Best Essential Oils For Inflammation

We’re so sorry to know that you have found your way to this page. The fact that you were looking for the best essential oils for inflammation in the first place, suggests that you may be suffering right now, so rather than just doing a very generic list, in this post, we’re going to drill down and try to establish which are the best choices for which condition. 

Inflammation can have so many causes. It may be because of an injury, inflammation in joints might be caused by wear and tear. The inflammation may come from an infection, or just that your system wants you to be more gentle with a part of you for a reason, so it sets upswelling and pain to make you aware of it. 

Different reasons for the problem require different essential oils for pain and inflammation.

So, to structure this article, I’m going to first list the essential oils that help with inflammation, then explain why. Then finally, we’ve listed some of the main inflammatory conditions with the oils we would choose and why. 

To begin with, if you made an appointment to see an aromatherapist about an inflammatory condition, potentially, the therapist would check their box to ensure they had adequate amounts of the following essential oils in readiness for seeing you. 

They already know the best essential oils for inflammation, but they won’t necessarily know which ones to use on you before you turn up. Knowing more about your condition will help them to choose which ones may be best for you.

An Aromatherapist’s 10 Best Essential Oils For Inflammation

  1. Copaiba Essential Oil
  2. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
  3. Lavender Essential Oil
  4. German Chamomile Essential Oil
  5. Juniper Essential Oil
  6. Fennel Essential Oil
  7. Yarrow Essential Oil
  8. Sweet Basil Essential Oil
  9. Helichrysum Essential Oil
  10. Tea Tree Essential Oil

What Essential Oil is Good For Inflammation?

So, potentially we have already answered this, but more specifically we need to understand what is causing the inflammation, and for that matter, what exactly do we mean by inflammation. 

For example, if someone has an eye infection, the eye becomes angry, sore, swollen and weepy. We call that inflammation. But in the same way, someone might have a very swollen ankle or even bad arthritis, that doesn’t look red but is painful and swollen. 

The list of essential oils that help with inflammation needs to be broad. 

Likewise, if we are looking for essential oils to help reduce inflammation, does that mean we need them to reduce redness? Is it the swelling that needs to go down or maybe the pain

There are different interpretations. 

Also, we need to think about the reason for the inflammation.

The cause of the inflammation will be clear for someone who has twisted their ankle, but what about someone whose injury has long since healed, but for some reasons, they are still suffering from chronic pain? 

Neither of those is likely to be due to infection, but something like conjunctivitis is. So, in this situation, an anti-inflammatory essential oil like yarrow might reduce the swelling and soreness, but actually treating the infection might make tea tree the best essential oil to use, even though it's not really anti-inflammatory. 

What Causes Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s way of demanding that you be more careful with some part of your body. Consider if you burnt your hand, the nerve sends messages to the brain that it burns and inflammatory markers called interleukins rush to the site of the injury. Interleukins do many things including bringing fluids to the area to protect it while other healing takes place. 

In the same way, in the case of an infected eye (or toe, or anything else) white blood cells are also recruited to try to overpower the infection, and this too causes swelling.

We call the pain associated with an injury such as this as “Acute”

Why Are The Best Essential Oils For Inflammation Helpful?

However, sometimes, there can be longer-term pain, in conditions like arthritis for example, where the joint has worn away over time. The fluid and cushioning that made it so easy to move when you were younger has gone, and so the result is pain, but also swelling because the body is trying to protect it and ask you to use the joint less. 

Sometimes though, a person’s pain might continue to be inflamed even if the original injury has healed, or indeed maybe there was no obvious initial reason for it at all. If a condition remains painful for six months or more, it is termed as Chronic Pain and indeed 99% of us will experience chronic pain at least once in our lives. 

One of the reasons for this happening is that the neurotransmission - that is the chemical messaging that takes place between our nerves -  gets ramped up, and so things might feel more inflamed than they actually are. That’s not to say that the condition is all in someone’s head, it’s not (actually it's in their nerves) but it can be extremely influenced by their thoughts and their feelings from day to day. 

Essential oils help deal with the redness, soreness, swelling, and also internal signaling that causes the inflammation itself. 

If your condition ends in -itis, as in arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, cystitis...itis means inflamed and it’s likely that you will find your solution here. 

Inflammation And  The Nervous System

The nervous system communicates a lot of information about pain and inflammation through a system called the endocannabinoid system. This complex signaling network is mainly made through two different kinds of cells that appear over and over again through the body. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the spinal cord and the brain stem. CB2 receptors are found in the rest of the body, mainly in the blood and lymphatic tissue. 

