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Can essential oils alleviate back pain?

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

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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.

Back pain is a common reason that adults go to the doctor.  Most of the time, that back pain gets better, especially when it is not related to an injury.

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.

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.

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,


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Happy Valentine’s Day Can you smell the roses post-covid?

Anosmia by definition is the loss or impairment of the sense of smell.

Statistics state that 86% of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 reported problems with their sense of smell. For them, improvement has been slow, taking upwards of 60 days for 75-85% to regain that sense. For 5% of those, some have not regained a sense of smell in 6 months, if ever. That is where smell training comes in.

What is smell training for loss of smell?

On the website: a UK organization that has awesome information on loss of smell. I highly recommend visiting and learning about this training. Joining is free, donations are accepted.

I decided to post this after I came across companies selling a set of inhalers for $22.00 on the internet. The proper use of inhalers is not the same technique used for smell training. I highly recommend

According to, the traditional oils to use for smell training are: Lemon, clove, rose and eucalyptus.

I substituted peppermint for eucalyptus for my daughter because of asthma issues with eucalyptus.
See my former blog post on eucalyptus 1-8, cineole.

Keep your smell training jars somewhere convenient so that you remember to use them twice daily. A good place is by your bed. This way you will remember to use them right after you wake up and then just before you go to sleep.

On this Valentine’s Day, may you smell the Roses.

Happy Blending,


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Eucalyptus essential oil

There are over 700 species of eucalyptus in the Myrtaceae family.

Image by sandid from Pixabay

The chemotype Globulus ( Common name- blue gum) is probably the best known and is a native of Australia. Most species are in the Oxide chemical family with 1,8-cineole being the most prominent component. These oils are good for clearing the head when experiencing a sinus issue. The oil is a stimulant and works to perk one up when tired.

The species of globulus, smithii and radiata have the highest percentage of 1,8-cineole.

SpeciesPercentage of 1,8-cineole
Eucalyptus globulus65-84%
Eucalyptus smithii77%
Eucalyptus radiata60-64%
Eucalyptus macarthurii28-29%
Eucalyptus dives0.56%
1,8-cineole content of eucalyptus chemotypes

The popular therapeutic benefits of these oils are for cold and flu relief: relief of congestion and as an expectorant.

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Eucalyptus macarthurii ( Common name-Wooly-butt gum) has 44% of the chemical component geranyl acetate. This component has analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal and choleretic modulating properties. What does that mean? This oil is good for blends other than for a cold. A muscle rub blend, foot cream, and as a digestion blend.

Other chemotypes of eucalyptus such as

Eucalyptus citriodora also called Lemon-scented gum, has no 1,8-cineole component. The citriodora chemotype has 66-86% of the chemical component citronellal. This oil is an aldehyde, used as a bug repellent, for its anti-inflammatory modulating affect, and to calm.
Eucalyptus dives (Common name-Blue peppermint gum) is great for moving mucus; use as a chest rub (diluted) or a steam.

Other uses for Eucalyptus dives is to treat tired feet in a relaxing foot bath after a long day on your feet. The refreshing scent is also good for cleaning the house. Eucalyptus dives can help even and tone the skin, especially for those prone to blemishes.

Melbourne pharmacist, Joseph Bosisto established a distillery in 1854 to gather the oil of E. radiata. He exhibited his oil at seventeen exhibitions between 1854 and 1891.

Pearson, Michael. “The Good Oil: Eucalyptus Oil Distilleries in Australia”, Australian Historical Archaeology, 11, 1993.

Eucalyptus is for more than just cold and flu season,

and the lack of 1,8-cineole in the dives chemotype makes it great to use in households with younger children. Blend with lavender, cedarwood or orange for a blend to promote relaxation (lavender), clear breathing (cedarwood) or lift spirits (orange).

Use in an inhaler or diffuser following safety guidelines-

Remember the eucalyptus chemotypes that are high in 1,8-cineole can suppress the Central Nervous System (CNS), and may impair breathing. Be safe in usage for children under 10 and those with asthma.

Happy blending,