Bones and muscles give form to the body and permit physical movement. Unless damaged by injury, the health of this system depends on the overall health of the body. With degenerative conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism, the entire body must be treated, especially the digestive and eliminative systems. Use anti-inflammatory essential oils that stimulate the circulation and eliminate toxins such as grapefruit, juniper and helichrysum. Pain relievers such as birch are also useful. A common sense diet-avoiding foods that create an acidic reaction, such as red meat, eggs and dairy foods-is also helpful. Refer to the "Massage" chapter for additional suggestions for the treatment of muscular aches and pains.
Some aromatherapists use rosemary and lemongrass to ease stiffness. According to Dr. Dietrich Gumbel, they remove lactic-acid buildup in the muscles. The following formula may also be used for arthritis.
6 drops helichrysum
4 drops marjoram
2 drops juniper
4 drops birch or wintergreen
3 drops chamomile
3 drops lavender
3 drops ginger
2 ounces of carrier oil
Combine ingredients. This formula can be used in massage or bath.
Herbal Adjuncts-Anti-inflammatories include meadowsweet, willow bark and devil's claw, or cayenne, ginger, mustard and horseradish added to foods. Dandelion, sarsaparilla, burdock, celery seeds, parsley and yarrow help eliminate toxins through the kidneys. Pain relievers include valerian and St. John's wort.