Itching and swelling can be really painful and annoying even if they are not extreme. Inflammation can be noticed when a part of the body becomes swollen, reddened, and painful due to an injury or infection. It is a healing process that is generated by the immune system of the body in response to an injury. In this condition, the white blood cells protect us from various infections, foreign organisms, and bacteria. Inflammation is associated with symptoms, like fever, lack of energy, headache, loss of appetite, muscle stiffness, etc. A little discomfort in the body disrupts the peaceful life, and we turn every stone to find a solution to it. If you are also battling hard with this problem, then you have landed at the right place. Here we have provided some of the essential oils that execute the anti-inflammatory activity.
Essential Oils For Inflammation
1. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil is derived from the leaves of the herb. Rosemary’s leaves and oil are used as an ingredient in many dishes. Its oil can be used for treating muscular pain and cramps. It helps in circulation and increases the blood flow towards the muscles which warms the area where massage has been done to diminish inflammation and pain. This herbal oil is also capable of healing the pain associated with inflammatory diseases like arthritis, rheumatism, etc.
- Alternatively, a few drops of this oil can be added to the bathtub while taking a bath. It will be beneficial for muscular and joint pain.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
This oil provides a cooling effect and is best for reducing inflammation. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which provide relief from pain and stiffness. Also, it is a good remedy for inflammation associated with the deadly disease of arthritis. Peppermint oil contains calcium antagonists that reduce pain from the affected part of the body. It can be used in combination with other oils such as jojoba or almond oil. Peppermint oil has a cooling effect, hence, it is applied on the area to overcome swelling and discomfort. A few drops of lemon essential oil can amplify its cooling properties. The oil enhances the blood circulation that oxygenates the body and regulates metabolism. The oil is so effective that it kicks away the horrible pain of a migraine within 15 minutes of its topical application.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is advantageous in many ways. This oil is very effective in the treatment of asthma. It is used for healing wounds, burns, and many other skin disorders like dermatitis, scabies, shingles, eczema, and psoriasis. Lavender is a great oil for joint and muscle stiffness. In the case of burns, keep the injured area in cold water for a few minutes and then apply the essential oil on it. This will strengthen the healing process.
- Alternatively, Lavender oil can be massaged on tight and stiff muscles. The oil should be mixed with a carrier oil before applying.
- Or, after a hectic day, you can go for a lavender bath which will soothe your muscles, relieving them from all the fatigue.
1) Lavender might be poisonous when taken orally.
2) Lavender oil may interfere with certain medications like central nervous system depressants.
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The oil has antibacterial properties that help treat respiratory problems, infections, and asthma. It is anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for easing muscle, nerve, and joint pain. It’s used in massages, scrubbing, compresses, and vapor treatment. The oil can be directly rubbed on the infected area.
- Alternatively, it can be mixed with a carrier oil and a massage can be done using this mixture.
- Or, it can also be used to treat insect bites effectively.
- Additionally, consuming eucalyptus oil can protect you from bacterial and microbial infections.
Apply this oil in lower concentration on children owing to its strong nature.
5. Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli is a herb from the mint family and the oil has a rich and aromatic smell. Patchouli essential oil improves as it ages. This essential oil is mainly used for treating various skin related problems. It inhibits the wound from further aggravating and getting infected.
- Apart from that, It provides relief from inflammation and the hyper-reactivity of nerves by putting the body in a tranquil state. Patchouli essential oil can be combined with Clary sage and lavender oil.
6. Chamomile Essential Oil
This oil extracted from the flowers of chamomile plant acts as a pain killer giving relief in muscular pain and cramps. It works as a sedative and helps relieve the pain caused by PMS and lower back pain. Chamomile is popularly called as herbal aspirin because of its pain reducing ability. It is beneficial in getting rid of infections and other issues of inflammation. This oil alleviates problems related to blood pressure and hinders the swollen blood cells.
Note: Pregnant women should not use this oil.
7. Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
This oil has medicinal properties and cures pain in muscles. It is also used for treating rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and migraine. A massage at the infected area through sweet marjoram oil diluted in olive oil is highly beneficial. It is able to treat diarrhea and abdominal pain when consumed. Fresh herb has a good concentration of vitamin C which helps in wound healing and boosting the immune system. The anti-inflammatory herb can relieve various problems like asthma, migraines, body aches, and spasms.
