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


A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around a joint of the body. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that tie bone to bone and hold joints like the ankle, wrist, knee, etc Ankle sprainstogether. (Technically speaking a strain of a joint involves the muscles or the tendons that are the strong bands that tie bone to muscle.) Severe sprains are often accompanied by bleeding that in turn causes bruising hence the black and blue appearance. The injury to a ligament can vary from the ligament being stretched, to a partial tear or in a worst case a complete tear of the ligament. Ankle and knee sprains are most common and usually result in rapid swelling and significant pain. Most minor sprains can be helped with home care whereas structural damage will require professional medical attention.

For immediate relief the RICE treatment is recommended, combined with essential oils, to relieve pain and provide more rapid healing. See the Suggested Protocols tab above for the recommended oils to combine with this treatment:

R   Rest the joint for 24 –48 hours.
   Avoid activities that induce pain.

 I     Ice the injury for 15 –20 minutes every 3 – 4 hours.
   This limits the swelling. 

C   Compress the area with an Ace bandage or similar device.
   Snug but not tight, do not cut off circulation.

E    Elevate the strain joint above the heart as much as possible.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  pain, circulation, inflammation, warming and repair: Massage Blend

Pain: Birch, Soothing BlendC, LavenderEC, Tension Blend, White FirC, Wintergreen

Circulation, inflammation and warming: Cinnamon, CloveC, Cypress, EucalyptusEC, GingerC, Oregano, Peppermint

Tissue repair: Frankincense, HelichrysumC (nerve), LemongrassC (ligaments, tendons), MarjoramC (muscle)

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: Roman ChamomileC, RosemaryC, White FirC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

For pain the analgesic essential oils such as Lavender or Marjoram should be used topically immediately and often for the first 24 - 48 hours because they do not over stimulate circulation. If the pain is too intense use Soothing Blend as well. This should be combined with the RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) described on the summary page.

After the swelling is controlled (24 - 48 hours) use a blend of oils that limits pain, increases circulation to speed healing and oils that repair tissue. Soothing Blend, Cypress, Helichrysum, Lemongrass, Marjoram and/or the Massage Blend are highly recommended.  To speed results apply these with hot and cold compresses or hot and cold foot-baths (if an ankle). The compress or bath should include the blend and the hot and cold should be repeated every 5 or 10 minutes, for 3 or 4 rotations. Then this whole process should be repeated every 3 to 12 hours depending on the severity.

Special Precautions: If after the first 2 - 4 days the sprain is not responding to the treatment, there may be a broken bone or severely torn ligament and it should be reviewed by professional medical help.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Courtney - My friend’s 10 year old daughter sprained her ankle last night and I am not sure which oils are best to help her with.  She has a somewhat large bump that is surrounded by swelling on the side of her ankle. She cannot walk on it.  Would Soothing Blend work the best directly on the ankle? Please help.

Marti - I would try these if it were my daughter (and yes Soothing Blend would help)

Helichrysum if you have it, it is great for swelling and tissues

Lemongrass, again will help with swelling, pain and ligaments,

Marjoram - great with muscles

Lavender - to help calm the area and anti-inflammatory

Myrrh can also help with tissues

Massage Blend - just because

Eucalyptus can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and is good for circulation and healing

Pat -  The first thing you need is to get the swelling under control and Helichrysum works really well for that, Soothing Blend helps with the pain, add Marjoram and Wintergreen to that. Lavender will also help the trauma to that area. As you can see there are so many oils you can use for this type of injury. Elevate and oil for two full days, oiling consistently. Having the young girl put the oil on will help a lot. She is using the power of healing and getting more oils into her system. Her parents need to take turns with that because the power of love is also very healing. Pat

OH - I had great success with "Massage Blend" massage blend.  I sprained my ankle badly and within 2 weeks I was back to running on the beach.  Soothing Blend would work for pain relief.  I hope she iced it immediately, as well as kept it elevated. I was amazed how fast my ankle healed and the bruising didn't get to the ugly black and blue.  Many of the single oils in Massage Blend deal with pain and inflammation, as well as circulation...

Dian - Don't forget cypress for circulation.


Julia - Working in the garden yesterday! I pulled too hard on the rototiller cord and felt my wrist give. I knew it was pretty bad and ran inside and grabbed the first thing I could think of... peppermint. It felt tender, but I was able to keep working and even worked on the computer typing! It wasn’t until later that afternoon the pain really settled in and today my wrist and all the tendons in my hand, especially my thumb are all swollen and stiff. I'm keeping peppermint on it and taking BF&C... any thing else I could be using?

Wendy - Lemongrass would be great!!  Keep it on!

Maria - My friend sprained her ankle and I'm wondering what oils would be useful? Any suggestions?

Pat - Depending on which oils you have:

 Soothing Blend for the pain and swelling  

 Marjoram for the muscle around the area  

 Lemongrass for the ligaments    



Using all or whatever you have of these oils will benefit the sprain.

Sunny - I ran across a young woman at a show who had sprained her ankle several days previous.  She had to walk on it and it was painful.  At my suggestion, she sat down and I put a couple of drops of Massage Blend on the inflamed area.  She got instant relief.

Jan - Another suggestion - cypress and/or helichrysum to relieve swelling and bruising.

Protocols folks recommend for children



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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.