Essential Oils Uses for Parkinson’s

Last Friday I interview Jean Oswald from
Rochester, New York who is a certified
aroma therapist and a registered nurse.
Jean provided a wealth of useful information
about how essential oils can be used to
provide relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Here is her answer to two of my questions:

What if an individual has problems with
rigidity of their muscles and it is very
difficult for them to move with ease. What
is an essential oil that might help relieve
that particular symptom? 

There are a few essential oils that could
be most beneficial for muscle rigidity.
Essential oils like Cedarwood, Frankincense
and Sandalwood are high in Sesquiterpene.
They cross the blood brain barrier. They are
going to be carrying more oxygen throughout
the body and helping with firing neurons and
relieving neurological symptoms.

Muscle rigidity in connection to that is
helped by Marjoram essential oils which are
very relaxing to the muscles and Basil which
is an anti-spasmodic.

Use them in a massage or put them directly
on the skin over the spine, on the soles of
the feet and specifically on areas of the skin
where the tension itself is present in the muscles.

I would recommend a blend, a lotion that
combines the Marjoram, Basil and other essential

How about the problem of tremors? What essential
oils might be recommended to relieve that symptom?

I would say Basil or Frankincense, the
anti-spasmodic oils.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

© 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

44 thoughts on “Essential Oils Uses for Parkinson’s

  1. My husband has had Parkinsons (known) for over 4 years not, and only recently has had a rigidity set in. He will soon be 84 and has not a lot of tremor. Only in his right hand and he seems in control of it. The stiffness and slow movements are the hardest parts. SO far his cognitive condition is still about85% and he feels basically good. He is on a Neuro patch 1 mg in the am, and 1 10mg aracept to help his memory. He has other drugs, @ blood pressure and prostate etc.
    My question came to a concern when I had put a mix of oils on him and he began having a bad head ache and dizziness, along with crazy movements while sleeping. It was a recommended mix of Frankincense,Helichrysum,and Vetiver mixed in coconut oil. I am fearful of any more oils , mixed or other wise without some advice from a professional.
    thank you for reading this.

  2. Hi Mary:

    I am not a medical doctor so cannot diagnose what happened. From a research perspective, it sounds like your husband may be experiencing the side effects of detoxing. Of course, there are many possible causes and toxins are only one. If toxins are in fact the issue, then working with your doctor to detox might be a good next step.

    Robert Rodgers PhD
    Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

  3. Hi Mary,
    I am just reading this today. I’m so sorry to read about your experience! I can imagine how scary (and confusing) it must have felt to see your husband with headaches and dizziness after applying the oils you used. I hear your devotion to helping him find relief from Parkinson symptoms. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a magic wand? No one can know at this point what caused the headaches and dizziness (it might not have been the oils at all) but as an aromatherapist I would have asked what you mixed for him (how much of each ingredient), along with other medications he was on. He may have gone into a fast detoxification. It could be you gave him too high a concentration of essential oils to the coconut oil. I also wonder about his baseline labs (blood work – kidney/liver). It also matters if you used perfume-grade (store bought) essential oils vs. those essential oils that are tested for purity. It really is harmful to use perfume grade oils. Obviously it was good you stopped giving him the oils. But at the same time please know that essential oils are still a viable option for many symptoms.
    If I were you, I’d speak to a health care professional (like me) who really understands how to use essential oils for Parkinson symptoms before going further. I’ll be doing another radio show with Robert very soon and I hope you’ll listen in.
    Jean Oswald RN CA CPC
    “We’re all in this together.”

  4. How do I find someone who can help me with oils for my 83 year old mother with Parkinson’s? I am an RN but don’t have experience in mixing. My daughter sells Do Terra oils. My mother lives just outside of Morgantown, WV

  5. I am starting my father on some oils and wonder what ratio I should use for frankinsence, vetiver, sandlewood, cedarwood, and Helichrysum. I know there is a chance of detoxification so I will be starting mild with the mixture and coconut oil… but what would be a maximum amount to build to?

