Top 5 Essential Oils for Nerve Pain
Nerve pain, also known as neuralgia, is a common condition. Around 3 million people suffer from this condition in the United States alone. Many people are finding relief from using essential oils.
What Causes Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain is usually caused by damage to nerves. It is a very distinctive kind of pain, described as a sensation of burning or electrical shock. Although it most commonly affects the hands and feet, it can occur in other areas of the body as well.
Nerve pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, such as diabetes and cancer. Some medications also cause nerve pain. Last, people can help pain when a nerve is irritated passing through a damaged joint, such as in carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.
There are very few effective medications for this kind of pain. As a result, many people are turning to natural remedies such as essential oils. Peppermint, Roman chamomile, lavender, basil, and frankincense all have been shown to help relieve this painful condition.
Essential Oils For Nerve Pain
Peppermint essential oil is made from the leaves of the peppermint plant. It is known for imparting a cool and tingling feeling when applied to the skin.
This tingling feeling is caused by an increase in blood flow, which in turn improves the blood supply to nerves in the region. In addition, tingling sensations are carried on the same type of nerve that carries pain messages, so the tingle can reduce the amount of pain that your brain perceives.
Applying peppermint oil topically has been shown to reduce nerve pain almost immediately after application. This relief can last four to six hours.(1)
To use peppermint essential oil topically to relieve nerve pain, follow this recipe:
- Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil to one tablespoon of a high quality carrier oil
- Apply this to areas with nerve pain
- Massage the area for several minutes until a tingling sensation develops
Peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties, so using this essential oil on a daily basis may reduce the pain in the area over a longer term. It is also an antispasmodic, relieving muscle spasms and cramps that may be contributing to chronic pain.
Chamomile is popular as a calming tea. It also appears to have calming properties for muscles and nerves when used as an essential oil. This essential oil is made from the sweet, herby buds and blossoms of the Roman chamomile plant.
A recent study looked at the effects of octulosonic acid, a botanical compound that is present in significant quantities in Roman chamomile flowers and the essential oils made from them.(2)
This compound was shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing pain and inflammation where it is applied. In addition, it is a powerful antioxidant, healing tissues and nerves from the routine damage of daily life.
To use this esential oil to relieve nerve pain, follow this recipe:
- Add 2-3 drops of pure essential oil to one tablespoon of a high quality carrier oil
- Test a small amount on your arm and wait five minutes
- If there is no reaction, rub the remaining oil blend into the affected area
- Rub onto the affected region
- Results may be enhanced by drinking chamomile tea or diffusing Roman chamomile essential oil in a diffuser
It is important to test Roman chamomile before using it in a significant quantity. Because this plant is related to ragweed, some people will react to the oil with a minor rash. Testing the oil blend ensures that you are not allergic to it.
Lavender is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in history because it grows wild in many areas and has a wide range of uses. Several recent studies have shown that it is powerful in the relief of a variety of symptoms, including pain.
Lavender has been shown in studies to relieve pain of all kinds. It is a powerful antispasmodic, relaxing tissues to which it is applied. It also can be extremely calming when used in aromatherapy, which has been found to reduce the perception of pain. (3)
The antispasmodic properties of lavender are important in treating neuralgia because muscle spasms can contribute to nerve pain. Nerves have to pass through and alongside different muscle groups. When these muscles are inflamed or have spasms, the nerve is affected.
According to a new study, the pain-relieving effects of this essential oil are likely due to its effects on nerve activity. Betulinic acid, one of the major compounds in lavender, has been shown to relieve neuropathy by directly blocking the transmission of pain signals in nerves.(4)
To use lavender topically:
- Apply 3-5 drops of high quality lavender essential oil directly to the affected area
- Let the drop warm to body temperature, which can take 2-3 minutes
- Slowly massage the oil into the area with your hand
- Wash off excess
To use lavender as aromatherapy for the relief of pain, there are several options. Try one of the following:
- Rub a drop of lavender essential oil onto your wrist so you can hold this up to your nose as needed to get a fast aromatherapy treatment
- Add to several drops to an essential oil diffuser to scent the entire room
- Place 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle filled with 1 cup rubbing alcohol. Use this as a linen spray to add the scent of lavender to your blankets, pillows, and other textiles.
Basil is a popular herb used in cooking. However, it has also been considered an important medicinal herb for centuries.
The healing compounds of basil leaves are concentrated in its essential oil. Because many people do not want to smell too herbal, it is often combined with lavender when applied topically.
Basil has been found in studies to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects when taken as a food and when applied topically. Reducing inflammation in nerves and surrounding tissues can relieve nerve pain over several hours, treating the source of the pain.(5)
- Mix 2 drops of basil essential oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil
- Apply this directly to the affected area
- Massage into the area and allow to soak in
You can also use take basil orally as follows:
- Drop 3 drops of high-quality, food grade basil essential oil into your favorite herbal tea
- Enjoy the beverage while warm
These two methods of using basil medicinally can be used together. Basil is an extremely nontoxic plant and essential oil, so there is almost no risk of accidentally overdosing.
Frankincense is an aromatic sap that is made by the Boswellia tree, which is native to the Middle East. It was once difficult to harvest, making it a very expensive compound used only by royalty and the very wealthy. However, it is now widely available and one of the more popular natural remedies in the modern world.
The main compounds of essential oil of frankincense have been found to relieve pain and reduce inflammationdramatically when applied topically. It is especially powerful when used for nerve-related pain.(6,7)
Although frankincense has been used internally as a remedy, its pain-relieving properties appear to be strongest when it is used topically. It appears to act synergistically with myrrh, so you may see more benefit when you add myrrh essential oil to your blend.
Frankincense is also used as a skin-conditioning ingredient in several skincare lines. It is a very gentle compound, so it may be a great choice for people who have extremely sensitive skin that does not tolerate other oils well.
To enjoy the pain-relieving and inflammation-cooling properties of this essential oil, follow this recipe:
- Add 2-5 drops of frankincense essential oil to a tablespoon of your favorite high-quality carrier oil
- Add another 2 drops of myrrh essential oil if you wish
- Apply directly to the painful area of your body
- This can be repeated every 2-3 hours as needed
There are a few caveats to using essential oils. First, choose the highest quality oils possible. Cheaper oils may smell the same but lack many of the active medicinal compounds. Second, try oils separately before trying them in combination with others.
Although heating pads are a common way of relieving pain, these should not be used with essential oils. This can cause skin irritation and a rash.