The analgesic powers of essential oils (EOs) have made them most popular pain relief remedies in the traditional medicines.
They can be as effective as any of the modern day medicines for pain management. They not only alleviate pain but also help to remove other symptoms of illness. Most importantly they are free of side effects and provide many other health benefits.
EOs help in fighting inflammation, relieving swelling and eliminating pathogens. They are, perhaps, the best natural remedies for common health issues like migraines, muscles spasms, arthritis, neuropathy and mental stress. Aromatherapy with EOs can improve the mental and physical wellness of the person in several ways [1,2].
Continuous usage of painkiller capsules can lead to physical discomfort and can even damage the vital organs of the body like kidney and liver. In such a scenario, using natural remedies like the essential oils is the best option for managing chronic pain issues such as arthritis and sciatica.
Traditional remedies with EOs for pain reduction include oil massage, oil bath, aromatherapy, lotions, and creams .
How Do Essential Oils For Pain Relief Work?
One of the most pleasant ways to manage day-to-day aches, including severe and chronic pains, is the use of essential oils.
EOs contain powerful medicinal properties in highly concentrated form with the natural goodness of the mother plant from which they are extracted. They are free of chemicals and synthetic substances unlike many of the prescription medicines.
Each of the essential oils has a couple of therapeutic properties beneficial for alleviating pain and inflammation. The following are some the medicinal substances in essential oils that are useful for pain management;
- Anesthetic properties in EOs help in creating a numbing sensation in the inflamed and bruised area of the body.
- Oils with Analgesic elements reduce and alleviate the pain.
- Anti-inflammatory quality of the EOs helps in suppressing inflammatory pain.
- EOs with Antispasmodic properties assist in relieving muscles spasms and back pain caused by strained back and neck; it also works for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and abdominal pains.
- Oils with Sedative elements induce sleep and produce a mild tranquilizing effect which can make the person insensitive to pain.
- EOs with Anti-rheumatic substances help in getting relief from stiffness and joint pains caused by rheumatism.
- Antimicrobial properties found in many essential oils are useful for getting rid of the pain created by microbial infections.
- A few of the EOs have Carminative properties which are effective in eliminating pain arising out of gas formation in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Some of the essential oils work as Decongestants which is useful for relieving congestion in the nose, throat, and lungs and the pain associated with it.
- Antidepressant properties EOs help in relieving chronic pains especially migraines, neuropathy, headaches, and chest pain.
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Now let us see some of the best essential oils that you can use for managing pain.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
This oil can produce a mild sedative effect that is beneficial for relieving tension and stress which cause headaches and migraines.
This oil contains both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties exceptionally useful in reducing pain.
Unlike other essential oils, Lavender oil in the undiluted form does not cause skin irritation. It can be directly inhaled or applied on the foreheads, neck, and chest. When you are suffering from any sort of pain, use an essential oil diffuser to humidify the Lavender essential oil in your bedroom or office; breathing microscopic particles of the oil suspended in the air relieves stress and pain.
2. Chamomile Essential Oil
The Chamazulene compound in the Chamomile essential oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It is effective for the treatment of abdominal pain back pain and PMS in women. The deep blue German Chamomile oil is more effective than the Roman Chamomile variant.
The Roman chamomile oil extracted from Anthemis nobilis and the German chamomile oil from Matricaria chamomilla have analgesic properties and can be used to treat headaches and neuralgia as well as muscle and joint pains .
Chamomile oil has a carminative effect that helps to relieve bloating gas formation in the abdomen and reduces the pain associated with it.
You can apply the Chamomile oil in diluted form on pain affected area or drink 2 drops of the oil diluted in warm water or tea.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil which contains menthol properties is highly refreshing and relaxing for the body and mind.
Topical application of this oil (in diluted form only) helps in relaxing the muscle spasm in the lower back and relieving pain due to fibromyalgia.
It is a decongestant that contributes to relieve headaches due to sinus congestion. Inhaling and rubbing the oil on the pain affected areas help in removing physical discomforts of stomachaches, headaches, and stress.
4. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil is a potent pain reliever which works perfectly for painful autoimmune health conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Topical application of Ginger oil also helps to reduce stomach pain and headaches .
You can use Ginger oil for external application, internal consumption, or in aromatherapy.
5. Rosemary Essential Oil
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in Rosemary essential oil have proven benefits in alleviating pain. It is particularly beneficial for managing headaches and migraines; use it in aromatherapy for best results.
