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Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Mastitis, an infection of breast tissue, is most common in women breast feeding in the first three months after birth.  The bacterial infection comes from the bacteria entering in the milk ducts of the breast thru small cracks in the skin of the nipple.  The bacteria source may be from the baby or from the surrounding skin.  Although less common, women not breast feeding may also develop mastitis.  Especially susceptible would be those with compromised immune systems from other health issues.

The inflammation in the fatty tissue of the breast can be accompanied by redness, warmth, swelling, and/or lumps and can be quite painful with fever, chills and extreme exhaustion.  Although the symptoms can be very uncomfortable the common advice is to continue breast-feeding, the infection will not be detrimental to the baby.

 Essential oils, with their antibacterial properties, may be of assistance.  The oils Basil and Frankincense along with the blend On Guard have helped others.  They can be applied topically directly to the affected area or taken internally.  For topical application consider using a carrier oil especially around and on the nipple.  For internal use oils can be put in capsules or for drinking oils may be mixed with juice.  Others using the oils at the outset have begun with application of oils as often as every hour with 1 or 2 drops of each oil, then reducing the frequency in the following days.

As with any infection mastitis should not be considered lightly.  If there is any question consult a qualified medical professional.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Basil, Frankincense, On Guard

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: Citrus Bliss, Lavender


Suggested protocols:

Use Frankincense, On Guard and Basil, rub generously on the affected area and the bottom of the feet. Repeat every hour the first day and every 2 hours the second day. Be aggressive and consistent.

Also take 2-4 drops each Frankincense and On Guard internally in a capsule every two hours. Stay away from the hot compress. It will spread the oil but it will also spread the infection.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Shannon - I am looking for some suggestions on which oils to use with mastitis and/or a plugged duct. I've seen Frankincense/On Guard or Basil/On Guard. Your help is greatly appreciated, and rewarded I hope. I'm so uncomfortable.

Emily - Before I knew dōTERRA my clogged ducts always turned to mastitis and required antibiotics.  After finding dōTERRA I was able to get rid of the clogs before they turned to mastitis. Fill a sink or tub with very warm water. Add a few drops of Citrus Bliss to the water. Kneel over the water (or in the water if you need to and allow the affected breast(s) to soak in the water for 10 or 15 minutes. Then begin applying pressure to the breast, above the clog. Squeezed and pull down toward the nipple to work the milk out. It will be painful to apply pressure to the breast but it is worth it. Continue massaging until the clogged duct is fully emptied. The Citrus Bliss works really well to loosen and relax the ducts. I will never be without Citrus Bliss when I am breast-feeding.

Kstough - I listened to a midwife who spoke about the oils. For mastitis she recommended the following:

Massage some of these oils into breast area, avoiding nipples. Also rub up to lymph node area: Melaleuca, Thyme, Clove, Rosemary, Wild orange, Lavender. Add FCO to aide is massage.  Grate a potato and place on hard area, cover with Saran Wrap. The sulfur in it will draw out infection.  DigestZen is great at unclogging the duct.  If very symptomatic (fever, chills) also take oils in capsules. Day 1: Oregano, Thyme, Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary every 1-2 hrs. Next day, every 2-3 hrs. (Be careful with how much Oregano you take though.)


Sharon - Does anyone know of a blend that will help mastitis and not dry up the milk?  She is on antibiotics, which can do the same thing, but she is in a lot of pain.

Rob - Mastitis or inflammation in the breast can be can be very serious.  I would recommend you consult a health care professional, if you do not start seeing improvement straightaway. Later stages of mastitis can present systemic symptoms like fever and flu-like symptoms and abscesses can even develop. These symptoms can develop very quickly without any warning.

With essential oils consider On Guard, Basil and Frankincense as they will all be helpful for inflammation. Consider direct topical application to the breast, however I would suggest NOT applying directly to the nipple area without a carrier.  And I would suggest that VCO used as a carrier would be ideal.  A frequency of 3 times daily would seem reasonable.

Also taking On Guard internally will help reduce the inflammation.  2 drops every 4 hours or so.


Elea - Has anyone used oils to help prevent or cure mastitis while nursing?

