Essential oils have been used for years to treat a variety of symptoms and to provide relief for certain health conditions. There is a vast library of essential oils, all with different properties that heal/benefit various symptoms.
Right now, essential oil treatment has become a hot topic within the field of neuropathy treatment. Many essential oils have been found to provide relief from symptoms and offer positive results for people who struggle with neuropathy.
Keep reading to learn more about how this form of treatment works and which essential oils have been found to work the best.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is more commonly referred to as nerve damage, and it can result from a variety of health issues. Neuropathy refers to damage of one or more nerves in the body and can cause feelings of numbness or tingling in the body.
It is also commonly referred to as “peripheral” neuropathy, as it relates to your peripheral nervous system. This system is a network of nerves that allow information/signals to travel to your central nervous system (within your brain/spinal cord). When nerve cells are damaged, it prevents your nerves from communicating with your brain – but what does this mean?
Essentially, this disruption of nerves will result in neuropathy symptoms, which may differ from case to case. Common symptoms include temporary or permanent numbness (like when your leg “falls asleep”), tingling sensations (“pins and needles”), increased sensitivity, pain, muscle weakness, or more severe symptoms. Serious cases may result in dysfunction within your organs, certain impairments, and even paralysis.
Neuropathy is a very common condition that affects about 30% of Americans and nearly 50% of adults with diabetes. The development of neuropathy may take months or years to fully progress, depending on the root cause behind it. In fact, there are more than 100 forms of neuropathy that will develop in different ways.
Research Behind Essential Oil’s Treatment of Neuropathy
There is plenty of research on the effects of essential oils; however, there is limited research on their interaction with neuropathy. Among the available studies, multiple findings represent the benefits of certain essential oils for treating symptoms of nerve pain.
Essential oils are not a cure for neuropathy. However, there is research that shows they may have a positive impact on the symptoms of neuropathy. Among the wide range of neuropathic conditions is neuralgia, which causes severe pain due to nerve damage.
In 2002, a study was performed on a 76-year-old woman who was experiencing pain from postherpetic neuralgia to look at the results of using a topical peppermint essential oil treatment. The results of this study showed that the patient experienced almost immediate relief from her neuralgia pain after applying the peppermint oil and offered relief for up to six hours.
This was one of the first studies to show promising results for essential oils as an effective treatment for neuropathy symptoms and sparked more research. By 2010, a more extensive study was done to explore the effects of an essential oil blend for foot pain resulting from neuropathy. The study was performed on a group of 60 patients with peripheral neuropathy. Out of those 60 patients, 56 of the participants reported a decrease in their pain after 30 minutes from application.
While the research is limited, several studies provide evidence that essential oils can positively affect patients with neuropathy. However, extensive research provides substantial evidence on essential oils and their abilities to provide relief from pain.
That being said, essential oils may not be directly associated with healing neuropathic pain. Still, they can provide relief for pain which is a very common & outstanding symptom of neuropathy.
The Best Essential Oils For Neuropathy Treatment
While essential oils are not a cure for neuropathy, they can provide valuable benefits to treat neuropathy symptoms. Here are some of the best essential oils for neuropathy treatment, based on the results of previous studies.
Many patients who suffer from forms of neuropathy report nerve pain & other symptoms that prevent them from sleeping. Lavender oil is known to promote a sense of relaxation, which may help patients sleep better.
In terms of treating neuropathy symptoms, a 2016 study looked at the effects of lavender oil aromatherapy on peripheral neuropathy. The results of this study showed that participants who were treated with lavender did report a significant reduction in their nerve pain, along with anti-anxiety benefits.
Lavender is also an essential oil that provides anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help relieve pain in neuropathy patients.
2. Holy Basil
This essential oil (also referred to as tulsi or Tulasi) is often used to provide benefits for people who suffer from nerve pain, among other health conditions.
In 2015, a study on animals showed that holy basil extract was able to reduce neuropathy pain on the injured nerve. Similar to lavender oil, holy basil also has anti-inflammatory properties which can significantly reduce pain.
Some people who have fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain (related to nerve signals), find that holy basil can help treat their pain symptoms.
While there is promising evidence of the use of holy basil for neuropathy, it’s best to talk to a doctor before using it for treatment.
Peppermint oil is known for its fresh, awakening scent and multiple health benefits. Among these benefits are effects that may help treat peripheral neuropathy.
We previously noted the study, which reduced pain for the patient who suffered from neuropathy symptoms. This was a result of topical treatment and was shown to relieve pain for 4-6 hours.
Peppermint oil has notable benefits for neuropathy patients, including its ability to reduce nerve pain. While it may be a helpful treatment for symptoms, it’s not an alternative to prescribed medications for nerve pain.
It’s also a potent oil that should be used with caution if applying topically (especially if you have sensitive skin).
Eucalyptus oil is also one of the most notable essential oils used to treat nerve pain.
We previously mentioned the research study, which used a blend of essential oils to treat foot pain in patients with neuropathy. The results showed a reduction of pain in most of the participants due to this treatment, and eucalyptus was one of the essential oils used in this study.
Aside from this notable result, eucalyptus also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that are ideal for soothing nerve pain.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Last but not least, tea tree oil is a versatile oil that can be explored in treatments for neuropathy.
Tea tree oil is often used by patients with neuralgia to help ease their nerve pain. There are anti-inflammatory properties within this essential oil that can help ease flare-ups of pain or other symptoms of neuropathy.
How Do You Use Essential Oils for Neuropathy?
There are many different ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. However, if your goal is to provide relief for neuropathy symptoms, you may benefit more from certain methods.
One helpful method for pain relief is through inhalation. Inhalation can work through aromatherapy, and it can provide quick relief when used through nasal inhalers.
We also discussed the use of topical essential oil methods, which can effectively treat neuropathy symptoms. However, topical application of essential oils can be very potent, so it’s important to find a blend that is safe to use on your skin.
Our essential oil blends come in roll-on form, which can be a highly beneficial method to ease pain through topical application. Many of our roll-ons include a carrier oil (i.e. coconut oil) as the first ingredient in order to prevent skin irritation.
No matter what method of essential oils you use, it may be the natural treatment you’ve been looking for to help ease your symptoms of neuropathy.