Can I Calm Neuropathic Pain With Essential Oils? - Step To Health

Can I Calm Neuropathic Pain With Essential Oils?

Essential oils have properties that can be useful for treating neuropathic pain. But, are they effective? In this article, we'll tell you what options are available and what the studies say.
Can I Calm Neuropathic Pain With Essential Oils?

Last update: 03 October, 2021

In recent years, specialists have been investigating diverse treatments to help calm neuropathic pain.

However, as explained in the Journal for the Spanish Pain Society (Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor), managing this kind of symptom is complex and usually requires pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical intervention.

Neuropathic pain is a type of pain that develops as a result of an injury or nerve damage. According to estimates, it affects between 7 and 10 % of the general population, with the elderly being the most affected. Specifically, it’s common in patients with chronic post-surgery pain, postherpetic neuralgia, and diabetic neuropathy.

However, specialists also link it to other chronic illnesses. Regardless, the most common form is periphytic diabetic neuropathy, which affects up to 50% of patients with diabetes. Generally, along with the pain, patients experience tingling, inflammation, and numbness.

However, is it possible to calm this pain with essential oils? According to some investigations, this kind of natural remedy can help alleviate pain. The evidence is limited, however, so we should proceed with caution.

Keep reading to find out the role essential oils play in this!

Essential oils to calm neuropathic pain

As we mentioned at the beginning, treating neuropathic pain is complex and requires professional intervention. Although options like essential oils can be useful to provide the sensation of relief, these don’t substitute medical treatment. If you decide to use them, remember the advice we give you in this article.

St. John’s wort essential oil

In natural medicine, people have been taking advantage of St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) when it comes to improving mood in cases of anxiety and depression for years. However, an individual case study opened the possibility that it works as a complementary treatment for neuropathic pain.

According to the investigation published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, a patient with trigeminal neuralgia – a type of nerve pain that affects the face – found an improvement when using a homeopathic solution with St. John’s wort. For that reason, the authors concluded that the extracts of this plant were promising as a therapeutic option for this kind of pain. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence to confirm this.

dried st john's wort on a plate on a table ready for an infusion

Holy basil essential oil for neuropathic pain

Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is an aromatic plant that has the scientific name Ocimum sanctum. According to collected data published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, its medicinal properties include antimicrobial, antidiarrheal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory action. It also has potential analgesic and immunomodulating properties.

In a study published in 2015, essential oil from this plant demonstrated positive effects against sciatic nerve pain in mice. For that reason, many people believe that it can be useful against neuropathic pain. However, the evidence for this is lacking and more study is needed to confirm these effects in humans.

Chamomile essential oil

Chamomile essential oil contains a substance called borneol. According to a study in the European Journal of Pharmacology, this compound can be useful when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation that neuropathy causes. In this study, borneol reduced the sensitivity to pain that rats with neuropathic pain felt.

However, as with previous cases, the effects of this essential oil on humans are still yet to be confirmed. Despite this, this kind of essential oil is safe to use and in popular literature, many people praise it for its calming effects.

chamomile essential oil on a table with chamomile flowers
Chamomile demonstrated its effects in studies with animals, but there still isn’t solid evidence for its ability to calm neuropathic pain in humans.

Ginger essential oil for neuropathic pain

There isn’t a lot of evidence that supports ginger essential oil being good for calming neuropathic pain. However, the studies have found analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in this natural product. This is due to its content of a compound we know as zingibain, which shows beneficial effects against inflammatory issues.

How can you use these essential oils to calm neuropathic pain?

First of all, remember that you should only use these oils as a complement to traditional treatment. Given the lack of evidence about its efficiency, there’s a possibility they may not work in some cases. You can use it in aromatherapy or apply it topically.

To get started put the oil in the diffuser, or drop it into hot water to inhale the vapor. If you want to apply it topically, mix the essential oil with a carrying oil. This can be olive, almond, or coconut oil. About 5 drops per spoonful should be enough.

What you should remember

You can buy essential oils from health or cosmetic shops. However, when it comes to getting them, make sure you only choose essential oils from accredited brands. Also, you should read the instructions and labels on the products.

Pure essential oils are quite concentrated and can be toxic. For that reason, you shouldn’t ingest them and you should always use small amounts. Additionally, when it comes to applying it to your skin, you should combine it with a carrying oil. If you notice any unfavorable reaction, wash it with a lot of water and stop using it.

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