Anti-inflammatory essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many cultures for health and medicinal purposes. Inflammation is your body’s method of protecting itself from harmful stimuli, including irritants, damaged cells, or pathogens.
They are high concentrations of a given herb, flower, fruit, or plant. Massive amounts of plants are needed to produce them. For instance, 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian roses are needed to get just one pound of oil.
Essential oil benefits come from their antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Other health benefits include:
- reduced swelling;
- healing skin conditions;
- acute or chronic pain relief;
- relieving muscle spasms;
- mental relaxation;
- improved digestion.
How to use
They enter the body mainly in three ways: applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested.
Topical application – dilute them before applying to the skin, either in a fatty oil (like jojoba or almond) or in water. Before you start, always remember to test a small area of the skin first. If irritation occurs, right away add a carrier oil on the irritated area to help dilute them. Then, apply them directly onto the skin where is needed. Massage it into your skin using gentle circular motions.
Inhalation – direct inhalation refers to the method of inhaling or sniffing (from a few inches from the nose) directly from a bottle, a cotton ball or a handkerchief. You can also place them in a diffusion device, sometimes with heat so they evaporate, and sometimes with water (be sure to read the directions). However, a good diffuser should use ultrasonic vibrations or room or cool temperature air to diffuse the oil into the air, helping the oil molecules remain air-bound for a few more hours and not affect the structure of the oil through heat, that can severely diminish the quality of the oil.
Internally – not all of them can be used internally, nor should all people use them in this method. You must also check if it is certified as GRAS by the FDA. Put several drops of oil into an empty capsule and swallow with water.
List of top anti-inflammatory essential oils:
Distilled from fresh Damascus rose petals, it has potent anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to use it to help alleviate the pain of rheumatism and arthritis, relieve tired and cramped muscles and to reduce the symptoms of a fever, massage into the skin, diluted in a carrier oil (2 to 3 drops in three tablespoons of carrier oil).
Tip – Keep this oil in a freezer for a few moments and see if starts to crystallize. If that doesn’t happen, it signifies that the oil has been adulterated with additives.
The root of this plant has been utilized for centuries as a medicine, delicacy, and as a spice. Using it as a massage oil will help with muscle aches, reduction of pain caused by arthritis, rheumatoid systems, headaches, and migraines. It also boosts circulation and provides instant relief from cold extremities and dull, lifeless skin.
Tip – If you have sensitive skin, use it with caution, or choose another one that is appropriate to use on sensitive skin.
Peppermint has a long tradition of nutritional and medicinal application dating back thousands of years to ancient Rome and Greece. It supports digestion, boosts energy, improves focus, reduces fever, eases nausea, and relieves headaches and muscle pain. (1) For an irritated skin, you can mix eight drops of peppermint oil in 2 ounces of carrier oil and massage on affected area.
Tip – Since it contains a powerful compound – menthol, usage of large quantities can result in skin damage.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is a widely-used medicinal plant that’s a member of the mint family. The wonderful benefits of lavender include relaxation, improved sleep quality, stress relief and more. For eczema, you can mix a few drops of it with coconut oil and use it topically. Also, its balancing properties make it gentle enough to use on horses, dogs, and cats.
Tip – Add it to a carrier oil and rub onto your legs and arms for a great insect repellent solution.
Myrrh is actually the resin that comes from trees belonging to the genus Commiphora, that grow in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Moreover, ancient Egyptians used it to maintain healthy skin and to prevent aging. Also, it has anti-fungal and antiviral properties and relieves pain associated with arthritis, rheumatism and soothes inflammation.
Tip – By using it in a diffuser, candle, or products applied to your skin, you can feel less wildly emotional and become calmer.
Sandalwood oil is extracted from the steam distillation of the wood shreds of matured sandalwood trees (Santalaceae family) and is widely known for its aroma and soothing medicinal properties. You can use sandalwood oil to relieve inflammation and itching of the skin (it is most effective on a dehydrated skin) and it also helps get rid of infections easily. In addition, it provides relief from internal inflammation.
Tip – Gargling with 2 drops of sandalwood oil diffused in water can help treat sore throats, coughs, asthma, and bronchitis.
Steam distilled from the flower and leaves tops of the plant, it was used by the Sumerians as long ago as 3,500BC and common agent in Ayurvedic practice. Additionally, the ancient Greeks used it as an incense in temples, and they added it to bathwater. Thyme helps with snoring and could be a more effective treatment for acne than prescription creams, according to a research, presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin (2). If you want to use it for sciatica and joint pains, take a hot bath, mixing in 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda, 15 drops of thyme oil and 3 drops of eucalyptus oil.
Tip – Pregnant women should stay away from it because it can stimulate menstrual flow.
It is extracted from the leaves of Wintergreen plants (Gaultheria Procumbens), which are native to Canada and North America. The most potent compound of this natural remedy is Methyl Salicylate2 that helps in improving the health benefits of the oil. It is an excellent natural pain reliever, helps in the healing process of the bones, diuretic and is highly beneficial for patients suffering from arthritis and rheumatism.
Tip – it should never be taken internally.
It has powerful anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, so it’s very useful for treating minor burns and cuts. It has astringent properties that will help to control excess oil in the skin. The scent of lemongrass oil also has an effect on the human senses that relieves your stress and even insomnia.
Tip – The substance citral in lemongrass prevents the growth of cancer cells, particularly skin cancer cells, in the body when treated early on (3).
It comes from the eucalyptus tree and is used as a perfume, an antiseptic, as an ingredient in cosmetics, in dental preparations, as a flavoring, and in industrial solvents. Furthermore, it has numerous antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and purifies the body (4).
Tip – A strong dilution of eucalyptus oil is an excellent alternative to help keep the bugs at bay.
- keep all these natural home remedies out of the reach of children and avoid contact with your eyes or mouth. They can cause irritation to delicate membranes.
- prolonged inhalation of concentrated essential oils can cause vertigo, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and lethargy.
- do not use them internally, especially oils like wintergreen, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
- if you are on heart medications (blood thinners) do not use cypress, sage, eucalyptus, rosemary, ginger, and thyme oils.
- they should never be directly burned as the chemical structure is dramatically changed with incineration.
- do not use these oils on children, infants, pregnant women, or those with serious health problems, without the help of and an expert in aromatherapy.
- read label directions for each before using.
People who are going to buy them should look for a high-quality product that is produced without chemicals and come from organic plants that grow in their natural growing region.