Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

Once you move beyond the basic, everyday essential oils that we all know and love, it becomes time to explore some of the more esoteric oils that solve specific ailments. In my own exploration of essential oils, a specific ailment high on my list was relief from muscle and joint pain.

The oil of choice? Birch essential oil for arthritis and other aches and pains of the muscles and joints is perfect!

Not only is Birch effective against common, everyday aches and pains, but it is superior if not outstanding in providing relief from arthritis joint pain and those deep, spasmodic cramps that only seem to visit in the dead of night.

Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain ||

What is Birch Oil?

Not surprisingly, Birch essential oil comes from the bark of birch trees. The scientific name is Betula Lenta and sometimes the oil is referred to as Sweet Birch Oil.

Pure, unadulterated birch oil, while not rare, can be difficult to find. That said, it is not an expensive oil relatively speaking. What makes it special is that 100% pure Birch essential oil contains both salicylic acid and methyl salicylate. Both have a cortisone-like quality that reduces discomfort in the muscles, bones, and joints and in addition, are recognized as germicides and bactericides in the world of medicine.

Whereas Birch essential oil is an effective anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, and diuretic, it really shines in its use to combat muscle and joint pain. Bar none, Birch is the oil you want to use to relieve the pain of arthritis, tendonitis, gout, and severe muscle cramping.

How to Use Birch Oil to Fight Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

In my own household, we use Birch essential oil blended synergistically with both Geranium and Lemongrass oils. We came up with this formula by trial and error and although it uses other oils, we still fondly refer to it as “The Birch”.

We use “The Birch” in two ways: as a topical, roller-ball application diluted with fractionated coconut oil, and also as a heavy duty pain-relieving salve. According to Shelly, who is also known as the Survival Husband, the back to back use of both the roller ball and the salve, morning and night, has made the arthritis in his hands bearable.

Here is what he has to say:

“Before using the essential oils Gaye made up for me, I has so much arthritis pain in my right hand that at times my hand was non-functional. After using the EO blends morning and night for five months, my arthritis pain has almost disappeared.

I can ride my Harley play golf, do my chores, and simply get through the day with minimal discomfort.”

Replicating the formula I made for Shelly is easy. Here are my two “arthritis busting” recipes. That is what I call them although, of course, they are used for other aches and pains as well.

Arthritis Busting Roller Ball Formula

6 drops Birch Essential Oil
6 drops Geranium Essential Oil
6 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 5ml roller ball bottle. Top with enough fractionated coconut oil (FCO) to fill the bottle. If you are using a 10ml roller ball bottle, just fill half way. (I find that the 10ml size is more common.)

Arthritis Busting Salve

30 drops Birch Essential Oil
30 drops Geranium Essential Oil
30 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 1 ounce jar (I use both these and these). Top with either Plain “Simple” Salve or DIY Miracle Healing Salve and mix well with a small stick (I use a coffee stir stick). Use twice daily or as needed.

A Word of Caution

Birch essential oil is a strong oil and if used undiluted, may cause irritation. In addition, Birch should be avoided by those who use blood thinners, have epilepsy, or women who may be pregnant.

If you do use blood thinners, I suggest substituting the birch essential oil with additional drops of lemongrass oil. While not quite as effective as Birch, Lemongrass EO is an amazing pain reliever in it’s own right. It is also a very inexpensive oil.

About Essential Oils

After a significant amount of research, for health, first-aid, and wellness purposes I use essential oils from Spark Naturals. There are a lot reasons, the most important being their commitment to both quality and value. I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical grade purity.

If you decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, please know that you will enjoy a 10% discount on your order when you use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. (Note: I do receive a small commission on your purchase and for that I extremely appreciative.)

The Final Word

As I have mentioned, we call our Arthritis Busting formulas, “The Birch”. In reality, the title of this article could have been “Using Essential Oils for Joint and Muscle Pain”. Still, with Birch essential oil being a key component, I wanted to introduce the oil to you along with some of its beneficial properties so that you can explore more uses on your own.

Personally, I love using all three of the oils in “The Birch” and even though I do not have arthritis myself, I find the formula useful for breaking down those knots of stress that appear on my neck and on my shoulders. And for cramping hands and toes? Nothing beats “The Birch” aka the Arthritis Busting formula.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Below you will find the items related to today’s article.

Spark Naturals: Here are the oils used in the arthritis-busting formulas. What can I say? They work!

Birch Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Geranium Essential Oil

NOW Foods Essential Oils : I use essential oils from Spark Naturals. For healing purposes, I feel they are superior. On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price.

