If you’re reading this, you’re probably no stranger to the world wide web, therefore, you’re probably no stranger to the essential oil craze. So, what’s exactly going on with them and will they actually work for your inflammation issues? According to science, the answer is ‘yes’ for many different types of essential oils. What are essential oils and how can they help with your inflammation problems? Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Essential Oils?
The essence of a plant, their scent, whatever you’d like to call it, can be made into an essential oil. Technically speaking, essential oils are made from chemical compounds found within a plant and the unique scent of the plant gives the oil a characteristic essence. They are often used as a form of alternative medicine that uses these essences to promote overall health and well-being.
Obtained through distillation, they are usually combined with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut, jojoba, or avocado) to create a ‘ready to use’ product. Essential oils created through a chemical process are not real essential oils, so be wary when purchasing.
What You Should Know About Inflammation
Inflammation is considered to be our body’s natural immune response to bacteria, infections, and even any kind of allergy reactions. Some inflammation is very mild, and some can be very extreme and uncomfortable - preventing you from doing regular daily tasks. Your body attempts to kill off invaders by sending red blood cells to the area in order to start the healing process. Surprisingly enough, inflammation can even be caused by stress and hormones, and it becomes difficult for your body to know what’s normal and what’s not. Regardless, inflammation is produced as the outcome, and more than likely, you’ll want it gone.
How Essential Oils Can Help with Inflammation
Inflammation is no joke. When it’s mild, you can expect swelling and redness, a sign that you’re dealing with an infection usually. Other times, severe inflammation can be a sign of serious medical conditions such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, and even anxiety or depression. Essential oils are a very commonly used strategy to combat any level of inflammation you’re dealing with. The most commonly used essential oils for inflammation include:
- Roman Chamomile
What is it about these essential oils and how can they help with inflammation?
Note: We are not medical professionals and all of the opinions in this article are based on scientific research and studies. Inflammation can be caused by serious medical conditions and if your inflammation is severe it should be checked out by a licensed medical professional. Always listen to your body and look for signs and symptoms of serious inflammation and protect your body by going to the doctor when needed.
Let’s take a further look at some of these oils and how they can help treat inflammation.
1. Rose Essential Oil
If smelling incredible isn’t already enough to have you sold, rose essential oil can combat inflammation as well. Specifically, rose works great for skin inflammation like rashes and acne. One of rose’s main components is called phenylethanol, which has been shown in studies to contain anti-inflammatory properties. This component also stops the spread and growth of microbes and bacteria and can overall make your skin glow! You’ll see rose essential oil in tons of beauty products for these reasons.
2. Clove Essential Oil
Clove has an incredible amount of health benefits that treat many conditions and associated symptoms such as nausea, inflammation, and upset stomach. Clove is commonly used in baking and savory meals, but clove essential oil is used to treat your body from inflammation. Clove is high in the compound called eugenol, which shows in studies to have pain relieving as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Eugenol is an irritant that increases blood flow to areas which creates warmth. The best suggestion is to mix a few drops in carrier oil and massage in on to areas that are sore or inflamed.
3. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is completely loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as antifungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. The oil also contains a lot of carvacrol, which is a phenol that combats inflammation. Thyme has a lot of uses, but the most popular include using it as a mouthwash or as a chest rub. If you are having respiratory issues, mix thyme with eucalyptus and rub it on your chest to inhale the aroma. If you have a mouth infection, you can add a few drops of the oil in water and swish it around your mouth. You can also always add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage it onto areas that are inflamed.
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This essential oil works absolute wonders if you have a respiratory infection, sore throat, cough, etc. Not only that, but eucalyptus has the potential to treat a large bevy of issues such as acne, skin infections, bug bites, headaches, joint pain, shingles, and more. Basically, eucalyptus is a cure-all! Most experts recommend adding a few drops into a steam bath and inhaling the aroma. It can also be used in a carrier oil and applied directly onto the skin.
5. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Probably one of the best essential oils for inflammation, Roman chamomile is jam-packed with soothing properties. Roman chamomile has shown to repair, calm, and soothe irritated skin, and even contains molecules that reduce both physical and emotional irritation. Roman chamomile is an edible essence, and the pros suggest adding a few drops to tea or water and drinking it to help with digestive issues. A steam bath is another great option if you have an upper respiratory infection, and you can add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage Roman chamomile on areas of your body that have aches and pains. It’s also great for muscle strains - add a few drops to a warm compress and apply directly to the affected areas.
Things to Keep in Mind When Using Essential Oils
According to doctors, essential oils are generally considered safe to use, but there are still a few things to keep in mind when using them.
- Dilute your oil - essential oils are very strong. You can dilute the oils by adding them to a carrier oil like grapeseed, almond, coconut, or avocado oil, using roughly 2% dilution (for example, try 10 drops of oil per one ounce of carrier oil, or five drops for more sensitive skin).
- Don’t touch your eyes after handling essential oils, it can cause irritation and inflammation. That’s exactly what we were trying to avoid in the first place, right?
- Talk to your physician if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Some oils, such as peppermint, can have adverse side effects in these conditions. Make sure the oil you want to use has no potential side effects by talking with your doctor first.
- The sun can cause irritation if you have essential oils on your skin. Citrus oils especially, such as grapefruit, orange, and bergamot can cause blisters or rashes if you apply them to your skin before being exposed to direct sunlight
- Always watch your dosage. Start with small amounts, and then work your way up. essential oils are strong!
More than likely, medical professionals will stress that essential oils are not the absolute cure to inflammation. However, it is a tool you can keep in your box for a boost of support and help whenever you need them. For more information, you can always speak to a licensed aromatherapist or integrative medicine specialist for extra guidance.
The essential oils listed above have been in the market now for thousands of years - seriously, our ancestors used them at the time as the form of medicine before modern medicine came to fruition. There has to be some truth behind it, right? According to scientific studies and research, there is plenty of proof behind essential oils and these studies have come a long way in the past decade.
Inflammation is a very tricky demon to overcome and comes and goes as it pleases, making it hard to control or understand. This is why you should talk to your doctor about persistent inflammation. However, if your inflammation is mild in the form of acne, respiratory issues, sinus infections, digestive tract issues, or body aches and pains, essential oils can really work wonders.
Essential oils are mild when used appropriately and you can use them multiple times a day for your inflammation problems. They can be applied topically, used as aromatherapy in a steam bath or by using a diffuser, and can even be eaten in some cases. No matter how you decide to utilize essential oils, follow the directions provided on the bottle and make sure you talk to your doctor if you are worried about certain interactions! Become a little less inflamed by using the essential oils listed above.