Essential Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Do They Help?

Many people who suffer from the numerous incapacitating symptoms of arthritis, including pain, swelling, restricted freedom of movement, and rigidity, are willing to attempt alternative treatments in order to find comfort that goes beyond what their drugs can provide. According to studies, persons with osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent form of arthritis, are much more likely than individuals who have any other chronic illness to adopt complementary therapies.

Science also demonstrates the advantages of including aromatherapy in your arsenal against arthritis, much like there is evidence to support the use of natural remedies like acupressure and mindfulness in treating arthritic symptoms. According to research, it can have a significant influence on your overall well-being, including how much pain you experience.

Arthritis Foundation: What Do We Know?

An inflammatory condition called rheumatoid arthritis can lead to excruciating joint pain and inflammation. This issue, also known as rheumatoid arthritis, is typical among the elderly and gets worse in the winter. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint function, can affect any part of the body.

Although there is no known cure for this condition, effective therapy can aid in controlling the discomfort and inflammatory response. Eleven essential oils have been identified below that, when combined with carrier oils like coconut, olive, and amla, may help with this persistent issue. These essential oils are easily available and perfect to use. 

In November 2018 the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice published a study that showed how oils with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties could lower arthritic pain when massaged (1).

What Essential Oils To Use?

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

This oil, which is made from eucalyptus tree leaves, aids in relieving pain, swelling, and irritation. The majority of studies advise either using a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a warm bath or breathing it. According to research, eucalyptus oil relieves joint discomfort. 

This essential oil is actually used in a lot of well-known over-the-counter lotions and ointments that are used to relieve pain from ailments including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. With many ailments, eucalyptus oil helps to lessen pain and inflammation. To ease joint and muscular discomfort, gently massage eucalyptus oil on the affected areas.

2. Frankincense Essential Oil

The acids in frankincense are anti-inflammatory and analgesic, based on the Arthritis Foundation. They could also lessen inflammatory reactions and stop cartilage degradation. Frankincense can be used topically or inhaled. 

Frankincense oil, which is produced from the sap or resin of the Boswellia tree, has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of conditions, including inflammation and chronic pain. The acids present in frankincense have anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities, according to the American Arthritis Foundation, which can provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis.

As one of the top essential oils for inflammation, frankincense can reduce swelling, pain, and irritation when applied topically or diffused aromatically.

3. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil can be used topically, breathed, or added to a warm bath to aid with pain, anxiety, and despair. Essential oils can also be used in aromatherapy. Essential oils that have a relaxing effect, like lavender, usually work best for this. A cotton ball soaked in a few drops of lavender essential oil can be used to directly inhale the fragrance.

As required, inhale from a cloth or another absorbing surface after applying a few drops. In fact, research from the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul revealed that arthritis sufferers who inhaled a fragrant mixture made up of lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary felt less discomfort and had better emotions than those who did not. One of the most common essential oils is lavender essential oil.

4. Ginger Essential Oil

The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of this plant are attributed to a compound called gingerol. Essential oils like ginger use natural properties to enhance someone’s medical state. In reality, ibuprofen and ginger both had comparable anti-inflammatory effectiveness when researchers evaluated the two. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ginger as a pain reliever. Ninety-five per cent of patients receiving ginger therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee reported less pain after treatment.

In a different study, ginger oil massage was contrasted with massage alone and a group receiving standard care for those with persistent knee pain. The three groups’ levels of knee discomfort and stiffness after one week were comparable. However, the aromatherapy report indicates less knee discomfort during the four-week follow-up. Ginger oil has anti inflammatory effects which help reduce arthritis symptoms and gives arthritis relief. 

A study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin in the year 2012 proved the efficiency of eugenol (found in ginger oil) in lowering experimental arthritic pain (2).

5. Tumeric Essential Oil

Some essential oils are closer to us than we imagine. Turmeric oil is a popular spice and a natural antibacterial and antibiotic. The active components in Turmeric essential oil may well have anti-inflammatory qualities. It is derived from the turmeric plant’s roots. The anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric oil have been shown through research.

A 2010 animal experiment evaluated its anti-arthritic properties. In mice with induced arthritis, researchers discovered that therapy with turmeric essential oil was 95 to 100% successful in avoiding joint inflammation. Add 4-5 drops of curcumin essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut, jojoba, or olive oil, to make an anti-inflammatory mixture. Apply to the troublesome area. The anti inflammatory activity helps treat rheumatoid arthritis and reduce inflammatory responses. 