Topical application of Rosemary oil helps in reducing muscles spasm and joint pains. In fact, you will find that most of the traditional treatments for rheumatism have Rosemary oil as a prominent ingredient in them.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The anti-inflammatory properties of Eucalyptus oil are beneficial for reducing inflammatory pain.
It is fit for external application, but this oil must be diluted in coconut oil or other carrier oils. But for insect stings and bites you can use the undiluted pure eucalyptus oil for a powerful effect to countermand the venomous reaction.
7. Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen essential oil is a traditional medicine for pain relief and inflammation used by the natives of North America since centuries .
Wintergreen oil is strictly meant for external purposes only due to its toxicity and risk that result in intestinal hemorrhage if consumed internally. However, Wintergreen shrub leaves are fit for internal consumption to treat digestive and bladder issues.
Wintergreen oil is mostly used as massage oil for treating arthritis, muscle spasms, skeletal pain, and neuralgia.
It is a powerful oil concentrate and thus it must be diluted in a carrier oil before applying it on the pain affected areas.
8. Juniper Essential Oil
Juniper oil is a popularly used traditional remedy for treating painful health conditions like colitis, dysmenorrheal and hemorrhoids .
It easy to get relief from the pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids by having a hot bath in the bathtub. The patient can add 10 drops of Juniper oil in the warm water and soak his/her body in the bathtub for 15 minutes.
This oil is also suitable for internal consumption. You can add 2-3 drops of this oil in herbal tea or a spoonful of coconut oil and drink it for treating colitis and indigestion.
Juniper berry oil is useful for reducing pain and stiffness related to rheumatism.
9. Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram is spicy edible oil which contains analgesic and antispasmodic properties beneficial for pain removal .
In traditional remedies, it is used for treating headaches and flu. If you suffer muscle spasm, you can massage Marjoram oil diluted in olive or coconut oil to relieve the spasm and pain arising out of it.
Toothaches can be calmed down by locally applying 2 drops of Marjoram oil on the paining tooth and gums surrounding it. It is also beneficial for reducing the abdominal spasm arising from diarrhea; take 2 drops of Marjoram oil diluted warm water or tea internally.
Marjoram oil also has a mild sedative effect which can provide relief from pain by reducing the sensory reflex of the pain.
10. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary Sage oil obtained from Salvia sclarea herb is an excellent pain relief solution, especially to get rid of the menstrual cramps and abdominal pain .
Just like the Lavender oil, this oil can also relieve a headache caused by stress. Topical application of this oil helps to reduce muscle spasm and soreness.
Clary Sage oil is not fit for internal consumption, and it should be diluted with any carrier oil before applying it externally.
11. Clove Essential Oil
The oil from the clove is a highly pungent and spicy. It contains anesthetic properties that make painful areas mildly numb for some time.
Clove essential oil is traditionally used remedy for relieving toothaches. You can apply 2 drops clove oil on the painful tooth and gums for getting instantaneous relief from pain.
You can get rid of throat pain by adding 2-4 drops of clove oil to a cup of warm water and use this water for gargling. This treatment is also beneficial for curing throat infections.
You can reduce pain from muscle soreness and joint pain by massaging the affected area with clove oil diluted in Jojoba oil or coconut oil. Clove oil can calm down the pain from insect bites by rubbing the venom infected area with clove oil.
12. Cayenne Essential Oil
Cayenne Pepper essential oil is useful for reducing severe pains like the shingles. This oil contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which are helpful for pain management. It is hot and spicy oil; it should be diluted in a carrier oil for using it for external application.
You can mix 1 -2 drops of Cayenne oil in carrier oils like coconut oil or olive and use this oil for massaging inflamed joints and muscles to reduce the pain. It works well for relieving arthritic and rheumatic pain, and neuralgia.
The Bottom Line
Most of the essential oils have one property or other that can effectively be used in managing pain and inflammation. EOs contain some active compounds which can soothe the muscles and relax the nerves. The analgesic, anesthetic, sedative and anti-inflammatory compounds in EOs are very useful for the alleviating pain and other symptoms of inflammations.
Essential oils not only reduce the pain but they also provide several other health benefits to the body.
The powerful concentrate forms of medicinal properties in EOs can cause irritation and allergic reaction in some people. Always the EOs must be used after diluting them in any good carrier oil.
The best pain relief result from essential oils is achieved when 2 or more oils are blended. Choose the right mix of oils that suits the particular pain causing ailment you are suffering from.
If you are unsure about the essential oil remedies for relieving pain, you should consult your physician or a natural therapy specialist before beginning the treatment.
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