DIY Arthritis Ointment for Pain Relief - Dr. Axe

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DIY Arthritis Ointment for Joint Pain


DIY arthritis cream

Arthritis is a joint disease that causes swelling and pain in and around the joints. It’s usually classified as either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a whopping 52.5 million adults in the U.S. alone suffer from arthritis.

Essential oils have so many uses, including for serious health problems. This DIY arthritis ointment uses the three powerful essentials oils — frankincense, ginger and myrrh — alongside the solid carrier oil, coconut oil.

Fractionated coconut oil can work best because it blends most easily and remains liquid regardless of the temperature. You can also use unrefined coconut oil, which does feature more benefits but mixes less easily. Jojoba is another workable carrier oil.

It’s believed that frankincense oil transmits messages to the limbic system of the brain, which is known to influence the nervous system. It can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with conditions like arthritis, asthma, painful bowel disorders like IBS and many more conditions.

Ginger essential oil is also made up of about 90 percent sesquiterpenes, which are defensive agents that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger oil appears to be effective when taken by patients with pain associated with inflammation. A study found that when patients with osteoarthritis of the knee took a ginger extract twice daily, they experienced less pain and needed fewer pain-killing medications than those who received placebo.

Lastly, myrrh essential oil also contains sesquiterpenes as well as another primary active compounds called terpenoids, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Mix all four ingredients into a bowl until well blended. Place this DIY arthritis ointment into a dark (to preserve the essential oils) glass jar with a lid for continued use.

Simply massage the ointment in the areas where you feel pain. Use twice daily. You can also take it to your masseuse and ask him or her to use it while performing a mild massage.

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DIY Arthritis Ointment

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 20 applications 1x


Creaky, arthritic joints are too common for many of us. Whip up this simple DIY recipe with three essentials oils and coconut oil and apply. You should feel its therapeutic effects right away.


  • 2030 drops pure frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops pure ginger essential oil
  • 2030 drops myrrh essential oil
  • 4 ounces fractionated coconut oil (or unrefined)


  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl until well blended.
  2. Place into a glass jar with a lid for continued use.
  3. Massage the ointment in the areas where you feel pain. Use twice daily.
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Category: Body care
  • Method: Mixing

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  1. Carol Cichelli on

    Thank you so much Dr. Axe – I typed this whole thing and sent it today to
    my beautiful friend Debra – I am so grateful to TBN for honoring you-
    and Jordan Rubin

  2. Belinda Owen on

    I use cocoa butter and mix in the ginger, myrrh and frankincense. My going to add CBD full spectrum for added inflammation relief. I first saw this recipe on the NIH a website and on Web MD

  3. Roberta West on

    Can you used some beeswax, essential butters (mango, shea, cocoa, and coconut) and beeswax to make this into a more solidified product? I would like to try a rub that can be used as solid lotion bars.

      • Cathy on

        Kim, All of the essential oils listed are in liquid form. Invert the bottles and drops of oil will drip out. Do your research and buy quality oils. I use doTERRA but there are many other producers.

  4. BOB DENT on

    would it be possible to use Hemp oil in this recipe maybe mixed with the Jojoba oil , I feel the hemp oil would add a little extra relief.

  5. Carole Westby on

    This is great for arthritis relief but I got an itchy rash! What is most likely culprit ( I could leave out?) I have a ton of oils now!😵‍💫

    • Stephanie on

      I mix frankincense oil in with BLUE EMU. I plan on getting and adding myrrh oil. I buy essential oils at natural grocers or even the United grocers has them. Blue emu can be found most anywhere. Walgreens, Walmart, United grocers. It gives almost instant relief to the osteoarthritis and in starting to wonder if it’s also doing some healing.

    • Chris on

      Likely 2 culprits. First, ginger is a “hot” oil, so maybe you need to use a little less or dilute more. Secondly, make sure you’re not buying your oils from a retail store. Quality is super important. Most oils are adulterated and can cause problems.

