Essential oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis- Simply put, arthritis means inflamed joints. However, it is generally defined as conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia that cause swelling and pain in the joints.
This condition often comes with a partial or total loss of joint movement.
An estimated 20% of the U.S. population suffers from forms of arthritis that cause pain and movement problems. These problems usually hamper or interfere with their day to day living.
Arthritis is the most recurring disability in adults. This is because it can disrupt healthy living; it may also be accompanied by emotional distress, including acute depression.
Older people, especially women, and people with gene variations that make them more prone to lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, are likely to develop arthritis.
Even without factors such as age, gender, and genetics, infections, and injuries to joints, obesity, and jobs involving repeated movements can increase the risk and severity of arthritis.
Natural Therapy Vs. Medical Approach
For arthritis patients, pain relief is the most pressing need. This is why most people look for drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, and other pain drugs.
Some prefer them because they often get them as prescriptions by doctors without a second thought. For others, it is the case that they are ignorant of the effectiveness of natural therapy.
However, these pain-relief drugs come with adverse side effects. The FDA warns that:
NSAID medicines may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death!
Other risks that accompany these drugs include anemia, nausea, dizziness, liver damage, and much more.
On the other hand, natural therapies like using essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis are can be safer than the conventional medical approach. They ease the sharp pains that accompany arthritis with no side effects.
This is in addition to relieving other secondary conditions like insomnia. Lots of researchers affirm that aromatherapy is very potent in helping to soothe arthritis patients.
One of the most promising was a 2005 research by Korean researchers, which evaluates the benefits of essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis and how it benefits patients. These oils were blended with carrier oils, and the mixture applied to patients.
After topical application, the researchers note that aromatherapy greatly reduced both the pain score and the depression score of the experimental group as compared to the control group. They also note that this result comes with no side effects.
8 Best Essential Oils For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lavender oil is generally used to help patients sleep better or to treat skin problems. But, it is also useful for its therapeutic ability to treat arthritis.
The oil is famous for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that relieve swelling and inflammation, which arthritis induces. Various forms of arthritis, especially rheumatoid, are treatable with this oil. It also can tackle diverse types of pain from multiple angles.
Also, Lavender oil is useful for the treatment of anxiety and depression. It can cause relief from secondary conditions like emotional strains as a result of pain. Its mild and soothing nature makes it a reliable and preferred oil for use as a treatment for arthritis.
To apply, rub in about 3-5 drops in a circular motion on the spot to improve circulation and stop the pain. You can repeat it at any needed time.
Note: Lavender oil can be used without diluting it for instant pain relief. However, diluting in a teaspoon of carrier oil is best to avoid skin irritation.
2. Ginger Oil
Ginger essential oil is a potent healing oil. It contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which have relieving effects on the body.
Ginger oil is famous for reducing arthritis pain, which makes it an excellent analgesic. It acts on vanilloid receptors that are located on sensory nerve endings.
Ginger has a slight burning sensation that is similar to the initial intense burning feel of consuming spicy pepper. Although the burning usually lasts a few seconds, researchers discovered that it influences the pain pathways directly and instead rapidly in most cases.
This then relieves the inflammation that causes pain.
Apply this potent oil by massaging into the affected area. Then, use a warm compress to increase the rate of absorption. You may also mix it with lavender or lemongrass oils.
3. Cayenne Pepper oil
The peppery Cayenne pepper oil is extracted from the hot chilies of the same name. It has potent analgesic properties, although you have to apply repeatedly for days before the effect becomes apparent.
It contains Capsaicin as its primary active ingredient. Capsaicin works to relieve pain by expending substance P, a neurotransmitter peptide. The release is a response to inflammation.
This peptide carries pain feelings to the brain, and capsaicin obstructs its transmission process.
Use this oil by blending a few drops of the oil with coconut oil and applying 2-3 times daily for several weeks. If skin irritation occurs, stop use and consult a healthcare practitioner. The resulting pain relief often lasts for three months or more.
4. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense oil and its pain-relieving ability have been tested on cancer patients. The oil was used in the process of aromatherapy massage, and the relief from pain was significant.
This is because of the connection between the inflammatory process and pain. Usually, anti-inflammatory oils also perform the role of analgesics. Frankincense oil is no different.
Even though the research targets cancer patients, it can apply to arthritis patients too. Pain comes with arthritis, and so the analgesic properties of frankincense oil are relevant.
Also, Laboratory studies show that frankincense may disrupt the progress of rheumatoid arthritis by stopping the production of certain inflammatory substances.
This prevents the damage they cause to the cartilages. The monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in the oil are responsible for this healing effect.
You can apply frankincense topically, by chewing or mixing into the water to drink. You may also use it in diffusers, or by inhaling.
5. Myrrh Oil
Next on our list of essential oils for arthritis is Myrrh oil. This oil native to Egypt and Jordan is great for the medicinal treatment of various conditions.
Myrrh is potent for treating inflammation of the joints. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce the swelling by lowering the level of leukotaxine, an inflammatory substance released as a result of a tissue injury.
The anti-inflammatory effect of Myrrh has been extensively studied and is found to be equivalent to the NSAIDS used for treating arthritis. Combine myrrh and olive oil and apply it to joints for the best results.
Yarrow is particularly a soothing and healing herb. It carries anti-inflammatory properties that make it one of the potent essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis.
Yarrow essential oil is a significant ingredient in many anti-inflammatory preparations. It is also a part of the Ayurvedic tradition.
Preparing and using Yarrow oil topically can help to enhance anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving combinations.
Making the most of the combined reactions, that is, oils working together to make each other more effective, create unique blends that help to ease pain and inflammation for specific arthritis conditions.
Citrus scents boost overall well being, making you feel more awake and agile. Their powerful anti-inflammatory properties, including orange oil, have been researched regarding their effects on alleviating pain.
A 2009 study in the European Journal of Medical Research investigates the antioxidant potential of various essential oils. It reports that orange was the most highly effective in the study. This makes it one of the potent essential oils for arthritis treatment.
To use, dilute a few drops of the orange essential oil with one teaspoon of avocado or almond oil. Then massage it onto the part of the body where you are experiencing arthritic pain.
8. Birch Oil
Birch oil has a sweet, camphor-like smell and potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. This is a product of its methyl salicylate and salicylic acid content.
It is reportedly as effective as corticosteroids in relieving pain and joint swelling from gout, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. The potent astringent property of the oil quickly reduces the fluid collection around the joints, improving their range of motion.
Birch oil is a common component of many anti-arthritic formulations and pain salves, but you have to use pure oil with caution. Combine Birch oil with lemongrass oil and dilute with carrier oils before applying on inflamed joints.
Note: Elderly patients or those on thinning medications should not use Birch oil.
While using essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis has proven to be effective, it is also vital that you don’t neglect traditional treatment methods. That is, you should use this treatment alongside a doctor’s recommendation.
Also, essential oils should never be taken orally unless otherwise recommended by a certified aromatherapist. This is because these oils are not FDA monitored and may have issues with purity and quality. Take care to choose a quality brand.
Lastly, to avoid skin irritation, essential oils should be mixed with carrier oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil before topical application. You should also do a patch test by applying the blend on a small area of your skin like inside the elbow.
Ultimately, seek your doctor’s approval before using any of these oils for treatment.