Inflammation is the root of many common health problems. In some instances, inflammation is your body’s way of speeding up the healing process—like after you twist your ankle. The area might be painful, warm, and red. In other cases, inflammation doesn’t go away when it’s supposed to, or it’s present throughout your body chronically.
Are natural products proven to calm inflammation?
“Inflammation” has turned into something of a buzzword for the natural health industry. Take a stroll through the health and supplement aisle of your natural grocery store, and you’ll find a number of products claiming to address it. But not all of them are proven to calm inflammation by research.
A research study that was published in the Journal of Lipid Research explains how six essential oils help reduce inflammation. Researchers discovered six essential oils that suppress an enzyme that promotes the inflammatory response, the COX-2 enzyme
Six essential oils that earned gold stars for suppressing COX-2 were:
Some of these oils come with their own safety concerns.
Like thyme oil, clove bud oil should be used at a low percentage — a maximum of .5 %. Bergamot oil is photo-toxic, meaning it can cause burning and blistering in sunlight. To be safe, use no more than 2 drops per 30 ml of carrier in topical blends. Fennel should only be used at about 2.5% (10 to 13 drops in 30 ml of carrier), and should be avoided altogether during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
A few more notes!
Another research study, which was published in BioMed Research International, examined the role of PPARs in calming inflammation. They determined that PPAR activators may be more effective in the initial phases of inflammation. Instead of stopping an active, painful case of inflammation, they help prevent more inflammation from arising. If you’re going to use these six essential oils in natural pain relief recipes, reach for them before the pain sets in, or be aware that they may take a little longer to help existing inflammation calm down.
What does this research mean for you?
These blends are best used in the short term. So turn to them for only your strongest pain relief needs, and be sure to use a low dilution no higher than about 1%. That’s about 5 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of carrier. Pay attention to your body’s response to these oils. If you start to notice redness or irritation, discontinue use. Wash the area with soap and water and then apply a carrier. Plain jojoba works well.
Only buy Essential Oils from a reputable source. Many essential oils on the market are heavily contaminated or adulterated with synthetic chemicals. If you’re buying essential oils, it means you want something completely natural and safe. Make sure that you don’t inadvertently buy something you think is natural but turns out to be synthetic. When you want essential oils that are safe and effective, the most important thing to look for is purity. Pure essential oils allow you to reap the full benefits that nature has to offer. They can support you, empower you, and revive you. And when using only the purest essential oils, you can be confident that they are safe to use with your family.
Remember, you usually get what you pay for, and essential oils are no different.
Hotta, M., Nakata, R., Katsukawa, M., Hori, K., Takahashi, S., Inoue, H. (2010) Carvacrol, a component of thyme oil, activates PPARa and y and suppresses COX-2 expression. Journal of Lipid Research. 51, 1, P132-139. doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M900255-JLR200
Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Youssef, J., Badr, M. (2004) Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors in Inflammation Control. BioMed Research International. V2004. 927276. doi.org/10.1155/S1110724304308065