Also called myalgia, muscle pain is commonly caused by injury, overuse or overexertion of muscles [1, 2].

It can also be a sign of various conditions including influenza, fibromyalgia, and lupus [3].

Pain can range from mild to severe, and can affect any part of the body such as the back, legs, neck and hands [4].

Muscle soreness that goes away on its own after a few days usually doesn’t cause any trouble but those that “linger for months” can prevent you from functioning optimally [4].

While finding out the cause of your muscle pain, you can get temporary but comforting relief from these essential oils.

1. Lavender

The use of aromatherapy as an alternative treatment method for pain has been proven effective in scientific research [5].

One of the best oils for this purpose is lavender.

Oil extracted from the lavender plant is found to have sedative, carminative, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties [6, 7].

Simply put, this means that it can provide pain relief, smooth the muscles, and tone down inflammation.

In a study conducted in Hong Kong, it was found that acupressure with lavender oil worked in improving the condition of people suffering from lower back pain [8].

Results were derived after conducting a randomized controlled trial involving the members of the Old-Aged Home and Women Workers Association [8].

The participants were asked to engage in an eight-session relaxation acupressure with lavender oil for three weeks [8].

Not only did the treatment method alleviate pain intensity, it also enhanced the flexibility and range of motion of the spine, and improved walking time [8].

Moreover, pain can cause stress levels to shoot up, and this is another way lavender helps.

Because it can induce relaxation, it can lower anxiety and make it easier for you to get good quality sleep at night despite the pain and discomfort.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix oils in a bowl.
  • Apply on sore muscles.
  • Massage gently for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat as needed.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary’s pharmacological activities as a diuretic, expectorant, carminative, antispasmodic and cholagogue have earned its place in traditional medicine in many parts of the world [9].

The oil derived from this plant has also been proven in various animal experimental models to inhibit inflammation and block signal pains [9, 10, 11].

The anti-inflammatory effects of rosemary have been confirmed after researchers performed carrageenan-induced edema tests [9].

Its antinociceptive activity was verified after success in the acetic acid-induced writhing test in control animal subjects [9].

A 2010 study, meanwhile, shows that rosemary oil suppresses muscle contraction, and instead relaxes it by working on the receptors in the nerve cells and boosting blood circulation [12].

All these mechanisms make this oil a reliable remedy for those suffering from muscle pain and inflammation.

Like lavender oil, rosemary also has soothing and relaxing effects on the body.

This can be useful when you’re feeling stressed out due to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms that make it difficult for you to be as productive as you usually are.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of rosemary oil
  • Hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Dip towel in hot water.
  • Squeeze to get rid of excess water.
  • Pour rosemary oil.
  • Press gently on painful areas.
  • Repeat twice a day until pain subsides.

3. Rose

An important part of the Rosaceae family of flowers, rose is not only used for ornamentation or perfumery, it is also a highly effective traditional remedy for various ailments [13].

For many years, it has been used as an antioxidant, antibacterial and antidiabetic, among many others [13].

Iranian researchers conducted an experiment to find out more about rose oil’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties [14].

Results indicate that rose extract relieved inflammatory pain, and should therefore be used in treating pain-related problems such as muscular pain [14].

Inhalation of rose oil scent also has been proven to have calming effects on the mind and body.

You can take advantage of these whenever you’re having difficulty sleeping at night due to muscular pain.

Lack of sleep will only worsen your condition so it’s imperative to get ample rest.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 5 drops of rose oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Slather mixture on the body.
  • Massage for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Repeat remedy once a day for up to one week.

4. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is much loved for its minty aroma and flavor.

When applied on the skin, it leaves a cooling and soothing feeling that’s good for those who have sore muscles.

A study featured in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reveals that eucalyptus oil efficiently relieves pain and tones down swelling, as proven in a rat paw edema test [15].

This action can be attributed to its natural analgesic compound called menthol, which works by stimulating cold receptors, blocking pain signals, and enhancing pain threshold [16].

Inhalation of eucalyptus oil works just as well in relieving pain [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 cup of organic lotion
  • 3 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add five drops of eucalyptus oil to the organic lotion.
  • Get a whole body massage.
  • Ask massage therapist to use this to massage your body.
  • Repeat remedy once a week for one month.
  • After the massage, inhale the steam of eucalyptus.
  • First, boil water in a pot.
  • Transfer hot water to a bowl.
  • Add three drops of eucalyptus oil.
  • Inhale the steam coming from the bowl.
  • Use this technique after every massage session.

5. Peppermint

A popular ingredient in food products and perfumes, peppermint oil is also widely recognized for its pharmacological effects, primarily as an antimicrobial [18].

It’s also one of the best remedies for muscle pain.

In a study that can be found in the Libyan Journal of Medicine, it was reported that peppermint demonstrated strong analgesic effects in animal subjects [19].

Its analgesic effects are observed to work on both the peripheral and central nervous system [19].

Peppermint was also confirmed to have anti-inflammatory activity, supporting its folkloric use as treatment for pain and swelling [19].

Like eucalyptus, peppermint also leaves a cooling sensation when applied on the skin.

It doesn’t only relieve the pain but also induces relaxation.

You’ll immediately feel better after applying peppermint oil on your skin, or after inhaling it as steam.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
  • 3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the first three ingredients.
  • Apply mixture on painful areas.
  • Massage for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Follow procedure once or twice a day until you feel better.
  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Pour water into a bowl.
  • Add peppermint oil.
  • Inhale the steam for a few minutes.
  • Repeat the process after every massage session.

6. Black Cumin Seed

Rich in alkaloids, proteins and saponin, the seeds of black cumin have been used all over the world to prevent and treat numerous ailments including diarrhea and asthma, among others [20].

