Essential Oils & Pain - Rheumatism

9:48 AM Posted by Jo Pedranti



There are plenty of anti-rheumatic essential oils that historically have been used in rheumatism.  I have narrowed it down to a few oils to make it easier. The wonderful thing about aromatherapy is that you have many oils to choose from and there are many approaches that have shown to be successful. I also think it is important to consider personal preference when using essential oils.

Rheumatism is "any of a variety of disorders marked by inflammation, degeneration, or metabolic derangement of the connective tissue structures, especially the joints and related structures, and attended by pain, stiffness, or limitation of movement" (Saunders, 2001, p.726).

When pain occur, the muscle respond with a reflex contraction and the blood flow is reduced to the area. The circulation is reduced, and the removal of waste products and toxins are slowed down. This could lead to pain, soreness and inflammation. Traditionally oils with anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-rheumatic and rubefacient properties have been used for rheumatism.

Oils that are anti-inflammatory or antiphlogistic suppress the inflammation and reduce swelling. They have historically been very useful in rheumatic conditions.
Essential oils with antispasmodic properties relax the muscles. Oils with analgesic properties bring warmth to the skin and may provide pain relief.

According to Battaglia, anti-rheumatic oils are rubefacient, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and detoxifying.

According to Battaglia, rubefacients increase the local blood circulation and make blood from the deeper tissues reach the skin and is shown as redness. They will relieve congestions and inflammations, as well as acting as pain reliever by bringing a sense of warmth to the skin.

Detoxifiers will rid the body of build up toxins and waste products and restore the balance in the body. They are important and valuable. Detoxifiers are essential oils that are alterative, and that would be oils with diuretic and diaphoretic properties.

The following oils have historically been used:
 Bay (Laurus nobilis), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Cajuput (Melaleuca leucandendron var. cajuputi), Cedarwood (Cedrus Atlantica), Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis, or Chamaemelum nobile), and Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Bay (Laurus nobilis) has historically been used for its anti-rheumatic actions. Laurus nobilis has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic and diaphoretic properties.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) has analgesic, antispasmodic, diuretic and diaphoretic properties. 

Cajuput has historically been considered a good choice in chronic rheumatism due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, rubefacient and diaphoretic properties. 

Cedarwood has also been considered a good choice since it is a circulatory stimulant with diuretic actions.

Roman Chamomile (Laurus nobilis) has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-phlogistic, diuretic and sudorific properties and therefore been considered a good choice also.

Juniper's diuretic action is useful in rheumatism and may assist in detoxifying the body. Also, as an alterative, juniper eliminates uric acid built up in the body. In an inflammatory condition such as rheumatism it is important to cleanse the body in order to restore balance. As an anti-rheumatic, the alterative and analgesic actions are valued the most. Juniper will also strengthen and stimulate the nerves.

It is also important to consider dietary changes as well. Avoid refined grains, refined sugar and processed food. Aim for a diet high in vegetables and fruit.  Also avoid, or at least minimize foods from the nightshade plants like eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes. Add digestive enzymes or take apple cider vinegar with meals. Essential fatty acids are also recommended as well. 

Massaging the areas may be too painful, but adding essential oils to baths or use as compresses may be more beneficial.





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