukotrienes; substances that initiate inflammatory responses in the body. This essential oil can also act as a mild sedative, making it great for stress relief.
Lavender essential oil: Known for having many therapeutic properties. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions can be used to relieve aching muscles and joints. Lavender oil can help calm and soothe the mind and body. This can help dilate blood vessels by eliminating stress, anxiety, fear, and tension; all of which may contribute to muscle tension.
Cayenne pepper essential oil: Relieves muscle pain and throbbing sensations by nullifying the effect of compound P (a neurotransmitter).
Rosemary oil essential oil: Derived from the widely used herb, this essential oil contains high levels of analgesic properties helping to relieve aches, pains, and arthritis. It can even be used for increasing energy levels and relieving nervous exhaustion and mental fatigue. It is best used through aromatherapy but should be avoided during pregnancy.
Chamomile essential oil: This plant is well known for helping us relax and get much-needed sleep, but it can also be used to help relieve pain as well, thanks to its sedative properties. Chamomile oil works by reducing inflammation. Simply massage your chamomile oil solution onto your area of pain to get relief.
Birch essential oil: Reduces muscle, joint, and bone discomfort thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiseptic, disinfectant, diuretic, and astringent properties.
Lemongrass essential oil: Helps to promote blood circulation, this essential oil is great for lowering cholesterol levels as well as having potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Lemongrass oil is also known for keeping blood vessels dilated, proving smooth transportation of blood flow.
Marjoram essential oil: This essential oil has excellent warming and soothing properties helping to ease joint pain and muscle spasms. It is known for having a bunch of other beneficial qualities as well, such as helping with, blood pressure, arthritis pain, and indigestion.
Basil essential oil: Often used for its health effects as well as in cooking. Basil oil is an antispasmodic, helping to ease muscle tension. It also works as a decongestant, antiseptic, muscle relaxant, and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for reducing pain caused by inflammation.
Wintergreen essential oil: Beneficial for muscle aches and pains but is also known for helping to alleviate certain kidney problems, nerve pain, throbbing joints, and menstrual pain. However, wintergreen is known for inducing several side effects if ingested, such as ringing in the ears, belly pain, and vomiting.
Sandalwood essential oil: Effective for all body types, sandalwood essential oil is beneficial for just about any type of skin ailment. It is considered an antiseptic, helping to prevent infection and has soothing properties.
Peppermint essential oil: This pleasantly scented oil can help with most forms of pain. This effect makes peppermint oil great for relieving aching joints and muscular pain. Peppermint essential oil is refreshing and uplifting.
Eucalyptus essential oil: As this oil is absorbed by the body, the powerful compound Eucalyptol works as a potent vasodilator, increasing the size of blood vessels. This allows for more blood to flow and circulate around the body. This action helps to relieve aches and pains combined with eucalyptus’s strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The following are some of the best essential oil essential oil recipes for arthritis pain:
Arthritis bath oil
- 4 drops ginger oil
- 10 drops lavender
- 10 drops cypress
- 10ml of carrier oil
Massage oil for arthritic knees and hips
- 15 drops juniper
- 15 drops marjoram
- 10 drops rosemary
- 5 drops black pepper
Arthritis pain massage oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus
- 5 drops ginger
- 5 drops peppermint
- 1 tbsp. carrier oil
Joint soaking bath for arthritis
- 2 drops lavender
- 2 drops rosemary
- 2 drops cypress
- 5 drops juniper
- 1-2 cups of bath salts
Related: Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?
Infographic: Essential Oils for Arthritis