5 Best Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

Have you tried using essential oils for muscle pain?

We all knew it. We come home after a long day of work or spending hours on the field. We sit down, and suddenly, there is this dull, numbing pain in your neck, biceps, legs, and calves. Welcome to the arms of muscular pain.

Muscle pain is a very common complaint, and it happens to everyone. Most people do not realize how debilitating it is. Muscle pain is often characterized as dull, crushing discomfort that is hard to localize.

It persists and lingers throughout the day. The discomfort it causes may not be enough to cause disability, but enough to affect the way you move about.

Not everyone experience relief from simple rest. In most cases, most find store-bought painkillers inadequate. Some just wait it out until the pain goes away. If you have trouble coping with muscle pain on an almost daily basis, you will find this article useful.

It is important to understand some physiology of the muscles. Your muscles are soft tissues composed of living muscle fibers. Being soft tissues, these muscle fibers sustain damage or injury when you do heavy work.

Muscles also sustain trauma when you lift too hard or run a marathon, resulting in tears in the muscle fibers that cause pain. Muscle pain will not go away unless the muscle fibers recover their integrity.

Some essential oils, the volatile compounds extracted from plants, work for muscle pain through various ways. There is considerable evidence that they work.

A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed how a cream made from 3% essential oils of marjoram, peppermint, black pepper, and lavender reduced pain and increased tolerance to pain in participants suffering from neck pain, a very common complaint.

Top Essential Oil Muscle Relaxer

  • Frankincense essential oil
  • Peppermint and eucalyptus oil
  • Black pepper oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Basil oil

So let us discuss the best candidate oils and the available evidence.

Frankincense essential oil

Frankincense & Myrrh

If you are familiar with the scent of smoky incense, you probably smelled frankincense, the resin obtained from the sap of the Boswellia tree. Aside from use as incense, frankincense is also processed into essential oil for use in cosmetics and perfumery.

Preliminary research suggests that frankincense contains compounds that inhibit pain when taken orally. Therefore, your best choice is purchase supplements containing frankincense essential oil.

Peppermint and eucalyptus oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

These essential oils are easily found in stores. They are often found together because they have similar effects. Like most essential oils. peppermint has several volatile components. Meanwhile, eucalyptus has a soothing cooling effect on the skin.

These oils may be helpful for relieving minor muscle pain. The cooling effect may mask the pain. It also increases skin temperature and blood flow that may help improve recovery of damaged muscle fibers.

However, these oils may be more beneficial to people with a headache, which is sometimes caused by tense muscles in the head. To use, apply diluted essential oils in large patches on the forehead and temples using a small sponge.

Black pepper oil

Pepper Grains

Black pepper is not just a condiment for steaks and pasta. Research suggests it may be good for muscle pain. Black pepper is known for its pain-relieving properties.

It may help reduce inflammation, which is very common in tired muscles. Many components of black pepper oil are absorbed and have an effect on the body.

For resolving muscle pain, the best practice is taking black pepper essential oil orally. You consume black pepper as a spice anyway, so the essential oil is very safe for you.

Just mix few drops of black pepper oil with two tablespoons of thick cream and consume every 2 hours.

Lavender oil

Lavender Essential Oil Bottle

Lavender is better known for its very agreeable smell.  A lit lavender candle or a few spritz of lavender oil in a room makes it a more relaxing.

Aside from making you sleepy, lavender may work for muscle pain because it accelerates healing, which means it can be helpful for speeding up the repair of torn muscle fibers responsible for muscle pain.

For muscle pain, the best method to use lavender is still aromatherapy. Spray it around your room before you sleep. You can also try applying diluted lavender oil on affected muscles; do it right after a shower so your skin pores are still open.

Basil oil

Fresh Basil

This flavorful oil may be a good remedy for muscle pain. Basil oil is rich in monoterpenes, a class of volatile oils with effect on the body.

In a study, basil oil is documented to have some ameliorating properties for fibromyalgia, a complicated health problem that causes persistent muscle pain. Taking the essential oil may help improve pain tolerance and reduce pain levels.

So again, take basil oil orally for muscle pain relief. You consume partly-cooked basil leaves in pasta anyway, so its essential oil is very safe. Try taking it every two hours. Try adding it to your pasta or bread!


The effectiveness of essential oils for patients with neck pain: a randomized controlled study. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Oct;20(10):771-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0453. Epub 2014 Sep 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192562

Analgesic effects of crude extracts and fractions of Omani frankincense obtained from traditional medicinal plant Boswellia sacra on animal models. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2014 Sep;7S1:S485-90. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(14)60279-0. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25312172

Effects of a topically applied counterirritant (Eucalyptamint) on cutaneous blood flow and on skin and muscle temperatures. A placebo-controlled study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1991 Feb;70(1):29-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1994967

Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia. 1994 Jun;14(3):228-34; discussion 182. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7954745

Anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects of piperine in human interleukin 1β-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes and in rat arthritis models. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009; 11(2): R49. Published online 2009 Mar 30. doi: 10.1186/ar2662 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2688199/

Effects of piperine, the pungent component of black pepper, at the human vanilloid receptor (TRPV1) Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Mar; 144(6): 781–790. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1576058/

Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat model BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16: 144. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/

Monoterpenes. Science Direct. http://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/monoterpenes

Cyclodextrin-Complexed Ocimum basilicum Leaves Essential Oil Increases Fos Protein Expression in the Central Nervous System and Produce an Antihyperalgesic Effect in Animal Models for Fibromyalgia. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/16/1/547/htm

Dr. Sachin

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