  6. Carole Westby on

    Creams are thicker than lotions, and ointments are thicker still, and greasier. This is an oil not an ointment. Dr Axe you should know this and retitle this recipe please. If you add shea butter to it to thicken it, what would be the amount to get the same benefit from the essentials?

  7. Carole Westby on

    I expected an ointment, not an oil. Crazy I know but this would be much easier to apply if it were thicker, like a cream. I think it does help with arthritic joints but what could a person use to make it easier to apply?

  8. Larry on

    Not as helpful as I liked. Did not indicate how much product it yields; nor shelf life; nor recommended dose. Use twice daily does not say how much to use. 🤒 Although, I would like to make this, honestly, am going to pass because of the three reasons listed above.

  9. Sandra on

    I purchased refined coconut oil, which was solid. It was too stiff to try to mix the oils into it, like it says, in step one. So I put it in a glass jar, and I put the jar in some water on the stove and melted it. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then I added the oils. Stirred it put a lid on it and put it in the refrigerator. I guess we’ll see what happens in about an hour.🤞🏽

      • Julie on

        There are tons of recipes for this type of stuff online. Fractionated oil is liquid and won’t solidify. It also suggest using unrefined which is solid and needs to be melted either in a double boiler or a bowl over a pot of water on medium heat. Melt, cool in fridge until semi solid. Remove and add essential oils. You can then use your mixer to whip and place in a container. It’s pretty simple. Like I said, there’s alot of recipes with instructions out there.
        Since nobody seems to answer questions on this page I figured I could help.

  10. Brenda on

    I am going to go get these oils and use them. I have had pain going on 2 years. And no matter what that I used none of them have worked. The over counter meds haven’t worked. And the prescription that was giving to me from the doctor made my heart beat faster then normal. So I quit taking them. So I am at game to try to find something to help me out with the pain.

    • Rachel on

      Just use as much as you need ..looking at the recipe it’s not going to make gallons is it so I don’t think you need to worry about shelf life … oh there’s no hope sometimes 😕

  11. Annonie on

    I began with frankincense and added myrrh. Thanks to this article, I will add ginger. (I also add sandalwood to up the scent.

    • Iskra on

      Not really. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax, so will not work in the same way. You could use some castor oil & beeswax in this, in addition to the coconut oil. The beeswax will act as an ’emulsifier’, and the castor oil will greatly enhance penetration of the essential oils.

      If you can’t use coconut oil for whatever reason, try some hemp seed oil, the cold pressed, unrefined type. It should be very dark green.

      • Deb on

        I just made some. I used solid coconut oil, frankincense, myrrh and peppermint oils (I have no ginger right now,) castor oil and a little vitamin E oil. It is more like an oil and sinks right in. I do feel like my fingers feel better. I’m going to add some black pepper oil that has anti inflammation properties to it. I just rub a little bit into my hands and let it sink in. If using too much can just wipe off. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Charlotte on

      Absolutely it (jojoba oil) will work effectively, just as Dr. Axe says in the second sentence after mentioning fractionated coconut oil….he states: “Jojoba oil is another workable carrier oil” that can be use.

  12. Celeste on

    I have read about frankincense and myrrh and have made a body butter with it and my friends who play tennis have told me that the body butter did help relieve muscle/joint pain. I was happy.

  13. Helen on

    I have used these oils on my knees, & they do provide relief. In fact, they have worked better than most anything else I’ve tried.

  14. Kathryn Keyvani on

    The regenerative and powerful properties of essential oils has transformed my life many times over. Even if you slack off, something draws you back. Be it the scent or a reminder of a benefit. I’ll never be without so many. And to think so many natural solutions to life’s annoyances and hardships had natural solutions if we only took the time to investigate. Dr. Axe is a gem. Not a rough-cut gem, a finely polished one with a love of life, human-kind, in his scopes. I adore him. ~Kathryn, Del Rey, Alexandria, VA

    • Mary on

      This recipe is the best one I’ve made to date..
      I do add Shea butter and aloe Vera gel,and it spreads so nice.
      Highly recommend it.
      Thanks Dr. Axe

  15. Angela lea on

    Would love all essential oil information and other important health info. Thank you. Also any inflammation advise.

