How 5 peppery essential oils soothe sore muscles

How 5 peppery essential oils soothe sore muscles

This week’s recipe is for a muscle massage essential oil.

Essential oils can help soothe sore, sore muscles in a number of ways, especially when used during a massage. They can help:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Encourage circulation
  • Release the tension knots
  • Relieve spasms (cramps)

This muscle massage oil recipe includes five essential oils to cover all of those important points!

Each essential oil in this recipe also has a distinct peppery or spicy note in its aroma. I’ll share the recipe first and then explain why I chose to include each oil.

Peppery massage oil

  • 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 5 drops of Elemi essential oil (Canarium luzonicum)
  • 5 drops of black pepper essential oil (Piper nigrum)
  • 4 drops of sweet basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool)
  • 2 drops of Plai essential oil (Zingiber cassumunar)
  • 2 drops of anise essential oil (Pimpinella anisum)

Prepare this mixture in a 1 oz (30 ml) bottle. Mix the jojoba and essential oils, then gently shake the bottle to mix.

Massage your sore and tense muscles as needed!

This mixture is especially soothing on cold days when your muscles are tense and cold. This can warm them up and soften them.

Peppery massage oil

About the ingredients of this muscle massage essential oil

Elemi essential oil

Canarium luzonicum

Elemi has a lemon-peppery scent. It is distilled from a resin that is expressed when the elemi tree grows its large, evergreen leaves. The resin hardens on contact with air and is distilled to produce this magnificent essential oil!

Elemi is rich in re-limonene. In studies, re-Limonene has been shown to calm inflammation and release tension.

Black pepper essential oil

Piper nigrum

Black Pepper Essential Oil is distilled from sun-dried peppercorns and smells exactly like the kitchen spice!

Black pepper oil is full of beta-caryophyllene. This is one of the reasons it is so helpful in relieving muscle spasms (cramps) and soothing tender and sore spots. And the heat of black pepper stimulates a new flow of energy where it’s applied – perfect for relaxing muscles!

Sweet basil essential oil

Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool

Sweet and herbaceous with sweet notes of pepper, sweet basil oil contains more than 50% linalool.

We have a ton of research on linalool! It’s a deeply calming element, both physically and emotionally. In our peppery massage oil, linalool helps relieve tension, calm inflammation and relieve pain.

Plai essential oil

Zingiber cassumunar

Plai essential oil is a member of the ginger family.

Where ginger oil soothes pain by bringing warmth to an area, Plai actually cools. It adds balance to this mix. Plai also contains sabinene, where some of his inflammation-calming talents come from.

Anise essential oil

Pimpinella anisum

The sweet, spicy and licorice scent of anise is undeniable!

Just a few drops of anise packs a powerful punch – it can relieve spasms and inflammation like a charm! This is largely thanks to its ether component, trans-anethole.

However, there are some safety considerations that you should be aware of when it comes to trans-anethole.

In Safety of essential oils, second edition, Tisserand and Young recommend avoiding anise essential oil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have endometriosis, estrogen-related cancer, or a bleeding disorder.

Anise is also contraindicated if you are taking blood thinners. It is too strong for sensitive skin and for children under 5 years old.

If you’d like to leave the anise oil out of this mixture, go ahead. You can also replace it with any of the three tension soothing oils in this blog post: What essential oils help tight muscles?


Reduce pain with the help of essential oils

Hirota, R., Roger, N.N., Nakamura, H., Song, H.-S., Sawamura, M., and Suganuma, N. (2010) Anti-inflammatory effects of yuzu limonene (Citrus junos Tanaka) essential oil on eosinophils. Journal of Food Science 75, 87-92.

Baylac S, Racine P (2003) Inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase by essential oils and other natural scented extracts. International Journal of Aromatherapy 13 (2/3): 138-142

Peanna, A.T., D’Aquila, P.S., Panin, F., Serra, G., Pippia, P. and Moretti, M.D. (2002) Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Phytomedicine 9, 721-726.

Albuquerque AA, Sorenson AL, Leal-Cardoso JH (1995) Effects of essential oil of Zehntneri croton, and anethole and estragole on skeletal muscles. Journal of ethnopharmacology 49 (1): 41-49. Quoted by Bowles EJ (2003) The chemistry of aromatherapeutic oils 3rd edition. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin


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