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Essential Oils for Inflammation

by Jodi Cohen

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a normal response to perceived threat or injury.

Inflammation occurs when your body launches a series of immune reactions where blood flow increases and capillaries dilate, allowing healing white blood cells and the chemicals that they produce, such as antibodies and cytokines, to reach the injured area to protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.

While “acute” or short term inflammation can play a necessary – and even beneficial role in helping you heal yourself after an injury, repairing damaged tissue, and defending itself against pathogens –  long-term or “chronic” systemic inflammation can contribute to many health issues, including depression, autism, poor memory and neurological diseases.

What are the Symptoms of Inflammation?

Inflammation is a protective measure that keeps your body and brain safe from toxicity and infections.  Chronic low-grade and systemic inflammation can exist undetected for years without noticeable symptoms, silently damaging the tissues of joints, arteries, organs, and the brain. Inflammatory conditions include:

  • Leaky Gut/Food Allergies = Inflammation of the Small Intestine
  • Brain Fog/Depression/Anxiety = Inflammation of the Brain (Neuro Inflammation)
  • Asthma attack = Inflammation of small tubes transporting air to lungs
  • High blood pressure /kidney failure = Inflammation of Kidneys
  • Cramps and diarrhea = Inflammation of Large Intestine (Colitis)

How Essential Oils Calm Inflammation

Plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids, have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation in the brain (Study). The process of distilling these concentrated plant essences into essential oils makes them more bio-available and accessible to the body and brain to help calm brain inflammation.

Polyphenols only become active when they are converted to metabolites by enzymes in the microbiome. They are not able to cross the blood-brain barrier until they are metabolized by the microbiome metabolites,” according to brain inflammation expert Dr. Datis Kharrazian.

We know that fermenting vegetables as well as soaking and sprouting grains and nuts makes the nutrients more bio-available.  During the digestive process, friendly gut bacteria ferment plant fiber in your colon, metabolizing short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that serve as the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon and promote the development of a robust immune system and balancing parasympathetic and sympathetic activity.

Distilling plants into essential oils also makes them more bio-available.

 

Essential Oils for Inflammation

Topically applied essential oils can play a huge role in helping deactivate inflammation in the body and the brain so it can repair and heal.  Essential oils are fat soluble and the brain is comprised primarily of fat so essential oils can easily cross the blood brain barrier and support the brain.

The following essential oils that are included in the Anti Inflammatory™ blend may help  support the anti-inflammation mechanisms of the brain and body to reduce inflammation and encourage regeneration of inflamed tissue

Ginger

Ginger essential oil prevents chronic joint inflammation, helps bring heat, and stimulates circulation, which helps calm inflammation and pain. Research found that Ginger may suppress inflammation. The beneficial effects of ginger polyphenols have been extensively reported in research such as “Assessing the Effects of Ginger Extract on Polyphenol Profiles

The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are often attributed to secondary metabolites, like essential oils and gingerols. Research has found that ginger essential oils can be joint protective in an experimental arthritis model.

An additional study of 140 participants found topically applied ginger essential oil “significantly reduced low back pain and disability”.  Ginger oil reduced the production of pro-inflammatory constituents released during respiratory infections in vitro.

An in vitro study reported that ginger essential oil exerted anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting lipoxygenase enzymes as well as quercetin. Lipoxygenase enzymes are involved in the development of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers when overexpressed. The research discovered that ginger oil reduces inflammation by preventing the migration of excess leukocytes from the blood to tissues. Leukocytes travel to the site of damaged tissue to encourage tissue repair; however, when they migrate excessively to the area it causes an abnormal inflammatory response. Animal research demonstrates that ginger essential oil prevents chronic joint inflammation in a model of rheumatoid arthritis, but does not affect acute joint swelling.

Grapefruit

The limonene present in grapefruit helps to reduce inflammation and regulate the production of inflammatory cytokines.

Grapefruit also contains high levels of bioactive flavonoids – a category of plant compounds present in Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, bergamot and grapefruits (Study).

Flavonoids demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, lipid-lowering, and antioxidant activities according to research published in Oxid Med Cell Longev. titled “Bioactive Flavonoids, Antioxidant Behavior, and Cytoprotective Effects of Dried Grapefruit Peels”.  The research notes “data suggest that grapefruit peel has considerable potential as a source of natural bioactive flavonoids with outstanding antioxidant activity which can be used as agents in several therapeutic strategies.” Flavonoids were observed in the oil glands of citrus peels ( Essential oil are found mainly in the oil glands).

Frankincense

Frankincense oil has long been heralded for its anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and pain-relieving properties. Research shows frankincense, and its anti-inflammatory constituent alpha-pinene, significantly inhibit inflammation and enhance immune supporting properties. The chemical constituent borneol possesses anesthetic and anti-spasmodic properties. Boswellic acid, another active component of frankincense essential oil, has been highly correlated with anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.

Ylang Ylang

Research has shown that active compounds in ylang ylang oil include several types of flavonoids that can help improve blood flow, lower inflammation and support a healthy circulatory system.

Ylang ylang is rich in the constituent Linalool which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  Research indicates that linalool “play a major role in the anti-inflammatory activity displayed by the essential oils containing them, and provide further evidence suggesting that linalool and linalyl acetate-producing species are potentially anti-inflammatory agents.”

Ylang ylang is also known as a harmonizer, meaning it is an adaptive and supportive, especially when added to a blend.

Dill Seed

Dill is known to significantly reduce inflammation, possibly because of its antioxidant flavonoids. Medieval knights would place dill seeds on open wounds to speed up healing. Research has confirmed the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of dill’s key constituents, d-carvone and d-limonene, noting that dill essential oil causes a significant decrease in inflammation and pain. Dill is also a well-known herb used as an anti-spasmodic. It is considered a tonic for organs like your stomach, liver, kidney, and bladder. Dill is also effective in strengthening and calming the brain.

Dill Seed is also rich in the anti-inflammatory constituents D- limonene and carvone.

Tarragon

Traditional Chinese medicine used Tarragon for its antispasmodic, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Tarragon essential oil supports brain health, acting as an antioxidant and an analgesic (for pain relief). It also supports healthy heart function and circulation, and can help reduce physical weakness caused by bad circulation. Supports muscle aches, spasms, and rheumatism and helps restore proper muscular function and ease muscular convulsions.

Research has found that Tarragon oil inhibits acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, which may make it beneficial for neurodegenerative diseases. Inhibition of AChE prevents the break-down of acetylcholine, which is essential for memory and thinking. People with neurodegenerative diseases make less acetylcholine, and the diseases often break it down at a faster rate, leading to acetylcholine deficits.

Tarragon oil also has been shown to relieve pain both centrally and peripherally using mechanisms other than interacting with opioid receptors.

Apply Anti-Inflammatory to areas of the body that are where inflammation is experienced or suspected, including the base of the skull or bottom of the feet. Anti-Inflammatory is designed to reduce inflammation, re-balance the brain, and encourage regeneration of damaged or stressed cells and tissues that have been chronically inflamed or acutely inflamed.

 

Featured Oil:

Anti-Inflammatory™ available here

 

References:

 

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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