10 Best Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

Today is one of those chilly days where we can start to feel our bones creak. For a variety of reasons, we all feel a bit achy. One of us has menstrual cramps, another sadly has rheumatism, there are a couple of stress heads that refuse to sit in the right office chairs and the less said about the state of the daft mare who thought that a pole dancing lesson might be a plan, the better. For the sake of everyone at Vinevida, today's post is a reminder of the best essential oils for muscle pain.

10 Best Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

  1. Lavender essential oil
  2. Juniper essential oil
  3. Sweet Basil essential oil
  4. Fennel essential oil
  5. Ginger essential oil
  6. Black pepper essential oil
  7. Frankincense essential oil
  8. Cedarwood essential oil
  9. Clary sage essential oil
  10. Rosemary essential oil

1. Lavender Essential Oil

You know that day when you go back to playing football or tennis and you haven’t done it for ages? You’re full of great intentions of getting back into running, and the spirit is willing but the flesh is terribly weak? Yep, we hear ya and we’ve been there so many times before. The following day is painful and day three? Well, let’s be honest sitting down on day three hurts more than giving birth. Lavender will always be at the very top of the best essential oils for muscle pain because it is like a magical lollipop for the days when you feel very sorry for yourself indeed. 

Add it to massage oils, but better still put it in the bath as soon as you come back from your run. Soothing, relaxing, and absolutely heaven sent.

Roman chamomile never made it to the list of the top ten best essential oils for muscle pain, but it has tremendous anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that make it fabulous to blend with lavender on these cruelest of days. 

Clearly, pregnancy can be a big source of muscle pain, so we’ll just stress that essential oils should not be used in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy but after that lavender is fabulous.

2. Juniper Essential Oil

A bit of biology. Muscles are made up of fibers that stretch when we move. As they work, they create a bi-product called lactic acid. If our muscles are out of condition, they make more lactic acid than the body can cope with. This is what causes muscle soreness because the fibers can no longer slip over each other easily. 

Juniper comes so high on the list of the best essential oils for muscle pain because it is so tremendously detoxifying to the muscles and joints. It cleans and refreshes them, allowing them to work more efficiently. Clearly, though, these toxins need to go somewhere. Juniper is a powerful diuretic. You will go to the loo more often if you use juniper essential oil. For this reason, do not use this oil f you are pregnant or if you have a kidney condition. 

Incidentally, juniper is not a pain-killing essential oil in its own right. The best practice would be to combine with lavender and/or Roman chamomile essential oil. 

3. Sweet Basil Essential Oil

We love Sweet Basil essential oil for muscle pain. It is great from a physical point of view but also from an emotional one. Its personality is like this rock-hard sergeant in the army. It is sassy and brash and has zero tolerance for slackers. 

Imagine it as if you were doing an assault course and Basil was behind you screaming at you. No amount of exhaustion will make you want to give up. You know your life just wouldn't be worth living if you did. You push, push, push. 

Chemically, it is rich in linalool which is not only great for inflammation and pain but is also an antidepressant too. 

There is nothing subtle about sweet basil. Next time you go to the store. Grab yourself some tomatoes and mozzarella for a salad, and just enjoy the fragrance as you drive home. If you have basil, you can’t smell anything else. It is entirely focused. So this is a great choice if you are hurt all over but you still have to go to work. It’s invigorating and helpful. Again though, we’d blend it with a bit of lavender oil. 

4. Fennel Essential Oil

Whilst fennel wouldn’t necessarily always make its way onto the best essential oils for muscle pain, it has a similarly detoxifying action to juniper. It’s great to double up on this mechanism if the muscle pain is from over endurance. 

The lymphatic system has a massive part to play in muscle pain, however, sedentary jobs can make it stagnant and inefficient. Unlike the circulatory system that has its own built-in pump (the heart), the lymphatic system does not. It relies on muscular pressure to shift fluids around the system. So if muscles are flabby, unused and out of condition, there is nothing to move the toxins out of the system. This ten presents as muscle fatigue, soreness, swelling, stiffness, and pain. Clearly, massage can be a great help here, especially lymphatic drainage massage with fennel and juniper essential oils. 

Again, we wouldn’t want to use fennel oil if we were pregnant. There are also some concerns with blood-thinning action. So please check the safety advice on our product listing before using fennel as one of your chosen best essential oils for muscle pain.  

5. Ginger Essential Oil

We love this oil for warming the muscles through. It’s a great oil to use as a primer before starting to exercise. Ginger is great for any condition that is made worse by the cold, so aromatherapists also choose it for conditions such as rheumatism. 