Aromatherapy Glass Roll On Bottles, Frost Cobalt Blue-Set of 6: You are going to want some of these for your oils. I put essential oils (singly or in combination) in a roller ball with a bit of fractionated coconut oil and use it to apply EOs topically. I have never had a leak with these and keep returned to purchase more.

White Plastic Jar with Lid 1 Oz (10 per bag): I love the size if these compact jars. They are really inexpensive and shipping in free. But, as much as I love these, I love these glass jars better!

Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil: Once you start using coconut oil, you will be hooked. This is the liquid form of Coconut Oil, also referred to as FCO. I have been very satisfied with this brand as well as the FCO from Spark Naturals.

Glass Droppers, Pack of 6: I bought a package of these and loved them. When I went to re-order, I accidentally ordered plastic instead glass droppers. Learn from my mistake. The price is the same go get the glass ones.

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56 Responses to “Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain”

  1. Hi Gaye,
    Does the coconut oil in the arthritis formula solidify and then not move toward the ball of the roller ball bottle? I’m thinking maybe just olive oil as a carrier ?

    • I use fractionated coconut oil (FCO) which is treated so that it is stable in liquid form. Standard coconut oil would not work in a roller ball bottle because, as you say, it will solidify.

      Certainly, you could use olive oil, sweet almond oil or any carrier oil in liquid form. I favor coconut oil because it has great healing qualities of its own and a long shelf life.

    • You can go 60-40 olive oil & regular coconut oil. You get the benefits of both, the coconut oil won’t solidify in that ratio, and you save money versus FCO, which is about 3-4 times the cost by weight of the regular organic, cold press, coconut oil i buy. Where I live, at least. Thank you for the recipe, it works really well.

  2. Hi Ms. Gaye~

    I am so glad that you wrote this post! I have also been experimenting using Birch and Lemongrass. I hadn’t quite got my numbers down yet, so this will definitely give me the guidance I need! Yay! 🙂

  3. I have had great success trying out some of your EO fixes from previous articles and this one is definitely next on my list to try!

  4. I have had great success trying some of the other EO fixes that you wrote about in previous articles and now this is definitely the next one on my to try list.

  5. I don’t know why it did this to me…The first comment I posted never showed up, I kept waiting and refreshing the page and I finally decided it didn’t take and re wrote it. Now both show up…ugh! technology has really been yanking me around lately.

    • Hey Learner, modern technology yea…my sister was a tech support for a veterinarian program. We decided all computers need to come with Miss Clairol, a script for Valium, and a bottle of Tums!

  6. I can emphasize with your Survival Husband. I injured my hands years ago. Now it is so hard to do my hobbies and to write anything. For some reason, using the computer keyboard is a viable option, as they do not tire as quickly as at other times. I am definitely ordering these items and will be following your formulas.

    PS: How long did it take you to know how much to tip the bottle to have the drops come out slowly enough to count? I am still struggling with nothing coming out or coming out too fast. Oh well, everything in life is a learning process.

    • You definitely need to invest in some droppers. You can get a pack of 5 for just a few dollars from Spark Naturals. You remove the orifice that comes with the EOs and screw the dropper to the bottle.

      Or, you can get droppers from your pharmacy, craft store, or Amazon. I would have to check, but at Amazon they are under $5 for 6. Just be careful you do not forget that the orifice/original dropper is missing. I did that once and poured out half a bottle of peppermint oil before I realized what had happened.

      Kelly’s Crafts: Glass Stain Droppers, Pack of 6image

    • Sparks sends the Birch oil with a “child proof’ cap on it. Birch oil is a poison and it should never be ingested.It is a hot oil. It is very sweet smelling and will attract animals and children so keep the original cap on it if you have either one of those.

    • Gaye:

      Thank you for that tip. When I ordered from Spark Naturals and Amazon through the links on your site, I did order a six pack of the droppers. Now waiting for everything to arrive.

      I am very careful about all items in my house, even though I do not have any children. But do have nieces and nephews with children. My medications, spices, cleaning supplies, even toothpaste, are put beyond their reach (even the 2 year old climbers). And I also keep an eye on them when they visit. Prevention is the best resource for keeping them safe.

      Again, thank you for all the tips you give us. Am even going back through the archives and reading the old articles. Hey, why not, they are NEW to me though OLD to those who have been with you and your blog through the year.


  7. Gaye,
    Just this morning on GMA, they were touting Birch Water as the next big thing. Your article is so timely, I’m looking for something for my 54 year old arthritic joints.
    I knew you could make Birch Oil to varnish wood, but I had no idea it had other uses.
    Thanks Muchly

  8. Gaye, did you pick up the Healthy Living Bundle last month? One of the e-books called ‘The Essentials of Essential Oils’ is a good read for beginners. A good place to start.

