Pain is one of the frequently encountered discomfort by mankind throughout the thousand years of our existence. The most common kind of pain is muscle pain or soreness of the different muscle groups. For thousands of years, our ancestors have sought different ways to give a cure to this age old discomfort. Some have found herbs that can be turned into oils which can help soothe soreness and inflammation of the muscles.
Here is the list of the most common essential oils for sore muscles.
Lavender – Aside from its scent, lavender has been proven to decrease muscle pain. In two different studies, it has been shown to have decreased pain levels and pain duration in patients with dysmenorrhea (1) and neck pain (2). In another study, it has been shown that lavender inhibits the inflammatory reaction in human monocyte THP-1 cells, which reduces the pain felt and its duration.
Marjoram – A common spice, marjoram has shown that it can decrease pain levels and duration, together with lavender and clary sage, in patients with dysmenorrhea (2).
Clary Sage – As mentioned in the previous entry, clary sage has been used to treat discomfort brought about by PMS and the menstrual cycle. Its action primarily disrupts the transport of impulses to the brain by relaxing the nerve impulses, thus perceived pain level is decreased (3).
Lemongrass – Another mainstay in the kitchen, lemongrass has been found to supress the action of cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme responsible for the expression of the inflammatory cascade in the body, one symptom of which is pain (4).
Rosemary – In a study done in 2015, rosemary has been found to have increased the latency time for rats to feel thermal-induced pain, while being an adjunct therapy to paracetamol and codeine (5).
Rosemary’s main components are carsenol, betulinic and ursolic acid, all of which helps aid in the anti-inflammatory effect of the essential oil (6).
Sandalwood – Commonly used in alternative Indian medicine, sandalwood has been found to inhibit the inflammatory and oxidative effect in pain (7).
Peppermint – Aside from the common analgesic effect, peppermint also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effect (8).
Chamomile – Primarily used for its calming effects, chamomile have also displayed pain relieving effects in two separate studies )9), (10). Aside from this, chamomile also have positive significant effects in physical functioning of stiff joints (10).
Thyme – Aside from adding flavour, thyme can also be used to decrease muscle pain, as it has proven to have analgesic properties similar to common analgesic medications (11).
Eucalyptus – A common treatment for colds, cough, and fever in some countries, eucalyptus have also analgesic effects which reduces pain and inflammation (12).
Although many researches have been done regarding the said essential oils and their effects on pain, caution should be practiced, as additional researches have yet to establish the effects of essential oils on different population groups. Use of the essential oils as adjunct therapy to pain medications is also promoted by the field of medicine.
6. Beninca, J.P., Dalmarco, J.B., Pizzolatti, M.G., Frode, T.S., 2011. Analysis of the antiinflammatory properties of Rosmarinus officinalis L. in mice. Food Chem. 124, 468–475