Your feet are the foundation your body stands on. If you don’t have healthy feet, neither your body nor your health can truly stand upright. Most of us know we should wash and moisturize our feet, but one of the best ways to care for and pamper your feet is often ignored. That is, essential oils for foot health!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are popular with alternative medicine advocates. But what are they, exactly? Essential oils are concentrated substances extracted from plants. They are often used for aromatherapy and topical applications. Essential oils can remedy many specific health problems, as well as contribute to your overall health. For example, a recent study found that short-term exposure to essential oils can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. 1
Essential Oil Safety
It’s important to be safe when using essential oils. Many can be harmful if ingested, so don’t take them orally without consulting an expert. Each type of oil has different properties and safety precautions. Never use undiluted essential oils on the skin or near your eyes. When used topically, essential oils can be diluted in a carrier substance, such as water or vegetable oil. Use concentrations no more than 3-5%, and mix or shake well before using. 2
How to Use Essential Oils for Feet
In the correct dilutions, essential oils can be massaged into your feet to reap the benefits of the specific oil. You can also use essential oils to make a relaxing or rejuvenating bath to soak your feet. To exfoliate your feet, make a foot scrub using essential oils and other ingredients. 3 Foot masks and lotions are also popular ways to use essential oils for your feet.
Here are some of the best types of essential oils for foot health:
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the Australian tea tree. This essential oil is prized for its antiseptic properties. A 1992 study found that tea tree oil cream reduced the symptoms of athlete’s foot just as effectively as an antifungal cream. 4 Another study found that tea tree oil was also effective for treating toenail infections. 5
To cure athlete’s foot or nail fungus, apply diluted tea tree oil to a cotton ball and rub it on the affected areas of your feet. Alternatively, lotions and creams containing tea tree oil are available for purchase.
Peppermint oil is made from the leaves of the strong mint-scented peppermint plant. This stimulating essential oil is often used for muscle aches, inflammation, bruising, itching and skin irritation. 6,7 Though peppermint oil has not been studied for muscle aches, it has been found to alleviate headache pain. 8 Peppermint’s strong smell can also help combat foot odor (this is why peppermint is often found in cleansing products).
Rosemary oil is made from the popular culinary herb. Researchers found that rosemary can positively affect cognition and enhance mood. 9 For foot health, rosemary oil can be applied topically for muscle and joint pain. 10 Rosemary can also be used to soothe skin affected by the skin disease eczema. 11
Eucalyptus oil is made from an Australian evergreen tree. This essential oil has analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 12 A study by the University of California Irvine Medical Center found that a product containing eucalyptus oil even had pain-killing properties. 13 So if your feet are sore and tired, the analgesic properties of eucalyptus oil can help to soothe them. Massage properly diluted eucalyptus oil on your sore feet to feel better instantly. 14 Eucalyptus oil can also be used topically for wounds or to prevent infection.
Lavender oil is sweet-smelling and often used in perfumes. A study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology found that lavender oil contains antifungal properties. 15 This makes it a good choice for getting rid of athlete’s foot and toenail infections. Lavender oil also promotes relaxation and may help you get to sleep if used in a diffuser or scented bath before bedtime. 16
Juniper oil comes from the juniper plant, which is best known for being a key ingredient in gin. Juniper essential oil can be made from the berries or other parts of the plant. This oil has traditionally been used as a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis and swelling. 17
Thyme oil comes from the common culinary herb. This essential oil is used for many medicinal purposes, including boosting immunity, muscle cramps and arthritis. 18 Researchers have found that thyme oil is very effective at reducing inflammation. 19 Rub diluted thyme oil on your sore or tired feet to revive them. Smelling this essential oil could also boost your mood.
Essential oils have been used as folk remedies by many cultures for hundreds of years. They can help feet by getting rid of infection, healing damaged skin and relieving muscle aches and pains. These concentrated forms of plants can help your feet get—and stay—healthy.
For more articles about foot health and care, follow the links below!
1. “Short-Term Exposure To Essential Oils Lowers Blood Pressure And Heart Rate… But Only When Exposure Is Less Than One Hour”. ScienceDaily. N.p., 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
2. “How Do I Choose And Use Essential Oils? | Taking Charge Of Your Health & Wellbeing”. Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
3. Shannon, JC. “Pamper Your Feet With Essential Oils”. Essential Health. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
4. Tong MM, et al. “Tea Tree Oil In The Treatment Of Tinea Pedis. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1992. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
5. Syed TA, et al. “Treatment Of Toenail Onychomycosis With 2% Butenafine And 5% Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil In Cream. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1999. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
6. “Peppermint Oil | NCCIH”. NCCIH. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
7. Roussos, Alexander P. and Alan R. Hirsch. “Alliaceous Migraines”. N.p., 2013. Print.
8. Roussos, Alexander P. and Alan R. Hirsch. “Alliaceous Migraines”. N.p., 2013. Print.
9. “Plasma 1,8-Cineole Correlates With Cognitive Performance Following Exposure To Rosemary Essential Oil Aroma – Feb 24, 2012”. Journals.sagepub.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
10. “Rosemary”. University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
11. Wang, Dr. “Natural Treatment For Eczema – 10 Simple And Quick Steps | Healthy Living Articles | Well Being Center | Steadyhealth.Com”. Steadyhealth.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
12. “What Are The Health Benefits Of Eucalyptus?”. Medical News Today. N.p., 2016. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
13. FG, Hong. “Effects Of A Topically Applied Counterirritant (Eucalyptamint) On Cutaneous Blood Flow And On Skin And Muscle Temperatures. A Placebo-Controlled St… – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1991. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
14. “Use Eucalyptus Oil To Breathe Easier, Kill Germs, And More”. NaturalNews. N.p., 2013. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
15. “Lavender Oil Has Potent Antifungal Effect”. ScienceDaily. N.p., 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
16. “How To Sleep Well During Time Changes – Mayo Clinic”. Mayo Clinic. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
17. “Juniper Uses, Benefits & Side Effects – Drugs.Com Herbal Database”. Drugs.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
18. “20 Health Benefits Of Thyme Oil”. Health Impact News. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
19. “ASBMB News”. Asbmb.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.