Both the CB1 and the CB2 receptors play vital parts in pain, but the CB2 receptor is involved in immunity and inflammation too. 

This is where the best essential oil that help inflammation - copaiba essential oil comes in. 

10 Best Essential Oils for Inflammation

1. Copaiba Essential Oil

If the CB2 receptor is not communicating information about the body’s chemistry correctly, then it will continue to increase both pain and inflammation and reduce immunity. 

Copaiba essential oil contains large amounts of a constituent called beta-caryophyllene that is proven to have a weak binding affinity with the CB2 receptor. 

In its own right, it also has anti-inflammatory abilities. 

Copaiba is not only one of the best essential oils for inflammation, we would suggest it forms one of the most important parts of its healing.

Safety: Avoid during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, otherwise copaiba essential oil is easy and safe to use.

2. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Next on the list of the best essential oils is the blissfully gentle Roman Chamomile. 

Its medicine is best understood by the idea that inflamed has many meanings, not least inflamed tempers. Roman chamomile not only reduces pain and swelling, it also calms the mind, loosening your grip on how things should be. 

One of the worst things about inflammation is the frustration you feel not being able to do things as quickly or as easily as you could before. 

Roman chamomile says “Ah well, it is what it is.” 

That might seem small until you realize how many muscles release when your mind believes it. The jaw unclenches, the shoulders and glutes relax. As the fibers of the muscles have less tension on them, the body needs to send fewer inflammatory markers. 

The body has asked you to be kinder, and Roman chamomile essential oil ensures that you are, while also directly working as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Safety: Safe for use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

3. Lavender Essential Oil

We don’t need to go over the same ground. Here, lavender, and indeed lavandin essential oils act in a very similar way to roman chamomile essential oil. They are some of the best essential oils for inflammation in terms of dealing with the pain.

Safety: Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

4. German Chamomile Essential Oil

So, this is where we get a bit more technical. What’s the difference between German chamomile and Roman Chamomile and why does this one come further down the list? 

You might sometimes see German Chamomile written as Chamomile Matricaria, or Blue Chamomile. They are all the same oil, and they called that because although the chamomile matricaria flower is white with a yellow center when it is distilled the oil turns blue. 

The blue comes from a constituent called azulene, which we also find in yarrow essential oil. In this oil, it is specifically chamazulene. 

Azulenes are like liquid anesthetics, incredibly soothing, and also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Is German chamomile as anti-inflammatory as Roman Chamomile? We don’t think so. Is it more soothing to redness and soreness? We would say, yes, much more so. 

So, if you are looking for essential oils for joint pain and inflammation, then Roman chamomile would be better, but if you are here because you need to find essential oils for an inflamed eye, or perhaps a very sore baby’s bum, then this would be a better oil. 

Safety: Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

5. Juniper Essential Oil

Juniper is one of the best essential oils for joint inflammation. Uric acid tends to build up around worn and damaged joints, as well as in conditions like gout. Juniper essential oil breaks down uric acid crystals and flushes them out of the body. 

Both fennel and Juniper oils are tremendous at dealing with liquids. If there is swelling or edema, then these are the best essential oils for inflammation in terms of getting the swelling down.  They help to reduce the fluids and again, flush them out of the system.

Safety: Juniper essential oils would not be suitable for use during pregnancy or if you have a kidney disorder.

6. Fennel Essential Oil

See above to understand why fennel is one of the best essential oils to reduce inflammation and swelling. 

Safety: Fennel essential oil is not suitable for use during pregnancy. For other occasions when fennel essential oil would not be an advisable choice as one of your best essential oils for inflammation (including if you are taking blood thinning medications), please see the Vinevida Fennel Essential Oil product description. 

7. Yarrow Essential Oil

Yarrow’s Latin name is Achillea millefolium

Millefollium tells of its featherlike foliage appearing as if it has a “thousand leaves”, but Achillea tells the story of the ancient Greek hero, Achilles. 

Achilles was a great warrior. His father had been the mortal king of the Myrmidons but his mother was a nereid, a water nymph. To protect him, his mother Thetis, has dipped him in the River Styx, making every part of him invincible except for his heel where she had held him as she ducked him into the magical waters. 

Today, we speak of our Achilles Heel as being our most vulnerable weakness, and in these situations, yarrow is often helpful. It is especially helpful where tendons have become inflamed like tendonitis or bursitis

The plant itself is a pretty white weed that grows mainly in waste grassland. In days of old, it grew in plentiful amounts by the sides of battlefields and was used to heal bumps, grazes, scrapes and wounds. Thus yarrow is one of the best essential oils for inflammation from wounds, especially new ones, and if the skin is very inflamed, like angry and sore eczema for example. 

