Can Natural Remedies such as Essential Oils and Herbs Act As Pain Relievers for Chronic Pain suffers?
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic or persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment.
The sensation of pain involves communication between your nerves, spinal cord, and brain. Most people get back to normal after pain following an injury or operation. But sometimes the pain carries on for longer or comes on without any history of an injury or operation — generally it mean your body hasn't turned off the pain messages to the brain, even though the original source of the pain may be gone. There are different types of pain, depending on the underlying cause it may be linked to conditions such as a sprain, nerve damage, arthritis or other injury, or to any number of more elusive causes.
Chronic pain can also affect people living with:
- irritable bowel
- back pain
The Painful Facts
- 3.37 million Australians were living with chronic pain in 2020. 53.8% are women (1.81 million) and 46.2% are men (1.56 million).
- 68.3% (2.30 million) are of working age.
- For the majority (56%) of Australians living with chronic pain, their pain restricts what activities they can undertake.
- 1.03 million older Australians (65 years and over) were living with chronic pain, with rates almost twice as high as the working age population.
- The prevalence of chronic pain was estimated to increase from 3.37 million Australians in 2020 to 5.23 million people by 2050.
Type of Care
Referrals to pain specialists occur in less than 15% of GP consultations where pain is managed, medications are used in close to 70% of GP consultations.
Best Practice does not support long term use of medication for chronic pain management
One in 100 will receive multidisciplinary care.
44.6% of patients living with chronic pain also experience depression or anxiety (Hooley et al, 2014).
Major depression in patients with chronic pain is associated with reduced functioning, poorer treatment response and increased health care costs (Karapetyan et al, 2017).
High rates of generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance misuse are also reported in people with chronic pain (Finan et al, 2013).
- In 2017-18, 823 Australians are believed to have lost their lives as a result of prescription opioid misuse.
If you need to speak to someone now, please call Lifeline 13 11 14.
While there are countless pain medications available, some people prefer more natural or holistic methods to ease the pain or compliment their standard treatments, OR if possible replace them!!
Complicating the picture is that doctors still don't understand chronic pain, but they do know that what works for one person may not work for another. So, in this case, try, try again is good advice.
Essential oils may be a viable complementary treatment for pain suffers
If medications aren’t easing your pain, you may wish to try alternative remedies for relief. Essential oils may be one natural way to relieve pain.
Essential oils are any plant-based, volatile oil that contain a mixture of chemical compounds and have an aroma characteristic of the plant. Essential oils are found within the petals, stems, roots, and other parts of plants. They are typically removed from the plant though steam distillation. An essential oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's unique scent— the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.
The oils resulting from this centuries-old technique may improve physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Each type of oil has its own unique profile - scent, chemical compounds and benefits. These oils can be used individually or as blends.
Researchers have found evidence to suggest that certain oils may treat the symptoms of certain ailments, such as:
- sleep disorders
- respiratory problems
20 Essential Oils used for Chronic Pain Relief
1. Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant (Mentha pipereta). It is one of the most versatile oils and it has been used for health purposes for thousands years. It contains over 40 different compounds including Menthol, Menthone, and 1,8-Cineole, Menthyl acetate and Isovalerate, Pinene, Limonene.
Perhaps best-known for its menthol undertones, peppermint is one of nature’s most potent analgesics making it a great choice to reduce pain when used topically.
It is an excellent oil for treating headache, muscle aches, joint pain, cold sores, and itching. Peppermint essential oil is also beneficial to relieve common IBS symptoms like pain and bloating.
- Peppermint is one of the most commonly used essential oils to treat tension headaches and migraines.
- It contains menthol, which is beneficial to relax muscles and relieve pain.
- Peppermint helps reduce muscle cramping and spasms, pain due to inflammation and neuraligia (nerve pain) , and IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms.
According to a review conducted by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, peppermint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities. It also works as a strong antioxidant, displays anti-tumor actions in lab studies, shows anti-allergenic potential and pain-killing effects, helps to relax the gastrointestinal tract and may be chemopreventive.
Clearly this is why peppermint oil is one of the most popular essential oils in the world and why I recommend that everyone has a bottle on hand at home.
Peppermint Oil is a general name however there are many varieties and chemotypes of this herb, which are used for large-scale oil production. Mint - Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Mint - Cornmint (Mentha arvensis) is the other member of the Mint family used for large-scale production.
