Over 100 forms of arthritis have been identified, and one in five (22%) of all adults in the United States report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. 50% of people over age 65 are currently being treated for arthritis–a staggering statistic.

At the core of any natural treatment for arthritis is reduction of inflammation and effective control of chronic and often widespread pain. One simple and effective means of treating arthritis is with phytotherapy–the use of healing herbs and plants to address arthritic symptoms. When used correctly, essential oils–the concentrated steam-distilled extracts of specific plants–are the most potent weapon against the debilitating advances of arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an extremely common condition affecting the connective tissue of the body. Believed to be an auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the body’s immune system attacking its own cells. Osteoarthritis (known as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis because it is viewed as an inevitable result of the aging of joints) causes considerable pain due to the loss of joint cushioning cartilage. The constant grating of bone on bone, often with the added pain of growing bone spurs, makes it a constant, every day issue. Psoriatic arthritis, which is currently grabbing much of the spotlight in arthritic treatment, is related to the skin condition psoriasis, and can include painful and often debilitating swelling of the joints in the spine, knees, hands and fingers.

Essential oils can be used in many ways to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Massage, baths and compresses are especially recommended. Analgesic oils such as eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus), rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) and clove bud (eugenia caryophyllata) are the ingredients of choice for chronic arthritis sufferers.

Anti-inflammatory oils such as juniper berry (juniperus communis), cypress (cupressus sempervirens), grapefruit (citrus paradisi) and lemon (citrus limon) relieve swelling and fluid retention.

Muscle relaxant oils such as lavender (lavandula officinalis) and Roman chamomile (anthemis nobilis) are extremely helpful for reducing pain and assisting in sleep and relaxation.

Finally, exciting research is unfolding that reveals that certain essential oils have even more potent anti-arthritis benefits. These oils include ginger (zingiber officinalis), cinnamon (cinnamomum verum), turmeric (curcuma longa) and certain varieties of frankincense (boswellia carterii and boswellia serrata.)

New, naturally soothing products for the treatment of arthritis are showing up on drugstore and natural product store shelves. Explain your symptoms exactly as identified by your natural health professional and engage the assistance of a knowledgeable staff member when making your selections. Resources exist to help you deal with–and often overcome–the challenges of arthritis. Incorporating therapeutic-grade essential oils into your holistic arthritis treatment program is a major step toward realizing longlasting health and wellness.

Julia Meadows of La Quinta is a European-trained phytotherapist and natural product formulator. Since 1986, using her Therapeutic Index, she has created therapeutic medical aromatherapy products for the treatment of many conditions. 

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Comments (9)

  • I am a healthy 59 year old woman, have always worked out, and am in pretty good physical condition. I believe thru years of sports and being very active has put some wear and tear on my knee joints. Have not been to the doctor for any diagnosis. The most problems I have with my knees are when getting up and down, squating is something I don’t like to do, knees don’t like it, don’t have the strength in them as I use to either. And I prefer not to do stairs, these are some of the things that cause pain in my knees. Do you have a suggestion on what essential oil combinations with a carrier oil that I could benefit from? I have been using some essential oils, just beginning to experiment some with them, and would love any advice or suggestions you could give me. I prefer to resort to natural remedies instead of being put on some prescription meds, even worse, surgery, we never seem to recover completely from that.
    Thank you.

    • I will pass this along to the author in hopes she can respond in a timely manner.

      Thank you for reading Desert Health!

      Lauren Del Sarto., Publisher

    • From Julia Meadows:

      So far, it seems that the essential oils I describe in the article are still the best to use for arthritis — no new developments on that front. If your reader wants to make her own blend, she can purchase these oils individually from Clark’s or Sprouts locally, although it would be more cost-effective for her to purchase Aromax as we have already ‘done the work for you’ and created a winning formula for conditions like arthritis. Also, our essential oil blend is combined with organic aloe vera, which has its own pain relieving qualities and is much easier to apply than carrier oil. There is additional info on our website http://www.aromaxhealth.com.

  • DoTerra Essential Oils certified therapeutic oils. I sell them and use them Steroids did nothing for me. Oils are helping. mydoterra.com/verahoupt

    • Hello my best friend has psoriatic arthritis and I’m new in doTERRA
      And my sister in law has lupus and was just diagnosed with Raynard disease. If you know oils or roller ball I can make them please let me know. Thanks

  • Would you please share specific protocol for using the oils? How much/which oils in baths. Recommendations on how to apply the oils mentioned? Or is there a resource I can go to for the specifics? Thank you so much.

  • The essential oils themselves are quite a study and it is important to find the particular ones that resonate with you. I would recommend visiting a store like Clarks, Sprouts or Whole Foods and finding a knowledgeable store clerk (worth their weight in gold once you have found one!) That person would be able to show you actual testers of most of the essential oils mentioned in the article and walk you through selecting the best ones for you. A good book is important … I recommend books by authors Julia Lawless, Robert Tisserand or Valerie Worwood to start with. There are also many excellent online research options. A general rule for essential oils in baths woiuld be 5 – 10 drops dropped into the bath once the tub is full of lukewarm (not hot) water and thoroughly swished through the water to disperse them before you get into the tub, then relax in the tub for 15 – 20 minutes for best benefit….no need to rinse off once you are finished as the oils are ‘volatile’ and not ‘oily.’ If you have dry skin, a good tip is to mix your essential oils with a non-fragrant cold-pressed nut or seed oil like sweet almond or sesame oil before adding to bathwater, or try mixing your essential oils with finely ground oatmeal, sodium bicarbonate or dried milk powder for an extra cleansing and moisturizing bathing experience. You’ll find that simples steps like this really have a profound impact on your health. Good luck!

  • […] Used to relieve and heal arthritic conditions. The oils listed are a general overview of anti-arthritic oils. For oils relating to specific arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis, see this article. […]

  • What a slap in the face for those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I use essential oils every day for the condition but I didn’t even get far enough to read what the author says about EO’s with arthritis because I was appalled at her limited description of RA. It is true that it is an auto immune disease where the body attacks itself but also the daily burning under the skin, constant aching, nausea, horrible fatigue, and unending pain everywhere is devastating for us. Even those of us on RA chemo meds, shots, and biological IV’s to slow the progression of the disease that could still cripple us in the end, still suffer from bad symptoms let alone side effects from the meds and pain relievers. If RA was an “extremely common condition” you would know several people with the disease and your weak description of RA would be phrased much differently.


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