The Best Essential Oils for Nerve Pain (and Neuropathy)
Essential oils can help with a wide range of conditions, including nerve pain, which is notoriously difficult to treat using standard pain medications. Different essential oils have different effects, so it’s important to know the best essential oils for nerve pain.
Many plants have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help soothe your pain and bring you some relief. Their potent essential oils, when combined with carrier oils, are easy to apply to painful areas.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is well-known for its calming properties, but it can also act as a pain reliever. A 2014 study found that lavender had a relaxing effect on lab animals. The researchers confirmed that this aromatic plant has both anti-spasm and anticonvulsant properties.
In another study, researchers analyzed the effects of lavender essential oil on ICU patients, 50% of which were on ventilators. Patients were given foot massages using lavender essential oil. The oil was effective at reducing pain as well as improving blood pressure, heart rate, wakefulness and respiratory rate.
Diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil), lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the area where you’re experiencing pain. It can also be combined with other essential oils, like the ones listed below, to amplify the pain-relieving effects.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Much like lavender, peppermint essential oil is known for its pain-relieving properties. It can also help relax your muscles and control muscle spasms. Peppermint essential oil can also be combined with DMSO to increase absorption and pain relieving properties.
One study found that topical application of peppermint oil helped one woman with her neuralgia. Conventional therapies failed to help with her pain, but she felt almost immediate relief when using peppermint oil. In her case, the pain relief lasted six hours after application.
Peppermint’s pain-relieving properties may be due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects.
Bergamot Essential Oil
The bergamot plant produces a citrus fruit that’s a cross between a lemon and an orange. The essential oil is extracted from the peel of this fruit and is believed to have several beneficial properties.
Its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties may help people suffering from nerve pain or neuropathy.
Research shows that bergamot oil can help alleviate tension in the body. It may also play a role in blocking pain transmission and other nerve impulses. In fact, a 2015 study found that bergamot essential oil was effective at reducing neuropathic pain.
To help with nerve pain, combine bergamot oil with your preferred carrier oil and apply to the affected area.
Geranium Essential Oil
Although it’s most known for its pleasant scent, geranium essential oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with nerve pain and neuropathy. One study found that this essential oil may help with shingles pain. Shingles can often cause postherpetic neuralgia, which is a painful condition that affects nerve fibers. In this particular study, topical application of geranium essential oil reduced shingles-related nerve pain within minutes of application.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties are well-known and researched. But when it comes to nerve pain relief, this potent herb may also be effective.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to a compound called zingibain. Zingibain may help alleviate neuropathic pain caused by inflammatory conditions.
A study from 2014 looked at the effects of using ginger oil during a Swedish massage and compared it to the effects of a conventional Thai massage. All 140 participants had chronic lower back pain.
Both therapies helped improve pain, but the Swedish massage with ginger oil was more effective at reducing the pain.
Holy Basil Oil
Also known as tulsi or tulasi basil, holy basil is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia and India. It’s often used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including nerve pain.
One study from 2015 found that holy basil was able to reduce sciatic nerve pain in rats.
Another animal study found that Tulsi basil’s antioxidant effects may reduce free radical damage and other indications of oxidative damage while reducing pain perception.
Holy basil can be combined with other essential oils to help alleviate nerve pain, or it can be used alone (diluted with a carrier oil) and applied to the affected area.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Known for its wide range of uses, rosemary is easily one of the most popular essential oils out there. But when it comes to pain relief – including nerve pain – rosemary is impressive.
Rosemary is known for stimulating circulation, which can help with many types of pain. It can also relax muscle fibers to further provide relief.
For localized relief, combine rosemary essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to the area where you’re experiencing pain. Rosemary can also be combined with DMSO for additional relief.
St. John’s Wort Oil
Although it’s best known for its anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties, St. John’s wort may also be effective at alleviating nerve pain. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, St. John’s wort may be used to ease pain associated with sciatica and rheumatoid arthritis.
One case report found that St. John’s wort helped with symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia, a type of nerve pain that affects the face.
Essential Oil Blends
There are many essential oil blends specifically designed for nerve pain, and you can find blends of essential oils for neuropathy.
One 2017 study from Turkey found that massaging the hands and feet of patients with diabetes-related neuropathy helped reduce pain by 66%. Patients who received medical care but no massage saw just a 9% decline in pain. For this study, researchers used a blend of lavender, lemon eucalyptus, geranium, blue chamomile and rosemary essential oils. Coconut oil was the carrier oil.
Another small study involving 60 people found that a mixture of essential oils helped reduce neuropathy pain. For this study, researchers used a blend of bergamot, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils. Patients sprayed the mixture onto their feet. Nearly all – 93% – said their pain was reduced 30 minutes later.
Essential oils, when used properly, can help alleviate your nerve pain or neuropathy. Some bring immediate pain relief and can be applied as needed to help keep your pain under control.