Mentha piperita (Mint-Peppermint) is true Peppermint and generally the most readily available in stores. Actions for Pain Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory & Antispasmodic. Aromatherapy/Home use for pain - Neuralgia, muscular pain, cramp, headache & migraine. Contains: Menthol (29–48 per cent), menthane (20–31 per cent), menthyl acetate, menthofuran, limonene, pulegone, cineol, among others.
(on a side note: while I am on the topic of Peppermint ..... Peppermint oil is a natural way to deter rats, mice, spiders, ants and snakes..... Yikes!!!!)
2. Helichrysum Oil (Helichrysum italicum)
Helichrysum italicum is a flowering plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is sometimes called the curry plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. Also known as Everlasting Essential Oil or Immortelle Essential Oil. The oil can be found in all green parts of the plant, including stems and leaves. Dried flowers from the plant can also be used for medicinal purposes. Highly valued for its significant therapeutic, skincare and health benefits, and is known to relieve muscle spasms, regeneration of nerves, inflammation, and relieving pain, and speeding healing. Helichrysum and its oil have been used in herbal remedies in Europe since ancient times.
Helichrysum oil may provide relief of joint pain for individuals with arthritic conditions, with potential significant anti-inflammatory action. Many people use if for general stiff, painful and tight musculature as well.
This essential oil contains anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene hydrocarbons - this compound acts by dissipating free radicals. Helichrysum essential oil's other major components include neryl acetate, a monoterpenoid ester with distinct, relaxing effects that may reduce tension of the tissues in the area of the injury. The third major component are the regenerative di-ketones, found in significant quantities only in Helichrysum oil.
In various experimental studies the oil has been seen to have strong abilities to lower inflammation due to several mechanisms: inflammatory enzyme inhibition, free radical scavenging activity and corticoid-like effects. (2)
It is one of the oils (like Lavender) that are most active when used in combination with other oils, which is fortunate as this one is expensive and not always easy to come by. It is a very safe oil and tolerated by the most sensitive skins.
3. Marjoram Oil (Origanum majorana)
If you’re not familiar with marjoram, you would have heard of its close cousin — Oregano. What we call marjoram is commonly called “sweet marjoram.” So what is marjoram? It’s a perennial herb originating from the Mediterranean region and a highly concentrated source of health-promoting bioactive compounds. It is known for its ability to ease pain and inflammation, whilst also relaxing muscle spasms and tension.
Marjoram essential oil is helpful in curing nearly all types of spasms and related problems. It efficiently relieves spasms in the respiratory system, intestines, and muscular spasms in the limbs. It also helps palliate convulsions, pulled muscles, cramps, and spasmodic cholera that are caused by uncontrollable spasms.
Marjoram oil reduces the pain associated with colds, fever, inflammation, overexertion of muscles, toothaches, and headaches. The best thing about this is that it does not have any adverse side effects, unlike other analgesic pain relievers available on the market.
Marjoram oil improves cognitive function of your brain. This quality also relieves you of headaches.
Marjoram oil has a warming effect on the body and it improves circulation to increase the blood flow, further warming your cells, simultaneously relieving the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
Whilst not relating to pain, I feel this is a special quality of Marjarom - It acts as a Vasodilator. This is a very important medicinal property of marjoram oil and can be a blessing for those who are at high risk of heart attacks, atherosclerosis, or brain due to hypertension. As a vasodilator, it widens and relaxes the blood vessels, eases the flow of blood, and reduces blood pressure, thereby lessening the strain on the entire system. It helps reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and brain hemorrhaging.
Safety - There are no inherent health risks or side effects of using marjoram essential oil, but as with many essential oils and herbs, pregnant women and children should avoid it. Also avoid contact with sensitive areas like eyes, ears, nose, etc.
4. Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
As one of the most widely studied and popular essential oils, lavender acts as a multipurpose oil for a variety of ailments.Lavender has a well-established tradition as a folk remedy, and its scent is still familiar to almost everyone.
When applied topically, it relieves toothache, neuralgia, sprains and rheumatism. In hysteria, palsy and similar disorders of debility and lack of nerve power, lavender will act as a powerful stimulant.’
According to a 2013 study, lavender essential oil may help treat pain in children after a tonsillectomy. Children who inhaled the scent of lavender were able to reduce their daily dose of acetaminophen (Generic Name: acetaminophen
Researchers in a 2015
Actions Analgesic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, insecticide, nervine, parasiticide, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary. Aromatherapy/Home use for pain Lumbago, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains, headache, migraine, sciatica and even toothache.
5. Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Globus aka Eucalyptus Blue Gum, Eucalyptus Citriodora, Eucalyptus Peppermint)
Originally native to Australia, eucalyptus trees are now grown all over the world and used for their medicinal properties. Their healing power comes from eucalyptus oil, which is made from the tree’s oval-shaped leaves. You’re probably aware of Eucalyptus oil’s widespread use for the treatment of minor burns, blisters, cuts and minor wounds and skin infections. However it’s also very effective in helping to ease muscle and joint pain, stimulating poor circulation, and easing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and nerve pain. In fact, many popular over-the- counter creams and ointments used to soothe pain from conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis contain this essential oil.
A 2015 clinical review found that the oil has promise in treating ailments like arthritis, the flu, and wounds.
It is known for its constituents like cineole (70%–85%), aromadendrene limoneneterpinene, cymene, phellandrene, and pinene.
Safety: Not to be Taken - considered toxic if ingested and avoid during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus Blue Gum) - with its distinctively fresh evocation of the bush, the aroma of Eucalyptus Blue Gum Essential Oil will be instantly familiar to you. Having a reassuringly medicinal smelling woody undertone, Eucalyptus Blue Gum Essential Oil is a very widely used and versatile oil essential oil is known for its invigorating, soothing aroma. It’s been widely used in the treatment of blisters, minor burns, skin infections, cuts and minor wounds. It’s also great for helping to ease muscle and joint aches and pains, improving poor circulation, and treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain and easing headaches.
Eucalyptus Citriodora - The fresh, strong citronella-like aroma of my supplier AWO’s Eucalyptus Citriodora Essential Oil will probably transport you straight to the bush. With its clean, medicinal-smelling notes, Eucalyptus Lemon Scented Citriodora Essential Oil is commonly prized for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and calming abilities.
Eucalyptus Peppermint - Eucalyptus Peppermint Essential Oil has a more specifically antiseptic action compared to other eucalyptus essential oils. With its fresh, strong, camphoraceously minty and spicy aroma, Eucalyptus Peppermint Essential Oil is used to help combat a variety of ailments, both topically and through aromatherapy. Diluted Eucalyptus Peppermint Gum Oil can be rubbed into joints and muscles that are sore from sprains and sports injuries. I also add this to my Pain Magnesium creams and Pain balms along with the Globulus to help with rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica and neuralgia.
6. Roman and German chamomile oils
Widely used since ancient times, chamomile is one of the oldest therapeutic herbs known to man. There are two types of chamomile, the Roman chamomile, which is scientifically known as Anthemis nobilis and the German chamomile, whose scientific name is Matricaria chamomilla. Although the essential oils extracted from both varieties are quite similar in some medicinal properties, their composition is different and they do possess certain specific qualities that are worth noting.
Chamomile tea It is one of the most popular herbal teas on the market. But did you know that Chamomile Roman Essential Oil is even more effective than chamomile tea, and just as easy to use?
Chamomile Roman Essential Oil is primarily known for its calming, soothing and relaxing properties, helping to alleviate anxiety, stress and feelings of depression. Combined with its mood boosting qualities, it also has antispasmodic abilities which help ease menstrual cramps, headaches and back pain – great if you have PMS. This versatile oil can also assist with digestive problems and skin and inflammatory conditions.
Rheumatism - Both varieties treat dysfunctions of the circulatory system, stimulate circulation and detoxify the blood from toxins like uric acid. Thus they help to treat ailments like rheumatism and arthritis, which are caused due to improper circulation and accumulation of uric acid. These abilities classify them as good antiphlogistics, agents which reduce swelling.
They both also have analgesic properties, which effectively reduce pain in the muscles and joints. They also decrease the severity of headaches, sinuses, toothaches, and bone injuries. They are also very effective in relieving the severe pain of neuralgia by constricting the blood vessels that surround the ninth cranial nerve and relieve the pressure.
Safety: Take care when using chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy, as the plants come from the same family.
7. Rosemary Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis L.)
Rosemary is more than just a cooking herb. Rosemary essential oil has clinically proven benefits. These include reduced pain from rheumatic disorders and menstrual cramps. Such anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects may also be helpful for back pain.
In folk medicine, rosemary was used as a mild pain reliever. As an analgesic substance, can be topically applied to the affected area to soothe the pain.
In a two-week study, stroke survivors with shoulder pain who received a rosemary oil blend with acupressure for 20 minutes twice daily experienced a 30% reduction in pain. Those who received only acupressure had a 15% reduction in pain
Additionally, an animal study determined that rosemary oil was slightly more effective for pain than acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain medication.
