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Best Essential Oils to Treat Pain and Inflammation (1-10)

By Elizibeth Rose

1. Chamomile oil to reduce inflammation and pain

Chamomile oil is a great essential oil with analgesic properties which can soothe the pain in inflamed joints and muscles. The calming effect of chamomile can also help get relief from headaches, sore muscles and nerve pain like sciatica and slipped discs. Chamomile also has a soothing effect on the digestive system and can help to relieve pain caused by excess gas and stomach cramping.

A review of the medicinal properties of chamomile found that the plant contains flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties. These inflammation-reducing compounds easily penetrate the skin’s surface to reduce inflammation. The review also found that chamomile is effective in treating digestive disorders and relaxing the muscles in the intestines.

Among the ailments that chamomile oil act as an effective pain reliever are: rheumatic pain, muscle spasms, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, mouth ulcers, eczema, back pain, and stomach cramps.

To use chamomile oil for pain relief, add a few drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil or sweet almond oil and massage the sore muscle or the painful joint. You can also add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to your diffuser. Inhale the therapeutic vapors deeply for around 15 minutes until your headache or migraine pain has eased or gone away completely.

2. Lavender oil for pain relief

Lavender is undoubtedly one of the most popular and well-known essential oils for pain relief. Natural treatments using lavender have been used for centuries to relieve migraines and headaches. Lavender contains compounds that act as a mild sedative which reduces stress and anxiety. So, lavender essential oil can help get rid of tension headaches at the source.

A study in 2015 found that lavender oil also contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In clinical trials, the researchers found that applying lavender oil topically for pain relief was just as effective as some pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories and analgesics.

Another study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that applying lavender oil or inhaling it has a pain-relieving effect. For example, massaging lavender oil helps to relieve menstrual cramps when massaged into the abdominal area. Inhaling lavender also had a morphine-like effect in patients recovering from surgery. The study also found that lavender was effective in reducing migraine pain and relieving lower back pain and neck pain.3

To use lavender oil for pain relief, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your diffuser. Inhale the therapeutic vapors deeply for around 15 minutes until your headache or migraine pain has eased or gone away completely.

Alternatively, rub 1 to 2 drops of lavender essential oil into the palms of your hands. Cup them over your nose and take 4-6 deep and slow breaths to fight acute migraine. Another thing you can do is add 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball and secure in a zip lock bag to take with you. This will allow you to inhale lavender for headache relief as you go about your daily activities.

Unlike other essential oils which should be mixed with a carrier oil before using on the skin, lavender oil is mild enough to be placed directly on small areas of the skin without being diluted. However if you have a sensitive skin, or use lavender oil on a larger area of your skin, it is best to dilute it.

3. Sweet marjoram

Sweet marjoram essential oil has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties to relieve various types of pain. Doctors from WebMD report that marjoram oil is used to alleviate headaches, migraines, neuralgia (nerve pain), stomach cramps and other intestinal disorders.

One study showed that marjoram oil can be useful in getting rid of chronic neck pain. In the study, a combination of 4 essential oils was used: marjoram, black pepper, lavender, and peppermint. The essential oil remedy was rubbed into the painful area daily for 4 weeks. The patients using the remedy showed significant improvement when compared to the other group using the placebo cream.

Marjoram is also a good essential oil to relieve toothache if you place a drop or two directly on and around the sore tooth. If you find it too potent, mix the sweet marjoram oil with a half teaspoon of olive oil and use a cotton ball or your finger to access the painful tooth.

4. Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil is a powerful pain reliever to help get rid of nerve-related pain and the discomfort caused by blocked sinuses. Even a small amount of eucalyptus oil is enough to relieve headaches, arthritis, muscle and joint pains. The pain-reducing properties of eucalyptus essential oil are due to the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial compounds in the oil.

A clinical trial into using eucalyptus essential oil for pain relief found that inhaling eucalyptus oil can help to relieve post-surgery pain. In the trial, researchers found that patients who received eucalyptus oil after surgery experienced less pain and lower blood pressure levels.