Research has been done on turmeric oil and arthritis, and it is published in the American Chemical Society and American Society of Pharmacognosy. The research has established that the three major curcuminoids were responsible for antiarthritic effect of the oil (3)

Another experiment published in July 2016 in PharmaNutrition also concluded that the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger oil could reduce the symptoms of experimental rheumatoid arthritis (4)

6. Basil Oil

Several substances in basil essential oils have shown promise as medicines. The basil oil contains 1.8-cineole, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Eugenol, linalool, and citronellol are a few of the essential oils in basil that can aid to reduce inflammation in the body. These anti-inflammatory qualities may aid in reducing the likelihood of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

The analgesic properties of basil and many essential oils also help strengthen the immune system, keep blood pressure in check and treat arthritis. Additionally, it is said to improve immunological performance, guard against infection, lessen fluid retention, and regulate irregular periods. Certain oils like basil have proven in many randomized clinical trials that they help reduce arthritic pain, especially through aromatherapy massage. 

The American Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2013 published a study that evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of Ocimum americanum L. essential oil. Not only did the study determine the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil it also found that the essential oils prevented damage of the knee joint cartilage (5).

7. Chamomile Oil

The advantages of chamomile oil for the skin, body, and hair are numerous. Additionally, it aids in reducing rheumatoid arthritis-related discomfort. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee reported less need for analgesics after using chamomile oil. Additionally, it may have some positive benefits on the patients’ stiffness and physical function. Chemicals in chamomile tea have anti-inflammatory properties.

But persistent inflammation is connected to a variety of illnesses, such as haemorrhoids, gastrointestinal discomfort, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and even melancholy. Chamomile is a common alternative medicine which is known for improving blood circulation, and helping in improvement in joint disease and many arthritis patients recommend it heavily. Along with other essential oils, it is highly beneficial.

8. Wintergreen Oil

According to experts in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a combination of wintergreen oil and peppermint oil is frequently utilised since it’s thought to provide much greater pain relief than either oil alone. The combination oil may enhance each oil’s distinct properties, enabling the usage of each at lower levels, which should result in fewer adverse effects.

In order to treat aching joints (rheumatism), painful muscles, and lower back discomfort, wintergreen leaf is occasionally directly applied to the skin. To treat muscular discomfort, wintergreen oil is administered topically as a “counterirritant.” Counterirritants function by inciting irritation in the deeper tissues, which lessens pain and edoema. Essential oils like wintergreen are commonly available too.

9. Orange Oil

A potent essential oil with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant qualities is produced by orange fruit. A 2017 research examined the impact of orange essential oil aromatherapy on individuals who were experiencing pain from limb fractures. Researchers thought orange oil was helpful as a supplemental treatment since those who inhaled it saw a substantial reduction in pain versus those who did not. 

Orange oil that has been diluted can be used and massaged onto the skin to ease arthritis pain. To induce calmness and ease physical ache, think about using diluted orange oil in your bath. After applying any citrus essential oils externally, protection from the sun is required. Oranges are a highly popular fruit, therefore the discovery that it also comes in oil form comes as no surprise. It emits an energising citrus aroma that awakens the senses.

10. Lemongrass Oil

Another well-liked essential oil with a pleasant aroma is lemongrass. But it is also incredibly beneficial for easing arthritic pain. It is regarded as one of the greatest essential oils for treating rheumatoid arthritis discomfort. Citral, a component of lemongrass essential oil can reduce inflammation while also easing discomfort.

A 2017 research on individuals with rheumatoid arthritis found that topical lemongrass oil reduced their discomfort. Within 30 days, pain levels often decreased progressively from 80% to 50%.

11. Marjoram Oil

The calming and warming qualities of this oil are good for reducing joint and muscular discomfort. It is also widely recognised for its ability to relieve dyspepsia, blood pressure, arthritic pain, and muscular spasms. In many peer-reviewed studies and according to professional medical advice marjoram oil has reduced knee pain.

It can also be used as a bath oil due to its anti inflammatory effects. It is also used as a carrier oil. Experimental rheumatoid arthritis has been improved by using this oil. Physical therapy along with other methods have proven useful.

12. Bergamot Essential Oil For Pain and Inflammation

Bergamot figures as one of the top anti inflammatory essential oils. The compounds Linalool and carvacrol (with anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and pain-relieving activities) found in bergamot make its one of the good essential oils for pain and inflammation. Massaging the joints with this oil or its blend will soothe the pain as it is one of the best essential oil for inflammation. Two different studies conducted in 2015 and 2017 concluded that bergamot essential oil for swelling provided pain relief and accelerated the wound healing process.

Thanks to its natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, bergamot oil is considered one of the best essential oils for sore muscles that can relieve aches, pain, and support muscle recovery.