  6. Hi Janie,
    That’s wonderful that you want to help your mom using essential oils. And being a nurse, you too want to do this within safe guidelines. It’s important to work with a professional who knows Aromatherapy and uses pure essential oils that are GCMS tested for impurities. I am also a nurse and certified aromatherapist so I can help you. What you’re asking would take some time to answer so I suggest an aromatherapy consultation. My website is if you want to learn more. I wish you the best in helping your dear mom.
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  7. Hi Wendy,
    You’re asking a great question about ratios.. So you’re planning to use coconut oil in a massage blend? Since coconut oil is not always in liquid form I’m guessing you’re choosing it for its positive effects on his mental state (cognition)? Otherwise you might have picked jojoba. The safe ratio for daily use is to make a 2% blend. That means 10 – 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier (coconut oil in your case). I hope that makes sense to you. As far as going to a higher concentration I’d want to ask you questions and we might need to speak at length. If you’d like to learn more or request a consultation feel free to email me at My website can be found at
    Best wishes from NY,
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  8. Hello, I was diagnosed with parkinsons disease in 2013. I’m doing well on herds & a low dose of prescription L-dopa along with Mucuna herb form of L-dopa. My problem is slow movement & tremors, what oils do you recommend & how much?

  9. Dorothy – Assuming you are only using essential oils that have been GCMS tested for impurities: many people have found a decrease in symptoms of tremors with Lavender, Clary Sage and Marjoram. You can use 5 – 9 drops of each of these essential oils (total of 15 – 27 drops) per one ounce bottle of unscented lotion or jojoba. I teach clients how to do make this and apply it in consultations – if you need more information. Reach me at

  10. Hello – my husband has recently been diagnosed with parkinsons disease and I am interested in learning about essential oils, crystals and holistic options, instead of prescribed drugs at this time. Insurance currently has approved 6 physical therapy appointments. Wondering where I can go to speak to someone experienced in the proper use of oils. We are located approximately 35 miles west of Milwaukee.

  11. Hi Debbie,
    How wonderful that you’re exploring holistic options for your husband. Does he share this interest? I am a registered nurse and aromatherapist and have learned a great deal about holistic options, crystals and the proper use of essential oils. What would you like to know? Please check out my website and email me if interested. I live in New York. Best wishes to both of you!

    Warmly, Jean Oswald

  12. My grandma was diagnosed with parkinson’s and pancreatic cancer last year. She still has tremors even with her meds. I have been reading about essential oils and my grandma seems interested in trying it. I have found many articles saying frankincense and cedarwood help. How would she use these and how much should she use?

  13. I am a firm believer in essential oils AND God, but find it difficult to take seriously advice from someone professing to have a PHD that tells me to apply them “on the ‘souls’ of
    the feet “.

    Seriously? 16 years of schooling and you don’t know the difference between sole and soul?

  14. Busted! I do make editing mistakes from time to time. Wish I had an editor to catch them! When someone else transcribes the interviews I need to be more mindful and take the time to edit the text more carefully. Becoming more mindful is big for all of us!

    Thanks for catching the glitch (Which I fixed) and so sorry it was such an irritant.


  15. Sorry people are negative when you are trying to do a good thing. You are very good at communicating to people- even ones that are rude.

    My good friend who is older was diagnosed with Parkinson’s this year. I want to give her a Christmas gift that is useful and comforting. I use essential oils on my five year old son who has leukemia for regulating his moods and for tummy aches from the chemo. If I were to purchase one Young Living essential oil for her what would you recommend? I have grapeseed oil. Should I add the oil to the essential oil and place it in a roller ball bottle for her to apply to her pain areas or help with shaking? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  16. Hello Aromatherapy enthusiasts! Love your excitement!
    To Jenna.. As an Aromatherapist and Holistic Nurse I’m often asked how to use essential oils for PD and without knowing the specific articles you’ve been reading I can’t speak to the “how” those individuals had success. I make blends for clients to use as a massage oil or cream directly on the arms, legs of their loved ones. The concentration would vary depending on your grandma’s age, medical conditions, frequency of use and more. I suggest Cedarwood in a specific way I only demonstrate on Skype. Email me if you’re interested.
    To Steven.. I assure you, Robert knows the BIG difference between soles and souls. Give him a break… or volunteer to be his editor 🙂
    To Lauren.. make sure you’re only using GCMS tested essential oils for your loved ones.. and if you wanted to pick just one I would suggest Balsam Fir because it helps reduce spasms and pain. It also smells w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l! Definitely mix it with a carrier like grapeseed oil (12 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier.)
    Happy Holidays everyone!
    Jean Oswald at

  17. Hello,

    I am making some blends for a friend of mine that has Parkinson’s. I was going to add basil and frank, possibly marjoram as well. He mostly just has tremors and he’s pretty active for his age so isn’t having issues with rigidty. Does this sound good? Also, I was going to give him some cedar wood to smell on a daily basis to help.

