Joint oils for painful joints

Dr. med. Heinz Lüscher

Joint Pain

Joint pain occurs very frequently, almost half of all people over the age of 45 suffer from it, every now and again. There are several possible causes of joint pain and they can be acute or chronic. Sometimes they simply develop after a short period of overuse and subside again of their own accord after a few days. 

However, particularly in older people, there are often signs of wear and tear on the cartilage (arthrosis). Inflammations of the joints (arthritis) also causes pain. This pain can be acute, such as in bacterial joint inflammation (bacterial arthritis) or chronic, such as in rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disease with recurrent joint inflammation). Associated joint inflammations during and after infections (e.g. Lyme disease) are also possible. Injuries can also lead to joint pain.

This is an incomplete list of possible causes of joint pain!

What can be done about joint pain?

If the joint pain suddenly sets in and worsens within hours, should this be accompanied by swelling, severe movement restrictions and redness of the skin over the painful joint, please see a doctor to get a precise diagnosis of the problem. However, if the pain is chronic (e.g. arthrosis) or over strained (e.g. after a hike), you may of course first try to find a remedy by yourself using effective natural substances, such as high-quality joint oil. You should limited your exertion at this point but still do gentle exercises as the movement compresses the cartilage like a sponge and when relieved it expands again. This action transports nutrients from the so-called synovial fluid into the cartilage. This is the only way to ensure a sufficient supply of nutrients to the joints with the active assistance of the joint oils.

Essential oils with analgesic agents

Essential oils do not only smell good, they also have a beneficial effect on painful Joints. Arnica and St. John's wort often form the basis of such products. These two herbs have been known for centuries as remedies with various applications. Here we are particularly interested in analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The addition of cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient from the hemp plant, to the essential oils from Arnica and St. John's wort improves the interaction and further strengthens the effect of pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.

Thanks to the antibacterial properties already present in the natural essential oils components, preservatives and chemical additives can even be dispensed with resulting in a high-quality product.

Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica flowers contain so-called sesquiterpenlactones - especially the compound Helenalin. Helenalin is an anti-inflammatory that suppresses inflammatory substances (cytokines).  In addition to these we also find flavonoids, tannins, coumarins and essential oils. These substances have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antiseptic properties.

The anti-inflammatory effect of arnica is also attributed to thymol, an active ingredient which is part of the group known as essential oils.

Arnica is also known in orthodox medicine because its effectiveness has been scientifically proven many times. Studies were carried out with arthritis patients: one of the test subjects used a gel with the active ingredient ibuprofen, the other group applied arnica gel to the parts of the body affected by arthritis. The arnica treatment was just as effective as the ibuprofen treatment.

Studies showed that treatment with arnica not only reduced pain, but also made the joints more supple again.

Swiss Study: Arnika-Gel compared to Ibuprofen-Gel (German Report)

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John's wort is perhaps better known for its positive effect on mild and moderate depression or down moods, but for depression the essential oil is taken orally.

However, here we are interested in the external application for joint pain. St. John's wort oil is traditionally used as a lotion to treat injuries such as sprains, muscle tension, lumbago (lumbago) or rheumatic pain and gout. St. John's wort oil is considered a very good massaging oil because it promotes blood circulation in the muscles and relaxes tensions. It relieves pain and counteracts inflammation.

St. John's wort oil contains a whole complex of powerful ingredients. For example, hyperforin, which is responsible for the anti-depressant effects on the one hand, but also has a bactericidal and virucidal effect on the other. It also contains tannins, which are said to have a pain-relieving effect when used externally. St. John's wort oil also has a high content of flavonoids. Flavonoids are effective in combating inflammation.

CBD from the hemp plant

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a medically very beneficial ingredient of the hemp plant. Particularly legally cultivable varieties contain a lot of CBD, but hardly any THC (Tetra-Hydrocannabinol THC is only one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, but certainly the most well known because of the psychoactive effect). CBD should not be confused with THC as it is neither addictive nor intoxicating.

CBD has strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If taken orally, it has a relaxing, anti-epileptic, anti-psychotic and fear-relieving effect. It also has nerve-protective properties and has an antibacterial effect against certain germs which have high resistance to antibiotics (MRSA).

The analgesic effect of CBD is attributed to the fact that it stimulates the type 1 vanilloid receptor. Vanilloid receptor 1 is usually found on nerve endings that represent pain receptors. If these receptors are now stimulated by CBD, a pain-inhibiting effect occurs.

Study on CBD: CBD vielversprechend bei Gelenkschmerzen – weitere Untersuchungen sind nötig

Applications of essential joint oils

If you have a high-quality and natural joint oil at hand, what more could you wish for if you have joint pain. If necessary, it can be gently applied to the affected areas several times a day and gently massaged in (do not take orally or apply to mucous membranes or injured skin!).

The effectiveness can be compared to well known pain ointments with chemically active ingredients. Joint oils with Arnica, St. John's wort and CBD can not only be used for joint pain, but are also suitable for muscle pain, menstrual pain, heel spur, shingles and skin problems such as (diaper) dermatitis, stretch marks, impure skin or rashes.

For the following complaints joint oils with Arnica / St Johns Wort/CBD can be used:

  • joint pain
  • muscle pain
  • neuralgia
  • tension
  • menstrual pains
  • heel spur
  • tennis elbow
  • Golf elbow
  • shingles
  • (Diaper) Dermatitis
  • stretch marks
  • Impure skin
  • skin rashes


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