13. Cayenne Pepper Essential Oil for Joint Pain and Pain Relief

What essential oils are good for pain and inflammation? The essential oil of cayenne pepper is not that popular as some of the other oils included in this list. But, the unique aroma of pepper is rising in popularity, and there is no doubt about its therapeutic abilities. Pepper essential oils are popular and used to subdue muscle pain and throbbing sensations almost immediately.

The compounds in the pepper negate the effect of the neurotransmitter and lowering instantaneously. And since its effect is almost immediately, it is one of the best essential oils for arthritis in fingers. Mix the essential oil with a regular oil and store it in a tiny roll on bottle. Use it whenever needed and rub the fingers to get quick relief.

14. Rosemary Essential Oil for Stiff Neck

The first and second vertebrae situated in the neck region get affected due to rheumatoid arthritis. Rosemary oil for aromatherapy with its high level of analgesic properties will relieve pain and aches resulting in the neck region. The aroma of rosemary oil is also known to relax the nerves, reduce tiredness and improve the energy in the body.

15. Helichrysum Oil For Pain

Studies have shown that the oil from the helichrysum plant has anti-inflammatory effects and is able to reduce the pain and inflammation of the muscles and bones. Mixing the oil with sweet almond oil and applying on the affected region in circular motions will subdue the pain. There are several essential oil recipes for joint pain and arthritis with helichrysum oil because of its effectiveness and aroma.

DIY Essential Oils Recipes For Arthritis

There are several essential and carrier oils that can provide relieve from inflammation and pain when applied to the joints and bones. Applying the essential oils blends few times a day will provide respite from the pain and discomfort.



  • 10 drops of frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops of ginger essential oil
  • 10 drops of myrrh essential oil
  • Quarter cup of virgin coconut oil


  • Mix the essential oils in the cup of carrier oil
  • Massage the blend on the knees and ankles for relief.



  • 8 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 8 drops of marjoram essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons of evening primrose oil
  • 5 tablespoons of jojoba oil


  • Mix all the oils together.
  • Apply on the affected part of the body.
  • Massage it in circular motions to get the blood flowing.

Why Use Essential Oils Blend for Treating Arthritis?

Essential oils are not easy-on-the-pocket products, so why do proponents recommend using essential oil blends for arthritis pain. Studies involving control group have shown that blending essential oils together was a more effective way of treating pain from arthritis. Just a few drops of essential oil reduced pain and stiffness in the participants. You can add essential oil to a spray and apply on joint swelling. Using essential oils for arthritis ensures less pain and better mobility.

There are different types of essential oils used for different types of arthritis. As mentioned above, the essential oil of pepper is used to get immediate relief from pain in fingers due to arthritis. The effects of ginger essential oil are useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Inflammatory diseases of the joints are characterized by pain and chronic joint damage. The aromatherapy oils have anti-inflammatory properties. The swelling and pain associated with arthritis can be lessened by using the essential oils directly on the region.

The risks of using essential oils in its undiluted form (undiluted essential oils) are many, so dilute the oils first. For example, diluting and applying eucalyptus oil for 30 minutes (or massage with ginger oil) will soothe the region of the sore and result in coolness. The participants of a research reported less pain and stiffness when essential oils to treat arthritis were applied on the joints.

A bottle of essential oil that will help relieve pain can be mixed with other oils and add this oil to a spray bottle which can be carried outdoors. Measure the drops of the essential oil with a tablespoon if you do not have a filler.

Choosing the Most Effective Aromatherapy Products

Follow these recommendations to ensure you get a high-quality item that is suitable for you:

1. Try to find pure oils

The only components that should be included on the label are the oils.

2. Use price as a guide

A minimal amount of essential oils are made from a lot of labour and plant material. One ounce of rose oil, for instance, requires 60,000 rose blooms. Although there is a more essential oil in the lavender plant, it still requires 220 pounds to produce one pound of oil. If the price is really cheap, the oil could have been diluted with artificial additives.

3. Test a patch

Ask if you may test a little amount of the oil on your skin before buying it to look for a response. Some oils, like lavender’s linalool, have significant amounts of chemicals that cause sensitivities. Use essential oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil to dilute other essential oils and reduce skin irritation and help avoid health conditions.


Aromatherapy for arthritis has been backed by significant scientific evidence, and popular essential oils have been brought to the forefront in arthritis treatment. Arthritis essential oils when mixed with a carrier oil for massage or used for inhalation help many people have pain relief. From their anti inflammatory effects to the reduction in arthritis pain, essential oils have proven to be useful time and again. Here are to hoping greater strides in medicine and aromatherapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What essential oil is good for arthritis?