  18. Hi Karrie..
    So nice of you to want to help your friend.. inhaling is a lovely idea, either by way of an inhaler stick or right from the bottle but I’m only guessing you’re referring to a stick like these:

    As for your ideas with the Frankincense & Marjoram we should set up a consultation because using essential oils (and expecting results from their use) is an art and science. I don’t know your set-up or your friends’ condition or the quality of your oils..

    Warmest wishes,
    Jean Oswald RN CA CNHP CPC

  19. Hi. My name is marilyn. I really enjoyed reading this blog. It is so informative and helpful. I would like to know about the dilution of oils and what % to use on daily basis for different health challenges, be it mild of major. Thanks for making great changes in the loves of many people.

  20. Hi could someone use the oils along with the Parkinsons meds? My father has been on meds for around 7 yrs. Now his sleep got worse. I use francinsense for asthma and I swear by it but my dad is worried about the interactions. Could anyone shed light on this. Thanks.

  21. Hi Marilyn,
    You ask a great question! There is an easy formula to follow for diluting essential oils in a carrier. For each ounce of carrier, use 5-6 drops of essential oil to make a 1% blend – recommended for children (2-4 yrs) and the elderly. Hydrosols are a good alternative to essential oils for children and the elderly. You can make a 2% blend for everyday use: 10-12 drops essential oils per ounce of carrier. And for acute situations, use a 3% blend: 15-18 drops essential oils per ounce of carrier. There are always anecdotes to these guidelines but this is the best starting point I know of.
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  22. Hi Dawn,
    As a Registered Nurse and Certified Aromatherapist with 20 years experience I can say yes it’s safe to use essential oils at the same time someone is on medication, but please consult a professional who understands both meds and essential oils so you are smart AND safe in the specific oils you want to use. Noone can post an answer to your question and make it the same for each person with PD and using different essential oils for symptoms. Essential oils wonderfully assist with sleep and you can safely diffuse Frankincense in his room without interfering with his meds.

    Good luck!
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  23. Hi I have been helping a friend who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am trying to find a blend that would take care of his tremors on one side and numbness on one side of his face. Could this be something other than Parkinson’s? He has slurred speech and drooping on one side of his face and it’s the same side that has the hand tremor. I would like to put some oils together that would help his tremors and possibly the numbness.. Thanks

  24. This is new to me so bear with me. Can you use the same EO’s for essential tremors as parkinson’s tremors?
    My elderly homeopath wrote on my chart 30 years ago “Parkinson’s”. I do not have parkinson’s per my allopathic dr’s over the years but Essential Tremors. My mother has them also. Someone I know made me up the parkinson’s EO formula:frankinsence, vetiver & Helichrysum I used it once on my temple and had a short dizzy spell later on in the day. I did not know where the dizziness came from. Next day I used a drop from the roller bottle on my neck. I got dizzy again. Next day I got up really dizzy before applying any-didn’t last long. Today I read her label that said to use on the temple and neck 2x a day and I did so. Now since I just found your site I wonder if I am detoxing(as I saw above) and if the dizziness will return later on today and how long these episodes will last. I don’t dare drive! I don’t know how much of each YL EO was put in of each, I assume she (a novice at this) read it from whatever book-chart they gave her. I don’t see a subject on essential tremors on this site. I hope you can tell me if I should discontinue this formula or not. Thank you

  25. Hi Merri – You’ve been through a lot recently! I don’t think it’s likely that those oils would cause dizziness, but if I were you, I’d still want to take a complete break from them. I can’t speak to the blend you were given or the possible cause of dizziness after (and then without) using the mix. The safest way to use essential oils is to dilute them, even though many who sell from a multi-level marketing (MLM) system will say otherwise and you didn’t say whether your blend was diluted or not. Those 3 oils may or may not be helpful with your tremors, but I would suggest a break from them. The oils do not stay in your body the way chemicals do, so if a week passes and the dizziness continues, please talk to your doctor. I do not think you are detoxing. Furthermore, if you were my sister or mom I would suggest an Ayurvedic consultation in your local area so a practitioner could feel your pulses and see your tongue, etc. to suggest some herbs to help your tremors. I hope that helps. Good luck!
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  26. My dad has suffered with Parkinson’sfor years i am new to the oils and wanted to help him. He has trouble with balance. When he gets up from sitting he has to stand a minute before moving. He also has uncontrolled movement in his sleep what would be best for him?

