Chamomile essential oil is best for body ache, says my mom

A woman having body ache

Body ache strikes us all at some point in life. The reasons may be different, but when body pain strikes you, it is usually around the muscles, joints, shoulders, legs, abdomen and arms. A tiring week at work left me with a nagging body ache last month. I tried to relax as much as I could, but the ache persisted. My mom told me to also use chamomile essential oil for body pain relief. Chamomile is widely used in cosmetics and aromatherapy, and is known to have health benefits. One of them is easing body pain, as I used chamomile for body ache, found it to be effective.

What are the causes of body ache?

Body aches and pains can happen due to a variety of reasons. In Ayurveda, body ache is termed as “Shula”, says Ayurvedic coach and gut specialist Dimple Jangda.

Boyd ache may be due to poor digestion. Image courtesy: Freepik
  • The primary reason behind body ache is Vata Imbalance, which governs all movements in our body and the nervous system functions. Our sensitivity to pain heightens when we experience vata imbalance.
  • Aches and pains can also be caused due to poor digestion or weak agni (metabolic fire). Weak digestion, leaky gut syndrome can lead to accumulation of toxins, also called as ama, in the body, which leads to discomfort, fatigues, aches and pains.
  • Sometimes, work stress, exertion, and excessive exercise, can also cause pains and aches.
  • Period flu, a form of premenstrual syndrome, can cause flu-like symptoms, including body ache.

The symptoms we usually notice, would be generalised pains around the muscles, joints, shoulders, legs and arms; stiffness especially in the mornings, fatigue and a general drop in energy and weakness.

It can also be experienced in the form of weak digestion – bloating, gas, constipation; insomnia and trouble falling asleep, says the expert. This can further affect your moods and cause irritability and difficulty focusing on work.

How to reduce body pain?

In Ayurveda, there are some remedies to help reduce pain induced vata imbalance.

  • A warm abhyanga, which is self massage with warm oils, helps in lubricating muscles, joints and nerves. You can also focus on improving your digestive health by consuming spices boiled in water. Cumin, fennel, coriander, carrom seeds and cardamom are some of the options.
  • Focus on reducing stress, engage in soothing activities like meditation, yoga, pranayama to relax the muscle tension.
  • Consume warm, mildly spicy, mildly salty foods to stimulate the digestive juices, and metabolic fire in the body. Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari can also be consumed to reduce the ache.

Chamomile oil for body ache

Chamomile was found to be effective in back pain, arthritis, bedsores and stomach cramps, as per a 2010 research published in the Molecular Medicine Reports.

Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, sedative, and anti-anxiety properties might help relieve discomfort and anxiety due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture.

Chamomile oil to reduce body ache
Chamomile oil can reduce inflammation in the body. Image courtesy: Freepik

While chamomile tea has multiple health benefits, its essential oil is also beneficial. Chamomile oil contains compounds like alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene, which have anti-inflammatory properties says Dimple Jangda. These compounds can help reduce inflammation in the body, and the pain caused due to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or muscle soreness. Chamomile oil also has muscle relaxant properties, which can help reduce muscle tension and spasms. This can help reduce muscular pain and discomfort. Some components of chamomile essential oil may also have analgesic or pain-relieving effects. These compounds may interact with pain receptors in the body, reducing the perception of pain.

Chamomile oil is known for its calming and soothing effects on the nervous system. It helps relax, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and thus sensitivity to pain reduces. Pain often disrupts sleep, leading to a cycle of discomfort and fatigue. Chamomile oil’s sedative properties can help improve sleep quality, allowing the body to rest and recover more effectively, which can contribute to pain relief.

How to use chamomile oil for body pain?

Chamomile essential oil can be used topically through massage or added to bathwater for pain relief, says the expert.

  • You can dilute chamomile oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil, and apply on the affected areas. Refrain from applying on open wounds. This method helps relieve muscle tension, headaches, and pain.
  • It can be used in a diffuser and you can inhale the aromatic vapors to improve relaxation, reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
  • You can make a warm compress, by adding a few drops of chamomile oil to warm water. Soak a clean cloth or towel in the solution, wring out the excess liquid, and apply it to the affected area. This method can help alleviate muscle pain, menstrual cramps, or joint stiffness by promoting relaxation and reducing inflammation.

Who should avoid chamomile oil for body ache?

Chamomile oil is considered safe for most people when used appropriately, but there are certain people who should avoid it –

  • People who are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae or Compositae family, such as ragweed, marigolds, or daisies, may also be allergic to chamomile. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin irritation to severe reactions like anaphylaxis.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should heed caution when doing massage with any oils.
  • Chamomile oil may be too potent for young children, especially babies.
    Individuals with bleeding disorders, hormone-sensitive conditions (such as breast cancer or endometriosis), or those taking blood-thinning medications should use chamomile oil with caution, as it may interfere with blood clotting or hormone levels.
  • Some people may experience photosensitivity while using certain essential oils, including chamomile oil, topically. This can increase the risk of sunburn or skin damage when exposed to sunlight.

It is essential to dilute chamomile oil properly and perform a patch test before using it on the skin to avoid adverse reactions. People, especially those with sensitive skin or allergies, or with skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis, need to be more careful.

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