Essential oils for inflammation
I briefly touched on using essential oils for inflammation in my post Using essential oils for pain relief, but I wanted to re-visit the topic in more detail, due to my concern at the growing number of people being prescribed corticosteroids.
I’m not going to suggest you drop your medications you use for inflammation, as this should always be done in consultation with your health practitioner. However, you need to be aware that there alternatives out there that don’t have the damaging side-effects you get from things like cortisone. I’ve certainly seen my share of friends and relatives suffer at the hands of these medications and I’m sure many of you have too.
Some of you may not be aware of the side effects from corticosteroids, so I have placed some references at the end of this post that you can check out.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is essentially the body’s way of dealing with an injury or infection. It can also come about as a result of chemicals in the body, hormonal imbalance and poor diet. The body is aiming to rid itself of harmful stimuli, pathogens or irritants.
Signs of inflammation include swelling, redness, heat and pain. It is a very natural process. It’s only when inflammation becomes ingrained, long-term and self-perpetuating (more inflammation can be created in response to existing inflammation) that it becomes a problem for the body.
The effects of chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation can and usually does create a whole host of problems (please refer to the diagram at the top of this post). For example, there is much medical opinion to suggest a link between heart disease and inflammation. In asthma, there is an inflammation of the airways, leading to a blockage of those airways. While in Alzheimer’s disease, you have inflammation of nerve pathways at work.
Essential oils that help
A study in 2005 by Dr Sue Chao on the anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils looked at 77 different oils. The study found the top six oils for reducing inflammation were oregano, nutmeg, lemongrass, Melaleuca ericifolia, dill and peppermint. These were closely followed by lemon, myrtle, tangerine, myrrh, frankincense and lavender.
Since that study in 2005, two other oils need to be added to the top of this list: Palo santo and Copaiba from Ecuador. It should also be noted that certain essential oils are more effective with certain types of inflammation. For example, when you have tissue damage and bruising, myrrh, vetiver, cistus and helichrysum work well.
There are also supplements that are beneficial in dealing with inflammation. The one that springs to mind is MSM.
Inflammation is a big topic and one that I’ll re-visit in future blogs, where I’ll look at specific forms.
Till next time!
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
Corticosteroids, National Health Service UK, 2011
Steroids, Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
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