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Have you ever woken up with a sore throat or sore muscles? Maybe you’ve found that your skin is red and swollen after a tough workout from the previous day? Or perhaps you remember a time when you rolled your ankle or got stung by a bee.
If so, you’ve most likely experienced inflammation, your body’s natural response from your immune system to promote healing and protect the body. On a smaller scale, inflammation can cause swelling and redness on your skin, which is a sign that your body is fighting an infection or injury.
While inflammation symptoms are usually gone without a few days, the discomfort associated with it can last for years, sometimes becoming chronic. Inflammation has been associated with serious health conditions like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and even depression.
Thankfully, you don’t have to fight inflammation on your own. And you don’t necessarily have to just rely on medication. One of the most effective solutions to fighting inflammation is using essential oils. There are a variety of essential oils that you can use to reduce inflammation and relieve your pain in no time.
In this article, you’ll discover the top 15 essential oils you can use to fight inflammation. But first, we’ll take a look at what inflammation is and how it affects your body.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation isn’t the enemy.
Inflammation is actually your body’s response to infection or damaged tissues. It’s one of the ways that your immune system attempts to protect you and heal your body after an injury or infection. Your body responds by increasing blood flow to the infected or injured area to deliver essential white blood cells, which fight the injury or infection.
The white blood cells work to rebuild damaged tissues and get rid of foreign substances that may be trying to infect you. However, when the white blood cells get to work, they work in high numbers, which is what causes redness, heat, swelling, and pain. Other symptoms of inflammation can be fatigue, headache, immobility, fever, or a rash.
Two Types of Inflammation
However, you should be aware of the type of inflammation you’re dealing with. There are two kinds: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is the most common, occurring after illness or injury and has a rapid response. It’s usually easy to figure out the cause of the inflammation once the symptoms are gone and the illness or injury has passed.
Acute inflammation can be caused by:
- ● Cold, flu, sinus infection, bronchitis
- ● Intense exercise
- ● Damage to your skin, like a cut or scratch
- ● Infected ingrown hairs or toenails
- ● An insect bite or sting
- ● Physical trauma
However, chronic inflammation can take a much longer period to heal. This kind of inflammation can go on for months or even years, with some people experiencing it for their entire lives. Acute inflammation can sometimes turn into chronic inflammation, but most of the time, chronic inflammation is caused by autoimmune disorders.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by:
- ● Rheumatoid arthritis
- ● Osteoarthritis
- ● Hepatitis
- ● Crohn’s disease
So inflammation, including the pain, redness, swelling, and discomfort of you feel, is simply a side effect of your white blood cells getting to work. But that doesn’t mean you should just embrace it, especially if you’re experiencing chronic inflammation. You can relieve some of the nasty symptoms with essential oils.
Here Are The Best Essential Oils for Inflammation
Eucalyptus is one of the most popular essential oils, and for good reason. One of the many ailments it can alleviate is inflammation. Like several other oils, eucalyptus has been shown to fight symptoms of inflammation including pain and swelling.
For example, one study discovered that consistent aromatherapy with eucalyptus essential oil alleviated pain and regulated healthy blood pressure.
Eucalyptus is one of the best essential oils for inflammation. It can be used to treat physical pain from an injury. It also relieves headaches, clears congestion, and minimizes swelling in your sinuses. Plus, eucalyptus oil can assist the immune system to help fight infections. This helps minimize the inflammatory response, speeding up the healing process.
Tip: Try to use eucalyptus oil topically to alleviate your injuries. If your inflammation is being caused by an illness or infection, add a bit of eucalyptus oil to a warm bath. Another tip is by adding it to the bottoms of your feet, which can offer a wide variety of benefits.
Frankincense has been used for thousands of years as one of the strongest pain relievers. According to one study, frankincense can significantly reduce discomfort and pain by topically applying it through massage therapy.
The essential oil also aids in boosting your body’s immune response, eliminating inflammation caused by viruses or bacteria, and it even quickens recovery times.
Tip: You can use frankincense topically when inflammation is affecting certain areas. Or, you can use frankincense with aromatherapy with your diffuser to help heal and relax your entire body. Its best paired with myrrh.
Another one of the powerhouse essential oils, lavender has been most popularized for its relaxation benefits. But, did you know that lavender is also great at fighting inflammation by calming swollen and painful areas of your body?
Similar to most oils on our list, lavender can be used on inflamed areas, topically. One study found that topically applying lavender essential oil on those who experienced knee pain had incredible benefits. Most of the people in the study experienced inflammation relief after just a single week of using lavender essential oil.
Lavender can be used topically, but it is most commonly used in aromatherapy.
Tip: Put lavender in your diffuser and set it to 6 hours (or the maximum amount of time you have). Lavender used in aromatherapy can help encourage deep sleep, as well as relieve anxiety and stress. By aiding in your stress relief and sleep habits, it will help you combat chronic inflammation and reduce the risk of getting various illnesses.