Anti-inflammatory - Rosemary has anti- and antioxidant properties. Carnosol and carnosic acids are two powerful compounds found in rosemary. These compounds have been linked to reducing inflammation of muscles, blood vessels, and joints. This makes it an effective treatment and preventive measure for many diseases, including gout, arthritis, and injuries from physical exertion or surgery. Rosemary contains a significant amount of antioxidants including rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, and betulin acid. These antioxidants help to boost your immune system.
I prefer to use Moroccan Rosemary, otherwise known as Rosemary Ct. Cineole oil, has a high content of 1,8-Cineole (pronounced sin-ee-ole). 1,8-cineole has shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and can help to increase circulation and provide warmth to the skin and underlying muscles.
Safety: Not to be Taken. Possible skin sensitivity - dilute prior to topical application. Keep out of reach of children. Avoid during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.Unsuitable for those with epilepsy or high blood pressure. There is some evidence that rosemary leaves used in excess can cause pulmonary edema . Drug Interactions: It may interact negatively with certain drugs like Warfarin ( ), Lithium (manic depression), Lasix (diuretic), and others. Be sure and check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.
8. Cypress oil (Cupressus sempervirens, Callitris intratropica)
The refreshing, evergreen aroma of Cypress Essential Oil, with its balsamic and slightly sweet notes, will probably be familiar to you, especially in men’s toiletries such as aftershaves and soaps. However it also has many therapeutic and medicinal purposes, used in inhalations or topically.
Cypress is a needle bearing tree of coniferous and deciduous regions. Cypress essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of young cypress twigs, stems, and needles. The essential oils extracted from cypress contain components like alpha pinene, beta pinene, alpha-terpinene, bornyl acetate, carene, camphene, cedrol, cadinene, sabinene, myrcene, , and linalool, which contribute to its medicinal properties.
You may be interested to learn that the therapeutic benefits of the oil from the Australian native Cypress trees (Callitris intratropica known as Australian Cypress Blue Essential Oil) have been known for thousands of years to Aboriginal people. Cypress Blue is said to have beneficial pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mediterranean Cypress oil (Cupressus sempervirens) is helpful in relieving all types of spasms and the problems associated with it. It efficiently relieves spasms in the respiratory system and intestines as well as muscular spasms in the limbs.
It is also used to help regulate blood flow, easing menstrual problems and soothing muscles aches and pains. It is anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic.
According to the
9. Sandlewood Oil (Santalum spicatum)
You’ll almost certainly recognise the distinctive, exotic aroma of Sandalwood Essential Oil, with its deeply earthy, woody tones laced with balsamic notes. Sandalwood may offer some health benefits as well.
Sandalwood oil comes from the wood and roots of Santalum album, or the East Indian sandalwood tree. This is one of the most valuable trees in the world. Its products are used across the globe. West Indian and African sandalwood oils have also been produced in the past, but they’re no longer widely available. For this reason I use Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), which contains well above the average percentage of alpha santalol a naturally occurring sesquiterpene that is derived from sandalwood oil.
Sandalwood oil is of course indispensable in the perfume industry, but medicinally Sandalwood Essential Oil is well known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Such anti-inflammatory effects have been studied for their similar effects to over-the-counter medications. Reducing inflammation in the back with sandalwood oil could possibly decrease pain, too.
Sandalwood oil contains anti-inflammatory properties. Such effects have been studied for their similar effects to over-the-counter medications. Reducing inflammation in the back with sandalwood oil could possibly decrease pain, too.
10. Ginger oil (Zingiber officinale)
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the benefits of cooking with fresh ginger, but did you know Ginger Essential Oil is also prized for a range of therapeutic benefits, both in aromatherapy and in massage?
Ginger Essential Oil is popularly mixed with massage oil to ease aching joints, muscles and arthritis, and to help improve sluggish circulation. It’s also said to strengthen the immune system.
Ginger Essential Oil is well known for its calming and soothing properties if you have a troubled digestive system. It can also help alleviate travel sickness, nausea and heachaches and migraines.
11. Black Pepper Oil (Piper nigrum)
With its warm, spicy, sharp and fresh aroma with a hint of woody notes, you’ll easily recognise the peppercorn-like fragrance.
Because of its warming properties, pepper oil has long been used for soothing, therapeutic massages, particularly to ease the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
Pepper Black Essential Oil is popularly used by massage therapists to help relieve sore muscles, particularly in the case of cyclists, runners or other athletes. It is also known to energise, stimulate, and aid circulation.