  27. Hi Becky,
    Essential oils probably won’t do a lot for ‘balance’ per say but, if he is willing to use oils topically, they can be helpful in a calming and grounding way, like a tonic for the nerves. I’m sure it’s disconcerting to him not to have his balance.. in that way, oils are (very) emotionally supportive. As for the movement in his sleep there are essential oils that can reduce or stop that movement but I would be inclined to suggest some herbs for (what sounds like) a ‘Vata’ condition first and then add essential oils in addition. That is how I work with clients in a consultation. You can email me for further help if you like at

  28. Does it help at all to take the oils internally, or is topically the best?

  29. Hi Cheryl,
    You ask a great question, and, as someone who has been using and promoting the use of essential oils for two decades, I’ll be honest with you. Even though I was first taught to use them internally, further education has led me away from that. I say this especially as someone who understands more today about how hard our kidneys and liver work for us, in hundreds of ways! Plants may be easier for our bodies to recognize and assimilate than synthetic chemicals, but that doesn’t tell us if we are overworking our detoxifying organs (liver, kidneys) in the process. I teach it’s best to use them topically, through inhalation and in the bath. The good news is that these methods are very effective so you can enjoy them in many ways 🙂
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  30. My FIL was diagnosed with PD about 12 years ago. He struggles with tremors and his speech. His gait has become very poor with many episodes of freezing. Almost worse, he is very anxious (understandably). I’m not sure exactly which symptoms are actually from PD and which ones are from the medication he is taking. He is open to the idea of essential oils, but is apprehensive. Where can we start?

  31. Hi Lisa,
    I can imagine how difficult it is to see your father-in-law with these symptoms and his anxiety and apprehension are very understandable. As a nurse and aromatherapist I can make suggestions both from my years of working with clients who have PD and based on my education and research using essential oils for these symptoms. Please contact me for a consultation if you’re interested.
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  32. Hi,
    I have had PD for 3 yrs. tremors mostly right side. Meds aren’t working. I have gotten 3 essential oils. Frank, helichrysum, vetiver. I saw your 2% blend recipe and was wondering if I can mix all 3 of these in a carrier of one oz. Should this be unscented lotion or jojoba oil. And how/where is this applied on the body. Or can I apply the oils directly on the skin and where. How often?
    Are there others oils or are these 3 the best.

  33. Hi Joyce,
    While essential oils are not a “magic pill” for treating physical symptoms, you may find them helpful in reducing some symptoms, or, in some cases, the severity of them. But of course, there is no guarantee. Everyone’s body chemistry is different and you will respond differently to essential oils than your neighbor.
    To answer your question, yes, you can mix those 3 oils in a carrier. An unscented lotion or jojoba would be a good choice. Once they’ve been added to the carrier (12 drops total of essential oils per ounce of carrier) then you can apply the blend directly to the skin – the arms or legs where you experience the tremors.
    Some of my clients are still benefitting from using different essential oils, – Marjoram, Lavender, Basil, Clary Sage to name a few. But that doesn’t mean your choices are not helpful.. I made a video describing my E-Book on this topic:
    I hope that helps. Best wishes to you 🙂
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  34. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 16 years ago. His medication for tremors was not helping , There were times that he was unable to feed himself because of the tremors. I started him on DoTerra’s Vetiver oil and have had great success, within 20 minutes of applying the vetiver oil his tremors are greatly decreased.

  35. Hello,
    I am looking to help my brother, who has had PD since 2000. Have you heard of interactions with the meds, such as Levodopa that is used for PD. This would be my concern and theirs as well, I’m sure. Though I’m familiar with and use some oils, they would be knew to my brother as well. There would probably be a hesitancy to use them. Thank you for any advice or ideas.

  36. Hi:

    Given the hesitancy you mention, it would be best if your brother asked their doctor this question. I know of no research or evidence reporting interactions, but he really should check with his medical doctor on this issue.

