Top 10 Essential Oils for Inflammation

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Using essential oils for inflammation is a common-sense remedy for one of the most common and treatable health conditions, without the use of pharmaceuticals. Inflammation can be caused by many different things, but at its core, inflammation refers to the activity of the body’s immune system, in which white blood cells and various other substances react to a perceived threat in the body. This can induce blood flow to a given area, to protect against infections and stimulate the healing process. When there isn’t a threat to the body, however, inflammation can cause weakening of the joints and a breakdown of cartilage. For example, painful inflammation of the joints is the main symptom of arthritis, but this inflammation can also explain pain in many other parts of the body, from the neck and back to other joints and extremities, as well as tissues and organ systems.

Reducing inflammation is crucial to the normal function of muscles and bodily systems, but chronic inflammation can also manifest in other ways. Some of the most common symptoms of inflammation include fever, chills, fatigue, redness, swelling, sensitivity to touch, loss of appetite, inability to use the joints, pain and overstimulated nerves, which can produce pain and discomfort. As mentioned earlier, the use of essential oils for inflammation is one of the most natural and fastest remedies for this widespread condition, due to their anti-inflammatory, analgesic, astringent, diuretic, hormone-balancing and antioxidant abilities. [1]

List of Essential Oils for Inflammation

If you are looking for essential oils for inflammation, some of your best options include rose, eucalyptus, clove, thyme, bergamot, patchouli, helichrysum, spruce, german chamomile and peppermint, among many others.

Peppermint Oil

This essential oil has proven anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to stimulate the immune system and soothe pain and discomfort. When applied to joints, injuries or other sources of inflammation, it can reduce swelling and temporarily numb the affected area. [2]

How to Use – You can mix peppermint oil with lavender oil and coconut oil to make a comprehensive anti-inflammatory blend that won’t irritate the skin, but will speed the healing process.

Patchouli Oil

Patchouli oil is well known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and is widely available around the world due to its many other applications. Furthermore, it can provide a pleasant, rustic aroma that many people enjoy. [3]

How to Use – Combine 4-5 drops of patchouli oil with jojoba oil and apply directly to the site of inflammation, such as the joints or back for best results. You can also place a few drops of patchouli oil on the neck or temples to soothe inflammatory headaches.

Spruce Oil

Inflammation happens in many parts of the body, including the congestion and pain you feel during a sinus infection or cold. Spruce oil is not only good for aching joints and muscles, but can also help relieve respiratory inflammation and speed the recovery process from those types of illnesses.] [4]

How to Use – One of the more popular uses of this oil is to mix it with avocado oil or another rejuvenating carrier oil to create a balm for inflamed areas. After application, allow this blend to full absorb into the skin for best effects.

Rose oil, fresh pink rose, and fresh rose petals on a plate

Shades of pink with rose essential oil Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rose Oil

Although this oil’s aromatic compounds are most commonly associated with emotional or cognitive effects, the topical application of this essential oil can also soothe aching muscles and reduce blood flow to inflamed areas, which can often relieve pain. [5]

How to Use – Regular inhalation of this oil can help respiratory inflammation, and when diluted, this oil can be massaged into sore joints and areas of the body for quick relief.

Thyme Oil

When inflammatory events occur, it is usually accompanied by the release of certain enzymes, proteins and hormones. The active ingredient in thyme oil has been known to reduce the release of a key inflammatory enzyme, helping to both prevent inflammatory symptoms and quickly treat them. [6]

How to Use – Many people choose to place 5-10 drops of thyme oil into their warm bathwater and then soak in the tub for 20-30 minutes. For respiratory inflammation, small amounts of this oil can also be used in steam inhalation.

Bergamot Oil

Some inflammatory conditions are the result of chronic anxiety, as well as oxidative stress, which can cause tissues throughout the body to be inflamed. Bergamot oil can soothe the mind and the body, and has been known to lower inflammatory symptoms that aren’t linked to a particular medical condition. [7]

How to Use – The most frequent use of this oil is as an ingredient in cups of tea, particularly Earl Gray. However, normal inhalation, straight from the bottle, or after being placed in boiling water, is also effective for calming your mood.

German Chamomile Oil

Noted for its specific efficacy on the skin, german chamomile oil isn’t the most popular oil on the market, but it can quickly treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, while also helping muscles relax and eliminating pain. [8]

How to Use – An easy use of this oil is to simply add a few drops to chamomile tea, but regular inhalation of this in steam inhalation, or even topical application when diluted with a carrier oil can help with inflammation, both inside and out!

Eucalyptus Oil

As one of the most versatile essential oils for inflammation, eucalyptus oil is good for soothing the stomach, lowering blood pressure, calming the nerves and reducing inflammation in the respiratory tracts. When it comes to a comprehensive solution for irritation in the body, eucalyptus oil delivers. [9]

How to Use – The best use of this oil is in combination with other anti-inflammatory substances, such as jojoba oil or avocado oil. Then, use the mixture for a soothing muscle massage or apply it to the aching joints in your body.

Clove Oil

Many of the most common inflammatory conditions that we deal with occur in the gut, which is why the digestive and anti-inflammatory properties of clove oil make it so valuable. For indigestion, constipation, bloating, cramping, hemorrhoids and IBS, clove oil is one of the best choice you can make.

How to Use – You can use clove oil in organic toothpastes and mouthwashes, thanks to its antiseptic and analgesic properties, and you can add a few drops to your meals in order to benefit from the gastrointestinal effects.

Helichrysum Oil

This is one of the most effective essential oils for inflammation, and it is also proven to soothe pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases. It is also excellent at mitigating allergic reactions, which are a form of inflammation, due to the overreaction of the immune system. [10]

How to Use – Topical use of this oil is best, but be sure to mix it with a carrier oil (e.g., 5 drops per tablespoon of coconut oil). Helichrysum is very concentrated and shouldn’t be used in its undiluted form.

Final Word of Warning

There is widespread use of essential oils for inflammation, as they have proven to be very effective in traditional practice, but there are certain risks associated with their use. These oils are highly potent and can have negative side effects, particularly for those who are allergic to the source plant/herb, as well as those with sensitive skin. Certain essential oils must be diluted, and others are not intended for internal consumption. It is important to speak with a doctor before adding essential oils to your health regimen, particularly if you are on other medication or have a chronic disease. Chronic inflammation can do significant damage over the long term, so if these at-home remedies don’t work, seeking out more formal medical attention is strongly recommended. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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