Note: This Herb Should not be used during pregnancy and menorrhagia
8. Thyme Essential Oil
A COX-2 enzyme in our body is mainly responsible for causing inflammation and pain (1). Thyme suppresses COX-2, providing relief from the cramp or pain due to the presence of carvacrol (2). Apart from that, thyme is antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and potentially analgesic, which benefits in curing acne and for treating bruises. The oil relieves pain when massaged or a few drops of it added to the bath. It is also helpful in alleviating the fatigue.
Note: Researchers have mixed opinions about the ingestion of this oil. Therefore, it should not be consumed without consulting a medical practitioner as it may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc.
9. Clary Sage Essential Oil
It is known for having a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system. The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties help ease the fatigue and pain in muscles and underlying tissues. The oil should be used in small concentrations. It is a natural painkiller, which brings relief in back pain, headaches, and muscle stiffness. Clary sage oil is antiseptic in nature and shields the body from infections during surgery. This essential oil is also beneficial in treating inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis.
1) It should not be used if you consume alcohol or take any narcotics.
2) People who have a low blood pressure should avoid using it due to its hypotensive effects.
3) This oil should not be used by pregnant women, as it promotes menstrual flow.
4) Keep this oil away from the reach of infants and children because they have a really sensitive skin.
10. Sandalwood Essential Oil
The health benefits of this oil can be marked with antiviral, antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and antispasmodic properties.
Due to its cooling effects, sandalwood powder is used to decorate the forehead in many cultures for keeping the head calm and relaxed. Sandalwood oil alleviates the uneasiness that arises from an insect bite and irritation of skin. Sandalwood oil consists of santalol that reduces the concentration of inflammation causing agents like cytokines(3).
1) A small patch test should be done to check if your skin is sensitive to this oil.
2) Pregnant women and people with severe allergies should be careful while using this oil.
11. Juniper Essential Oil
This essential oil has a turpentine like smell. It is used for treating spasm in the muscles. Juniper, when consumed in the form of tea helps counteract inflammation. Some people apply juniper directly to the skin for healing wounds and pain in joints and muscles along with the respiratory and intestinal pain.
12. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger has many benefits as it is a medicinal root. If a backache troubles you, then this remedy will surely provide a relief to the rear part of your body. It is effective in treating muscle pain and sprains. Along with that, the oil of ginger works wonders in lowering arthritic and rheumatic pain. This essential oil also relieves menstrual pain and bloating. It is able to cure inflammatory conditions like arthritis, celiac, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, etc. A regular message of this oil should be performed for effective results.
13. Yarrow Essential Oil
It is an excellent analgesic pain reliever. It has got amazing anti–inflammatory properties that help suppress the pain in muscles and joints. The herb acts as an antispasmodic relieving pain and cramps that happen due to stress and anxiety. The powerful herb can cure inflammation of any kind from respiratory tract to the digestive system and circulatory system.
Moreover, it aids in circulation, thus preventing clustering of uric acid in joints and muscles. Yarrow oil can be applied on the affected joint or area directly followed by a gentle massage. It cures the wound by forming a protective shield on it and triggers the blood platelets and leukocytes at the affected place, preventing the entry of microbes.
1) This essential oil may have neurotoxic effects, which may cause headaches and irritation to the skin if used for a long period of time.
2) Pregnant women should not consume this oil.
14. Frankincense Essential Oil
The oil can enter our body by inhaling or by applying on the skin. It is mixed with a carrier oil. This essential oil contains powerful anti-inflammatory substances that help in the speedy recovery of wounds, cuts, and acne. It can cure arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Research has shown that it can prevent the release of main inflammatory molecules, helping to stop the breakdown of cartilage tissue that causes these conditions. It cures pain-stricken joints in arthritis. A towel soaked in a mixture of a few drops of essential oil and hot water, when placed on the affected area brings immense relief in the pain.
1) People with bleeding disorders or on anticoagulant medications should not use this oil.
2) It is not recommended for nursing and pregnant women.
15. Withania Somnifera Essential Oil
It gives a relief from painful conditions including a headache, nerve pain, arthritis, and menstrual cramps. This oil is produced by steam distillation of the leaves. It is helpful in reducing muscle pain and fatigue. This essential oil is particularly used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. Redness, Rosacea or acne developed on the skin can be effectively treated by the oil. It even encourages wound healing.
16. Vetiver Essential Oil
The vetiver essential oil is extracted from the roots of the grass vetiver. The herb is popular in Ayurveda for treating many diseases. It has been used from early times as a pain reliever. It cures the pain caused by rheumatism, arthritis, muscular pain, and headache. This oil treats the inflammation caused by sunstroke and dehydration too. It even helps relax our nerves and treat neurotic disorders. Vetiver essential oil makes the skin healthy again, counteracting wounds by the formation of new tissues.
