Best Essential Oils For Inflammation

We’re sorry 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 making 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, or joint inflammation might be caused by wear and tear. The inflammation may come from an infection, or your system wants you to be more gentle with a part of you for a reason, so it sets up swelling 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 first to list the essential oils that help with inflammation and 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 won’t necessarily know which ones to use on you before you turn up. Knowing more about your condition will help them choose the best ones for you.

What does Research Say About Inflammation?

Inflammation is a normal and healthy response and works wonderfully well if it can switch off. Problems happen, however, when there is no off switch. The body remains in this condition and sets up a perpetual cycle of inflammation to the body. Since these inflammatory markers cycle through the bloodstream, they traverse the heart and eventually cause coronary inflammation that sets up coronary disease. The most problematic is obesity, but prolonged stress and anger can also create these difficulties. These expected outcomes include aches and pains, particularly hypersensitivity to pain.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils For Sunburn

A Small Brief About Inflammation

So, potentially, we have already answered this. However, more specifically, we need to understand what is causing the inflammation and, for that matter, what 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 reason, they are still suffering from chronic inflammation pain? 

Neither 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 treating the infection might make tea tree the best essential oil to use, even though it's not anti-inflammatory.

What Causes Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s way of demanding that you be more careful with some parts 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 injury site. 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, which also causes swelling.

Do we call the pain associated with an injury such as this “Acute?”

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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

Why Are The Best Essential Oils For Inflammation Helpful?

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 the result is a 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 inflamed even if the original injury has healed or there was no apparent initial reason for it. If a condition remains painful for six months or more, it is termed Chronic Pain, and indeed, 99% of us will experience chronic pain at least once in our lives. 

One of the reasons for this is that the neurotransmission - that is, the chemical messaging that takes place between our nerves - gets ramped up, so things might feel more inflamed than they 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 highly influenced by their thoughts and feelings daily. 

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

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

Inflammation And The Nervous System

The nervous system communicates much information about pain and inflammation through the endocannabinoid system. This complex signaling network is mainly made through two different kinds of cells that repeatedly appear throughout 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. 

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

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

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10 Best Essential Oils for Inflammation

1. Copaiba Essential Oil

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

Copaiba essential oil contains significant 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 critical 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 reduces pain and swelling and 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, and the shoulders and glutes relax. As the muscles' fibers have less tension, 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 dealing with pain.

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

4. German Chamomile Essential Oil

So, this is where we get 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. This oil is specifically chamazulene. 

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

Is German chamomile as an 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, 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 builds up around worn and damaged joints and 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 swelling or edema, these are the best essential oils for inflammation to get 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 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 our most vulnerable weakness, and in these situations, yarrow is often helpful. It is beneficial when tendons are inflamed, like tendonitis or bursitis.

The plant 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 bossy. No, she is a lot bossy! She cannot be doing with worriers and whiners. If you start feeling anxious about doing things because you worry you might overdo it with the pain, sweet basil is a great essential oil. 

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 optimistic 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 lovely as a skin healer and pain reliever, but it also helps as an overall tonic. Helichrysum is an overall tonic but is particularly useful for healing broken skin and inflammation that may not respond to anything else. We call it the oil for the wound that will not heal. It is 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. 

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

Using Essential oils for Joint 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 flexibility to the tendon. 

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

Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Arthritis

Choosing an Essential Oil for Eye Inflammation

German chamomile is a great oil to reduce redness and soreness. Rosewater is also fantastic, 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 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 for finding their way to the places that need them.

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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 eucalyptus, peppermint, and frankincense have powerful volatiles that helps 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.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Sinus

Are There Any Risks and Cautions When Using Essential Oils for Inflammation?

You will have noticed that essential oils tackle inflammation in two ways. They calm the system, and they flush out toxicity. Those that detoxify necessarily deal with fluids in the body. This would be problematic if you are pregnant or have a kidney disorder. Avoid using fennel or juniper in any of these conditions.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Back Pain

DIY Recipes For Inflammation

Joint Inflammation Massage Oil

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

Copaiba helps to switch inflammatory signaling, Chamomile eases the pain and acts as an anti-inflammatory, and juniper deals with any swelling. 

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

Cream for Eye Inflammation

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

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

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

Lifestyle Habits That Can Help Reduce Inflammation

Research suggests that eating an alkaline diet might help to reduce inflammation for some people. The ideal balance is seen to be 80% alkaline concerning 20% acidic. Most people eat as much as twice or three times the amount of acidic food as alkaline.

Foods that may cause inflammation due to their high levels of acidity. 

    • Alcohol
    • Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
    • Sugar
    • Beef, pork, and chicken
    • Wheat and grains

These more alkaline foods may help reduce inflammation

    • Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and kale
    • Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, and carrots
    • Gluten-free grains: Brown rice and quinoa
    • Almonds
    • Fruits: Apricots, apples, bananas, and avocados

If we think about how the word “Inflammation” seems related to “Inflamed,” we might also think of inflamed tempers. The more you can do to get calm, the better your nervous system likes it. Secretion of inflammatory stress hormones switches down and slows the inflammatory cycle.

 Inhaling essential oils can help with this, as can meditation. You might like to try this cedarwood meditation that helps to build inner peace. Cedarwood essential oil is also loved for its anti-inflammatory nature in aromatherapy.

Include Anti-Inflammatory Essential Oils In Your Wellness Regimen

Using essential oils in creams, lotions, and bath is probably the most helpful here.

Adding some Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) or magnesium chloride flakes to your bath might also be effective if you bathe. Low levels of magnesium are linked with inflammation. A recent review of scientific papers showed that low levels of magnesium are associated with elevated markers of C-Reactive protein, a marker for inflammation, and seen as a predictor for coronary heart disease. (Mendia, 2017) Research shows magnesium supplements may help reduce CRP and other inflammatory markers like interleukins. (Mazidi, 2018) (Steward, 2019).


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 an excellent grounding to tackle several first aid conditions yourself. However, consult your doctor about long-term illnesses that may require further support.

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