    • Yes I did. I have not had time to even look at any of the books, but just this morning, Shelly and decided to start the EO course together tonight. The bundle was really a good one.

      I also plan on getting the DIY bundle when it goes on sale; mostly for the photography courses that will help me with blog photos but also because being more “crafty” will help keep me amused if the SHTF. I am already starting to gather craft and DIY materials.

    • // , have you visited this site. In depth info on each EOs. They only have info for 39 but they will be adding

    • Gaye: What is the Healthy Living Bundle? Is this something you blogged about and I missed? Or is it something from a website I don’t know about? Please let me know. Thank you, Peggy.

    • It is a really cool bundle that I was promoting late last year. It is not longer for sale.

      On the other hand, the DIY bundle goes on sale on the 21st but I have a pre-announcement in the Buzz.

      Here is a link to the free mini-course: //

  9. I take one 81 mg aspirin a day. I have Birch but am now wondering if I should avoid using it topically. Please let me know. Thank you!

    • You should be fine. Shelly was using birch while he WAS on blood thinners (Plavix) and had no issues. He was and is also taking one aspirin a day.

      Note, though, I am not a health care professional so use your own judgement.

    • I’m lucky in that I have a doctor who “thinks outside the box”. So when I have a question like that I ask him. If he doesn’t know the answer, he usually knows where to send me to find it. That kind of doctor is hard to find.

  10. Thanks for adding the info about the salve. I’ve been trying the roller formula on my hip a couple times a day, but it hasn’t helped much. I’m going to try the combo of the roller and the salve.

  11. Also wanted to double check its 30 drops of each for a 1 oz jar. It seems like a lot when the miracle salve is 5 drops each for a 2oz container.

  12. Gaye, thank you so much for your site and information. I just made your Miracle Salve and love it. Do you add the birch, lemongrass and geranium oils to the salve with the other oils in it or just the blend of beeswax, olive and coconut oils? I guess what I’m asking is does you birch have just the 3 oils in it or a combo of 6 Essential Oils?

    • I use just the 3 oils. I have an article on making “Plain Ole’ Salve” which is simple the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax. More and more, I use a dab for making my own blends. I use it so much I plan to re-introduce it as “BDS Simple Salve”. The nice thing about it is than I can re-melt a small portion and add my oils as needed.

      Here is a link: //

  13. New to essential oils. I tried your blend for Arthritis Busting Roller Ball Formula. I took a hard fall back in Feb. broke my upper arm in three places between shoulder and elbow. Surgery and plates and screws I’m back together. Muscle pain oh yes. This blend works well for me. Thank You!

    • Gaye, just a follow up. I have been using your Arthritis Busting Roller Ball Formula now for weeks. It works quickly much faster than pills and has allowed me to get off the narcotics and OTC pain meds. Now the rebuilding of atrophied muscles has started in therapy and home exercises. Both bring pain and then I’ll rub in the oil blend to make it go away. I just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do with this site from a very happy reader. Thank You!

  14. Hi Gaye, Thanks for all your wonderful info.
    all the ingredients have arrived and I plan to make The Birch today but I only have 4oz jars. I also plan to make the Plain Ole Salve in the 4oz jars. my question is: would I have to use 30drops x 4 then (120 drops of each)?

    • Theoretically, yes. That said, there is no reason you cannot make a smaller amount and simply not fill the jar. My suggestion is to make the Plain Ole Salve, measure out an ounce, and then mix up a normal batch of The Birch using the smaller amount. That will give you a starting point in the event you want to make some adjustments to the next batch.

      Simple Salve (aka Plain Ole Salve) is pretty benign so it can be re-melted as needed. I typically will take some out of my larger jar and melt what I need in a smaller container. I use the microwave for this. I dab my finger into the Simple Salve to make sure it is not overly hot before adding my oils.

      Good luck with The Birch. I have received dozens of emails telling me it is working for many Backdoor Survival readers.

  15. Hi Gaye, Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and information on essential oils. I am just starting out on this exciting new journey and know absolutely nothing about essential oils so your articles are very helpful. I have noticed that many “recipes” call for 10, 20 even 30 drops of one or more essential oils. I have arthritis in my fingers and hands, and doubt that I would be able to control my fingers to dispense so many drops. Is there any way I could translate this to 1/4 tsp. or something similar that is easy for me to measure?

