Last month I woke up with a dull earache and annoying pain radiating from my right ear along my upper & lower jaw. I didn’t want to spoil our vacation with pain as it was the night before we were to leave on an impromptu driving vacation to the Pacific Northwest. Plus…I was worried about an untimely ear, sinus, tooth or gum infection!
Pressed on my ear to clear the Eustachian tubes, but the discomfort still nagged. Carefully rubbed around each of my teeth to check my gums. They were fine. Pressed across the base of my sinuses from my nose to the outer jaw along the pain line. The sinuses didn’t seem swollen or inflamed.
Hmm? Wondered what could be going on? Seriously considered using Aspirin or other analgesic (such as Ibuprofen), an indication of how uncomfortable I really was since I rarely EVER take meds. Simply am not a pill-taking sort of person.
In thinking through my options, realized pain meds like those were only going to mask the symptoms and not HEAL whatever was irritating the facial nerve. Then, amused at my overlooking the obvious, I told myself to use some of our essential oils stash as I have $100’s worth purchased over the years.
Which Essential Oils Would Be Most Effective for the Neuralgia?
Since my quick self check pretty much ruled out an infection, figured I was dealing with some sort of virus irritating the major facial nerve VII (the same one dentists dull with Novocaine to do fillings). Nerve irritation and pain are symptoms of INFLAMMATION. So, that was the key. Which essential oils are BOTH anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving)?
Two popped to mind immediately: GERMAN CHAMOMILE and PEPPERMINT.
* * *
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), a gently healing, deep indigo blue, therapeutic essential oil, contains chamaluzene, the strongest anti-inflammatory ingredient in ALL essential oils, and alpha-bisabolol (an important indicator of value). The most bio-active compounds in German Chamomile, both exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic (fever reducing & anti-inflammatory), antiseptic and anti-spasmodic effects.
It also has lactone compounds like coumarin with a distinctive “green / freshly mown grass” fragrance renown for anti-inflammatory effects that may be used to reduce lymphedema swelling & puffiness, as a nervous system sedative (calming / pain-killing), while being supportive of the liver (detoxing), and an immune system booster (minimizing auto-immune dysfunction).
PROPERTIES: Analgesic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, decongestant, digestive tonic and is hormone-like.
* * *
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has a strong, fresh, clean, minty aroma. This powerfully healing essential oil enhances the theraputic effects of the other essential oils when layered on after using other oil. It’s often diluted for topical applications.
PROPERTIES: Analgesic / Bone-Nerve Pain, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory for Prostate & Nerves, antiseptic, antispasmodic, refreshing & invigorating, nerve stimulant.
Application of Essential Oils For Nerve Pain Relief
I used 1 full strength drop each of both German Chamomile & Peppermint therapeutic-quality essential oils ~ rubbed gently into my skin along the pain pathway until completely absorbed (less than a few minutes time).
I also applied second drops of both essential oil on the back of my neck at the base of my hairline. This was to calm the nerve(s) as close to the source of the inflammation as possible, where it initiates from the brain stem & spinal column since I suspected latent Herpes virus to be the irritating culprit.
Within 15 minutes or less, the pain was noticeably less. I went back to sleep for a couple more hours. By the time I woke up, the pain was GONE and never returned!
We had a lovely vacation. And you can bet, I took my favorite ‘must have’ essential oils and blends along, just in case I might need them myself or for someone else.
Facial Nerve paths credits: Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator; C. Carl Jaffe, MD, cardiologist. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Head_facial_nerve_branches.jpg
Peppermint herb: http://3morganic.com OR http://breatheeasyoil.com/peppermint-oil
A Farm Project: CHAMOMILE – GERMAN by Richard Alan Miller © 1999 offers a scientific discussion of German Chamomile’s active compounds with commercial cultivation suggestions and research comparing various medicinal preparations: steam distillation vs. alcoholic extracts, herbal teas (tissanes), etc.
Info on Facial Nerve VII:
The motor part and sensory part of the facial nerve enters the petrous temporal bone into the internal auditory meatus (intimately close to the inner ear) then runs a tortuous course (including two tight turns) through the facial canal, emerges from the stylomastoid foramen and passes through the parotid gland, the largest of the salivary glands, where it divides into five major branches.
The facial nerve is the seventh cranial nerve, performs both motor and sensory functions. Branching up from the brain stem, it divides into smaller nerves that reach into the face, neck, salivary glands and the outer ear. These branches control the muscles of the neck, the facial expressions, and the muscles of the forehead. They also stimulate secretions of the lower jaw and those salivary glands which are in the front of the mouth. Along with this, they report taste sensations from the front two-thirds of the tongue and carry sensations from the outer ear.