If you have sinus pain because of a cold, flu, or other respiratory infections, the University of Maryland recommends inhaling eucalyptus essential oil to help unblock sinuses and relieve the pain. They also report that ointments containing eucalyptus oil are effective for treating joint and muscle pain.

5. Peppermint essential oil

The antispasmodic properties of peppermint essential oil make it a great natural remedy to treat arthritis and intestinal problems. As well as helping to relieve arthritic pain, peppermint oil is also antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and kills off fungal infections. Peppermint essential oil, like eucalyptus oil, is a natural decongestant and can help to relieve painful blocked sinuses.

Peppermint essential oil is refreshing and cooling and contains a significant amount of menthol. Amongst its many uses, menthol is known to help relax and ease tension headaches and muscular aches and pains.

A study in Germany found that peppermint oil is just as effective as paracetamol when used to treat tension headaches. People who suffered from regular tension headaches applied peppermint oil to their forehead and temples every 15 minutes. The study showed that peppermint oil can help to relieve regular headaches without the side effects of frequently taking pain-killers.

Peppermint essential oil also has an antispasmodic effect when ingested. Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules relieve intestinal pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). One study reported that “peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS.”

6. Rosemary essential oil

The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary oil make this a great essential oil for chronic pain relief. The University of Maryland reports that rosemary can also help to improve blood circulation (which is important in pain management) and relieve muscle pain and spasms. In fact, rosemary essential oil has been approved by the German government for use in pain relief.

A study into the effectiveness of rosemary oil to reduce pain and inflammation was shown to boost the effect of popular pain relief medications. The study found that rosemary oil can be used topically as a painkiller on its own or it can be used together with analgesic drugs to help improve their effectiveness.

7. Thyme

If you suffer from backache, muscles pains, or inflammation in joints, then thyme essential oil can help to provide you needed relief from acute or chronic pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of thyme essential oil easily penetrate the surface of the skin to reduce pain.

A study published in the Journal of Lipid Research found that a compound in thyme called carvacrol suppresses COX-2, an enzyme connected with inflammation. Many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) also work to suppress COX-2 to kill off the pain. The researchers reported that the analgesic and inflammation-reducing properties of thyme oil have a use in the treatment of many diseases.12

Other studies have shown that the antispasmodic effect of thyme essential oil help reduce menstrual cramps and is as effective as ibuprofen.

8. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is an essential oil to relieve the pain of muscle cramps and menstrual pain. The analgesic effect of clary sage is due to molecules in the oil that have pain-relief properties.

The website reported on a study involving women who experienced higher than average menstrual pain. A massage oil using a combination of lavender, clary sage, and rose oil was massaged daily to the abdominal area. After one or 2 days, the women reported a significant reduction in painful menstrual symptoms.

The journal Phytotherapy Research found that salvia species extracts also have a calming effect on your mind as well as analgesic and muscle relaxant properties.

Clary sage essential oil can also help to get relief from pain associated with abdominal cramping.

9. Sandalwood

Sandalwood is an essential oil to fight inflammation and joint pain. The essential oil of sandalwood also helps to relax muscles and prevent muscle spasms.

Another way that sandalwood helps to manage pain is by sedating the nervous system. A study in the journal Planta Medica found that inhaling sandalwood essential oil has a relaxing effect and reduces the production of adrenaline. Another study found that sandalwood oil has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.

Sandalwood essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil to make a pain-killing ointment for sore muscles, knee pain, and rheumatic conditions. Or, you can add a few drops to your diffuser to inhale to get relief from headaches, migraines, anxiety, and stress.

10. Juniper

Massaging juniper essential oil is an excellent way to relieve stiffness and pain associated with arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. Doctors at WebMD report that people take juniper oil to numb pain and treat painful muscles and joints.

The website says that there are many ways you can use juniper essential oil to relieve pain. You can add some to a bath and soak in it to relieve muscle pain. Or you can get rid of the painful symptoms of gout and rheumatoid arthritis by applying a juniper berry compress on the painful joint. Of course, you can also mix juniper oil with a carrier oil to make a natural pain-relieving ointment.

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