Best Essential Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that occurs more frequently in women, and although it is common in the elderly, it can occur at any age. The immune system attacks the synovium (the soft tissue that surrounds the joints) causing chronic inflammation. Ligaments connecting the joints weaken, resulting in pain, degeneration and deformity due to the loss of shape and alignment of the joint. Symptoms of RA may include pain, swelling, stiffness, fatigue, weight loss and issues with skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels. It often presents in symmetrical pairs of joints, typically in the hands and feet. RA may be more disabling than other forms of arthritis and frequently contributes to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Since each type or arthritis has a unique set of causes, symptoms and treatments, it’s important to consult with your health care provider to develop an individualized treatment plan. Aromatherapy and essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis can be used as part of a comprehensive approach to lessen symptoms and support comfort.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown, but it is thought that genetic predisposition and/or infection may trigger the disease. Medical treatments generally consist of anti-inflammatory and immuno-suppressant drugs designed to limit or slow the progression of joint damage and manage symptoms. Aromatherapy can be used to support ease of mobility and to provide comfort for inflamed and painful tissue.
Best essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis
While many people are searching for the best essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis, and many sellers are claiming they offer the best essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis, no one can say what is best for you. Why? Because every person’s biochemistry is different. What works for you may not work for someone else. Unlike other essential oil sellers, we want to help you navigate the world of essential oils to discover what works best for you. That’s why we offer consultations with certified clinical aromatherapists.
That being said here is a list of some of the recommended essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis that have soothed flare up symptoms for some of our clients…
Useful essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis because of their anti-inflammatory properties:
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum zeylanicum
German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla
Frankincense Boswellia frereana
Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
Peppermint Mentha piperita
Lavender Spike Lavandula latifolia
Tumeric Curcuma longa
(Tumeric is a non-standard item. Contact us for pricing and availability)
Eucalyptus Citriodora Eucalyptus citriodora
Cypress Cupressus sempervirens
Essential oils with analgesic properties:
Eucalyptus Citriodora or Globulus Eucalyptus citriodora or Eucalyptus globulus
Coriander Coriandrum sativum
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana
Peppermint Mentha piperita
Plai Zingiber cassumunar
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Cool Compress – Suggested use during acute flare ups. Fill a basin with cool water. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil and briskly stir. Lay in a washcloth, wring, and apply to the area in need. Dip, wring, and apply 3 more times. Leave the last compress in place for 3 minutes.
Lotion/ Body Oil / Spot Application – Mix essential oil or blend with an all-natural lotion or carrier oil and use to massage on or around the affected joints. If there is a lot of swelling, gently massage above and below the swelling, not directly on the affected area.
Dilution ratio will depend on overall health and the area being treated.
Dilute essential oils up to 10% for small areas i.e. fingers/toes or as low as 1 – 3 % for larger areas of the body or if used on elderly or frail individuals.
Wintergreen and Turmeric should ONLY be used in 1-3 %.
(1% dilution when used for elderly, frail individuals and for massage of larger areas of body on all individuals.)
1 % – 1 drop of essential oil per 1 tsp. carrier oil or lotion or 6 drops of essential oils per 1 oz. carrier oil or lotion.
3 % – 3 drop of essential oil per 1 tsp. carrier oil or lotion or 18 drops of essential oils per 1 oz. carrier oil or lotion.
5 % – 3 drop of essential oil per 1 tsp. carrier oil or lotion or 30 drops of essential oils per 1 oz. carrier oil or lotion.
(Reminder: do not use products (lotions, creams or carrier oils) that contain mineral oil; mineral oil molecules are larger than the pores on our skin. The product will sit on top of the skin and prevent essential oil transdermal absorption. Mineral oil is also a by-product of petroleum distillation, it may contain toxins, it can clog pores and it does not contain any skin nourishing nutrients.)
Essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis symptom relief during non-flare up
Movement is important to maintain strength and mobility of joints; warming essential oils can be used to support ease and comfort of movement.
Warming essential oils should be used in a 1 – 5% dilution (6 – 30 drops per ounce of natural lotion or carrier oil).
(To lessen the possibility of skin irritation, blend any of the above essential oils with other warming and/or calming/anti-inflammatory essential oils such as German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla, Frankincense Boswellia frereana, Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum, Lavender Lavandula angustifolia.)
Lotion/ Body Oil / Spot Application – Mix essential oil or blend with an all-natural lotion or carrier oil and use to massage on or around the affected joints prior to exercise or at the start of your day.
Foot and Hand Baths – add 1-3 drop essential oil or blend to ¼ cup Epsom Salt or 1 tsp. carrier oil and add to a basin with warm water. Soak hands or feet for 10-15 minutes.
Reducing stress supports our body’s natural ability to move toward optimal health, balance and well-being.
e3 Single essential oils for calming & stress relief
Sweet Marjoram Origanum majorana (also gently warming and slightly analgesic properties)
Fragonia Agonis fragrans (also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties)
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties)
Chamomile Roman Anthemis nobilis (also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties)
Rose Rosa damascena
Neroli Citrus auriantium
e3 Synergy Blends for stress relief
Stress Relief – Bergamot FCF, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin
Nerve Calming Blend – Bergamot FCF, Chamomile Roman, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram Sweet, Petitgrain
Relax – Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram Sweet, Vetiver
Rebalance – Bergamot FCF, Cedarwood Atlas, Geranium, Mandarin, Sandalwood, Vetiver
e3 Single essential oils to uplift mood
Coriander Coriandrum sativum
Orange Sweet or Orange Wild Citrus sinensis
Mandarin Citrus deliciosa
Lime Citrus aurantifolia
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
Jasmine Jasminum officinale
e3 Synergy Blends to uplift mood
Pick Me Up – Bergamot FCF, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melissa, Orange Sweet, Peppermint
Mood Rescue – Bergamot FCF, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lime
Revitalize – Bergamot FCF, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Orange Sweet
Inhalation: Put 1-3 drops of essential oil on a tissue and inhale the aroma through your nose. Pause and inhale again. (Avoid touching your nose with the tissue.)
Bath: Mix 4-8 drops of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. (You can also add the essential oil to 1/2 cup of whole milk or heavy cream.) Set aside. Adding essential oils to 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt can help to ease muscle aches. Fill the tub with warm water and immerse yourself. Add the essential oil mixture and swirl the water around you. Massage your skin and breathe in the aroma. Remain in the tub for 10-15 minutes.
Bath, Foot: Mix 1-3 drops of essential oil in 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. Set aside. Fill a tub or basin (deep enough to cover your feet and ankles) with warm water. Add the essential oil mixture, stir well, and immerse your feet for 10-15 minutes. Breathe in the aroma.
Are you new to using essential oils and are confused about how to select the best essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis in your case? Please download your free copy of our ebook, Listen to Your Nose – An Introduction to Aromatherapy. It will help you get started.
Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners by Ingrid Martin
Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirley & Len Price
Essential Aromatherapy by Susan & Valerie Worwood
The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele
Anti-inflammatory properties of Bornyl acetate the main volatile constituent in numerous conifer oils
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Anti-inflammatory activity of Ocimum americanum L. essential oil in experimental model of zymosan-induced arthritis.
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Mayo Clinic: Rheumatoid Arthritis