      • Kathryn Keyvani on

        That was a great listen, thanks, Ethan. Who’d’ve figured how simple living well and getting well, if that’s what you need, could be? I’ve been well, and want to stay that way. That’s why I’m here so much. Living well is the best revenge, as the song lyrics go. ;-)

    • Kim on

      Did you get you essential oil information, if not I can help you with Doterra essential oils. They are sourced and high quality oils. If you still need help I will help you.

  16. Rhonda Wilkinson on

    Fantastic love your recipes Dr apps and keen to make the arthritis ointment and a pain muscle relief recipe.
    Thank you so much I feel blessed for having your knowledge for this recipes, love and wisdom Rhonda

  17. Debra Grosvenor on

    Dr. Axe has the best essential oils for sale. I have also used Plant Therapy brand sold on Amazon, which also has organic oils at a good price.

  18. Anne on

    I have been taking oil of oregano (10 drops in capsule) for a week to try to clear up infection in body, but I continue to have diarrhea, no matter what I eat. Usually, over the years, when I took 10 drops , 3 times in a 24 hour period of time, fever would break and I would be ok. This time I keep getting diarrhea and actually blowing it out sometimes. I was following what Drs said to do with a 500 pill that I didn’t fill as I am sooo sensitive to Meds. What can I do?

  19. Carl on

    I am a 50 years old female diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 2 years ago but have had symptoms for at least 20 years. I was taking methotrexate and Cymbalta, as well as infusions of Remicade, nothing worked for me. All my pain was from my waist down and certainly not something I can stand. The only treatment that has been successful has been the taking of RA herbal remedy i purchased from Best Health herbal centre. I now wake up every morning without pain. I have been pain-free period for more than 4 months. I have regular blood tests and do not experience any of the side effects from taking the herbal remedy. Thank God this works for me. I feel great!.

  20. Sarah on

    All the oil reps trying to sell their oils on here is super annoying! I’ve tried both dottera and young living and they’re outrageously priced. Discovered Plant Therapy oil, which are super cheap and you can buy on amazon! They’re 100% pure, therapeutic grade and yes they have organic oils too, no one regulates the claim of “therapeutic grade” so don’t tell me yours are better.

  21. Magdalene on

    Omg people,, yall have just made me leave this page,,too many people saying their oils are the best,, this is why i do my own oils and i do not sell them to anyone, why make money for the man when you can make money for yourself.!

  22. mac on


    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis approximately 10 years ago. I woke up one morning and was in so much pain I took half hour to get out of bed. I couldn’t sit and if I fell onto a chair I couldn’t get myself up again. I have been on all the medications available as well as having the needle jabs in my knees and shoulders. Thank God for leading me to BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE, please don’t ignore this post is real. Dr Linda (Best Health Herbal Centre) RA herbal remedy cured me totally within 5 weeks of usage only. No side effect, it works like a miracle, please viewers out there that have any deadly disease, please don’t fail contact Dr Linda(Best Health Herbal Centre)

  23. Michelle on

    Is the lavender essential oil used spike lavender or just lavender? Spike lavender has camphor as a component and I’m very sensitive to camphor. Thanks

  24. Ivette on

    Doctor estoy inmensamente agradecida por todo el conocimiento que altruista mente pones en tu página web .
    Que Dios te bendiga
    Saludos desde la ciudad de México.

