19th September 2022
5 Essential Oils for NeuropathyDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Nerve damage can occur after traumatic injuries, viruses, vitamin deficiencies, or be induced medically (such as with chemotherapy). Nerve damage most commonly occurs in people with diabetes in what is known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a term used to describe nerve damage and the symptoms associated with it.
Symptoms of neuropathy can include pain in the hands and feet that feels like a tingling, burning sensation. It may also cause loss of feeling or sensation in the affected body parts, which can be anywhere on the body. The search for a cure for neuropathy is still ongoing. As of now, treatment consists of medication and other therapeutic measures aimed at relieving symptoms.
Prescription medications and therapy treatments can be costly and long-term prescription drug use is potentially harmful. There is a need for natural alternatives to treating neuropathy pain. Essential oils have long been promoted in alternative medicine for having numerous health benefits, but can they help with neuropathy?
What Science Says About Neuropathy and Essential Oils
Essential oils are oils extracted from plants and herbs. These oils are often used in skincare for topical use or as incense to be inhaled through the air. One 2017 Turkish study revealed that massaging diabetic-neuropathic subjects with essential oils for 30 minutes, 3 times a week for a month reduced their neuropathy pain by 66%. The study used a combination of diluted lemon, blue chamomile, lavender, rosemary, geranium, eucalyptus essential oils as well as coconut oil.
Another study from 2019-2020 done on subjects with diabetic neuropathy used lavender oil to massage subjects' feet for 10 minutes nightly for a month. The study found that aromatherapy massage with lavender reduced neuropathy pain and improved the subject's quality of life 2-4 weeks after massages were implemented.
While it’s possible in both studies that essential oils played a part in pain relieving results, it’s also possible that the massage itself may have produced pain-relieving benefits. However, another study that included 60 people with diabetic neuropathy used an essential oil mixture spray on their hands and feet, without massage. Almost all subjects reported reduced neuropathic pain in their feet only 30 minutes later.
5 Essential Oils for Neuropathy
Essential oils can be made from almost any kind of plant or herb. But which ones are best for treating neuropathy? Below, are 5 of the most commonly used essential oils for neuropathy, including the studies done backing up their positive effects.
1. Roman Chamomile
Chamomile, specifically Roman chamomile, is said to be beneficial in relieving anxiety, muscle cramps, and even arthritic pain. Roman chamomile has also been shown to be helpful in reducing inflammation.
One study found that Roman chamomile helped reduce symptoms of inflammation disorders. It also helped decrease oxidative stress. Massaging Roman chamomile oil into the skin may help to relieve painful muscles and inflammation associated with neuropathy.
Peppermint is a popular herb used in many candies and gum for its refreshing taste. Peppermint essential oil may also be beneficial in controlling muscle spasms and relieving pain in neuropathic patients.
One study involving a 76-year-old woman found that topical peppermint oil helped treat the woman’s neuralgia. She saw almost immediate pain relief from her symptoms after use which lasted 4-6 hours after use.
Lavender is best known for its relaxing and calming effects. You may have used lavender-infused sprays on your pillows to help you sleep or drank it in a tea.
Lavender essential oil may also be useful for relieving pain in diabetic neuropathic subjects. There’s also evidence to suggest that lavender may provide anticonvulsant and anti-spasm effects on lab rats.
4. Holy Basil
Holy basil extract has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain in neuropathic subjects.
A 2015 study found that the herb extract produced pain-relieving effects on people with neuropathy-related pain. Holy basil extract may also be beneficial for people suffering from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition related to nerve signals.
Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree native to Australia. It’s said to provide numerous health benefits, including being useful in treating neuropathy pain.
When combined with a mix of other essential oils, eucalyptus oil may help reduce pain and inflammation in people with neuropathy symptoms.
How Can You Use Essential Oils for Neuropathy?
Before using essential oils, make sure you do your research to find a trustworthy brand. Make sure your essential oils are pure and not filled with added fillers or harmful ingredients. Essential oils are not meant to be consumed. You should only use essential oils topically or when diffused into the air.
For use topically, make sure to test a small amount on a small area of skin in case you’re allergic or sensitive. Follow the directions for use on your product's label or dilute the essential oil with olive oil or coconut oil. Apply the oil topically or massage it into the skin in areas you feel pain. Essential oils can also be added to bath water or diffused in the air and inhaled.
Essential oils should not be used in place of your doctor-prescribed medication or treatment plan. Neuropathy is a complicated health disorder that requires a multi-faceted approach to treatment. However, including essential oil use in your treatment plan may be beneficial in improving pain symptoms.
Essential oils for Neuropathy: The Takeaway
Neuropathy is a challenging disorder to treat and one that can greatly impair your quality of life. There is a need for natural treatment options as alternatives to expensive and sometimes harmful medical interventions.
Essential oils along with natural dietary supplements, such as NeuraZenx, may be helpful in providing safe and effective pain relief for neuropathy.
Like essential oils, NeuraZenx contains natural plant ingredients shown to be beneficial for treating symptoms of neuropathy. Natural supplements are non-habit forming and are associated with very few adverse side effects.
A combination of topical or aromatherapy essential oils and dietary supplements may be beneficial to neuropathic individuals looking for a natural approach to treatment.