Thyme, a less-popular essential oil is another powerful inflammation-fighting oil. Thyme lowers inflammation because of a compound inside the oil called carvacrol. This compound works by blocking COX-2, a common inflammatory enzyme.
Tip: Thyme is one of the ingredients in Listerine because of its oral health benefits. You can use thyme oil in a natural mouthwash blend at home, or use it in your favorite recipe by adding a few drops of the essential oil.
Ginger is more than a nice addition to your favorite cookie recipe, or spicy kick to your favorite ethnic cuisine. The ginger root and its essential oil have been used by humans for centuries in relieving pain and inflammation.
One study found that ginger was not only great for treating inflammation in those suffering from gout, but it also offers anti-cancerous and anti-diabetic benefits as well.
Tip: You can use ginger topically, in your diffuser, or internally. It’s best used to provide full-body pain relief and soothe upset stomachs. Add a drop of your ginger essential oil too hot tea.
Turmeric has grown widespread after being used for thousands of years in Asia. It’s now used for treating a wide variety of chronic inflammatory diseases. Many studies have shown that curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric essential oil helps prevent inflammation in certain illnesses like colitis, making it one of the best essential oils for inflammation.
Tip: You can use turmeric topically on an injury. Put a few drops of turmeric oil (in a carrier oil), on a Q-tip and gently rub it on your injury.
Myrrh, like thyme, is a great essential oil for maintaining good oral health. One study found that myrrh can aid in treating gingivitis. Plus, myrrh may also be used in suppressing inflammation in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Tip: If you deal with chronic headaches, add a few drops of myrrh to your shampoo. It will help fight inflammation from headaches and also strengthen your hair.
Rosemary, another plant usually found in the kitchen, offers a variety of health benefits beyond adding a bit of extra spice to a dish. Rosemary essential oil is a great oil for fighting inflammation and helping in pain relief. It aids in speeding up the healing process by promoting blood flow to the injured area of your body.
Tip: Rosemary is a great sidekick to massage therapy. Use it topically in a massage oil to avoid pain and swelling. You can get the blood flowing and speed up inflamed areas of your body through a 30-minute massage session.
Chamomile essential oil is a common essential oil used for its soothing and calming effects. It is also a great oil to use to fight inflammation according to various studies. The oil isolates the inflammation and allows for a speedy healing process.
Tip: You can add chamomile essential oil into your massage oil. It can also be diffused to help relax and soothe your body to aid in pain relief.
Note: If you have an allergy to ragweed, you will want to check with your doctor and test the allergy before using chamomile.
Rose has been used in Persian medicine for hundreds of years. The rose essential oil is great for relieving pain. Many studies have shown that rose essential oil aids in reducing pain by fighting edema from inflammation and releasing certain pain-relieving endorphins.
Tip: Rose baths aren’t just great for pictures. They’re great for fighting pain. Add rose oil to a carrier oil first, then add it to your warm bath to relieve any pain and inflammation.
Yarrow isn’t as popular as some of the other essential oils on this less, but it is a powerful healing herb. Yarrow works to heal and soothe through its anti-inflammatory components. It’s great for treating arthritis pain.
Tip: Apply yarrow topically on any pain points from arthritis, around the knees or elbows to aid in pain relief.
Wintergreen essential oil is one of the best essential oils for inflammation because of its pain-relieving abilities. It has helped endless sufferers of arthritis, and is commonly known as “liquid aspirin”. A 2014 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reveals, “The predominant natural ingredient in wintergreen oil is methyl salicylate, which is a compound closely related to acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin.”
Tip: Use wintergreen topically wherever your pain is. Rub it in once or twice daily. To really boost the effects, combine wintergreen with peppermint oil for extra relief. The two work really well together and are even more effective than isolating a single one.
Bergamot essential oil is great for inflammation prevention. Many studies show that it includes anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. The essential oil contains compounds linalool and carvacrol that block cell receptor compounds. These receptor cells, or “receivers”, take in different compounds in the body. If they are blocked, you will experience less inflammation.
Tip: You can use bergamot in aromatherapy by adding it to your diffuser if you’re experiencing inflammation. You can also use it topically and preventatively by adding it to body wash, shampoos, and scrubs.
Orange essential oil aids in inflammation relief differently than most oils on this list. Orange contains powerful antioxidants that reduce free radicals in the body. If there are too many free radicals in your body, they can harm your DNA and lead to chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that orange essential oil can also fight against the inflammation caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Tip: Use orange essential oil in your diffuser abundantly. The antioxidants are incredible for you and it will leave your home smelling sweet and fresh.
Clove, like thyme and myrrh, is another powerful essential oil when it comes to oral care. Various studies show that it has great anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also great for fighting infections, coughs, colds, sore throats, and sinusitis. It can help you clear your nasal passage, and help you breathe better by assisting your respiratory system.
Tip: Add a few drops of clove essential oil to your tea when you have a sore throat or are dealing with breathing issues. It has a wonderful cooling effect on the nasal cavity and throat.