Arthritis simply means inflamed joints, and it is a general term used for conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia that precipitate swelling and pain in the joints, often accompanied by partial to complete loss of joint movement.

The following essential oils have been found to be effective in treating arthritis on their own and in combination.

  1. Peppermint oil

Peppermint has an excellent anti-inflammatory property along with an anaesthetic effect that helps in relieving the pain and swelling associated with arthritic conditions, rheumatoid arthritis in particular.

Mix 5-10 drops of peppermint oil with 2 Tbsp warmed coconut oil to make a ready-to-use salve. It can be mixed with other oils in this selection to get a more potent anti-arthritic formulation. Use as often as needed for relief of pain.

  1. Ginger oil

Ginger has wide-ranging therapeutic uses. The excellent anti-inflammatory effect of ginger oil is useful in treating a variety of inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. The essential oil of ginger is extracted from the unpeeled rhizome of Zingiber officinale. Apart from its signature chemical component zingiberene, the oil contains several potent phytochemicals such as geraniol, geranial, neral, borneol, camphene, etc.

Massage ginger oil diluted in a carrier oil into the affected area and use a warm compress to enhance absorption. Try mixing it with essential oils of lavender or lemongrass.

  1. Eucalyptus oil

The aromatic leaves of gum trees native to Australia, mainly Eucalyptus globulus, is used for extracting this oil, It has a characteristic strong, penetrating smell. Eucalyptol is the main component of the oil, but it has several other active agents that provide a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Rubbing eucalyptus oil diluted in a carrier oil over swollen and aching joints often brings quick relief, but it can cause skin irritation in many people. Test in a small patch of skin before using this oil.

  1. Lavender oil

Lavender oil, extracted from the flower buds of Lavandula angustifolia, is well known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. People with rheumatoid arthritis often report a drastic improvement in their symptoms when lavender oil is applied topically.

3-5 drops of this sweet-smelling, mild oil can be used by most without dilution for instant pain relief, but diluting in a teaspoon of carrier oil is advisable to avoid skin irritation. Rub it in with a circular motion and repeat as and when necessary. It improves blood circulation in the area and reduces inflammation.

Lavender has a soothing effect on the mind too, which can help relieve the frustration associated with severe arthritis.

  1. Rosemary oil

Rosemary oil extracted from the leaves of the shrub Rosmarinus officinalis is both analgesic and anti-inflammatory. The main component of the oil, rosmarinic acid, is responsible for this effect, but other bioactive substances also may have a supporting role.

In several lab studies, rosmarinic acid was found to inhibit the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in rats. It probably has a similar effect in people afflicted with this autoimmune condition where their WBCs cause loss of cartilage.