    All the best –

    Robert Rodgers PhD
    Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

  37. I am taking black seed oil morning and evening with two drops of frankencenes to stop the shakes from Parkinsons

  38. Hi. My 81 years old father was diagnosed with PD 5 years ago. And he has been taking Gabapentin300mg, carbidopa/levodopa 25-100mg. I do not see any improvement. The sad part is the Neurologist kept increasing dosage every 6 months. My dad also is diabetic. His MD prescribed statin to prevent high cholesterol even though my dad cholesterol was within normal range- borderline. What is your suggestion as far as diabetic and Parkinson’s. I would love to learn do I can help my dad

  39. Hi: Clearly, there are a number of issues to be addressed given your Dad’s symptoms. I would recommend that you find a doctor who can work with the issues connected to your Dad’s digestive system. We know from research that the gut is a primary cause of many symptoms. There is no magic bullet to solve his problems, but there will be an approach that will make a huge difference.

    The body really does know how to heal itself when you give it a chance to do so.

    Robert Rodgers PhD
    Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

  40. I was diagnosed with PD 16 months ago. I am currently taking carbidopa/levadopa ER 25/100mg 8 pills a day. My doctor has tried other medications which have had serious side effects, the last time I ended up in the ER with my organs shutting down. My friend has helped me with essential oils. I used to have excruciating headaches but no more since using the oils. My question is this… Should I be trying to wean myself off of some of the medication while using the essential oils? My pharmacist is concerned at the high dosage so early in my treatment.

  41. Hi. I’ve had young-onset Parkinsonism for 16 years, and fortunately Sinemet (carbidopa/levadopa) still works well for me. With Christmas only a week away, I find I’m the recipient of gifts of frankincense oil from three different friends and relatives who’ve all recently read that it treats Parkinson’s. Like the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s or Parkinsonism, I lost my sense of smell many years ago, as the olfactory bulb is often one of the first things to go with PD. My question is about how the various essential oils used in aromatherapy to aid Parkinson’s actually function when one’s olfactory bulb has long since largely degenerated and can’t detect aromas. As we’re not swallowing these oils either, is the mechanism entirely transdermal, whether inhaled by a nose that can no longer detect any odor, or application to the skin? People always quite naturally expect that I can smell all of these essential oils, and that I’ll receive benefit by simply inhaling scents that they describe and often associate with an emotion. “The sweet and slightly pungent scent of ____ will make you feel____”. But once you remove sense of smell from the equation, can you describe what you think the physiological mechanism is that can make essential oils effective in PD? And on a separate but related (and admittedly geeky) recent neurobiology fascination of mine, when I look at a photograph of a gardenia bloom or a magnolia bloom, and I stare it at for a few seconds, I can remember their fragrances just as vividly as if I still had a sense of smell and the live flowers were in a vase directly in front of me. Would this be because my memory of the visual of the flower, and its shape, color, size, texture, and moisture is stored in my hippocampus physically very close to the memory of the fragrance, so when I recall the visual of the flower or see its photo, the memory of its aroma is often inadvertently accessed due to that memory’s pure physical proximity? Ever since I made this realization that images can trigger my aroma memory, I’ve bought several large photos of various flowers for my walls. Call it my personal version of aroma therapy. 🙂 Thanks!

  42. Hi Noreen,
    I understand your concern about the side effects from medications you’ve been on. I suggest you talk to your doctor about the improvement and ask him about decreasing your meds. It makes sense that you need less medication if you’re feeling better with the use of essential oils.
    Jean Oswald RN CA

  43. Hi Kristin,
    You ask good questions! In my Aromatherapy Studies I learned that essential oils have specific properties (anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, etc) that bring healing through the skin (topically) and aromatically (by inhaling). My understanding is that oils can still work physiologically through the inhalation process whether one can smell the oils or not. Your inhalation brings oils into your body and up to your brain where stressful feelings are released.
    You ask about the mechanism of action that might be helping essential oils for PD. I believe it’s two ways: diffusion of fat soluble essential oil molecules through the skin, the nerves and into the bloodstream as well as diffusion through inhalation. If it’s more mysterious than that I hope someone else with more knowledge will chime in here.
    I like your description of remembering the flowers aroma. I tend to think of that as a visceral experience you had; once it’s rooted in your mind’s experience I think it’s with you forever. I’ve also heard of people recovering their sense of smell after losing it.
    Best wishes to you in exploration,
    Jean Oswald RN CA

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