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My back hurts! Is there an oil for that?

How many people in the United States go to the doctor for back pain?

A 2012 NIH study shows that 11% of Americans had pain every day with 17% reporting severe levels of pain. Forward to 2016, where a CDC published article shows that 20% of adults in the United States has chronic pain.

Can essential oils with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-blocking therapeutic properties help my back pain?

How is pain usually treated by a physician?

The American College of Physicians guidelines for back pain generally recommend over-the-counter pain medication or an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. NSAIDS relieve pain by preventing COX enzymes from working. COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib or Celebrex block COX-2 enzymes. Some doctors prescribe prescription pain relievers.
Many people do not see a doctor for acute back pain unless it is injury specific, treating with rest and ice.

How can I use essential oils to alleviate pain?

Can essential oils with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-blocking therapeutic properties help my back pain?

If you study the data sheets of essential oils look for analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive properties. These data sheets are available from sellers of essential oils. There is a long list of essential oils that have pain modulating properties and numerous chemical components.

Oils that are high in the chemical components a-pinene, linalool (linalool) and menthol have analgesic properties. Also oils that are high in camphene, b-myrcene, and b-pinene have anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties. There are many other oils that have these therapeutic properties, but I am just listing a few here.

What are some of the therapeutic components and how can they help?

Let’s look at menthol and menthone which bring us to peppermint essential oil.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Peppermint (Mentha x peperita) is known for its cooling and pain-relieving properties because of these components. It is in many over-the-counter remedies such as Icy hot, most BenGay products and Biofreeze. Like these products, your own DIY products are for localized areas and for short term use. Robert Tisserand states that a maximum dermal use of up to 5% is safe. (2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand Young, 2014).

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has the chemical components of linalool @ 27% and linalyl acetate @ 46%. Research shows that an eight-session manual acupressure with lavender oil (3% lavender oil; used as the massage lubricant) over a three-week period in patients with nonspecific subacute neck pain (32 patients) or low back pain (61 patients) significantly alleviated the neck and back pain and improved movements of the cervical and lumbar spine.

Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2013, 681304.

In a 2017 study, Lavender angustifolia showed a reduction in pain of patient’s post-surgery for colorectal cancer. Using an inhalation of 1% lavender or 1% linalyl acetate, the study showed significant reduction to pain versus the control group.
So Hyun Yu, Geun Hee Seol, “Lavandula angustifolia Mill. Oil and Its Active Constituent Linalyl Acetate Alleviate Pain and Urinary Residual Sense after Colorectal Cancer Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2017, Article ID 3954181, 7 pages, 2017.

And finally, the other chemical component that has analgesic properties is a-pinene.

A-pinene of significant percentage, let’s say above 30% is found in pines @ around 40% for most, cypress @ 51%, juniper berry @ 36%; frankincense @ 45%. Again, it is important to check the GC/MS reports for your individual oils.

Studies of mice and frankincense oil (Boswellia carteri) revealed higher anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic effects, compared to mice administered with water extracts. Relatively more clinical studies have been found in scientific literature considering α- and β-pinene-containing plants than essential oils.

To date, most of the investigations have not studied the bioavailability of α-pinene and β-pinene in the human body, though these terpenes have antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergic properties. Although several in vivo, and more recently, few clinical studies have assessed the pinenes biological effects, further efforts are needed to deepen knowledge in this field.

Salehi, B., Upadhyay, S., Erdogan Orhan, I., Kumar Jugran, A., L D Jayaweera, S., A Dias, D., Sharopov, F., Taheri, Y., Martins, N., Baghalpour, N., Cho, W. C., & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2019). Therapeutic Potential of α- and β-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature. Biomolecules, 9(11), 738.

If alleviating pain the natural way is for you, look into a consultation that offers you the personal attention you require! I provide custom-made blends that work harmoniously with your body to enhance your well-being.

Happy blending,


Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

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Essential oils and dementia

Can there be an aromatherapy plan to help ease the symptoms for dementia patients? What does the research say?

Aromatherapy with essential oils of chamomile, lavender, marjoram and rosemary can significantly reduce agitated behavior in AD patients (Ayaz et al., 2017).

In the case of essential oils, the highest α-amylase inhibitory activities were produced by oregano leaf and lemon myrtle. The highest AChE inhibitory activity was produced by sage and was significantly higher from the rest of the essential oils. Lemon myrtle and rosemary exhibited moderate AChE activity, significantly higher than lavender, peppermint and oregano.

The nutraceutical potential(s) of fresh herbs that are commonly used in the Mediterranean diet (basil, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme) were compared by assessing their antioxidant, antidiabetic and neuroprotective activities. The highest antioxidant activity was found in extract from fresh oregano leaves, while the highest α-amylase and AChE inhibition were found in lavender leaves extract, followed by the lavender flowers extract and sage extract. α-Amylase inhibitory activities were correlated to AChE inhibition.

The consumption of fresh or powdered herbs from the mint family in culinary doses can help boost memory. This effect is enhanced if combined with the use of essential oils, topically as aromatherapy, by inhalation, and/or by ingestion.
Agatonovic-Kustrin, Snezana MSc Pharm, PhD1, *; Kustrin, Ella2; Morton, David W.3. Essential oils and functional herbs for healthy aging. Neural Regeneration Research: March 2019 – Volume 14 – Issue 3 – p 441-445 doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.245467

Therapeutic properties of herbs and oils

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) The energetic qualities of chamomile are grounding and calming. The oil can increase the actions of antidepressants. Even topically it can have an interaction with codeine and tamoxifen. (See tisserand young 2nd edition Essential oil safety, pg. 243).
As a tea, chamomile can be used as a mild relaxant; brewing under 4 minutes to avoid bitterness. Note that if allergic to ragweed, there might be an allergic reaction to chamomile. Also, Chamomile contains coumarin which is a natural blood thinner; avoid or check with medical authorities if taking a blood thinner.

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is classic for anxiety, sleep, and mood modulation due to the chemical components linalol and linalyl acetate. The uses of lavender essential oil are well known and documented. A study at the University of Florida in 2017 found that the use of lavender had the biggest effect on the frequency of agitation episodes for which a statistically significant decrease was observed, especially in the 70 – 85 age group.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. 1,8-cineole) Long known for memory enhancement, rosemary also can increase the ability to be alert. Safety data: The use of rosemary with the 1,8-cineole component at 42% should be used with caution in those with asthma.

Rosemary has been used as a memory enhancer.

Marjoram (Organium marjorana) Not the first essential oil that you would think could be used for calming the agitative state, but this oil has CNS properties that sedate and calm the mind. Marjoram and lavender blend well together when diffused.

Oregano (Origanium vulgare) Although the essential oil oregano is listed in a study for dementia patients, I have read that oregano could increase agitation due to the hot nature of the oil. I would not Use, as there are other oils which are better served for this use. The chemical component in oregano is carvacrol, which should not be used with people who are diabetics, those taking blood thinners or any blood disorders, before or after major surgery, or those with a history of peptic ulcers. Oregano oil is not recommended to diffuse or with an inhaler.

In closing

Being mindful of the studies and safety concerns with patients having dementia, the use of lavender, rosemary and marjoram essential oils and the herb chamomile can be utilized.
The use of oregano essential oil should be used with extreme caution because of the safety issues with medications and disorders.

To get started with using essential oils, check out 6 Easy to use essential oils – Just Essentials Today by going to:

Happy Blending,


“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Col 3:23