Tamera - I wanted to share an experience I had on Friday night. I thought I had experienced mastitis before. I was wrong. I am trying to wean my baby off of a few feeding so I can sleep. He is 11 months and still nurses like a champ all day and night even though he eats solids and drinks water.  I started to feel tenderness in my right breast in the morning. It was normal, I thought. By that evening around 4 or 5 I was feeling a little weak  and achy I got out my Peppermint and put it where the pain was and then I got out my modern essentials book and looked up mastitis it said Lavender and citrus bliss. I let my sister borrow  my citrus bliss the night before. I used Lavender, Grapefruit, Lemon and Wild Orange.

I laid down and then the chills started. My dear friend Brianna and I were suppose to go out. I told her it wasn't going out tonight. She jumped on the Google group and asked for help. The reply was immediate Frankincense, On Guard and Basil. I didn't have Basil. I put Lemon, On Guard and Frankincense and coconut oil in  bath sea salt . I soaked for 30 minutes. The chills stopped and the gravity was off my breast. Still I was in a lot of pain. I kept breathing deeply.  I got out and laid down.

The chills were back. My feet, hands and nose were cold and my body was hot. My husband put On Guard2 on my feet and gloves. I put a cold pack on my breast to reduce the swelling and nursed my baby.  I took a capsule of Lemon, On Guard and Oregano. I put On Guard and Frankincense and Lemon on my breast.  The warming of the On Guard seemed to be helping.  Then I used Cypress on my feet and breast for circulation. I was feeling pretty hot. I didn't check my temperature in my opinion I was borderline at a dangerous temperature.  At 9 pm I was about to give up and go to the hospital I felt like dying.  I was dizzy and nauseous. I stood outside in the cold to cool off. I laid had down again nursed my baby again and fell asleep.

I woke up 30 minutes later sweaty but feeling better. I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face got some water and an apple.  I had a bad headache. I put Peppermint and Eucalyptus and Frankincense on my temples forehead and neck. I slept until 4 am. nursed and did the headache oils again and woke in the morning a new women!!

I was still a little tender. I was afraid it would come back. I applied On Guard everyday.  I am 100% now.

I am so grateful I was able to heal myself naturally and that I had support from my husband, Brianna and the Google group. I can't believe it was only 5 hours and I was feeling so much better. I just wanted to share this learning experience I hope it will help someone in some way.


CeriAnn - My neighbor has a twelve year old daughter who has mastitis.  She knows it is mastitis because her daughter was diagnosed with it last year.  They treated with two rounds of antibiotics before the infection went away.  My neighbor would like to heal this without antibiotics.  We read in the oils book to use Lavender and citrus bliss, which the girl applied three times with a hot compress through the night.  This morning the infection seems to have spread to the whole breast.  If anyone has experience with this,  to know what might help I would greatly appreciate it! 

Pat - Stay away from the hot compress. It will spread the oil but it will also spread the infection. Use Frankincense, On Guard and Basil, rub generously on the affected area and the bottom of the feet. Repeat every hour the first day and every 2 hours the second day. Be aggressive and consistent. It would help if she would take the Frankincense and On Guard internally. It could be considered not tasty but you could drop it in some applesauce and have her take it every two hours, at least 2 drops of each.

Wendy - I had mastitis just last week. I started this very procedure with essential oils before the fever, chills and all over body aches set in.  It works!  The only thing I would add is to take the On Guard in Orange juice (it tastes better since there is Wild Orange in the blend) with a straw.  I first drank it without the straw and the Cinnamon in the On Guard blend slightly burned my lips.


Samara - Has anyone used green clay?  Would that interfere with oil use or does the oils absorb into the body fast enough?  I know clay helps remove toxins.

Julia - I love using green clay.. also known as bentonite clay. Clay has a negative charge and will pick up the positive charged toxins in the body, and EO's work the same way and have a negative charge as well. I don't think that the clay will interfere with the oils. I don't know that for sure, and it would be an interesting thing to research. Look into how clay and oils resonate, and the frequencies that they are and how they effect the body in clearing toxins.

When I was recovering from my c-section when by daughter was born, I got a severe mastitis infection followed by a kidney infection. It was awful. My doctor put me on Keflex, which made it even worse. After 2 weeks of horrid bowel aches and problems, I called my herbalist/midwife and she took me off the antibiotics and gave me green clay and a kidney herb combo. My bowels felt better that day on the clay, and within 3 more days my kidneys cleared up and my mastitis cleared 5 days later.

How wonderful it would have been to have had Oregano and On Guard then. I don't see clay hurting you, only supporting the oils. Try it and see what happens

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.