Quick Answer: Best Essential Oils For Inflammation

  1. Bergamot Essential Oil
  2. Chamomile Essential Oil
  3. Coriander (seed) Essential Oil
  4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  5. Fennel Essential Oil
  6. Frankincense Essential Oil
  7. Lavender Essential Oil
  8. Patchouli Essential Oil
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Inflammation [1] is a protective mechanism in which the body’s white blood cells (WBC’s) are stimulated and they produce chemicals in the blood to fight the foreign body such as bacteria, viruses or infection.

It leads to increased blood flow to the area.

This mechanism is seen in autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis [2] [3]and multiple sclerosis [4] [5].

In these conditions, the body’s immune system triggers inflammatory responses even in the absence of disease and leads to damage to tissues.

It can be organ-specific such as in heart (myocarditis), lungs, kidney (nephritis). [6] Inflammation can be acute or chronic. [7]

Symptoms include warmth, stiffness, and redness in the area. The person also experiences swelling and pain.

Inflammation may also lead to chills, loss of energy, fever, and headaches.

Although medications are present to combat it, it is more effective to use essential oils as they contain phenylpropanoids that work on cytokines to suppress inflammation. [8]

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are natural plant products. They are volatile compounds producing strong scents and are secondary metabolites by aromatic plants. [9]

They are concentrated and potent in nature and the source of innumerable health benefits.

Essential oil is extracted from plant parts such as flowers, leaves, and the rind of fruits, stems, bark, resin and sometimes the complete plant.

Their chemical constituents are saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ethers, ketones, phenols, and terpenes [10]

They can be administered orally as gel capsule, or mixed with honey, topically as a massage oil, night and day creams, and lotions and in aromatherapy as diffusers, baths, and inhalations.

The essential oil has generic and specific anti-inflammatory properties; they work miraculously to decrease inflammation of organs.

The study shows Citronellol in Geranium oil has anti-inflammatory properties. [11]

How Essential Oils Help in Inflammation

Essential oil makes about 20% of the total treatment for inflammatory skin diseases. [12]

Antiphlogistic: Essential oils reduce inflammation; a clinical trial for 37 patients, showed tea tree oil at 10% in a cream base was effective in a significant reduction of inflammation.[13]

Anti-inflammatory: Study showed injecting of lemon-scented gum oil inhibited induced inflammation in rat paw [14].

Turmeric essential oil and ginger essential oil [15] have shown anti-arthritis effects in the mouse model.[16]

Essential leaf oil of lippiasidoides containing 66.7% thymol inhibited mouse ear inflammation on topical application. [17]

Lemongrass essential oil [18]  and oregano essential oil [19] successfully inhibit inflammatory biomarkers.

Most Effective Essential Oils in Inflammation

Essential oils are effective in reducing and suppressing inflammation in various body parts.

They can be used for specific organs or in general to curb inflammation. [20] [21]

Peppermint essential oil can be used for injury-induced inflammation, massaging few drops on the affected area can soothe skin.[22]

Tea tree oil (100%) when topically used reduced histamine diphosphate induced inflammation in 10 minutes of application.

It also reduces the histamine reaction of weal and flare. [23][24]

Listed below are the best essential oils you can use to combat and reduce inflammation.

1. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of a small tree and has a sweet, citrus, and floral scent. [25] [26] [27]

The oil is a Cicatrizant and contains Vulnerary properties and promotes wound healing. It is also anti-Infectious.

Bergamot oil is a powerful rubefacient that increases blood flow to relieve pain in the inflamed area.

It is rich in Esters possessing anti-inflammatory properties; it contains lynalyl acetate up to 60% concentration.

A study on anti-inflammatory effects of bergamot oil on carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats showed the use of 0.1 ml/Kg oil dose significantly reduced 64% paw edema. [28]

Bergamot oil is a powerful disinfectant that is helpful in recurrent inflammations.

Bergapten in Bergamot causes photosensitivity and may irritate sensitive skin so ensure a patch test before using.

Best way to use: Administered topically as tea ingredient (Earl Grey Tea), massage and in aromatherapy in baths or a room diffuser.

2. Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil is extracted from daisy-like white flowers from an annual, strong-scented herb. It has a warm, herbal, sweet aroma and deep blue tinge.

The oil has primary benefits for lymphatic inflammation. It is useful in inflamed gums and skin. It promotes wound healing. [29]

German Chamomile oil is widely used in rheumatic pain and inflammation of joints and muscles [30].