Again, like German chamomile, yarrow is rich in azulenes making it anti-inflammatory, but also very analgesic. 

Safety: Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

8. Sweet Basil Essential Oil

We’ve talked about a couple of good chemical constituents to look out for, (beta-caryophyllene and chamazulene). Another great one to look out for is linalool. Linalool contributes to sweet basil’s anti-inflammatory nature, but also its antidepressant actions too. 

Sweet Basil is a little bit bossy, to say the least. No, actually she is a lot bossy! She can’t be doing with worriers and whiners. If you start to feel a bit anxious about doing things because you worry you might overdo it with the pain, sweet basil is a great essential oil to use. 

Along with being one of the best essential oils for joint pain and inflammation, she is also a great cheerleader, making you feel more courageous and positive about your abilities to get through the day. 

Safety: Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

9. Helichrysum Essential Oil

Again, helichrysum is wonderful as a skin healer, as a pain reliever, but also helps as an overall tonic. Helichrysum acts as an overall tonic but is particularly useful for healing broken skin, and inflammation that perhaps does not respond to anything else. We call it the oil for the wound that will not heal. It’s a kind and supportive oil. 

Safe to use after the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

Safety:  Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

10. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree is one of the best essential oils for infection and inflammation, for example in cystitis for example. 

Safety:  Safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Using Essential oils for Joint Inflammation

10 Best Essential Oils For Inflammation

Roman chamomile copaiba and lavender are your best friends here because of how much they take the sting out of pain. Another useful one is frankincense essential oil. Frankincense restores the elasticity to tissues, so in conditions like tendonitis, for example, where the tissues have been strained, it helps to restore the flexibility to the tendon. 

Use Juniper to tackle uric acid in arthritis, rheumatism, and gout, and along with fennel, it's great for detoxifying the joint and flushing toxins out of the system. 

Choosing an Essential Oil for Eye Inflammation

German chamomile is a great oil to reduce redness and soreness. Rosewater is also wonderful, as is clary sage. Clary sage’s Latin name Salvia sclarea means clear eye and is specific for conditions such as conjunctivitis. Again, if there is an underlying infection, we would also suggest one drop of Tea tree essential oil. 

For eyes, use in a dilution of 1%. Do not apply directly to the eye. Use clean hands and stroke your chosen essential oil for eye inflammation around the side of the eye. Essential oils absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream and have an uncanny knack of finding their way to the places that need them 

Not Forgetting Essential Oils for Sinus Inflammation

Use myrrh essential oil to decongest the mucous and tea tree to tackle the underlying infection. 

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense all have powerful volatiles that will help to unblock the nose. 

These can be blended into a massage oil (opt for frankincense essential oil for children) or added to a bowl of hot water, make a tent over your head and bowl with a towel and inhale to unblock the nose. 

It is recommended to do this for around 5 minutes, but keep popping in and out to grab some fresh air if needed, and do not put your face too close to the bowl, for fear of scalding it. 

The Best Essential Oils For Inflammation. DIY Recipes

Joint Inflammation Massage Oil

So how have we used the best essential oils for inflammation in this recipe? 

Copaiba is helping to switch inflammatory signaling, Chamomile is easing the pain and also acting as an anti-inflammatory, and juniper is dealing with any swelling. 

  • 10ml Grapeseed carrier oil (Vitis vinifera) 
  • 10 drops Tamanu carrier oil (Calophyllum inophyllum)
  • 3 drops Copaiba essential Oil (Copaifera officinalis)
  • 2 drops Juniper essential oil (Communis juniperus)
  • 2 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (Anthemis nobilis

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Cream for Eye Inflammation 

In this blend, the best oils for inflammation are ones that tackle the infection and reduce the itching, redness, and soreness. 

  • 10mlAaqueous cream (Available from the pharmacy) 
  • 1 drop German chamomile  (Chamomilla matricaria)
  • 1 drop Clary sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea)
  • 1 drop Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of Use: Apply close to, but not directly into the eye. 

Safety: Suitable for use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Conclusion

Inflammation has a wide range of causes and solutions however if you can gather together a selection of the best essential oils for inflammation you will have a good grounding to be able to tackle a number of first aid conditions yourself. However, please also consult your doctor about long-term conditions that may require further support. 

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