Do you have a cold, cough, or sinus congestion? A strained wrist? Eczema? Does heartburn keep you up at night? Try these four essential oil blends to help soothe everyday inflammatory conditions.
According to clinical aromatherapist Dorene Petersen, essential oils can be used to soothe inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema; respiratory illnesses like sinus, cough, cold, and flus; pain from sprains, strains, and pulls; and even some gut issues.
“Essential oils are most helpful when the body has an inflammatory response in the skin, joints, and respiratory system. They can also be used for digestive issues, like colitis, bowel disorders, and heartburn,” says Petersen, who is president of the Portland, Oregon-based American College of Healthcare Sciences, which offers one of the few accredited programs in integrative health and wellness available in the U.S.
She says that essential oils can be a powerful tool in your overall wellness toolkit but emphasizes that they must be just one prong of a multilayered plan that aims to identify the root causes of inflammation.
Acute inflammation is related to injury or infection. Additionally, “inflammatory response has to do with diet, it has to do with stress, it has to do with lifestyle,” Petersen explains. “Essential oils are not a magic bullet. But they can help ease inflammation and keep it at a low level in the body; they are a great addition to a larger, wider holistic wellness protocol.”
Petersen recommends using blends of certified organic essential oils, which allows you to take advantage of the properties of a variety of oils in a single dose. Never apply essential oils directly to skin; mix with a carrier oil like sweet almond or olive oil to dilute.
“I like using a carrier oil that is quickly absorbed by the skin, like grapeseed,” she says. “Camellia sinensis oil is also quite lovely.”
Petersen also warns to be sure that you are using essential oils in the right way with the right dosage. And to always check with your doctor to make sure the ones you’d like to try won’t interfere with prescription drugs you might already be taking.
“Don’t take 50 drops when you should only be taking five,” she says. “That’s dangerous because sometimes people don’t really realize how potent some essential oils are.”
Petersen provided the following recipes for custom blends to help us figure out which essential oils we should be taking—and how much we should be taking—to help ease specific inflammatory conditions.
Digestive Issues Like Heartburn
- Coriander Coriandrum sativum essential oil: 3 drops
- Peppermint Mentha piperita essential oil: 2 drops
- Ginger Zingiber officinale essential oil: 1 drop
Mix in 15 ml of carrier oil. Apply 5 ml over abdomen after meals.
Pain From Sprains, Strains, and Pulls
- Virginian Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana essential oil: 5 drops
- Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis ct cineole essential oil: 5 drops
- Himalayan or Atlas Cedarwood Cedrus atlantica essential oil: 4 drops
- Clary sage Salvia sclarea essential oil: 4 drops
- Clove Syzygium aromaticum essential oil: 2 drops
Mix in 30 ml of carrier oil. Apply 5 ml over affected area twice daily.
Skin Conditions Like Eczema
- Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile essential oil: 1 drop
- Immortelle (helichrysum) Helichrysum aromaticum essential oil: 1 drop
- Yarrow Achillea millefolium essential oil: 1 drop
Mix in 30 ml of carrier oil. After performing skin patch test, apply to affected areas one to two times daily.
Respiratory Inflammation From Colds, Coughs, and Sinus Congestion
- Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus essential oil: 1 drop
- Cardamom Elettaria cardamomum essential oil: 2 drops
- Australian Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil: 1 drop
- New Zealand Tea Tree (Manuka) Leptospermum scoparium essential oil: 1 drop
Drop into ceramic or glass bowl of steaming hot water in a well-ventilated area. Inhale steam intermittently for five to 10 minutes.
Learn how to create your own herbal ointment and oil infusion.