Can peppermint essential oil help reduce muscle and joint pains?
By: Kathy Sadowsk, MS in Aromatherapy, Registered Aromatherapist, LMT
Peppermint has demonstrated anti-nociceptive and analgesic actions in multiple studies, especially with respect to its menthol constituent. For pain in a local area, make a peppermint muscle rub that both reduces pain and inflammation. Try this easy recipe and rub into a local area.
Peppermint Muscle Rub
- 2 ounces of coconut oil
- 1 ounce of bee’s wax
- 40 drops of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint Muscle Rub Instructions
Melt the coconut oil and beeswax in a pan or double boiler. Do not overheat. Remove from heat and add the essential oil. Pour into container with lid. The salve will harden in less than an hour.
Use as a muscle and joint rub. Peppermint essential oil is not appropriate for young children, pregnant ladies, or those with certain medical conditions. Skin patch test and discontinue use if irritation occurs.
Click here to read more about peppermint essential oil safety.
Studies on Peppermint for Pain and Inflammation
- Topical application of menthol on humans affected nociceptors to reduce pain. From: Wasner, G., Schattschneider, J., Binder, A., & Baron, R. (2004). Topical menthol—a human model for cold pain by activation and sensitization of C nociceptors. Brain, 127(5), 1159-1171.
- Acupressure using lavender, rosemary, and peppermint was more effective than just acupressure alone in relieving shoulder pain in stroke patients. From: Shin, B. C., & Lee, M. S. (2007). Effects of aromatherapy acupressure on hemiplegic shoulder pain and motor power in stroke patients: a pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(2), 247-252.
- Menthol showed potential as a topical analgesic. From: Green, B. G., & McAuliffe, B. L. (2000). Menthol desensitization of capsaicin irritation: evidence of a short-term anti-nociceptive effect. Physiology & Behavior, 68(5), 631-639.
- Menthol improved the analgesic efficacy of tetracaine gel, likely in related to enhanced percutaneous permeation. From: Liu, Y., Ye, X., Feng, X., Zhou, G., Rong, Z., Fang, C., & Chen, H. (2005). Menthol facilitates the skin analgesic effect of tetracaine gel. International journal of pharmaceutics, 305(1), 31-36.
- Mentha piperita, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Apium graveolens, Eucalyptus camaldulentis, and Ruta graveolens possessed an anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in rodents. From: Atta, A. H., & Alkofahi, A. (1998). Anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of some Jordanian medicinal plant extracts. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 60(2), 117-124.
- There were antinociceptive and local anaesthetic effects of thymol and menthol in rats. From: Haeseler, G., Maue, D., Grosskreutz, J., Bufler, J., Nentwig, B., Piepenbrock, S., … & Leuwer, M. (2002). Voltage-dependent block of neuronal and skeletal muscle sodium channels by thymol and menthol. European journal of anaesthesiology, 19(08), 571-579.
- Applications of menthol and cooling reduced skin itching. From: Bromma, B., Scharein, E., Darsow, U., & Ring, J. (1995). Effects of menthol and cold on histamine-induced itch and skin reactions in man. Neuroscience letters, 187(3), 157-160.