You can treat inflammation with essential oils if you’re not satisfied with traditional over-the-counter medications. Find out which essential oils to use, and the various ways to use them.
Typically, inflammation happens when your autoimmune system responds to microbial invaders. Your body sends off white blood cells to fight off the bacteria and viruses, and as their battle commences your body becomes the battlefield. Inflammation occurs, with symptoms such as swelling in the affected areas and sometimes joint pain and stiffness as well.
Inflammation can be rather unpleasant, so you will generally want to treat the symptoms. Many use ibuprofen, which is a known anti-inflammatory, but you may want to try alternative options. This is where essential oils come in.
Which Essential Oils to Use
Essential oils can come from a wide variety of flowers, herbs, and trees. Each has its own set of medicinal properties, and the following are known to have anti-inflammatory properties:
Each of these essential oils has been found to reduce inflammation symptoms by at least 25%, according to research studies. These studies regard thyme essential oil as the most effective for most people, as its use can lead up to a 75% reduction in the symptoms.
Additional types of essential oils have also been recommended by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy for inflammation. These include:
- Roman chamomile
Different Ways of Using Essential Oils for Inflammation
Before you use essential oils, you should try to see if you’re allergic to the particular type of essential oil you plan to use. One way to do this is with a skin patch test. Apply a tiny amount of the essential oil on the inside of your arm. Wait for at least 24 hours, to see if your skin will react negatively. If you’re allergic, that patch of skin may show inflammation or irritation. If there are no reactions, you can proceed.
1. Massaged Directly to the Affected Area
If you have stiff or painful joints, you may choose to apply the essential oil directly to where it hurts. However, you must take care never to use undiluted essential oil to your skin unless your product is explicitly offered for topical treatment. For every 12 drops of essential oil you use to massage into your skin, you must mix on at least an ounce of carrier oil. You can try jojoba or coconut oil for this.
Essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, and you can try a similar method using an essential oil diffuser. This diffuser disperses particles of the essential oil into the air, and you can then inhale the scent. This is very relaxing, and it can help ease some of the pain. In addition, inflammation can be your body’s response to pain, when you relax your body can let off some of your stress.
3. Gargling (Mouthwash)
While uncommon, some essential oils come in mouthwash form. A 2011 study found that this can help with gum inflammation arising from gingivitis. Just be sure not to swallow the mouthwash as this can cause adverse reactions. This is why it’s not advisable to offer essential oil mouthwash to children.
In general, the best way to treat inflammation is to treat the underlying condition that caused the inflammation in the first place. If you have an infection, then have that infection treated first. Consult with a doctor to find out the underlying cause and proper treatment.
This is why using essential oils for treatment is not your first choice for treatment. The essential oil may help reduce the severity of the inflammation symptoms, but the medical condition that caused the inflammation in the first place may stay untreated. Over time, that condition can get worse and the inflammation may come back.
Once you know the underlying medical condition and have taken treatment for it, ask your doctor if you can use essential oils for treating the inflammation. Keep in mind that essential oils can cause drowsiness, so you don’t want to use these essential oils when you’re already taking any type of sedative.
If you have a respiratory condition such as asthma, you should be very careful regarding the use of essential oils. If you’re sensitive to the particular essential oil, your body may react with breathing difficulties that may exacerbate your asthma.
It’s best if you avoid taking any type of essential oils if you’re pregnant or you’re breastfeeding. Your baby may take in the essential oil and react negatively, or the essential oils may affect the way your other medications may work.
Finally, always follow the directions for use as stated in the label. Make sure you’re taking safe and authentic essential oils by only buying from reputable brands. Using essential oils for inflammation is generally safe, as long as you take sensible precautions.
Also, check out Aromatherapy: Everything You Need To Know – Uses, Benefits, Oils