Note: It is not safe to be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women.
17. Helichrysum Essential Oil
The oil has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties. It provides a support to the nervous system, respiratory system, and heart. It also reduces muscular pain in arthritis. This oil is said to heal the muscle within a few minutes. It is applied on bruises as it keeps the blood tight inside the blood vessel at the time of injury. A massage from this essential oil should be done on the infected area. It tends to provide relief in the inflammation cause as a result of fever.
18. Clove Essential Oil
The rheumatic disease ruptures the lining of joints eventually causing pain, swelling, and stiffness throughout the body. The clove essential oil is specifically used for treating this disease. According to a research, massaging the abdomen with it is an effective remedy in reducing and shortening the duration of pain that arises in premenstrual days. Gargling with a few drops of essential oil mixed with warm water can alleviate the tooth pain and throat infections.
19. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is useful in fighting against skin infections or to heal an injury with an open wound. It has got antibiotic properties, which come to rescue the inflamed skin. A relaxing bath with a few drops of this oil helps soothe our body and protects it from infections. The oil is very potent. Therefore, it must be diluted before using. It can be beneficial for any kind of skin inflammation, such as eczema and psoriasis.
20. Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel is a regular spice in the kitchen. Anethole, an ingredient found in this essential oil is the primary cause for the anti-inflammatory activities. It counteracts inflammation and also protects from cancer development in the body.
Note: It is not to be taken orally.
21. Rose Essential Oil
Apart from being the symbol of love, The essential oil of this flower has a lot more to offer in the medical domain. It is known to reduce the inflammation at early stages. Rose oil should be used in diluted form. It is used mainly as an anti-depressant and valued for its sedative properties.
22. Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot belongs to the family of citrus fruits and is similar in appearance to lemon. It is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Bergamot works well when combined with basil, Cyprus or ginger essential oils.
Note: Don’t apply this oil directly to your skin as it may react with sunlight and cause irritation and darkening of the skin.
23. Grapefruit Essential Oil
The fruit is high in vitamin C content and is a great antioxidant. This makes it an effective anti-inflammatory oil. You can consume 4-5 drops of essential oil with 250 ml of water every day in the morning. Grapefruit can be combined with other oils such as lavender, peppermint, and frankincense.
24. Capaiba Essential Oil
It is considered as the best anti-inflammatory substance. It promotes a faster healing of injury or wound and reduces pain in any part of the body, externally or internally as It is completely safe to consume it internally. It can also treat inflammation in the respiratory system.
Note: It can cause digestive disorders if taken in large quantities.
The oil destroys the bacterias responsible for causing inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Rosmarinic acid present in the oil prevents allergy-related inflammation. Skin disorders like eczema, candidiasis, rosacea, bug bites, rashes, and psoriasis get cured by the application of this oil on the infected area. It is also beneficial in treating sprains, muscle pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.
26. Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh essential oil is anti-inflammatory and a great antioxidant. It helps relieve the inflammation due to oral infections. This oil is also useful in reducing swelling when applied as a cold compress.
Note: It can cause inflammation or dermatitis of the skin. Therefore, it should be tested on a small patch of the skin before the use.
27. Blue Tansy Essential Oil
Blue tansy essential oil kills many bacteria and prevents their multiplication. Due to its anti-fungal properties, the fungus can not tolerate the lethality of this oil and is eventually destroyed. This fragrant oil is an allergy buster and pain reliever. It treats the pain experienced in the diseases like arthritis and rheumatism. It inhibits the inflammation in the respiratory, nervous, and digestive system.
Note: It should be taken only in mild doses.
28. Camphor Essential Oil
Camphor essential oil is a great sedative agent. Its cooling and refreshing properties relax the mind. It relieves the pain and performs anti-inflammatory activities. Camphor can be consumed as a painkiller in dental aches as it can minimize the gum swelling. It is antispasmodic and gives instant relief from the muscle cramps. This oil is a vital ingredient in ointments to heal skin disorders and fungal infections. It can also alleviate the pain associated with neuralgia by contracting the blood vessels and easing the pressure on the cranial nerve. There are three variants of camphor essential oil i.e. white, brown and yellow. Yellow and brown are highly toxic, only white colored oil is used for treatments.
1) White camphor oil should be ingested in very mild doses through steam inhalation. Even 2 grams of it may result in vomiting and nausea.
29. Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen essential oil is a natural pain reliever. The oil consists of methyl salicylate up to 85-99%, the compound responsible for performing anti inflammatory work. It contains antioxidants like mycrene, phenolics that soothe the irritation and provide relief to the swollen tissues. The essential oil comforts muscle and joint pain, treats a headache, nerve pain, premenstrual cramps, bone pain, and arthritis. It counteracts viruses, bacterial growth, and fungi. To get rid of muscle pain, mix the oil with lavender oil and add this mixture to the warm bath.
1) Take a test as people with sensitive skin might experience redness or swelling.
3) This oil may react adversely with some medications. Consult a doctor before using it.
30. Turmeric Essential Oil
Turmeric essential oil contains a compound alpha-curcumene, responsible for anti inflammatory activities. This oil is used in combination with other oils such as frankincense to curb the pain and fatigue. Moreover, it consists of strong antioxidants that repair the harm done to the cells by the presence of free radicals. It has been proven to be helpful in arthritis and doctors suggest regular consumption of turmeric is a good way of avoiding arthritis.
1) More than five drops of turmeric essential oil could pose a threat to our health. It is taken by mixing with tea or water with honey.
2) Turmeric oil can increase the sensitivity of skin to UV radiations. Avoid going out in the sun after its application.
3) Carry out a patch test before using it.
31. Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil behaves in an anti-inflammatory way. It provides comfort from the pain and muscle problems. This oil also cures the body of the inflammation caused by fever, infections, gas, intake of toxic substances, and knee pain. It subdues bacteria and pathogens and fights against cancerous tumors. Two vital compounds in it are limonene and myrcene that are strong antioxidants, which eliminate inflammation from the body. Orange essential oil prevents the multiplication of E. coli and salmonella bacteria that may further cause inflammation. It is used for disinfecting the wounds and avoiding any septic or fungal infection.
1) People allergic to citrus fruits should avoid its usage.
2) Orange oil increases the UV absorption on skin. Avoid sun exposure for at least 12 hours after application of the oil.
3) It may interfere with other medications, so consult a doctor before using it.
32. Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black pepper has antispasmodic, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties along with the anti-inflammatory properties. This oil contains ample amount of vitamin A and K for regulating metabolic functions. It is fruitful in curing infections developed in the colon, mouth, digestive system, and urinary tract. This oil can become favorite for those who are aging and facing problems like a loss in vision, loosening of muscles, and nervous disorders are delayed by it. Consumption of black pepper oil increases sweating and urination, thus throwing the toxins out of the body. It discards uric acid from the blood curing arthritis and rheumatism. The oil is used for disinfecting the food to protect it from bacterias for a long duration.
Note: Consumption of large amount of essential oil can result in vomiting, loose motions, and irritation.
33. Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium oil is effective in preventing a bacterial infection from developing on the skin. Athlete’s foot is caused due to bacteria, and it can be cured by adding a few drops of this essential oil to warm water and immersing feet in it. Germanium oil stimulates microglial cells that release anti inflammatory agents which cure memory related problems like Alzheimers and dementia. Pain in joints or a heart disease due to inflammation of arteries can be treated effectively by this oil. It is also used as an insect and bug repellent and heals itching caused due to their stings too. Geranium oil reduces pain in the nerves. For this, mix some coconut oil with germanium oil for a gentle massage.
1) Those with high blood pressure and having a risk of cardiovascular diseases are advised to not use geranium essential oil.
2) Pregnant and nursing women should avoid utilizing the oil as it may interfere in hormone secretions.
3) It is not to be applied on the soft and tender skin of children.
34. Lemon grass Essential Oil
This essential oil is analgesic in nature and reduces pain and inflammation which, if not treated can lead to a serious disease. Along with that, it cures all the infections, be it internal or external like ringworm or athlete’s foot. It is helpful with digestive disorders too. Out of all the inflammatory disease, it is really helpful to treat arthritis joint pain. Lemon grass essential oil provides instant relief to the muscle pain and spasms. It is a great boon for sports persons as they often land up developing a sprain or injury.
1) Perform a patch test before using the oil to see if it has any adverse reaction.
2) People taking oral diabetes drugs may witness a lower level of blood glucose.
3) Ones who are on anti-hypertensive medication should also avoid using it.
4) It should be kept out of the reach of children.
5) Pregnant and nursing women should use this oil only after consulting a medical practitioner.
35. Lemon Essential Oil
This essential oil is a good anti oxidant and heals a wound. It is potent against bacteria responsible for spreading acne. Using this oil can reduce rashes and the redness of the skin. It subdues the pain by obstructing the way of pain through nerves. This effective oil stops infections in wounds, scrapes or cuts. This citrus oil can also treat respiratory inflammation and asthma. It also provides relief from arthritis. It can soothe the inflammation in your stomach and maintains the pH level in it.