12. Clove Bud oil (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Clove Bud Essential Oil will probably be very familiar to you. Clove Bud Essential Oil owes much of its potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits to its dominant ingredient, eugenol.
Clove Bud Essential Oil comes from the buds of the clove tree, a native of South East Asian countries such as Indonesia
13. Wintergreen oil (Gaultheria procumbens)
A close relative to peppermint, wintergreen carries similar analgesic properties. Specifically, wintergreen contains Methyl Salicylate which is similar to aspirin. The plant has been traditionally used for respiratory conditions such as chronic mucous discharge, but is mainly employed for joint and muscular problems such as lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, myalgia, etc. Actions for Pain Analgesic (mild), anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic.
Safety - Talk to a doctor if you’re taking blood thinners or other medications, as wintergreen can increase the risk of bleeding.
14. Juniper Berry Oil (Juniperus communis)
The essential oil of juniper is obtained through steam distillation of the needles, wood and powdered fruits of juniper. The health benefits of juniper oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, sudorific, antirheumatic, depurative, , stimulating, stomachic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, rubefacient, vulnerary, and a tonic substance.
Reduces Arthritis Pain - Juniper essential oil promotes and improves blood circulation. It also helps in the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body. Both of these properties help fight conditions like rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and renal calculi, all of which are related to improper circulation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. This essential oil also relieves swelling.
Relaxes muscle cramps - Juniper essential oil is also effective in nearly all forms of cramps, whether it is muscular, intestinal, respiratory or any other area. It relaxes muscle cramps and helps cure spasmodic cholera as well. Being an antispasmodic, it helps cure many other problems related to cramps or spasms.
15. Arnica Oil (Arnica montana)
Arnica oil is produced from the blossoms of a perennial flowering plant called arnica, which belongs to the daisy family. The plant is native to Europe, but it is also found widely in the United States. The most commonly used species of arnica for the production of arnica oil is Arnica montana, which produces a pale yellow oil that is extremely useful.
Some of the impressive benefits of arnica oil include soothing inflammation, relief from arthritic pain, boosting hair growth, stimulating the immune system, eliminating pain, protecting the heart, relieving headaches, increasing circulation, easing nervous disorders and preventing chronic disease.
Soothes Migraines - The analgesic properties of this oil are well known, and when a few drops applied on the temples or the base of the neck, it can quickly soothe migraines and headaches. Although it may be tempting to use this oil in an aromatherapy treatment for headaches or stress, do not inhale diffused arnica oil.
Reduces Arthritis Pain - One of the unique abilities of arnica oil is its ability to stimulate white blood cell production. These defensive cells can also help reduce inflammation in joints and muscles, which can commonly accompany arthritis.
Heals Bruises & Injuries - When you topically apply this oil to injuries like bruises and strained muscles, it can quickly stimulate circulation to those areas, including the resources and oxygen needed to produce healthy new cells and heal broken blood vessels.
Increases Circulation - The stimulating nature of arnica oil can boost your circulation by reducing coagulation in your cardiovascular system, helping to lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots from forming. This can also increase energy and promote healing throughout the body.
Safety - Arnica Oil Side Effects - Use of arnica oil does come along with certain side effects, such as certain bleeding disorders, skin inflammation, gastrointestinal distress, cardiovascular and nervous system complications, dizziness, and problems with pregnancy. If in doubt please seek medical advice before using any product with Arnica listed as an ingredient!
16. Frankincense oil (Boswellia carteri)
Frankincense, known as the 'King of Oils', is an essential oil that has been used for centuries as a health remedy for various ailments.
Frankincense is a tree resin that has been used and valued since ancient times for its medicinal, cosmetic, aromatic and spiritual applications. In Christianity, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men.
Frankincense Essential Oil is distilled from the resin. The essential oil tends to smell sweeter, cleaner and fresher than the resin, and more people prefer the aroma of Frankincense Essential Oil to that of the resin when it is being burned as incense.
Apart from being used as a cosmetic and a fragrance, has many medicinal uses and health benefits such as reducing stress, boosting immunity, improving skin health, promoting memory and relieves pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis.
There are several species of Frankincense. They share similar therapeutic and aromatic properties. The most commonly available is Boswellia carterii. Other species include -
- Boswellia sacra
- Boswellia serrata
- Boswellia frereana
- Boswellia neglecta
- Boswellia papyrifera
- Boswellia rivae
According to pharmacological research, Frankincense has strong anti-inflammatory properties that could make it a natural remedy for inflammation-rooted diseases.