The sportsmen among you will be interested to know that everything about ginger is related to speed. Everything gets faster. You think quicker, metabolize food faster, which can also cause diarrhea. If you’ve been taking pain killers for your muscle pain and they have made you constipated, then Ginger is a tremendous help here. Just watch your tongue though. Ginger also gives us quick tempers. 

This heating aspect to the oil is not as bad as say rubbing chili all over yourself, but it will make you hot. Great if you are rheumatic, horrible if you have hot flashes. Try to think of the best essential oils for muscle pain holistically. Whilst essential oils don’t have side effects, they do have many main effects and ginger probably helps you experience that first hand more than any other oil. 

6. Black Pepper Essential Oil

Again, this one is heating, but not as much as ginger. black pepper is rubefacient, meaning it draws the circulation closer to the surface, making everything work harder, and theoretically healing us quicker. 

Again, another oil that didn’t make it onto the list of the best essential oils for muscle pain in her own right is geranium, but geranium and black pepper are a fantastic mix for this.

7. Frankincense Essential Oil

We’ve focused on muscular overuse and injury in this article, what essential oil is good for muscle pain that comes with tension? Stress and tension are dreadful causes of muscle pain. Stress changes the way we breathe, reducing oxygen to the muscles, and over time knots form. 

In addition, the body also experiences a bizarre phenomenon called Referred Pain, where pain can manifest in places on the body, which are quite a distance away from their trigger points. These are called satellite points. In all cases, reducing stress can help. 

Frankincense does this but it goes further. It restores elasticity to tissues, so we can see how flexibility can be helpful. It would also be the aromatherapist’s choice if there were tendon damage. 

Tendons are the tissues that attach muscles to bones. They can easily become hyperextended, inflamed, and helpful. Frankincense and Roman Chamomile are the best essential oils for muscle pain with tendon problems. Use them in tandem. 

8. Cedarwood Essential Oil

Poor old cedarwood. We never find that much to say about him, do we? He is one of the best essential oils for muscle pain, but there aren’t really any explanations as to why. 

We just think it is magic. Take it or leave it. That’s all we’ve got! 

Cedarwood smells of forests and hearty, dependable lumberjacks! Make what you will of that! It is tremendous for aching and smelly feet too, especially blended with peppermint. You might also want to check out this post about the best essential oils for the bottoms of your feet if that strikes a chord. 

9. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage has a naturally antispasmodic action. It is great for conditions that cramp. In that, we’d say it’s one of the best essential oils for back pain, restless legs, and menstrual pains. 

In addition, clary sage is a superb oil to use for stress generally. It is relaxing, soothing, and great for helping you to sleep. 

Clary sage comes with a couple of warnings. First, it is not safe to use in the first 37 weeks of pregnancy. Next, it doesn’t serve perimenopausal ladies very well and can sometimes make their symptoms worse. Last, if need to choose between clary sage and alcohol. At best you feel like you have an ax in your head the next morning, at worst it can cause hallucinations and delusions. 

10. Rosemary Essential Oil

Strictly speaking, rosemary essential oil is an interloper onto the list of the best essential oils for muscle pain, because her forte is nerve pain. They can often be confused though, so we’ll pop her in, in case she is useful. 

Nerve pain is recognizable by a sharp piercing sensation, whereas muscle pain tends to be a dull ache. Areas like sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, and migraines are all examples of times when rosemary can be useful. 

Use her with care though. Rosemary should be avoided in the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy, but also if you suffer from psychosis, schizophrenia, or any condition that causes delusions. The evidence regarding blood pressure is conflicting (some authorities say it sends it up, some say it sends it down and no one seems to be able to agree) and the same applies to epilepsy. 

DIY Essential Oil Blend For Muscle Pain

10 Best Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

  • 10ml Grapeseed carrier oil (Vitis vinifera) 
  • 10 drops Tamanu carrier oil (Calophyllum inophyllum)
  • 5 drop Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 3 drops Juniper essential oil (Communis juniperus)
  • 1 drop Clary sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea)

Method of use: Use as and when required

Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy.


Regardless of why you hurt, lavender and juniper, used in combination are always going to be the best essential oils for muscle pain. From there, build more oils into the recipe. (One more really, because ideally, you will have three.) Black pepper and ginger are warming. We haven’t mentioned peppermint which is, of course, cooling. Frankincense, cedarwood, and clary sage are all fabulous for getting the muscle to behave itself better.

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