1) The essential oil increases photo sensitivity resulting in sun burn and irregular skin darkening.
2) Pregnant women and small children should use it only after consulting a doctor.
3) It may develop respiratory problems in some.
36. Mandarin Essential Oil
The oil is beneficial, owing to its multiple properties of being an antiseptic, antispasmodic, and nervous relaxant. Tangerine, a type of mandarin has proven to show anti inflammatory properties. Research has shown that it suppresses 5-lipoxygenase(5-LOX) which causes inflammation. It strengthens the immune system to guard you against all kinds of infection. In addition to that, it calms the stomach by maintaining even concentrations of bile and acids. Thus, it reduces inflammation arising due to internal infections.
Note: The oil may develop photo-toxicity in some skin types.
37. Neroli Essential Oil
The oil has a sweet aroma that is refreshing and is manufactured from its flowers. Neroli essential oil is an amazing remedy for treating skin infections. The oil destroys the bacteria and keeps body away from microbial infections. It is said to possess biologically active components, which can reduce long standing inflammation. In case of a wound or cut on your body, apply essential oil directly on the infected area. Inhalation of neroli essential oil helps in getting rid of menopausal pain and cramps, cleanses kidney and colon, cures urinary tract infections.
The oil induces sleep, so avoid taking it when you do not want to sleep or have some work that needs to be done with concentration.
38. Basil Essential Oil
The holy basil offers a multitude of benefits. It has been used in numerous medications for a long time. It is a natural anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, antiviral, and diuretic. The oil fights with bacteria curing several infections and painful condition of arthritis. A few drops of basil oil, when rubbed on swollen joints or muscles, soothes them.
1) Basil essential oil should not be consumed during pregnancy as it may have a bad impact on the hormonal level and in the muscle functioning.
2) Avoid contact with eyes, ears, or nose.
39. Cayenne Pepper Essential Oil
The oil is effective in curing arthritis pain by cancelling the impact of a compound P, which is a neurotransmitter. A diluted application of the oil is enough to cure the pain related to arthritis. It may cause a burning sensation in the initial stage, but that would eventually subside after several applications. Cayenne pepper is a pro in dealing with infections. It makes the nasal passages less sensitive when they come in contact with the allergens and helps loosen the mucus formation.
1) Breast feeding mothers should avoid its intake internally or externally. Pregnant women should not use it regularly or in large doses.
2) It increases the absorption of theophylline, used for treating asthma which may be dangerous.
3) Individuals allergic to bananas, latex, kiwis, avocado, and chestnuts are likely to be allergic to cayenne pepper.
4) The effectiveness of drugs like ranitidine, aspirin, cimetidine, maalox may be reduced while using cayenne pepper.
5) Large doses of this essential oil may upset stomach.
6) It may increase the chance of bleeding while using particular blood thinners and herbs.
40. Birch Essential Oil
Birch oil has a lot of health benefits associated with it. It contains methyl salicylate and salicylic acid that reduces uneasiness in muscles, joints, and bones. Massaging with birch oil is one of the best treatments for arthritis and relieving pain inflicted joints as it releases the toxins from the body responsible for these diseases. The presence of betulenol and betulene makes it diuretic. A proper urination helps treat infections in the urinary tract and prevents developing of gout or arthritis in the body. A few drops of this oil mixed in warm water tub can soothe the various joints and nerves.
- You can also mix it with a carrier oil and massage to get relief from arthritis pain.
Note: Birch essential oil should not be used by those who are on blood thinners or suffering from epilepsy along with the pregnant women.
41. Spruce Essential Oil
The existence of a-pinene and bornyl acetate in this sweet scented oil gives it analgesic and anti–inflammatory properties. High level of monoterpenes imparts its pain relieving attributes and makes it a great tranquilizer that keeps a check on muscle contractions and stomach inflammation. The oil gives strength to bones and comfort from adrenal fatigue. This Essential oil is used for treating wounds, boils, skin irritation and infections like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fungal infections such as jock itch, facial candida, athlete’s foot and fingernail infection.
1) Take a patch test before using as it may not suit every skin type.
2) Nursing mothers or pregnant women should consult a physician before using it.
Word of Caution:
Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and strong. Therefore, they should be diluted before applying on the skin by adding a carrier oil. It would be wise to consult your doctor before using any essential oil to heal a specific problem. Not every essential oil suits each and every body type.