In the last few years, Western science has become aware of the ability of Frankincense to lessen the pain caused by rheumatism. A study conducted at the University of Munich was able to prove the effects of Frankincense on joint pain.
Research has shown that frankincense can be effective in relieving the pain caused by cluster headaches (cluster headache is an extremely severe and debilitating trigemino-autonomic pain syndrome) because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Cluster headaches tend to start from pain in your muscles, neck, and back, which is why an anti-inflammatory can help reduce that discomfort. Frankincense can also be relaxing and soothing, calming you down and easing stress, which can prevent a headache from coming on.
The many health benefits of can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, , astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, , digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance.
17. Copaiba Oil (Copaifera officinalis)
Copaiba Balsam is steam distilled from the gum/resin of Copaifera officinalis, a tree that is native to Brazil and parts of South America. It's a lesser known botanical and oil.
Indigenous tribes in South America have used Copaiba in traditional medicine for centuries as a topical wound healer, to stop bleeding, and for skin sores and psoriasis. It has been used as a strong antiseptic and expectorant for the respiratory system, and as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic for the urinary tract. It was an official drug in the U.S. Pharmacopeia from 1820 to 1910.
Copaiba Balsam consists of at least 90% sesquiterpenes. Sequiterpenes tend to possess noteworthy antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- lowered production of some molecules that are associated with inflammation
- lowered the amount of oxygen radicals, which can lead to cell damage
We all have cannabinoid receptors found in our brain, organs, tissues, glands, and immune cells. Two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, are present in many tissues although each is linked to a different action within the body.* CB1 receptors interact with THC (the active constituent in marijuana) and cause psychotropic effects. CB2 receptors, the target of both Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and Copaiba essential oil, don’t make you “high” when affected. Found mostly in the immune system, CB2 receptors assist with inflammation and certain kinds of pain when affected by cannabinoids. Unlike CBD oil, which can contain varying amounts, Copaiba essential oil contains 0% THC.*
Copaiba oil contains high levels of beta-caryophyllene (BCP), a cannabinoid that interacts directly with the CB2 receptors in our body and may be neuroprotective and have cardiovascular and immune benefits. Beta-caryophyllene is also found, in lower levels, in other essential oils like Black Pepper and Melissa.
Safety - To date, possible hazards or interactions have not been reported for copaiba essential oil.
18. Sweet Basil
19. Lemongrass oil
Lemongrass oil has been widely studied for its antifungal properties. One study in mice also evaluated its notable anti-inflammatory properties. Reduction of inflammation may lead to reduced pain, but studies are needed in humans.
20. Yarrow Oil
With its long history of medicinal use, Yarrow oil is one of the most incredible and fascinating essential oils. There are multiple kinds of yarrow essential oils such as yellow yarrow, green yarrow, and blue yarrow.
Blue Yarrow Essential Oil is dark blue in color due to its chamazulene content. Chamazulene is a sesquiterpene that exhibits anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. The essential oil of Yarrow can help relax spasms of the muscles, nerves, intestines and respiratory tracts.
Being good for , it is good for rheumatic or arthritic patients too. It improves circulation and thereby prevents accumulation of uric acid in the joints and muscles, thus helping cure rheumatism and arthritis. Added to that, the diaphoretic property of this oil helps remove these toxins from body through .
The tranquilizing property of Yarrow essential oil can be a blessing for those who suffer from insomnia and excessive stress due to chronic pain.
A Few Words of Caution: Yarrow essential oil may show neurotoxic effects, and can result in headaches and skin irritation if you continue to use it for a long time in high dosages. Oral intake should be avoided during pregnancy.
OTHER LESSER KNOWN ESSENTIAL OILS AND HERBS WITH PAIN EASING PROPERTIES
Bay Laurel Leaf Essential Oil (Laurus nobilis)
Bay Laurel Essential Oil is also known for its analgesic property. You can use it to relieve pains from a variety of ailments including muscular and joint problems associated with arthritis, rheumatism, or aching muscles.
Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot essential oil is being used to treat neuropathic pain, which is often resistant to opioid pain medications. The results of a 2015 study found this therapy to be successful in reducing neuropathic pain.
