How To Use Essential Oils For Arthritis

The inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness that comes with arthritis can be very difficult to manage. While there are many treatment options, using natural remedies such as essential oils as complementary treatment can help reduce the pain and make the rest of the symptoms manageable. No, essential oils are not a cure for arthritis. In fact, there is currently no cure for arthritis, only treatment options that can help alleviate the symptoms. However, due to their therapeutic properties, essential oils can be a great aid in easing the pain.

Read on to learn what are the best essential oils for arthritis and how to use them to relieve the major symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

What Can Essential Oils Do For Arthritis?

Essential oils may ease arthritis symptoms, especially swelling, inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Made from the liquid essence of plants, essential oils have medicinal properties that can be used for prevention and treatment for many health problems. When it comes to the essential oils for arthritis, you should look for essential oils that have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and calming properties. 

Aromatherapy is safe to use for arthritis alongside conventional treatments recommended by medical doctors.

What Are The Best Essential Oils For Arthritis?

There are many types of essential oils you can use but not all of them will offer arthritis symptoms relief. To help you out, we made a list of the best essential oils for arthritis symptoms. The effectiveness of these oils is backed up by scientific evidence and they are safe to use as long as you do it as recommended.


Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil contains several compounds that can reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. If you use eucalyptus essential oil daily, in 30 minutes sessions, you will notice that the pain associated with arthritis will reduce. Moreover, diffusing eucalyptus essential oil can also lower blood pressure and ease coughs and common colds.

For arthritis, we recommend using eucalyptus essential oil for a body massage or topical application. If you opt for the massage, dilute 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a carrier oil. If you prefer topical application or your joints are too painful too handle a massage, dilute 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a carrier oil and apply the mixture topically.

Peppermint Essential Oil

The soothing properties of peppermint essential oil help reduce arthritis symptoms, particularly inflammation and pain thanks to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Since peppermint essential oil stimulates the nervous system, it is not recommended to use it before bedtime. However, it is perfect to use in the morning for a relaxing bath or throughout the day applied topically on affected areas. Peppermint essential oil can also be used for a relaxing and invigorating massage session.

For topical application, dilute 10 drops in a carrier oil. For a massage, dilute the peppermint essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. For an aromatic bath, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil in the water and mix to distribute the oil evenly.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil has been used for thousands of years to treat and relieve inflammation and chronic pain. Frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the Boswellia trees. Boswellic acids in frankincense have anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In addition, the acids help prevent cartilage damage.

The best way to use frankincense essential oil for arthritis symptoms is to diffuse it or to apply it topically diluted with a carrier oil (10 drops of frankincense essential oil mixed with a teaspoon of carrier oil).

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is arguably the most used essential oil. The calming and relaxing properties of lavender can help relieve anxiety, stress, and pain, which makes it perfect for people who struggle with the painful symptoms caused by arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to a clinical trial that tested the effect of aromatherapy massage with lavender essential oil on pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, people who applied a mixture of lavender essential oil and carrier oil on their swollen knee joints over a three week period reported reduced pain after a week of daily use. So it is best to use lavender essential oil for topical application if you want to reduce arthritis pain.

Orange Essential Oil

The essential oil extracted from oranges has anti-inflammatory properties as well, therefore you can use orange essential oil to lower inflammation levels. Another great thing about orange essential oil is that it contains antioxidants that are very important for people who suffer from arthritis.

Topical application is the best way to use orange essential oil for arthritis. As per usual, make sure you dilute 10 drops of orange essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Orange essential oil can cause photosensitivity, thus it is best to not apply it on the skin before exposing yourself to direct sunlight.

Primrose Essential Oil

Primrose essential oil contains two powerful anti-inflammatory compounds - gamma-linolenic acid and beta-amyrin. These compounds can reduce some of the osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms including stiffness, tenderness, and joint pain.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, it is safe to take 540 mg to 2.8 g of primrose essential oil daily, daily in divided doses. However, if you don’t have prior experience with ingesting essential oils, it is best to stick to topical application. As always, you have to dilute the primrose essential oil in a carrier oil to apply it safely on the skin. Like in most cases, you can use 10 drops of essential oil diluted in a teaspoon of carrier oil.

Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger is a popular remedy for inflammation and chronic pain. It can be added to meals, taken as supplements or used in aromatherapy. The natural chemicals in ginger transform into powerful anti-inflammatory compounds once absorbed in the body, thus using ginger essential oil for arthritis can reduce inflammation and pain.

Dilute 10 drops of ginger essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil and massage the mixture topically. You can also take ginger supplements or spice your food with ginger for added benefits.

Turmeric Essential Oil

Another great spice that can relieve arthritis symptoms when it is used in an essential oil form is turmeric. Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain but can also improve circulation.

Mix 10 drops of turmeric essential oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply the blend on the affected areas. You can also dilute turmeric essential oil in a carrier oil and use the mixture for a whole-body massage.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil is not just for cooking delicious Italian food; it is also great to use for alleviating arthritis symptoms. Basil essential oil contains numerous therapeutic compounds including linalool, a compound that can reduce swelling, and 1.8-cineole, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties. Basil essential oil also lowers the risk of cartilage damage, which is very common in people diagnosed with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

You can opt for topical application in which case you’ll have to mix 10 drops of basil essential oil with one teaspoon of carrier oil or for a whole massage. If you opt for the massage use only 5 drops of basil essential oil diluted in a carrier oil.

How To Use Essential Oils For Arthritis?

Essential oils for arthritis are usually massaged into the skin or inhaled. Whole-body massages and aromatic baths can also be helpful. It is essential to find the method that works best for you. That being said, we have to emphasize the importance of carrier oil. Since essential oils contain strong compounds that can irritate the skin, it is never a good idea to apply them on the skin without diluting them in a carrier oil first.

Before sharing our favorite carrier oils, here are a few suggestions for using essential oils for arthritis:

  •         mix a few drops of essential oil with hot water and inhale the steam;

  •         diffuse essential oils with a diffuser;

  •         mix essential oils with bath salts and add them to your bath for a relaxing and therapeutic bath;

  •         massage or topical application when you experience pain, stiffness or inflammation.

Best Carrier Oils To Use

You can choose from many different carrier oils to mix with your chosen essential oils for arthritis. All of them are great. If you don’t know what to choose, here are some suggestions:

  •         coconut oil

  •         hazelnut oil

  •         olive oil

  •         jojoba oil

  •         almond oil

  •         argan oil


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