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Essential Oils for Inflammation

Inflammation – your body’s response to stress – is an underlying cause of autoimmune diseases and migraines. The aches and pain that come with it make life difficult and uncomfortable. Unlike conventional medications and over-the-counter pain relievers, using natural therapies like essential oils can effectively sooth inflammation with virtually no side effects. There are many essential oils contain analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce or relieve pain, and these oils stand out amongst the rest:

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender has been used since ancient times for both its floral aroma and medicinal purposes. Lavender essential oil is frequently cited for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. Studies have demonstrated it’s anti-inflammatory properties. [1] Lavender essential oil can be used to help heal minor burns, bug bites and wounds. One study showed that “wound closure progressed more rapidly in the TENS and lavender oil groups than in the control and other study groups.” [4] How to use: Dilute with a carrier oil (grapeseed oil or almond oil). Apply topically to minor wound.

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Eucalytus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus is used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat cold, fever, and bronchial infections. Studies, too, have shown the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Eucalyptus. [2] The health benefits come from a compound called cineole that has widespread medicinal effects: from reducing inflammation to opening bronchial tubes of the lungs. [3] Eucalyptus has the highest known cineole levels of any plant (up to 80-95 percent). How to use: Add a few (2-5) drops of essential oil to hot water or to a diffuser; deeply inhale the steam vapor.

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Rosemary Essential Oil

Like Eucalytus, Rosemary has high levels of the compound cineole, which has shown to reduce inflammation. Carnosol (an antioxidant) is found in rosemary, and is known for it’s anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. According to researchers, “It has selective toxicity towards cancer cells vs. non tumorigenic cells.” [5] How to use: Add to your bath water or use topically by diluting it with a carrier oil.

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Wintergreen Essential Oil

Wintergreen essential oil is a popular analgesic used by people suffering from arthritis, rheumatism and joint pain. It is particularly effective in reducing inflammation when used with peppermint, according to a 2014 study published. “The predominant natural ingredient in wintergreen oil is methyl salicylate, which is a compound closely related to acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin.” How to use: Massage directly into skin with a carrier oil.

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Thyme Essential Oil

Studies show that thyme essential oil is capable of reducing levels of COX-2 – an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain – by as much as 75 percent. A component of thyme oil, carvacrol, is believed to be the active agent responsible for the suppressive behavior. [6] How to use: Inhale the aroma when placed in hot water or apply topically with a carrier oil.

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Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli oil has been used in traditional medicine in Malaysia, China, and Japan. Patchouli oil is useful in treating a wide array of inflammatory responses including: healing minor cuts and wounds, soothing inflammation or irritation caused by fever, and treating internal inflammation from conditions like arthritis and gout. [8] How to use: Dab a small amount on your skin (with carrier oil) to soothe minor cuts and scrapes or add a few drops in a diffuser.

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Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile can be used to relieve muscle and back pain, headaches, and fever. Chamomile is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent due to the presence of the compound azulene. Origin, storage conditions, and age will impact the amount of azulene in chamomile. German chamomile tends to have higher levels of azulene. [7] How to use: Massage into skin with a carrier oil.

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Frankincense Oil

Frankincense is a resinous extract from Boswellia trees and has been called “nature’s anti-inflammatory.” Studies have shown the use of boswellia serrate gum resin extract (found in frankincense) in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma with less side effects than today’s prevalent anti-inflammatory treatments. Professor Dr. Oliver Werz of Friedrich Schiller University shows how boswellic acids aid in the process of inflammation. ”Boswellic acids interact with several different proteins that are part of inflammatory reactions, but most of all with an enzyme which is responsible for the synthesis of prostaglandin E2, acids block this enzyme efficiently and thereby reduce the inflammatory reaction.” In studying the anti-inflammatory effects of several different kinds of frankincense, Professor Werz found that the resin from the Boswellia papyrifera is most effective. How to use: Massage into skin with a carrier oil.

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Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14611892
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/361832/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21382660
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113122306.htm
www.aromaticplantproject.com/articles_archive/azulene_chamomile.html
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-patchouli-essential-oil.html