Living with arthritis can be agonizing as it causes immense pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints.
Arthritis can affect anyone, however, the chances are found to be more in women, elderly and obese individuals.
Arthritis is a broad term that includes numerous conditions that affect the joints leading to disability.
If not managed appropriately, arthritis can reduce peace of mind and cause excessive stress and anxiety, sometimes the patient may even become depressed.
Non-medical therapies are indispensable in the treatment of arthritis.
A wide variety of approaches have been tried and proven to improve the quality of life of arthritis patients.
Physical therapy, exercise, diet modification, weight control, acupuncture, aromatherapy, etc. are a few of them.
The focus of this article is managing arthritis through essential oil or aromatherapy, more precisely with the use of vetiver essential oil.
Before we discuss the benefits of this oil let us go through a brief description of this oil.
What is Vetiver Essential Oil?
Vetiver is a perennial herb which has a distinct aroma. It resembles grass which can grow up to a height of 2 meters.
Vetiver is native to India but is now grown in many tropical countries.
It is more commonly known as “khus” or “khus-khus”.
Vetiver essential oil is mainly obtained from the roots of the vetiver plant, but in some part of India, it is also obtained from flowering and non-flowering seeds.
The benefits of vetiver oil are derived from a group of chemical constituents present in vetiver oil known as sesquiterpenes.
Vetiver has been traditionally used as a digestive aid, stimulant, to expel intestinal worms, and to relieve anxiety, stress or tension. It also has a history of use in snake bite and gallbladder problems.
In modern days, it has found extensive application in perfumery and cosmetic industries.
It is found to impart anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-depressant, antioxidant, and anti-cancer activities too.
Vetiver has application in agricultural areas, handicraft, construction, pottery etc.
Due to the numerous benefits of this oil, it has been referred to as the miracle grass. Vetiver essential oil benefits in arthritis are discussed in detail below.
Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil in Arthritis
Benefits of Vetiver essential oil in arthritis can be ascribed to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and stress relieving effects. It has a history of use in for arthritis and joint pain. Research data proves its effect on reducing stress and anxiety which can be seen in most arthritis sufferers. Vetiver is also an excellent antioxidant that can help in detoxifying the body by replenishing the low antioxidant levels in arthritis patients.
1. Vetiver Oil Can be Used to Reduce Arthritis Pain
Vetiver oil is effective in pain reduction and it is applied topically to relieve pain in arthritis.
A decoction prepared from vetiver roots can be helpful in producing an analgesic effect.
A study conducted by Chang SY et.al., in 58 patients demonstrated significant pain relief with the vetiver oil massage.
Animal studies have also proven the pain-relieving effect of vetiver. It acts by interfering with that body’s normal pain pathway. This effect of vetiver oil can be implicated in reducing pain in the joints of arthritis patients.
What does this mean? Vetiver oil has pain-relieving effects that have been proven to effectively reduce pain. Vetiver oil works by interfering with the natural pain pathway in the body.
2. Vetiver Oil Exerts Anti-inflammatory Benefits in Arthritis
Inflammation is a major problem in arthritis. It not only affects the joints but slowly goes on to affect other parts of the body such as the lungs, heart, and eye too.
Vetiver oil is identified to contain inflammation reducing properties by inhibiting the enzyme that causes inflammation.
It has been used in olden days for treating chronic inflammation in India and Thailand.
A research study on vetiver oil in human cells demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of this oil. More studies on humans and arthritis patients are needed to consolidate this effect.
In recent years, vetiver oil has not been widely used in for its anti-inflammatory benefit.
However, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects that could be advantageous in arthritis patients.
What does this mean? Anti-inflammatory properties of vetiver oil can help reduction of inflammation in arthritis patients. However, more studies on arthritis patient can shed more light on this benefit.
3. Vetiver Oil Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Arthritis Patients
Arthritis patient is known to suffer from anxiety, psychological stress, and depression more than the rest of the people.
If these problems are not managed well it can reduce the patients’ quality of life to a great extent.
Vetiver oil has a long history of usage for its benefits in relieving stress and anxiety. This effect can be utilized to bring about relaxation in patients ailing from arthritis-related stress.
Animal studies have proven the anti-anxiety properties of vetiver oil.
Vetiver oil works by acting on the brain chemicals that lead to anxiety.
Vetiver oil can also improve focus and make you feel energetic. This effect can be utilized by arthritis patient so improve their mood which can have a positive impact on their disease.
What does this mean? Most arthritis patients suffer from stress and anxiety. Vetiver oil is great for reducing stress and anxiety which it can improve the mood and provide relaxation in arthritis patients.
4. Vetiver Oil Aids in Detoxification
Free radicals are toxins that can damage the cells in the body. Antioxidants help in reducing this damage by fighting free radicals.
Studies have shown that antioxidant levels are reduced in arthritis and replenishing them aids in the treatment.
Vetiver oil is found to be an excellent natural antioxidant. According to research vetiver oil contains chemicals that possess detoxifying properties. Since detoxification can benefit arthritis patients this effect can be exploited for benefits in arthritis.
Vetiver oil is also found to have 90% free radical scavenging effect which makes it a wonderful choice of natural antioxidant in arthritis patients.
What does this mean? Vetiver oil is an excellent natural antioxidant which can prevent tissue damage in arthritis patients by replenishing antioxidants.
How to Use Vetiver Essential Oil - Dosage
Vetiver oil has a long history of oral ingestion which has considered it to be safe at lower doses. Vetiver can be taken orally by mixing it with soft drink, syrup or ice cream.
Vetiver oil can be inhaled by adding a few drops of essential oil to potpourri (a mixture of dried flower petals).
It can also be added to a diffuser and inhaled to relieve stress and anxiety.
Vetiver oil can be diluted with a carrier oil (vegetable oil, almond oil) and applied to painful joints to obtain relief from pain.
Vetiver oil is safe for human consumption at lower doses, therefore one must avoid consuming high doses of this oil.
Skin testing prior to topical application must be done to avoid any reaction.
To perform a skin test, apply the diluted oil on a small patch of skin (preferably had or foot) and if no irritation is seen in an hour the oil is safe to be used.
Information on vetiver oil usage in patients with concurrent illnesses or medications is not well established. A physician advise is recommended in such cases.
Vetiver oil or khus oil is an aromatic oil that contains numerous benefits on health.
It has been traditionally used for anxiety, depression, stomach and gallbladder problems, arthritis, etc.
Vetiver oil in arthritis has been proven to reduce the inflammation by altering the chemical pathways. This effect also helps in the reduction of pain in the joints.
Anxiety and stress can be reduced with the help of vetiver oil that can ensure better management and care of arthritis victims.
After all, relaxation with aromatherapy is one of the key non-medical therapies for arthritis.
Vetiver oil has been claimed to hold many benefits, strong research information is still lacking on certain properties, more scientific studies can further fortify these effects and their impact on arthritis management.
On a final note, the benefits of vetiver and its long-term usage as a home remedy can make it one of the choices for complementary arthritis therapy.