It is used as a cold compress for inflamed joints and is useful in migraines. [31]

The study showed anti-inflammatory activity in eye drops containing Matricaria chamomilla in Ultra Violet -B exposed eyes. [32]

It is an antiphlogistic meaning it reduces inflammation in body [33].

The oil is used as a compress for internal inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract such as colitis and gastritis. [34]

It is contraindicated in pregnancy especially for oral use.

Best way to use: Administered topically, baths and diffuser aromatherapy.

3. Coriander (seed) Essential Oil

Coriander essential oil has spicy-sweet balsam aroma. The oil is extracted from crushed ripe seeds.

It has rheumatic properties and relaxes muscle pain and swelling. The oil is useful in inflammatory condition catarrh and arthritis. It is anti-inflammatory. [35]

The oil must be avoided in a person having high blood pressure, breast cancer or during pregnancy.

Best way to use: It can be easily taken orally but the large dosage can be stupefying.

4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil is anti-inflammatory and comforting for rheumatoid arthritis. The oil is extracted from leaves and young twigs of a tall evergreen tree. [36] [37] [38]

It has a refreshing aroma. Eucalyptus oil is Anti-catarrhal, Anti-migraine. It is Cicatrizant and aids in wound healing.

It should be avoided with homeopathic remedies and epilepsy conditions. One should be cautious when using for children aged 5 and below.

Best way to use: used topically and in baths. Topical use by rubbing the chest and back with the following oil for catarrh – Tea tree 2 drops, Rosemary 2 drops, Eucalyptus 5 drops, and Thyme 1 drop should be diluted in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. [39]

5. Fennel Essential Oil

Fennel essential oil is extracted from crushed seeds of herb having leathery leaves and yellow flowers. It has a sweet, earthy and peppery aroma.

It is useful in arthritis. It suppresses and reduces inflammation and hence is anti-inflammatory [40] and antiphlogistic.

It constitutes 22% fenchone which is an anti-inflammatory ketone.

Best way to use: Administered orally, topically, and used in baths.

6. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil is extracted from Resin from a shrub having a warm, rich and fresh aroma. [41] [42] [43]

It is useful in breast inflammations [44], [45] and catarrh. It also promotes wound healing hence is a powerful Cicatrizant.

It is anti-inflammatory. [46] It treats rheumatoid arthritis [47] [48]

The dosage suggestion for the inflammatory or asthmatic condition is 300-400 mg of standardized extract three times daily. [49]

Best way to use: It can be topically, orally and used in aromatherapy. No contraindications have been reported

7. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is extracted from flowering tops from an aromatic green woody shrub. It has a sweet, floral scent.

Lavender essential oil is anti-inflammatory and reduces swelling. It is useful in catarrh, rheumatism, wound healing.

Bathing with lavender relieves muscular pain of rheumatism. It reduces local pain, reduces inflammation. [50]

Best way to use: It can be used topically and in baths.

8. Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil is extracted from dried leaves and flowering herb from a bushy perennial herb. It has a sweet, rich and earthy aroma.

It is anti-phlogistic and anti-inflammatory [51].

Studies on xylene-induced ear edema in mice and carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats showed the suppression of inflammation and are highly potent in nature. [52]

Beta-patchoulene in patchouli oil is responsible for anti-inflammatory action [53]

Best way to use: administered topically or in aromatherapy in baths.

Best Carrier Oil for Inflammation

Apricot kernel oil and olive oil blended with essential oil help soothe inflammation and are good for arthritis.

Precaution we should follow while using Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly potent and concentrated in nature; they must be used with care.

Essential oils should be stored in tightly closed bottles and stored in a cool location away from light. When stored properly, essential oils will maintain their potency for many years.

Their use should be avoided during pregnancy and for children below five.

It is advisable to always perform a patch test before their topical use by dabbing a small amount on the inside of your arm.

These oils are safe but special care must be taken for eyes, the mucous membrane can get easily irritated with use.

Some oils like bergamot and other citrus essential oil can make your skin photosensitive, so try to avoid sun exposure after their use.

Final Words

Essential oils are great to combat inflammation, redness, and stiffness. They are an effective suppressor of inflammatory biomarkers in the body.

Anti-inflammatory, Anti-phlogistic properties of essential oils are extensively explored in aromatherapy, bath oil, and topical usage as creams.

They are efficacious non-pharmacologic techniques that aid in reducing pain and swelling.

So next time you come across any injury inflammation or rheumatic pain and swelling, using essential oil will be extremely beneficial for you.

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