Oil extracted from these seeds has also been found to have antipyretic, antimicrobial, antihypertensive properties [20].

Phytotherapy Research published a study confirming black cumin seed oil’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, making it a suitable remedy for muscular pain [21].

Iranian researchers reached this conclusion after performing several tests on animal subjects [21].

These tests included acetic acid-induced writhing, light tail flick, and formalin tests for pain relief and carrageenan-induced paw oedema and croton oil-induced ear oedema for anti-inflammatory mechanisms [21].

It was theorized that these actions are due to the presence of thymoquinone in black cumin [21].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of ginger oil
  • 3 drops of black cumin seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Warm ginger oil, black cumin seed oil and olive oil in a pan.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Let mixture cool a little.
  • Apply mixture on the body using a cloth.
  • Wrap body with a towel.
  • Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe off the oils.

7. Holy Basil

People use holy basil to make their dishes more delicious and aromatic.

Did you know that this potent herb is also recommended as complementary treatment for various health problems?

Its oil extract is in fact used for relieving disorders that cause pain symptoms such as in the muscles.

Several studies verify that holy basil or tulsi has significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects [22, 23].

The analgesic effects of holy basil were validated after researchers conducted tests on tail clip, tail immersion and tail flick [22].

It was observed that the oil’s ability to tone down pain are similar to that of aspirin and morphine [22].

However, since holy basil did not increase pain threshold, it was concluded that its analgesia was focused on the peripheral nervous system and not in the central nervous system [22].

A 2002 study reports that holy basil works in both acute and chronic forms of inflammation [23].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of holy basil oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients.
  • Apply mixture on your body.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Wipe off with a clean towel.
  • Repeat until muscle pain disappears.

8. Clary Sage

Here’s an interesting trivia about clary sage: salvia, the genus to which it belongs, is derived from a Latin word which means “to heal” [24].

It’s no wonder, traditional medical practitioners have capitalized on its healing powers, using it for treating heart disease, abdominal pain, hepatitis, dysmenorrhea, and many other illnesses [24].

In a study released by the Journal of Essential Oil Research, it was stated that clary sage has strong anti-inflammatory and moderate analgesic effects [25].

These actions can be attributed to its main bioactive compounds including linalool and methyl chavicol [25].

What You’ll Need:

  • 20 drops of clary sage oil
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour oil in your bath water.
  • Soak in the bath for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Repeat remedy once or twice a day for up to three weeks.

9. Ginger

There’s no denying that ginger is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the history of traditional medicine.

Its oil extract is often used for relieving muscle soreness due to overuse or injury.

Researchers from South Africa examined ginger’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in rats and yielded positive results [26].

This study also found that ginger can lower blood glucose levels [26].

This means that apart from being a useful treatment for pain and inflammatory diseases, ginger can also be used to manage type 2 diabetes.

In another study, it was noted that 5 percent ginger oil has potent anesthetic effects [27].

Not only did ginger alleviate pain in post-operative patients, it also decreased the incidence of vomiting and nausea [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of ginger oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Apply oil combination on sore muscles.
  • Massage for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Follow this remedy once a day for one to two weeks.

10. Marjoram

Another herbal extract that you should try to alleviate muscular pain is marjoram.

There’s evidence that aromatic oil massage using marjoram oil can reduce intensity and duration of pain [28].

That’s because marjoram contains anagelsic components that work in relieving soreness [28].

The study done focused on menstrual pain, but marjoram’s analgesia is applicable to other types of pain as well.

What You’ll Need:

  • 20 drops of marjoram oil
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour marjoram oil into bath water.
  • Swish with your fingers to blend oil to the water.
  • Sit in the bath for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Do this treatment once a day for one week.

11. Black Pepper

Black pepper is often depicted in media as the spice that makes you sneeze.

Did you know that this is a highly beneficial herb that can cure a wide range of diseases?

Its oil extract is in fact a powerful remedy for muscle pain and soreness.

When applied topically, you’ll feel its warm effects on the skin.

As you can imagine, it has similar pain relieving effects as a warm compress.

Various studies have confirmed black pepper’s analgesic effects through different experimental models involving animal subjects [29, 30, 31].

It doesn’t only work on sore muscles, it also has positive effects on people suffering from migraine, headache, rheumatoid arthritis and tooth pain [31].

Moreover, black pepper is not only a cure for pain, but can also serve as a preventive measure.

It can be used as a pre-exercise regimen to prevent pain and stiffness resulting from the overuse of muscles.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of black pepper oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine black pepper and olive oils.
  • Use this oil mixture to massage painful muscles.
  • Repeat procedure twice a day for one to two weeks.

12. Thyme

You love thyme for its enticing scent and wonderful flavor.

You’ll appreciate it even more when you find out that its oil extract has pain relieving actions that you can take advantage of when you have sore muscles.

It is believed that thyme has the ability to boost blood circulation and speed up muscle recovery.

A study conducted in the Semnan University of Medical Sciences in Semnan, Iran reports that thyme has potent antinociceptive effects [32].

It is also an efficient anti-inflammatory agent, thanks to its active components such as thymol and carvacrol [32].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Transfer boiled water to a bowl.
  • Add thyme oil.
  • Soak a towel in the water.
  • Wring out to get rid of excess liquid.
  • Press warm towel on affected muscles.
  • Leave it on for a few minutes.
  • Massage the sore muscles gently.
  • Use this procedure two to three times a day for up to two weeks.

Even the simplest tasks that you normally do everyday can be challenging when you’re in pain.

Muscle pain and stiffness can indeed hamper your performance and productivity.

Use these essential oil remedies to relieve muscular pain so you can go back to your normal routine.

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