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Use Essential Oils for Swollen Joints (Heal Candida Skin Infections, too!)

photo of swollen thumb joint
I had a soft, painless, swelling on my right thumb for many years... on the outer surface and centrally located just above the joint.
 Soft swelling (not painful) on my thumb joint has been a chronic issue for many years. (Photo taken May 2010)

I had a soft, painless, swelling on my right thumb for many years… on the outer surface and centrally located just above the joint. My Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner thought it may have been a reaction to chronic overuse. It may also have been a reaction to habitual tension that I hold in my fingers when I’m concentrating on a project.

My family on my father’s side is also prone to developing osteoarthritic finger joints as we age. (See our article QUICK Relief for Sore, Inflamed Joints: Arthritis, Rheumatism, Injuries, etc.) It’s possible that what my family members suffer from, and I may have been exhibiting early stages of, were Heberden’s nodes.

“Heberden’s nodes are hard or bony swellings that can develop in the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) (the joints closest to the end of the fingers and toes). They are a sign of osteoarthritis and are caused by formation of osteophytes (calcific spurs) of the articular (joint) cartilage in response to repeated trauma at the joint.

Heberden’s nodes typically develop in middle age, beginning either with a chronic swelling of the affected joints or the sudden painful onset of redness, numbness, and loss of manual dexterity. This initial inflammation and pain eventually subsides, and the patient is left with a permanent bony outgrowth that often skews the fingertip sideways. Bouchard’s nodes may also be present; these are similar bony growths in the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints (middle joints of the fingers), and are also associated with osteoarthritis.”

I had tried stimulating the joint with finger massage to reduce the swelling, which had some temporary effect, but didn’t clear it up. So, four years ago began an off-and-on experiment using essential oils with strongly anti-inflammatory properties to see if I could help my thumb joint heal.

The analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory essential oils I had used in early 2010 to relieve a sudden, VERY painful, stiffening joint flare-up of my middle finger (see other article) were GERMAN CHAMOMILE and LAVENDER.

bottle of german chamomile essential oil held in palm of upturned hand My thumb, fingers, and palm are briefly stained an indigo blue until the German Chamomile essential oil is completely absorbed through the skin within a few seconds. (Use with care! The oil will stain fabrics and various surfaces permanently)

Then in the spring of 2011 (shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster*), a VERY itchy, sometimes painful, chronic skin irritation developed on my right groin. At times, it was so awful the skin would weep a clear fluid! I had to wear a soft gauze pad for fluid absorption to prevent staining my clothing.

*COMMENT: We were living in California about a half hour’s drive from the Pacific coast. Much of the western coast of the USA received an intensive dose of radioactive fallout immediately after the initial meltdown that was being tracked by radioactive fallout monitors across the United States and Europe, since then all have been taken off-line. (Makes one wonder why?) Now, more than four years later the Pacific ocean and the northern hemisphere has been and continues to be polluted with high levels of radioactive fallout. Of course, there has been no ‘official’ governmental or health announcement – warning – alert or conventional media coverage on how this on-going disaster is impacting the environment and all of our health.

Suspected it was a rash from a topical candida infection caused by strain on my immune system from the radioactive spike in California’s atmosphere and precipitation (coastal fog, dew, rain, etc.). At a routine health exam, the nurses agreed it was most likely an aggressive candida flare-up. Naturally, I turned to my reliable, gentle, essential oils to manage – and hopefully, heal – my groin infection…a much more acute and concerning issue than the swelling on my thumb.

Over the past four plus years, I’ve used a variety of naturally healing oils on the candida skin infection. In addition to GERMAN CHAMOMILE and LAVENDER, I used alternate applications of virgin COCONUT OIL for its immune system support and tissue repair, plus gentle anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, healing properties, along with two essential oil blends: TRINITY and RC.

In mid-April 2015 we left California to relocate in central Arizona’s highlands. In the 3-1/2 months of living here, my skin rash has almost entirely healed only flaring up mildly, when the weather is hot and I get sweaty. I’ve also noticed from all those years of using anti-inflammatory oils almost daily, my thumb joint has healed and the swelling is completely gone!

swollen thumb joint healed After four years of using anti-inflammatory essential oils and virgin coconut oil, my chronically swollen thumb joint has healed.


Virgin coconut oil kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.

In 2004, 52 isolates of Candida species were exposed to coconut oil. The most notorious form, Candida albicans, was found to have the highest susceptibility. Researchers remarked: “Coconut oil should be used in the treatment of fungal infections in view of emerging drug-resistant Candida species.”[vii]

Bone Health: Coconut oil has been shown to reduce oxidative stress within the bone, which may prevent structural damage in osteoporotic bone.[xi]


7 thoughts on “Use Essential Oils for Swollen Joints (Heal Candida Skin Infections, too!)”

  1. I would like to try this. How often do you apply German Chamomile and Lavender to swollen joints? I can use coconut oil as a carrier.

    • Susan ~ You can use a quality brand of German Chamomile and Lavender essential oils w/o diluting them, anytime your joints are painful. If they’re just stiff and inflamed, a dilution may be better for long term use. Suggest applying at least morning and evening. More often, if you’re uncomfortable. As I wrote in the article, I was using the oils almost daily for several years.

  2. Thank you for this info. So very helpful. I had a systemic candida infection from 2/2016 to 2/2018. I felt like I came close to dying a couple of times. I was on anti fungals, antibiotics and steroids for 2 years. Never thought about the radiation but we were living on the foothills of the Sierra, 3 hours East of SF. Now in San Diego for 2 years, my health has been terrible. Maybe it’s the radiation.

  3. Hi Cynthe, I have been using the German chamomile, RC and lavender on my thumb nuckle. It looks worse than yours did. For some reason, one of those Oils has caused my skin to become very raw and excoriated, itchy and painful. I just mixed a bottle with some other anti-inflammatory oils along with these three into a roller ball with coconut oil. Hoping this helps because I’m otherwise looking at surgery, which scares me and the joint is not improving. Thanks for this helpful site.

    • Hi Patty ~ Just seeing your comment now. For some reason I wasn’t alerted to it earlier?

      What brand(s) of Lavender and German Chamomile EOs are you using? And what other anti-inflammatory EOs? Sounds like your skin is getting overloaded with the EO applications. This happens to me, too. I have essential oils I cannot use on my skin or use frequently like Lemon, Lemongrass, Geranium and others. It’s a genetic sensitivity.

      You may need to take a break for awhile. When you use lots of EOs together it becomes difficult to figure out which one(s) your body is not tolerating.

    • Gail ~ Less than 1 drop of each ….just touched the bottle tip to my skin. With essential oils, a little goes a long way. Let us know if these help you.


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Cynthe Brush

Certified Clinical (Medical) Aromatherapist Creating Custom Blends Since 1999

Therapeutic Essential Oils Practitioner & Self-Care Health Educator has used essential oils for personal, family, & client health issues since 1999.

Personal Consultations:
Pre-paid on an hourly basis

Gaia’s Pharmacopeia – Buy Healing Essential Oils Blends / 100% Natural Botanical Perfumes: Effective essential oil blends for Athletic Injuries; Sprains – Broken Bones; Wounds & Surgeries; Backaches; Headaches; Dizziness; Herpes Simplex; Stress and more.