    • As a general rule of thumb, 100 drops = 1 teaspoon. From there, you can work backwards. So, as an example, 30 drops would be about 1/3 teaspoon.

      This is not an exact science because droppers can vary as does the “thickness” of the oil itself. A few drops one way or another will not make a lot of difference. Often, less is more.

      Hope this helps!

  16. I was just curious if the geranium oil could be omitted? Don’t have this on hand at the moment.
    Thanks ☺

  17. I have tried it without Rosemary but not without Geranium. No harm in trying. If you are not getting the results you like, you can add it later.

    BTW, for some, Rosemary supposedly can raise blood pressure. Because it is calming, for me it has had the opposite effect. My guess is that for me, the calming and anxiety relieving qualities of Rosemary, won over.

  18. Hi, thank you for this great article. I’m very new to this and have a question about the rollerball. Do I apply it directly to the affected area, or to a certain pressure point, such as the bottom of feet? I apologize if this is a silly question, but I just want to make sure I get it right. My mom suffers from arthritis and I am looking forward to making this for her. Thank you so much!

  19. Did you find that the natural salicylic Acid in bark oil dried out the skin — or did the coconut oil combat it? Also, did you consider using organic Castor oil in this recipe (either half-half the coconut oil, or replacing it)? Castor oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties that far outweigh coconut oil, it also absorbs into the skin far deeper than coconut oil does. If they are using for pain and arthritis, the anti-inflammatory benefits may increase with an adjustment in these oils. Great articles! Thanks!

  20. ….PS, when I make things like this, I use Beeswax in an amount that solidifies, and put it in empty deodorant containers I get from amazon. Pain free, mess free!!

  21. I have been using Birch Essential Oil with Almond Oil on both knees for about 2 years now. I lather it on every evening and rest pain-free. I purchase/use oils from They are excellent, high quality, and lower in price.

  22. Hi Gaye, I made ‘The Birch’ for the first time. Since it a heavy duty salve, how long should I wait between applications. Would there be any restriction as to how many days in a row I could use it?

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you…I applied ‘the Birch’ yesterday afternoon once and didn’t notice any immediate relief. HOWEVER, this morning felt so much better. The twinge is still there and so I too see the need for the 2x/day application. Thank you ever so much for providing help to those who wish to stay away from the chemical counter for pain relief. May God continue to bless you!

  23. Quick question, I have mild, very controlled epilepsy. What is the concern with birch oil and epilepsy? Should I not use it for myself or apply the salve on someone else? (my Mom has bursitis in her shoulders and I wanted to be able to put it on her each day)

    • Since I am not a healthcare professional, I am hesitant to say that yes, you should be fine. Instead, try doubling up on the Lemongrass and perhaps adding some Frankincense to the blend as a booster (perhaps 5 drops).

  24. Hi Gaye-
    Since wintergreen EO is also very high in methyl salicylate, could it be used in place of birch? Just wondering if you think it would have the same/similar effects (affects?) as birch. Thank you!

    • I wish I could respond definitively but since I have not tried it, I don’t know. It would make sense, however. I may try that when I whip up the next batch. In the meantime, if you try it, be sure to respond back and let us know.

  25. Hi Gaye, I am about to make my first batch of the Birch but am not sure how much beeswax to use. In your recipe it states Tbl beeswax, what exactly does this mean. I have yellow beeswax pellets which are quite tiny so there must be a different measurement of volume needed. Thank you.

  26. Hi Gaye,

    Is there a difference between Geranium EO and Rose Geranium EO in ‘the Birch’ formula? I am looking to use the one with the highest anti inflammatory properties. Thanks.

  27. Hi Gaye,
    I have been looking EVERYWHERE for a site like this. Amazing job!
    I have a question about the lemongrass eo in this recipe. Since it is a photosensitive oil, is there another oil that can be subbed for use on hands? My mom has severe arthritis in her hands, but is outside often. Maybe marjoram oil? Or would that make this salve too “hot”?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Also, I plan to experiment with this and adding chamomile for my dad’s leg pain and restless leg syndrome at night.
    Thanks again,
    jean in the midwest

  28. Hi Gaye,
    I just have a few questions. In your Birch oil,
    can I substitute jojoba oil for Olive oil? Im
    allergic to lemongrass, is there another EO
    I could use instead?
    I can’t wait to try your recipes….

  29. Hi ,you had great feedback on your very informative article…I enjoyed it, was researching to use white birch oil with a combination of lavender and blue chamomile in an attempt to treat my husbands rosacea….can you help me with quantities please…I will probably use almond oil as a carrier..thank you

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