The Top 5 Natural Essential Oils for Pain Relief

While some sceptics are quick to dismiss the use of essential oils as “new age quackery,” many of these plant-derived substances have been used for centuries because they contain active compounds that science has only begun to understand within the past few decades. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are designed to mimic the actions of essential oils. Therefore, natural essential oils can serve as legitimate alternatives to many narcotics, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory medications, producing similar effects without as much toxicity or risk for severe side effects. With that said, here are the five best essential oils for pain relief:


1. CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an extract derived from hemp. Despite the controversial reputation of the plant’s sister (Cannabis) and similar cannabinoids (THC), CBD oil has been proven to suppress all types of neuropathic and inflammatory pain by targeting and occupying important pain receptors in the brain. Furthermore, there’s zero THC in CBD oil, as it is extracted from legal hemp plants, so there’s no psychoactive effect. Aside from pain relief, CBD provides a wide range of other medical benefits that go beyond the scope of this list, but you can find more information here.

2. Clary Sage

Clary sage oil is commonly used to relieve pain related to muscle spasms, headaches, cramps, and back problems. The plant is known to be a potent producer of esters like linayl acetate, which act as sedatives and antispasmodic agents, making it a useful oil for tension or muscle-related pain. In addition, it is also used as a blood pressure stabiliser, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, and to promote skin and hair health.

3. Lavender

Lavender oil massages have been used for at least 2000 years to soothe tense or sore muscles, relieve joint pain, treat rheumatism, and provide pain relief for strains and other joint and tendon problems. The plant’s essential oils, which contain high levels of the main active ingredients, linalool (51%) and linayl acetate (35%), are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and aroma-therapeutic effects both topically and via vapour inhalation.

4. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus produces essential oils that carry analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. However, it should be noted that the eucalyptus can become toxic in high amounts, so it’s better to use smaller topical doses. The oil can be worked into a lotion/cream and used as a massaging agent or applied to a bath for pain relief that is good for treating sprains, joint problems, nerve pain, and sore or strained muscles.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil is mostly used to relieve migraine headaches, but the natural menthol effect is also good for sinus headaches and opening up nasal passages. The fact that it can reduce headache pain might seem odd, as many people report that eating or smelling peppermint can make their headaches worse. Yet, when the essential oil is applied topically to the temples it has a powerful pain-numbing effect. This essential oil is often combined with carrier oils like jojoba, olive, and lavender to mellow out the aroma and enhance the effects.

Try Them All

Once you start realising just how effective these oils are, and you start experiencing the sea of aromas, exploring the world of essential oils can become an exciting hobby. Aside from that, it’s good to know how to treat different ailments and to become knowledgeable about the active ingredients, so why not start your journey by trying all five of the oils listed above?