How 5 Peppery Essential Oils Soothe Sore Muscles

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How 5 Peppery Essential Oils Soothe Sore Muscles

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

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

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Encourage circulation
  • Release knots of tension
  • 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. First I’ll share the recipe, then I’ll share why I chose to include each oil.

Peppery Muscle Massage Oil 

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 5 drops Elemi essential oil (Canarium luzonicum)
  • 5 drops Black Pepper essential oil (Piper nigrum)
  • 4 drops Sweet Basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool)
  • 2 drops Plai essential oil (Zingiber cassumunar)
  • 2 drops Anise essential oil (Pimpinella anisum)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) bottle. Combine the jojoba and essential oils, and then shake the bottle gently to blend.

Massage your sore, tight muscles as needed! 

This blend is especially soothing on chilly days when your muscles feel tense and cold. It can help warm them and loosen them up.

Peppery Muscle Massage Oil 

About the ingredients in this essential oil muscle massage oil

Elemi essential oil

Canarium luzonicum

Elemi has a lemon-peppery scent. It’s distilled from a resin that’s expressed when the Elemi tree sprouts its broad evergreen leaves. The resin hardens on contact with the air, and is distilled to produce this gorgeous essential oil!

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Elemi is rich in d-limonene. In studies, d-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 just like the kitchen spice!

Black Pepper oil is chock-full of beta-caryophyllene. That’s one reason it’s so useful for easing muscle spasms (cramps), and calming sore, tender spots. And Black Pepper’s heat stimulates a fresh flow of energy where it’s applied—perfect for loosening up muscles!

Sweet Basil essential oil

Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool

Sweet and herbal with gentle hints of pepper, Sweet Basil oil contains over 50% linalool.

We have a TON of research on linalool! It’s a deeply soothing component, both physically and emotionally. In our Peppery Muscle Massage Oil, the linalool helps to work out tension, calm inflammation, and ease 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 is actually cooling. It adds balance to this blend. Plai also contains sabinene, which is where some of its inflammation calming talents come from.

Anise essential oil

Pimpinella anisum

Anise’s sweet, spicy, licorice-like scent is unmistakable! 

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Just a few drops of Anise pack a potent punch—it can ease spasms and inflammation like a charm! This is largely thanks to its ether component, trans-anethole.

However, there are some safety considerations you should be aware of about trans-anethole.

In Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition, Tisserand and Young recommend avoiding anise essential oil if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, or if you have endometriosis, estrogen-related cancer, or a bleeding disorder. 

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Anise is also contraindicated if you’re on anticoagulant medications. It’s too strong for sensitive skin and for children under 5 years old. 

If you’d like to leave Anise oil out of this blend, go right ahead. You could also substitute it with one of the three tension-soothing oils in this blog post: Which Essential Oils Help Tight Muscles?


Reduce Pain Using Essential Oils

Hirota, R., Roger, N.N., Nakamura, H., Song, H.-S., Sawamura, M., and Suganuma, N. (2010) Anti-inflammatory effects of limonene from yuzu (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 fragrant 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 Croton zehntneri, and of anethole and estragole on skeletal muscles. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 49 (1): 41-49. Cited by Bowles EJ  (2003) The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils 3rd Edition. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin


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