Pain is simply a fact of life. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or enjoy strenuous workouts, you’ve likely experienced pain at some point in your life. While pain is commonly treated in the western world with prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relievers, there are dozens of natural ways to ease pain. These natural alternatives, like essential oils, also have fewer side effects — including addiction — compared to prescription alternatives. Discover the best essential oils for pain and feel better fast the natural way.
The 9 Best Essential Oils For Alleviating Pain
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil offers a floral fragrance that can help trigger signals in neurotransmitters that boost relaxation and offer pain-relieving properties. It’s also the top essential oil for pain used by aromatherapists. Research shows that lavender oil is particularly effective in treating dysmenorrhea, more commonly known as menstrual cramps. The oil works to directly impact GABA receptors in the nervous system to ease pain and improve mood (1).
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint contains menthol a powerful ingredient that adds a refreshing note and cooling sensation that can help to alleviate pain. It is part of the wintergreen family and is known for its pain-relieving properties. The cooling effect can help to offer temporary relief from mild to moderate pain.
This essential oil also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help to boost blood flow and reduce swelling that can cause pain (2). Peppermint oil is well-suited for treating muscle spasms thanks to its antispasmodic properties. It’s also a great choice for alleviating stomach cramps, earache pain, and pain associated with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is similar to peppermint oil in that it offers a cooling sensation that is beneficial in pain management. This plant has been shown to be particularly beneficial to patients recovering from surgery (3).
4. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile oil is renowned for its soothing effects. This oil contains anti-inflammatory effects that help to decrease swelling and inflammation that can cause pain. In traditional medicine, chamomile has been used to treat poor sleep and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis (4). The soothing properties of chamomile are also great for treating back pain and stomach cramps. You can use both Roman chamomile or German chamomile to achieve the pain-relieving effects you’re looking for.
5. Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram is a great essential oil for pain relief. This oil helps to ease pain and muscle spasms that can occur after injury or hard workouts. A study also showed that an essential oil blend of marjoram, clary sage and lavender oils effectively decrease main caused by menstruation (5). The oil can be applied with a carrier oil directly to sore muscles to help decrease inflammation that can cause pain.
6. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil offers a sweet, honey, and woodsy aroma that is stimulating and invigorating. The oil can boost relaxation and tranquility thanks to its chemical composition, which includes alpha-pinene and limonene. Traditional medicine resources and animal studies show that frankincense oil may be beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis. One such animal study found that frankincense oil worked directly on neurotransmitters and cytokines to decrease inflammation and pain (6).
7. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger oil boasts anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to decrease inflammation and prevent infections that can cause sore throat pain. The anti-inflammatory effects can help to lower blood pressure and decrease stress that can heighten pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, studies show that ginger was effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain (7).
8. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum oil may help to decrease pain by targeting inflammation and boosting circulation (8). It may also help to modulate the immune system response that can cause chronic pain.
9. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil has a slightly minty fragrance and cooling sensation that may minimize pain. A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacology Sciences found that camphor, 1,8-cineole, and a-pinene in rosemary oil helped to decrease pain in rats caused by stimulus (9).
How To Use Oils For Pain Relief
Essential oils can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and other side effects when applied directly to the skin. Essential oils should always be diluted using a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil. Combine a few drops of the essential oils with a carrier oil and blend by rubbing the oils in between your hands.
You can apply oils to sore areas by massaging in a gentle, circular motion. This is particularly effective for alleviating muscle pain from a tough workout, chronic pain, or joint pain. You can also help to ease pain by adding a few drops of essential oils to warm bath water. Again, combine them with a carrier oil before adding to the hot water. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pain subsides.
For pain from bug bites, you can apply the essential oils to a cotton ball and apply directly to the bite site. You can also use a Q-tip to concentrate the oils where they’re needed most.
Essential oils for pain also soothe by increasing relaxation. To boost mood and decrease stress, use essential oils as part of aromatherapy. Add the oils to a diffuser and breathe the fragrance deeply to help your mind and body unwind. Inhaling the oils will trigger neurotransmitters in your brain that can boost relaxation and offer analgesic properties.
The FDA does not approve the use of essential oils in the treatment of any ailments. In addition, we don’t recommend taking essential oils orally as they may cause serious side effects. Always consult a qualified aromatherapist before using essential oils for pain management.