  25. Al Moore on

    So I tried this method. It does work but the effects lessened the more I used it. For my arthritis now I use a combination of Absorbine Jr pain relief cream and this diy ointment. I’m also not a huge fan of ointments as I like creams better, so mixing it up between using the two is easiest for my life. Definitely like the aspect of a diy product though as it is all natural and saves me money. Luckily Absorbine can be found at dollar stores so it doesn’t break the bank for me either

  26. Pat on

    I am already using some of your recipes and I would like to thank you. I have got good results already after using the recipes. Along with the cream I also changed my diet.
    Great result as well. Few things I have change in diet : eating fruits alone, not mixing with anything else and allow 2 hours before eating anything else. Lots of water during the day. Having more than half in my diet every day salads and vegetables, in special greeny leafy ones. Minimasing juices even if they natural, unless using it as a tratment for a short while.
    having nuts raw a hand full every day and with lunch meals, not mixing nuts with fruit or smoothies … it goes well with meals. Nuts helps skin, brain, joints, muscles….
    Minimazing sweets … having a small piece of cake at the end of week with a plain cap of herbal tea.( not adding sugar for the tea).
    Milk by self. Not using it with cereals nor in smoothie including soya milk. Keeping active.Use ointment above… It works for me. I use to limp for 2 years or so cause of feet and leg pain… I am running at ease at the moment, and I am not young…It really works.

    • Lesley on

      Thank You (Above!)
      For the results you received from this recipe in particular! I had a back surgery gone way wrong 10 years ago. I have nerve damage but also RA now and possibly PTSD from the Trauma to my body from the back surger(ies)…. he had to remove one long screw that he put into the surrounding tissue outside of the vertebrae, he went all the way through yes , not just into, to stabilize , he termed it a “Minor Complication”… possibly for him. This is the 10 th year since and it’s degenerative and a very painful condition. SO! When I see something (Anything) positive re: Arthritis Pain relief~ I’m ON it! It’s what got me on this jaguars loath I’m on , which has been a real learning experience and a change in my life in a Huge way! I read~ I make. Everything. For my skin. For healing. I look at plants trees and all of the plant world in a whole new light! They are here for a reason! That’s why God told us he gave us all that we need! I know what that means now! He has! There is a plant for everything we need! Again, Yhank You I was looking for a response like yours and I found it!!i hope you continue to get better!!!

    • Mel on

      Thank you for this information, Pat. I can now see how diet increases or decreases inflammation in my fingers (based on what I eat), I can appreciate your information regarding diet as well and appreciate you including this for others.. I’m still working thru it all – mostly wheat, sugar issues for me, and I see inflammation when I am forced to eat out (probably trans fats among other things ; ). Great to hear about you running!!! Well done!

  27. Theresa Hayes on

    I relish in all your post for natural remedies….turemic/cayenne/ginger/cinnamon ..I take all of these for healthy immune as part of my diet. They all work almost immediately .

  28. Robin on

    I just watched one of your videos on top2 most powerful essential oils for natural healing. You mentioned a DIY for body lotion with Frankincense and Myrrh. I can’t find it..can you help me? Thanks

  29. Kristie on

    Does anyone know the exact measurements for this? If I used a 30 Ml tin and an Oz of coconut oil, how many drops of each should I use?

  30. Rory on

    Dr Axe thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge, it is a huge help.
    Can I ask you my coconut oil is the Virgin cold pressed organic coconut oil or the deodorized GMO free Coconut Oil. It has solidified and I know I would need to heat it up slightly to mix in the essential oils, however I have also been told that the essential oils shouldn’t be heated even slightly as they loose their goodness. Can you pls advise the best way around this. Thanks in advance

  31. Randi on

    Want An easy fix for hands? – tea tree oil. Apply neat to hands and within seconds takes the pain away. I buy all my oils from Rocky Mountain oils Native American Nutritionals. You won’t go wrong

  32. Sherri Dewey on

    Hey there, this product is amazing and does what it says! Contact me, as I have multiple auto-immune diseases, Lupus, Arthritis and other ridiculous diseases. But this combo of doTERRA oil really works! Look up Sherri Snow Dewey from America, Colorado specifically and I’ll hook you up on buying wholesale! I promise that it will be worth your time!! And, what Janet Rice says about Dr. Axe is so true, he’s really researched the E.O.’s and has written a great cheaply priced book just for those of us who need it!

