Aromatherapy and Lupus

Aromatherapy and Lupus

Lupus is an auto-immune disease where the body produces autoantibodies that attack healthy cells. Lupus can have an impact on all of the bodies systems and effect multiple organs including the skin, kidneys, the heart, eyes, muscles and joints. Lupus can be life threatening if the body attacks major organs. Diagnosis for lupus is difficult due to a lot of the symptoms being the same as other diseases such as fibromyalgia, scleroderma and Reynaud’s. It is mainly women who are diagnosed with lupus with 90% of sufferers being female. It is not understood what causes lupus.

Common complaints from those affected by lupus include; painful joints, depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue, painful skin rashes and headaches. Lupus is considered incurable, but the long-term prognosis can be manageable if controlled with medication for pain and cream for rashes. Some of those who suffer from this disease may like to also use aromatherapy as a way to ease skin conditions, relax, balance, uplift mood and aid pain relief.

Essential oils and lupus

The following essential oils can be used to help ease the symptoms of lupus. I have selected these oils for their particular properties:-

Copaiba essential oil is the best anti-inflammatory essential oil due to its high level of beta-caryophyllene. This oil can aid significantly in the reduction of pain. Copaiba is also emollient so can help moisturise the skin and boost circulation.

Lemon essential oil helps to cleanse the body and boost circulation. It also helps to revitalise and uplift mood.

Pine essential oil boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, and helps to stimulate, balance and enhance the mood. Pine oil can also aid in the reduction of skin conditions.

Helichrysum essential oil supports the nervous system and boosts health to ward off disease. It is an anti-inflammatory to aid pain relief and skin conditions and also an antioxidant which aids in lymphatic drainage.

Frankincense essential oil can aid in a reduction in the immune reactions associated with lupus. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid with pain relief. It can also aid stress relief and promote relaxation.

Clary Sage essential oil uplifts moods, relieves stress and anxiety. It also helps to balance hormones and relieve menstrual tension. Clary Sage helps the skin by reducing inflammation and regulating sebum production. It also helps to relieve headaches and muscle stiffness.

Bergamot essential oil is an anti-depressant and a stimulant. It stimulates and aids digestion, enhances mood and promotes energy.

The above oils can be blended with a carrier oil such as Grapeseed oil for massage. An aromatherapy massage can boost circulation, relax muscles, uplift mood and aid pain relief. You can use a mixture of oils according to your symptoms and requirements, but it's advisable to not add more than 12 drops total to 20ml of carrier oil. An example of a blend for massage would be 20ml of Grapeseed oil, with a maximum 4 drops of Copaiba, 4 drops of Clary Sage and 4 drops of Bergamot (you may want to start by using fewer drops of essential oil initially to see how your body reacts). The essential oils can also be diluted by adding 6 drops to 10ml of full fat milk or fragrance free Bath Oil, and added to a bath to relieve tension and promote relaxation. An example of a blend for a bath would be 10ml of full fat milk/bath oil, 2 drops of Frankincense, 2 drops of Pine and 2 drops of Lemon.

Carolyn Bertram
Guest Blogger & Complementary Therapist
Peace Lily Aromatherapy


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References:

  1. Aromatherapy for Holistic Therapies, Francesca Gould, 2003.
  2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless, 2007.
  3. An Introductory Guide to Aromatherapy, Louse Tucker, 2011.
  4. The Lupus Book, Daniel J. Wallace, 2009.

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