Blue Tansy Essential Oil (Tanacetum Annuum)
Blue Tansy, also referred to as Moroccan Tansy, is an annual yellow-flowered Mediterranean plant found in northern Morocco. Chamazulene, a chemical component in Blue Tansy, provides the characteristic indigo colour and is recognised for its skin soothing benefits. (I think this would have to be one of my most favourite essential oils)
Blue Tansy Essential Oil is recommended by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt and other holistic aromatherapy experts for its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
More research needs to do done on how blue tansy oil can be used to reduce inflammation. But there is already evidence that two of its main components have been effective against inflammation:
- Sabinene, a primary component of blue tansy oil, is an effective anti-inflammatory agent
Camphor, another key component in blue tansy oil, has been
shownto reduce inflammation in the body.
Also, the American Chemical Society notes that chamazulene, the chemical that brings out the blue color in the oil, is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
Calamus Sweet Essential Oil (Acorus calamus)
Calamus root has been used as a herbal remedy through human history. Calamus oil is extracted from the root of Acorus calamus by steam distillation process. Calamus essential oil helps relieve chronic pains and reduce stress and depression. It has a warm, spicy, and sweet forest aroma. Calamus is highly esteemed as herbal medicine for headaches, vertigo and dysentery ailments. Calamus essential oil was talked about in Exodus as an element of the sacred anointing oil with Myrrh, Cinnamon, and Cassia. Some Aromatherapist will not use this oil and consider it to be a hazardous/toxic oil.
Catnip Oil (Nepeta cataria)
Properties: Anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, insecticide, nervine, sedative, tonic
Catnip is used for trouble sleeping (insomnia); anxiety; migraine and other headaches. Some people apply catnip directly to the skin for arthritis, hemorrhoids, and as a compress to relieve swelling.
Copal Resin Oil (Daniella olivera)
Copal oil is extracted directly from the resin of Daniella olivera. Copal has a warm, woody and slightly floral aroma. Copal oil is used for treating wounds, muscles pains, and respiratory inflammation
Coriander Seed Oil (Coriandrum sativam)
Coriander essential oil is extracted from the seeds of Coriandrum sativam using steam distillation method. Its main chemical composition is Linalool. Coriander oil is used to treat diarrhea, dyspepsia, colds, aches, nausea, rheumatism, muscular aches, and spasm.
The cajeput oil is derived from the Melaleuca leucadendron or cajeput tree. This tree is native to Australia and Indonesia and is closely related to the tea tree, paperbark, punk, niaouli and eucalyptus trees. The tree also grows in Vietnam, Java, Malaysia and South East Asia regions.
The cajeput oil is an essential oil produced by steam distillation of the leaves and twigs of the Cajeput tree. The Cajeput oil contain cineol, terpineol, terpinyl acetate, terpenes, phytol, alloarmadendrene, ledene, platanic acid, betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, viridiflorol, palustrol, etc. as some of the active ingredients.
The cajeput oil uses include curative, invigorating and purifying properties. It also is used as an analgesic, antiseptic and insecticide. The cajeput oil has many traditional medicinal uses that include clearing acne, easing breathing difficulties by clearing the nasal passages, treating colds and coughs, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, eczema, sinus infection, pneumonia, etc.
Cajeput oil is known for its antimicrobial, antiseptic properties. It is also an anti-neuralgic that helps in relieving nerve pain and for healing muscle pain and joint pain.
Labdanum Oil (Resinoid) (Cistus ladanifer)
Also known as Cistus oil, has musky and luxurious scent. It is used as a key ingredient in amber blends, chypre perfumes and in many Oriental perfume blends. However it can be used to reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Niaouli Oil (Melaleuca Viridiflora)
Niaouli is a large evergreen tree with the botanical name of Melaleuca Viridiflora and it is a native to Australia and a few neighboring areas.
The essential oil of Niaouli is extracted through steam distillation of its fresh leaves and tender twigs. The main components of this oil are alpha phellandrene, alpha pinene, beta pinene, cineole, gamma terpineol, limonene, linalool and piperitone.
One of it's benefits states it is useful for pain of rheumatism and neuralgia.
Nutmeg Oil (Myristica fragrans)
Nutmeg oil is extracted from Myristica fragrans (also known as Myristica officinalis, M. oromata and Nux moschata) of the Myristicaceae family and is also known as jatiphala. This warming spicy essential oil is used in aromatherapy to fight inflammations and muscle as well as rheumatic pain, while assisting the digestive system and supporting the reproductive system, and at the same time stimulating and invigorating the mind.
