6 Aromatherapy Oils For Swollen Lymph Nodes + DIY Home Remedies

Neuroscientist & Psychologist By Leigh Winters, M.A., M.S.
Neuroscientist & Psychologist
Leigh Winters is a neuroscientist, psychologist and natural beauty expert. She received her M.S. in Neuroscience and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University.
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In an effort to encourage healthy lymph flow, many people turn to facial rollers, gua sha massages, and other lymph manipulation techniques. One way you might be overlooking? Essential oils, especially in the citrus family.

Below are six essential oils to support your lymphatic system with stimulation and drainage. Here, six that might help and how to use them to optimize your lymphatic system.

1. Grapefruit

While many oils in the citrus family have a talent for detoxifying and decongesting lymph, grapefruit is especially cleansing, which is why it's often included in many cellulite creams and body scrubs. Grapefruit is a proven antibacterial and has been shown to clinically reduce lymphedema when coupled with gentle massage and lymph-stimulating exercises.

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How-to:

Dry brushing is an effective way to stimulate lymph movement, and to continue reaping the benefits, make your own post-dry0brush body oil. Add 15 drops of ruby grapefruit into 1 oz. of a skin-friendly carrier oil, like rosehip seed, and lather thoroughly.

2. Lemon

Similar to grapefruit, lemon is a must-have when looking to stimulate lymph movement. Lemon's chemical composition is primarily monoterpenes, meaning it's a powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial. In traditional Chinese medicine, lemon oil is sometimes used to stimulate acupuncture points. Some practitioners use lemon on ST 26 and KD 7 to stimulate "Wei Qi," which is the defensive immune system.

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How-to:

For an at-home remedy, make lemon body scrub. Add 10 drops of lemon with a tablespoon of jojoba oil into an ounce of Himalayan salt. Use all over in the shower, giving particular attention to swollen areas.

3. Guaiacwood

Guaiacwood is one of the most underrated essential oils—it's very economical as it has a long shelf-life (up to eight years) and is a go-to for treating fluid retention. It's also a robust anti-inflammatory thanks to its high guaiazulene chemical composition.

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How-to:

Give yourself a lymphatic massage by combining guaiacwood with its therapeutic and aromatic complement, cistus, into a carrier oil, like sesame or sunflower.

4. Bay Laurel

Popular in ancient Rome, bay laurel was a symbol of wisdom and peace. It has a fruity and camphorous scent that is known for moving stuck energy as well as supporting lymphatic drainage and immunity. It's a known antioxidant and antibacterial that's historically been used to treat infections. Though it is generally considered safe, do not use while pregnant as there isn't enough research to conclude whether it's safe for use.

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How-to:

Add 4 drops of bay laurel into an ounce of sweet almond or jojoba oil and rub on swollen lymph nodes.

5. Mastic

Like guaiacwood, mastic is incredibly underestimated. Traditionally used as a lymphatic and circulatory decongestant, mastic is renowned for reducing edema and treating spider and varicose veins. Due to high monoterpene chemical composition, it's known for being an impressive analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Mastic also has an affinity for the respiratory system, possessing antimicrobial properties that tackle any respiratory issue.

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How-to:

Add 6 drops to an ounce of aloe vera gel and rub on affected areas. Feel free to blend mastic with other immune or respiratory supporting oils, like cedarwood.

6. Juniper Berry

Perhaps a bit of a misnomer as it's distilled from the berries and needles, it is easily confused with other juniper species. A detoxifier that stimulates movement, it is similar to many other oils on this list as it relieves edema and stagnation. Juniper is a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial that tirelessly fights infections. An immune booster, juniper is a great addition to DIY cleaning products.

How-to:

Add 3 drops juniper (optional to add 2 drops black pepper and 2 drops geranium) into an ounce of sweet almond or avocado oil and rub on areas that need energy.

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