Essential oils that have strong anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic properties are good for arthritis. These essential oils for arthritis are as follows: 
1. Basil essential oil 
2. Lavender essential oil 
3. Rosemary essential oil 
4. Thyme essential oil 
5. Eucalyptus essential oil 
6. Lemongrass essential oil 
7. Peppermint essential oil 
8. Fennel essential oil 
9. Clove essential oil

How to use turmeric essential oil for arthritis?

There are three ways of using turmeric essential oil for arthritis: 
Make a massage oil with turmeric essential oil. Add it to your favorite carrier oil. You can add other essential oils for arthritis as well.
Diffuse turmeric essential oil in a closed room and inhale the aroma while in a composed stance. 
Warm a bucket full of water and add the oil to the warm water. Soak the feet to the knees for relaxation.

What essential oil works for arthritis?

Some of the common essential oils that work for arthritis are: 
1. Lavender essential oil 
2. Rosemary essential oil 
3. Thyme essential oil 
4. Eucalyptus essential oil 
5. Lemongrass essential oil 
6. Peppermint essential oil 
7. Fennel essential oil 
8. Clove essential oil 
9. Frankincense essential oil 
10. Clove essential oil 
11. Ginger essential oil

How do you mix essential oils for arthritis?

Topical essential oils to treat arthritis need to be applied on the feet, neck, shoulders, back, knees etc. So, it is better to take more essential oil than normal. Try to take 12 to 20 drops of a particular essential oil. In case of blending 2 or more essential oils, adjust the drop count accordingly. Mix the oils in quarter to half a cup of carrier oil.

What essential oil is good for inflammation and pain?

There are several essential oils with mild to potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties: 
1. Peppermint essential oil 
2. Marjoram essential oil 
3. Helichrysum essential oil 
4. Lavender essential oil 
5. Eucalyptus essential oil 
6. Roman chamomile essential oil 
7. German chamomile essential oil 
8. Yarrow essential oil 
9. Rosemary essential oil 
10. Fennel essential oil 
11. Clove essential oil 
12. Frankincense essential oil 
13. Clove essential oil 
14. Ginger essential oil 
15. Cypress essential oil 
16. Sandalwood essential oil 
17. Black pepper essential oil

What type of oil is good for arthritis?

There are both carrier oils and essential oils that are good for arthritis. These oils should have the following properties: 
1. Anti-inflammatory 
2. Vulnerary 
3. Analgesic 
4. Antioxidant

What essential oils are good for joints?

Essential oils that have strong anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic properties are good for the joints. These essential oils are:
1. Cinnamon essential oil 
2. Lavender essential oil 
3. Rosemary essential oil 
4. Bergamot essential oil 
5. Thyme essential oil 
6. Eucalyptus essential oil 
7. Myrrh essential oil 
8. Lemongrass essential oil 
9. Peppermint essential oil 
10. Fennel essential oil 
11. Clove essential oil

Can essential oils help your arthritis pain?

Certain essential oils have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic properties which can bring down inflammation in the joints and mitigate the symptoms of arthritis.

How do you use rosemary essential oil for arthritis?

Follow the steps to use rosemary essential oil for arthritis: 
. Take 10 drops of rosemary essential oil 
. Take a quarter cup of olive oil 
. Mix both oils 
. Apply the oil mix to the joints 
. Massage the oil till the region feels warm and till the oil is absorbed 
. Repeat this twice a day

What essential oils heal arthritis?

Essential oils may not heal arthritis, but it does lower the symptoms of arthritis. Essential oils definitely make later stages of arthritis bearable. The top essential oils for arthritis are: 
1. Basil essential oil 
2. Ginger essential oil 
3. Lemongrass essential oil 
4. Peppermint essential oil 
5. Clove essential oil

  • Tyler Bahr. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Volume 33, (2018) Effects of a massage-like essential oil application procedure using Copaiba and Deep Blue oils in individuals with hand arthritis. 
  • Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Anti-arthritic Effect of Eugenol on Collagen-Induced Arthritis Experimental Model. 
  • American Chemical Society and American Society of Pharmacognosy. J. Nat. Prod. (2006). Turmeric Extracts Containing Curcuminoids Prevent Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis. 
  • Janet L.Funk. Pharma Nutrition. Volume 4, Issue 3, (2016). Anti-inflammatory effects of the essential oils of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in experimental rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Alciléia Nunes Yamada. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. (2013) Anti-inflammatory Activity of Ocimum americanum L. Essential Oil in Experimental Model of Zymosan-Induced Arthritis.