Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Updated: 8 hours ago


Chronic pain consumes approximately $86 billion per year and affects over 80 million Americans. (2008, WebMD) Many of these either do not work or are potentially toxic to our liver and have other side effects. Neck and back pain are very common as are migraines, headache, arthritis and muscle pain



Anti-inflammatory drugs are among the most common pain relief medicines in the world. However, there are many natural anti-inflammatory agents (without side effects) found to be highly effective in relieving pain. Many of these are essential oils. Evidence from clinical trials suggests that aromatherapy might be used as a complementary therapy for managing chronic pain. Essential oils have pharmacologically active ingredients and aromatherapy might possibly also play a role in the management of chronic pain through relaxation.(Buckle)


What can essential oils do for you?


Lavender: for many centuries, we know that essential oil lavender can help with pain, infection, relaxation, and sedation. (Denner) Pain itself is a stressor, which increases cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol is also known to irritate many other health conditions such as arthritis, inflammation, sleep disturbance, digestive problems, headaches, etc. So reduced levels of cortisol from lavender diffused or in a bath or even just smelling it have many applications. At least one trial has proven that aroma hand massage (using lavender, frankincense and bergamot in a 1:1:1 ratio) had a positive effect on pain and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. (Chang)


Panaway: soothes pain quickly, reduce inflammation, promote healing and while helps to numb the pain. It is a great combination of wintergreen, clove, peppermint and helichrysum. Apply to the bottoms of feet and follow with topical application on location of pain. Or inhale for a soothing effect. Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilute before using on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, etc. Keep out of reach of children. Avoid using on infants and very small children.


Deep Relief: is a proprietary blend of oils specially formulated to relieve muscle soreness and tension. Peppermint, Wintergreen, Copaiba, and Palo Santo essential oils as well as others play an integral part of healing in this blend.


Wintergreen: contains the active ingredient (methyl salicylate) and is beneficial in massage for soothing head tension and muscles after exercising. Salicyclic acid (commonly known as aspirin) has anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relieving), and fever reducing properties.


Peppermint : While this oil is perhaps better known for its digestive benefits, it is also effective against pain and to releases tension. Because of possible skin sensitivity, dilution is recommended for topical and internal use. Do not apply directly to a fresh wound or burn.


Clove :  used topically to relieve pain and to promote healing and help to numbs pain, has wonderful immune-enhancing properties. Its principal constituent is eugenol, which is used in the dental industry to numb the gums. In addition to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antiviral activity, clove essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, insect repellent and anesthetic properties. Always dilute for topical use due to possible skin sensitivity. (Chaieb) Clove is the highest-scoring single ingredient ever tested for its antioxidant capacity on the ORAC scale (1,078,700) *


Copaiba: is a powerful essential oil that has traditionally been used to aid digestion and support the body's natural response to injury or irritation. Copaiba contains the highest amounts of beta caryophyllene (55 percent) of any known essential oil.


Lemongrass: supports the circulatory system, it can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to many chronic diseases. According to a 2005 study by Dr. Sue Chao, lemongrass oil is one of the top six essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to rejuvenating, stimulating, and balancing; it inspires and improves mental clarity. Lemongrass has a score of 17,765 on the antioxidant ORAC scale. *


Ginger: is well known and studied for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. One trial showed ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid (a NSAID) and ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with menstrual pain. (Ozgoli)


* ORAC stands for "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity". It tells you the antioxidant capacity of a food item. Antioxidants have shown to reduce the risk of age related conditions! This was developed by the USDA researchers. For instance: Oranges = 750; Clove = 1,078,700. Wow! The number for clove is NOT a typo!



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References

Buckle J. Use of aromatherapy as a complementary treatment for chronic pain. Altern Ther Health Med. 1999 Sep;5(5):42-51.

Chaieb K, et al. The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytother Res. 2007 Jun;21(6):501-6.

Chang SY. Effects of aroma hand massage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2008 Aug;38(4):493-502.

Denner SS. Lavandula angustifolia Miller: English lavender. Holist Nurs Pract. 2009 Jan-Feb;23(1):57-64.

Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.

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