Essential Oils 101: Using Essential Oils for Muscle-Related Pain Relief

This week instead of profiling an essential oil like we’ve been doing (read Neroli, Cinnamon, Frankincense, and Tea Tree) we’re going to focus on a health issue and see what essential oils can provide relief. I put up a poll in the Learning About Essential Oils Facebook group and “Muscles” was the topic with the most votes.

Before I begin I want to explain why I won’t be steering you towards a specific brand in this post. The reason is quite simple: I have no idea which essential oils are good quality and I don’t want to recommend one based on my ability to make commissions off of you. What I have been doing since February 1st is raising donations to cover the cost of a chemist testing samples of Frankincense oils from Young Living, doTERRA, Mountain Rose Herbs, Aura Cacia, and Essential Vitality. The chemist will test these oils ($200/sample) on his GC/MS and let us know what the constituents really are. It would be wonderful to find out they are essentially the same so we can pick and choose where to spend our money, but we may find out you really get what you pay for. Our goal is to reach $1,000, and we are 70% of the way there already. Thank you to all who have donated thus far.

If you have not donated yet, but would like to, please send PayPal funds using the Personal tab and then click Gift (no fees, please!) to If you have a website (even a “commercial” one), you may be interested to know that with a $25+ donation I will list your website on my home page as a sponsor. $40 will get you underlined and bolded. Simply note your website when you send your donation and I’ll set it up. Thank you!

Using Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

The types of muscle-related pains are listed below, along with the oils that are most helpful. Unless otherwise noted, the oils are to be used topically.More information on how to use the oils is given at the end of the post.

General Muscle Pain

The best general-purpose essential oils to have on hand for muscle pain are Marjoram and Peppermint followed by Balsam Fir, Basil, Birch, Cypress, Ginger, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Silver Fir, Spanish Sage, Vetiver, White Fir, and Wintergreen.

Aches and Pains

If you are achy due to sickness, have fibromyalgia, or connective tissue pain, these essential oils are most helpful: Birch, Clove, Marjoram, Oregano, and Peppermint followed by Ginger, Helichrysum, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, White Fir, and Wintergreen.

Cardiac Muscle

Yes, your heart is a muscle. Marjoram and Lavender work best, followed by Cinnamon, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Use topically or put in a diffuser for aromatic use.

Cartilage Injury

Birch, Marjoram, and Wintergreen are best for this injury. Lemongrass and Peppermint are also helpful.


To energize the muscles before a workout, use Rosemary. It warms the muscles and helps them to stretch for optimal performance.

Leg/Foot Cramps

Often prevented by staying hydrated, sometimes brought on my strain or lack of blood flow. Lemongrass, Marjoram, and Peppermint are the best oils for relief, followed by Basil, Clary Sage, Cypress, Grapefruit, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, and Vetiver.


These essential oils are best for muscle fatigue: Cypress, Marjoram, Peppermint, and White Fir. Eucaluptus, Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Thyme are also helpful.


Usually not painful, spasms can be relieved by using Basil, Marjoram and Roman Chamomile. Clary Sage, Cypress, Lavender, and Peppermint can also help.


Ligament strain is most helped by Lemongrass, Marjoram, and White Fir. Other essential oils that may be helpful are: Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Helichrysum, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver.


Marjoram and Lavender are your best choices for inflammation of the tendon.


Whether due to physical stress, or emotional stress, Marjoram is your best choice. Helichrysum, Lavender, Peppermint, and Roman Chamomile are also helpful.

Make Your Own Essential Oil Blends

Pull a muscle? Blend together 3 drops Roman Chamomile and 2 drops Sweet Marjoram. Apply via cold compress (see below for how to make a cold compress).

For muscular pain combine 3 drops Roman Chamomile with 3 drops Lavender. Apply via cold compress (see below).

For inflammation, apply a cold compress (see below) of 3 drops Peppermint and 3 drops Yarrow.

To release a muscle spasm combine 4 drops Cypress, 2  drops Ginger, and 4 drops Sweet Marjoram with 4 teaspoons carrier oil of your choice.

To soothe aching muscles combine 2 drops Lemongrass, 4 drops Ginger, and 4 drops Lavender with 4 teaspoons carrier oil of your choice.

To loosen tight muscles combine 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Rosemary, and 2 drops of Ginger with 4 teaspoons carrier oil.

To ease rheumatic pain, combine 2 drops Spike Lavender, 4 drops Ginger, and 4 drops Silver Fir in 4 teaspoons carrier oil.

To increase blood flow to cold and cramping leg muscles combine 2 drops Ginger, 4 drops Black Pepper, and 4 drops Cinnamon in 4 teaspoons carrier oil.

Applying the Blends

Some injuries may do better with a cold compress.To make a cold compress, add the oils to the surface of a small bowl of water. Dip a facecloth onto the oils, and it will be sufficiently diluted. Apply to area of pulled muscle for relief.

Other injuries to best when combined with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, and massaged on the surface of the skin. A good rule of thumb for frequent/daily massaging is a 1% solution. For occasional deep muscle aches, use 3% (and up to 5%).

1% solution would be adding 1 drop of EO to one teaspoon of oil; 2% solution would be adding 2 drops of EO to one teaspoon of oil, etc. To make a 1 ounce bottle use 5-6 drops for 1% solution; 10-12 for 2% and 15-18 for 3%.

Don’t Lose This Information!

Download this post as a pdf by clicking here: Using Essential Oils for Muscle-Related Pain Relief (pdf). Many of my readers are printing my Essential Oils 101 series info off and sticking it in a binder for long-term use. Feel free to do the same!

What do you think? Do you have some information to add? Please leave your comments below :)

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proud contributor
Lea Harris founded Nourishing Treasures in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, Lea believes education is power. Encouraging others to take baby steps in the right direction of health for their families, Lea's goal is to raise awareness of what goes into our mouths and on our bodies, providing natural alternative information that promotes health and prevents disease by using traditional foods and nature's medicine.

Lea is a Certified Health Coach graduate from Beyond Organic University, and a Certified Aromatherapist graduate from Aromahead Institute.

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You can also find me on Learning About Essential Oils forum, and Fido Fermentation Facebook group.

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