Best known for their healing properties, essential oils have been used by people for thousands of years.
Not only do they calm the mind and body but they also treat a number of conditions.
One such condition is neuropathy or nerve damage, which may cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the affected areas.
For diabetic people, it usually targets the legs and feet. In severe cases, neuropathy can lead to digestive issues and affect your heart rate.
Neuropathy essential oils can help relieve some of these symptoms. The most popular ones include:
1. Ginger Oil
Ginger oil is one of the best neuropathy essential oils out there. It is infused with a compound called zingibain that possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
This compound is believed to help reduce neuropathic pain resulting from inflammation.
A study conducted in 2014 compared the effectiveness of Swedish massage using aromatic ginger oil with a traditional Thai massage in 140 older adults who had chronic pain in the lower back region.
Researchers observed that both treatments relieved pain but the aromatic ginger oil was more effective in relieving pain and helping with disability.
2. Chamomile Oil
Borneol, an essential compound in chamomile and lavender essential oils may help relieve neuropathic pain and inflammation.
A 2015 study conducted on mice revealed that borneol reduced the sensitivity of pain related to neuropathy.
Roman chamomile is also believed to help in soothing painful muscles.
A study conducted in 2014 concluded that Roman chamomile oil could be used to treat inflammation disorders. Researchers also observed that it helped in lowering the levels of oxidative stress.
3. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is packed with antioxidants, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agents. These properties may help in regulating the immune system.
People have been using peppermint essential oil for years to relax muscles, relieve pain, and control muscle spasms.
Researchers conducted a study in 2002 and found that a 76-year-old woman with neuralgia who used topical peppermint oil experienced a significant improvement in her condition.
She had been resistant to many other standard therapies and treatments but with peppermint oil, her pain was relieved almost immediately.
This effect lasted for about 4-6 hours after topical application of the oil.
Some evidence also suggests that peppermint oil can help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion.
Apart from this, the findings of a 2019 systematic review confirm that peppermint oil may be beneficial in treating gastrointestinal pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Lavender Oil
People have been using lavender oil for relaxing their body, calming their anxiety, and reducing pain.
Generally, lavender is known for relieving pain and improving the quality of sleep.
A 2014 study conducted on lab animals suggested that lavender oil could be used to induce a relaxing and calming effect.
Researchers concluded that the plant extract of lavender possessed powerful anti-convulsant and anti-spasm properties.
Several other animal and human studies imply that it can be used as an effective treatment option for several neurological disorders considering its neuroprotective properties.
A study conducted in 2016 investigated the effectiveness of aromatherapy during peripheral venous cannulation.
In this procedure, a tube with a needle is inserted into a peripheral vein. A group of 106 people was supposed to undergo the treatment procedure.
The researchers randomly assigned them to receive either aromatherapy infused with lavender essential oil or a placebo.
After the cannulation, they observed that people who had received lavender treatment experienced a significantly reduced level of pain and anxiety as compared to those in the placebo group.
5. St. John’s Wort Oil
St. John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum has been used as a traditional remedy for anxiety and depression.
People also use its extract for treating burns, inflammation, and nerve pain.
A case report published in 2017 talked about the condition of a person with trigeminal neuralgia – a type of nerve pain that targets the face.
It was observed that a homeopathic preparation of St. John’s Wort greatly helped in relieving the symptoms.
The authors of the report concluded that it could be an effective treatment option for treating nerve pain.
6. Holy Basil
Also called tulsi or tulasi, holy basil is an aromatic plant growing throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian continent.
People who practice Ayurvedic medicine have been using it for treating various conditions, including nerve pain.
A study conducted in 2015 found that holy basil extract worked wonders in reducing sciatic nerve pain in rats.
How To Use Neuropathy Essential Oils
You may either inhale the neuropathy essential oils or use them topically as massage oils.
Some people also like to add a few drops of the essential oil to bathwater, diffuser, or even soft furnishings such as pillows.
In case you plan to use these oils during a massage treatment, make sure that you dilute them first in a carrier oil, such as almond or olive oil.
Then, you can simply massage the affected area with gentle strokes and movements.
Are There Any Risks Or Other Considerations?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies essential oils as cosmetic products, which means that they do not regulate their safety and quality.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you purchase these oils from reliable, reputable sources only. Also, don’t forget to read the labels and directions before use.
If you’re opting for aromatherapy for any kind of nerve pain, you must know that it uses essential oils, either in a diffuser or a massage.
That being said, pure essential oils are highly concentrated and hence, some might be toxic. So, you shouldn’t ingest them directly.
Even if you want to use them as a topical ailment, you must first dilute them in a carrier oil before introducing them to your skin.
Always look for the labels and directions provided by manufacturers on how to dilute and use the oils safely.
It’s important to note that some essential oils may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people.
Hence, you should first do a patch test when using essential oil for the first time.
Apply some diluted oil to the back of the hand or a small area on your forearm. Don’t use it if it makes your skin dry, itchy, or red.
Furthermore, essential oils may interact with certain medications, particularly anti-depressants and stimulants.
Thus, if you’re taking prescription medicines, you must first consult your doctor for safe use of neuropathy essential oils.
The bottom line is that neuropathy essential oils look like a promising alternative treatment option as opposed to chemical-infused medicines.
Many of these oils have amazing neuroprotective properties that seem to be beneficial for relieving various symptoms of different types of nerve pain and inflammation.
Just don’t forget to consult with your doctor before starting to use them!
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