    • Lesley on

      Goodness Sake people…. I stopped in to get abrecipe for painful arthritis pain and generalised inflammation and… just about all I am reading is who is selling what essential oil. Rather annoying. I’m wondering IF ANYONE has tried this recipe and if they got relief?
      In response to a question about coconut oil, Fractionated… means basically it stays liquid. It has been processed differently than organic cold pressed coconut oil which smells wonderfully like coconut! It melts above 76° always something to consider in recipes :)
      Unfortunately I have nerve pain caused by a bad back surgery. Nerve pain. Awful and I can’t seem to find one or a blend of eo’s To hell nerve pain… ANy Help is appreciated without trying to become someone’s customer, I buy my EO’s from a company I’ve worked with for many years. They aren’t out to make the Big Bucks. Her Blends are amazing . Thank You!

  33. Janet Rice on

    I have been using doTerra for 2 years now. I encourage you to research or find someone who has the knowledge to teach you how to,use for what and how. Amazon has a great book called essential oils for $25. Dr Axe’s site is a good site but he also sells and educates on other things and products. (Which I also use) Before I chose a company I did my homework and research and compared prices. DoTerra also has great cleaning and natural disenfectant products plus toothpaste! Great products. Will be glad to share information and knowledge.

    • Lesley on

      Yeah Dr. Axe! I used a recipe for a “Drawing Salve”…. first for myself, for Boils, very very happy with the results! Those are little (Bug) painful devils! The Salve brought them to a draining state within 48hrs! Thank SO much!
      Then! OMG! I don’t think anyone can imagine but try. My much loved Cat of 22 years.. yes, 22! Developed an abscsss on the TOP of her head, between ears and went onto her forehead, I kid you NOT! The size of a golf ball or maybe larger! Yes! Over nite all her hair came off and it was as red as a beer. I had already taken her to Vet was sent home with antibiotics with no helpful results and NO diagnosis so I turned to my trusty Mother Nature and Dr Axe! I did learn and please! Spread the word! I read on several sites they TEA TREE OIL IS TOXIC TO CATS EVEN IF IN A DIFFUSER!!! Recipe for salve calls for Tea Tree, I left it out and I would hold a very warm wash cloth on her poor head, till it cooled. It felt great to her, she relaxed and wasn’t trying to get away, yes the heat was soothing. I used Chamomille infusion with Calendula in that soak. (BTW)… I would repeat… then would rub the Black Salve all over that huge ball! Oh! My heart broke! Yes I also prayed … she would then go to sleep. I repeated this every two- three hours when she woke… she realized Mom made it feel a bit better sweet girl! Ok. Within 48 hours she woke and cane to kitchen , I looked at her and screamed! It “Appeared” that her eyeball had come OUT! nO! NO! It was just ALL the Suppuration (Puss) and Blood has drained from the now open Abscess!!! Good Lord! It had DRAINED!!! Was I happy? Was AHE HAPPY?! YES!!! Thank You Dr Axe for that recipe! I have about 4 extra jars in fridge some w/Tea Tree some without, all have lavender Oil in them ! They are a blessing! I have them on hand in case someone needs such a thing! As I said, I had an episode of BOILS on my hands only ! I believe from a unsanitized garden mulch using my bare hands I must have picked up a really bad bug! I had 10 between both hands. Pain! Awful. I had never had one before. My “Herb Lady” referred me to his recipe, I made it and when they weren’t covered in the Salve I was soaking in hot Chamomille and Calendula Infusion, A’s many times a day as I could. I couldn’t go anywhere SO had time! Once I used the Salve, they opened within a day and a half! Amazing recipe! Everyone should look it up! Make some! Remember thevTea Tree NOT on CATS please! As they can’t take aspirin either! NO! But wow! I’ll never be without that Black Magic! Activated Charcoal ! Oh! Never touch it with metal either! U will DEactivate the Charcoal. Yes! Ok! I have shared a couple of my miracles here! Thank You!