The health benefits of nutmeg oil include its ability to treat stress, pain, menstrual cramps, heart disorders, indigestion, blood pressure, cough and bad breath. The health benefits of nutmeg oil can be attributed to its medicinal properties such as its role as a sedative, stimulant, relaxing, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and bactericidal substance.
Palmarosa Essential Oil (Cymbopogon martinii)
Palmarosa essential oil is extracted from Cymbopogon martinii plant through steam distillation method. Cymbopogon martinii, also known as Indian geranium, gingergrass, rosha, and rosha grass, is native to India and Indochina.
Petitgrain Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium)
Petitgrain essential oil is derived from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree. Petitgrain essential oil has a fresh, woodsy, and herbaceous aroma with a hint of floral. Petitgrain has a variety of health benefits. It is useful to treat acne, oily skin, fatigue, stress, and insomia.
This essential oil can also be used topically to help calm muscle and joint pain, muscle spasms
Pine Essential Oil (Pinus sylvestris)
Pine essential oil is traditionally used as a mild analgesic for muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, arthritis and neuralgia.
Ravensara Oil (Ravensara aromatica)
Ravensara essential oil is derived from the leaves of Ravensara aromatica, which is native to Madagascar. Ravensara oil's aroma is camphorous smell ike eucalyptus, slightly medicinal and slightly sweet, which is refreshing and energising. Ravensara is often confused with Ravintsara Oil but they are very different essential oils due to different chemical compounds.
Ravensara essential oil helps in relieving pains including arthritis, headache, toothache and muscle cramps. Thanks to Ravensara's topical analgesic properties, it can be used to soothe arthritic joints as well as joints that are simply sore from over exercise.
St John's Wort
Tumeric Essential Oil / Herb (topically / internally)
Turmeric essential oil is derived from the root of the turmeric plant, which bears the scientific name Curcuma longa. It has been an important part of traditional medicine practice for thousands of years.
It contains the compound curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical molecules that can damage cells and tissue. Curcumin has long been expected to be a therapeutic or preventive agent for several major human diseases because of its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anticancerous effects.
Lowers Inflammation - The alpha-curcumene found in turmeric essential oil comes in very high concentrations and is the main anti - substance in this oil. This allows turmeric oil to soothe inflammation associated with arthritis, gout, headaches, muscle pain, joint disorders, and various chronic diseases throughout the body, including inflammation.
Willow bark, the bark of several varieties of willow tree, has been used for centuries as a pain reliever. The active ingredient in the medicine made from willow bark is called salicin.
People have been using willow bark to ease inflammation, the cause of most aches and pains, for centuries. The bark of the white willow contains the chemical salicin, which is similar to the main ingredient in aspirin (Bayer).
You can use willow bark to help relieve discomfort from headaches, low back pain, osteoarthritis (OA), and many other conditions.
When used on people with lower back pain, willow bark to be more effective than placebo in a recent herbal medicine review. Conclusive data that contrasts willow bark to traditional aspirin is needed. However, if you’re looking for an alternative to aspirin, you could consider willow bark.
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of willow bark, it may be especially effective in combatting
SAFETY - It should only be used by adults. Similar to how aspirin taken in large quantities can be harmful for children, willow bark could be poisonous to children.
If you’re sensitive to aspirin, or if you’re taking any over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen), you should avoid willow bark. You should also avoid taking it if you’re taking warfarin (Coumadin) or other anticoagulant treatments, as salicin could increase the risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor before taking willow bark if you’re taking other anti-inflammatory or pain medications.
Be sure to use a carrier oil (such as grapeseed, sweet almond, coconut, jojoba) to dilute your chosen essential oil. Applying an undiluted essential oil can cause skin irritation and inflammation.
In general, you only need to use a few drops of essential oil. The dose can vary, but a good rule of thumb is to add about 10 drops of essential oil to every tablespoon of your carrier oil.
Massaging diluted essential oil or creams, balms or lotions infused with essential oils into the skin. This can help loosen muscle tension and alleviate pain.
Take a hot bath with essential oils. To dissolve the essential oil, first add 5 drops (the number of drops may change depending on the type of essential oil) to an ounce of carrier oil, epsom salts or milk. The bath will allow the essential oil to enter your body through your skin and also offer aromatherapy benefits.
The natural remedies described above may only be effective for specific causes of pain. It’s possible that not all of the suggestions on this list will work for you. However, these natural alternatives to prescription or OTC medications may at least give you some decent options to try before you turn to pharmacological solutions.
Remember, pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong. Don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor to discuss natural options for treating it and to diagnose the source of your pain.