Researchers have found evidence to suggest that some oils may help treat the symptoms of certain ailments, such as:

More research is needed to fully understand how essentials oils can work for pain management, although there’s generally no harm in adding essential oils to your current pain management plan. Still, always talk to a healthcare practitioner to make sure essential oils are right for you.

The following essential oils may help with pain relief:

Lavender

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, or Tylenol, post-surgery.

Researchers in a 2015 study found that lavender essential oil can be an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

When diluted lavender essential oil was applied topically during one test, it provided pain relief comparable to that of the prescription medication tramadol. This suggests that lavender could be used to help treat pain and any associated inflammation.

Another study in 2012 tested lavender essential oil’s ability to reduce pain in people who experience migraines. Results showed that inhaling the scent of lavender was effective in lessening the severity of migraine headache symptoms.

Rose oil

Many women experience abdominal cramping during menstruation.

Rose essential oil has been shown to relieve pain associated with periods when paired with conventional treatment.

Research from 2013 suggests that rose oil aromatherapy may also be effective in alleviating pain caused by kidney stones when coupled with conventional therapy.

Bergamot

The results of a 2015 study found bergamot essential oil to be successful in reducing neuropathic pain, usually caused by chronic nerve disease. This type of pain is often resistant to opioid pain medications.

Wintergreen and peppermint

Wintergreen oil (methyl salicylate) and peppermint oil (menthol) produce a cooling and tingling sensation when applied topically, which may be why they are two of the main active ingredients of Bengay and Icy Hot pain relieving ointments.

According to 2014 research, both may offer an alternative to pain medications with fewer risks, though overall research on wintergreen oil for pain relief is mixed.

Research on peppermint is more favorable. For instance, a 2019 study found that peppermint oil tablets improved symptoms including difficulty swallowing and non-cardiac chest pain.

A 2015 study found that applying a gel with menthol for migraine relief resulted in a significant improvement by at least one severity level two hours after application.

Rosemary

A 2015 study in mice concluded that rosemary had therapeutic potential for pain management in combination with analgesic drugs.

An older 2007 study of stroke survivors with shoulder pain showed a 30 percent reduction in pain in those who received a rosemary oil blend with acupressure for 20 minutes twice daily.

Eucalyptus

Many popular over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments use eucalyptus to soothe pain, including Icy Hot.

A 2021 study on animals found that eucalyptus can be an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory at doses of 100, 200, and 400 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

Chamomile

In a 2015 study, researchers that chamomile essential oil significantly reduced the need for pain relief medication in individuals with osteoarthritis compared to a control group.

A 2017 study of individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome found that after four weeks of applying topical chamomile oil, symptom severity scores in the treatment group were significantly lower than the placebo group.

Clary sage

A small 2012 study looked at 48 women who experienced painful menstruation and cramps and applied a cream containing clary sage oil and other essential oils to their lower abdomens daily between menstrual cycles. The women who used the cream had a significant reduction in menstrual cramps compared to the control group.

Ginger

A 2019 review noted that ginger oil has several therapeutic properties, including:

  • pain relief
  • pain receptor blocking
  • reducing inflammation
  • anticancer
  • relieving cough

Clove

Clove oil has been found to be beneficial for tooth ache as well as general pain.

An older 2006 study noted that clove oil may be effective as a topical anesthetic.

Lemongrass

A 2017 study on people with rheumatoid arthritis found that topical lemongrass oil decreased arthritis pain from 80 to 50 percent on average within 30 days.

According to a 2011 study, native Australian lemongrass may relieve pain caused by headaches and migraine due to a compound called eugenol that may be similar to aspirin.

A 2012 study on mice found that lemongrass essential oil helped prevent gastric ulcers, a common cause of stomach pain.

Frankincense

A 2011 review showed some support for the historical use of frankincense oil for inflammation and pain.

A 2014 study on animals noted that frankincense could be helpful for arthritis, though more human studies are needed.

Essential oil blends

Researchers in a 2012 study found a blend of essential oils to be effective in decreasing menstrual pain in terms of severity and duration. Participants used a cream containing lavender, clary sage, and marjoram to massage their lower bellies daily.

According to another study in 2013, an essential oil blend was successful in reducing discomfort and menstrual bleeding. Participants were massaged with a blend of cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender in sweet almond oil. They were massaged once daily for seven days before their periods.

Another study showed the potential of an essential oil blend to lessen pain and reduce depression in people with terminal cancer. These participants had their hands massaged with bergamot, lavender, and frankincense in sweet almond oil.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oils. This means that essential oil products can vary in purity, strength, and quality across manufacturers. Be sure to only purchase essential oils from reputable brands.

Essential oils can be inhaled or applied topically when mixed with a carrier oil. Never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. Do not swallow essential oils. Do a skin patch test before applying diluted essential oils to your skin.

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