  34. Lisa on

    Hello. I’m in Perth and use the doTERRA essential oils very successfully with my clients. They are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade and those three particular oils are safe to be ingested within the doTERRA range. Email me for exact price for those three oils as I can assist you in obtaining them at wholesale price.

    • Janet rice on

      You have to be careful using oils on animals. I do use on guard on my dogs collar for a natural flea and tick treatment. My Dog does not like the smell of most oils I use. You can google and get some good advice in this subject.

    • Mary Skora on

      Thank you,
      Franctinted coconut oil. ….
      What does this process mean as far as the quality or ability to injest, etc

      • Nikki on

        Joan; If you would like to learn more about pure essential oil’s you can get ahold of me and I will help you, if you;d like.

      • Kimberly L Tait on

        Young Living essential oils. I can educate you on young living oils the way they are made from seed to stem. I can also work with getting you set up to buy wholesale. I also live helping others and am glad to help you with recipes for whatever you need. I care about others and suffer daily with chronic pain and respritory diseases, etc. So, whether you want to use Young Living or not I am more than happy to help you to use the right oils for different issues.

    • Shelley on

      Ziji’s products are full of toxins. I was a distributor for a year then got suspicious and did some investigating on it. Not a good product.

  35. Usha on

    Where can I find these oil? How do I know if essential oil is pure? Can you recommend a source to buy the pure essential oil and the cost please ?

    • Elisa on

      doTerra and Young Living are both companies that sell pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. Both are sold through distributors. Some local wellness stores also sell them .

      • Inna Koltun on

        I am a distributor of doTERRA please contact and I will tell you the best way how you can get them.

      • Pita Dane on

        Plant Guru is also a very reputable company and a little easier on the wallet. They have no FDA infractions and the products are 100% pure. I have used them for years

      • Betty on

        Good for you, Elisa. As a doTERRA wellness advocate (you refer to us as distributors), I feel uncomfortable with this person’s need to find customers on the internet (unless, perhaps, it’s a personal one, not attached to someone else’s). Good grief! Even though the two brands listed are reputable oils, new users should be guided in their use so they can be advised as to which would be the most likely to help them with their problem so they will receive optimum benefits, which can be many.

    • Pam on

      I buy organic essential oils from a website called Very reasonable. I got fractionated organic coconut oil from Amazon

      • Mary Skora on

        Thank you,
        Franctinted coconut oil. ….
        What does this process mean as far as the quality or ability to injest, etc

    • Lorraine on

      Usha, there are many people who distribute these pure oils (including myself) Get to know the person you choose as that person will work with you to help teach you how to use the oils to obtain maximum benefit.

      All the best!

    • Kimberly L Tait on

      I recommend Young Living oils. If you are interested in some information about the company their seed to stem production. I will gladly talk to you about the oils,the many ways they are useful, how to go about getting a fonominail starter kit, which has many of the oils needed for pain relief, aide in respritory illnesses, stress relief, etc. I will also be glad to help you learn recipes for anything you need help with regardless if you use Young Living or not. Look me up on fb (messenger, page, or my health-wellness & relief with essential oils.

    • Brenda leah Batista on

      Anands apothecary has the most amazing purest oils. I think doterra prices are ridiculous. I sell organic homemade products and my customers love my products @leahs_loot instagram account

  36. Arthur on

    There is a technique where a pulsed laser can drive compounds into the body. Would this product be safe to be used this way?

    • Giti on

      Here is my contact if u r looking for essential oil (Young Living Essential Oil please contact me .im a distributor of young living oil

      • Mysty on

        Why are “Young Living” people constantly in your face about their products. Is this how trainings tell you to perform?
        It’s almost always intrusive.

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