Essential Oil Blend for Athletic Muscle Pain


A 38 year old female half marathon runner is experiencing right hip and foot pain.  The client was given an essential oil blend of Black pepper, Bay, Juniper and Ginger to assist in releasing the pain.  The client noticed a decrease in pain and discomfort after using the essential oil blend and plans on incorporating the oil blend in her exercise cool down activities.

Case Description

C.S. is a 38 year old Caucasian woman, who is experiencing pain in her right foot arch and left hip.  She is training for a half marathon – running four times per week, averaging five to 8 miles per run.  Prior to her training, she was running one to two times per week, averaging two to three miles per run.  She stretches two times per day, stays hydrated throughout the week and eats three nutritious meals daily.

C.S. feels the pain is due to her training schedule and doesn’t feel that she needs to see her physician.  She is currently not on any medication and she has not been diagnosed by her doctor.  She is aware that if her current pain level doesn’t diminish that she will need to see her doctor.

C.S. stated that she wanted a holistic way of healing her muscle ache and that ease of application is important to her.

Literature Review

Black pepper Piper nigrum essential oil is distilled from the dried, whole, unripe fruit of the plant.  Black pepper is harvested mostly from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra, China, and Madagascar.  Many distillers in the United States and Europe import the fruit for distillation (American College of Healthcare Sciences, 2012).  For muscle ache, Piper nigurm’s therapeutic actions are analgesic, antispasmodic, tonic, and vasodilation.  In 2009, Jun Soo Bang, Da Hee Oh and additional authors conducted an original study of black pepper’s effects on inflammation, nociceptors, and arthritis.  They concluded that black pepper’s piperine, the active phenolic component in black pepper, has possible anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and antiarthritic effects and warrants additional studies.

Bay Laurus nobilis essential oil is grown in the Mediterranean and North Africa area, Spain, Southern France, Italy, and Croatia.  Steam distillation of the leaves produces the essential oil.  In 2003, Phytotherapy Research published an article stating that “the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of the essential oil (Laurus nobilis) was comparable to reference analgesics and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs: morphine and piroxicam.”

Juniper Juniperus communis essential oil, steam distilled from the plant’s berries, grows extensively throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  Akkol, Guverc and Yesilada’s 2009 original study demonstrated that Juniperus communis had “remarkable” anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties and warranted further investigation to isolate the active components.

Ginger Zingiber officinale essential oil is produced from the rhizomes or root of the plant.  The oil may be extracted from several different methods – distillation, solvent and carbon dioxide extraction.  The solvent and carbon dioxide extractions are usually used for food flavoring and perfumery purposes.  Jean Valnet, MD (1990) considers Zingiber officinale an analgesic and useful for rheumatic pain.

Treatment Protocol/Methods

C.S. was giving the following essential oil blend: twelve drops of Black pepper Piper nigrum, six drops of Bay Laurus nobilis, six drops of Juniper Juniperus communis, six drops of Ginger Zingiber officinale, and one cup of Sweet Almond Oil Prunus amygdalis var. Dulcis as a base.  She was instructed to apply the blend to each leg and foot after each run and when her legs and feet ached.  She was also instructed to not exceed three applications a day.

C.S. was informed to not allow pregnant or breast-feeding women and infants/small children to use this blend.

Client Response

C.S. stated her foot pain was completely gone the following day after the first application.  She still experiences tenderness in her legs due to her training; however, she does feel that her muscle recovery period is much less due to the oil.  She also mentioned enjoying the blends aroma but felt the blend was very oily and lasts on the skin for twenty minutes.


The overall effectiveness of the essential oil blend was positive.  C.S. feels that muscle ache and pain is a part of the half marathon runner’s experience; however she also believes that she can decrease her discomfort with appropriate warm up and cool down activities.  Using the essential oil blend will be a part of her cool down activities.


Akko, E. K., Güvenç, A., & Yesilada, E. (2009). A comparative study on the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of five Juniperus taxa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 330-336.

American College of Healthcare Sciences. (2012). ACHS Aroma 303 and Aroma 304 Essential Oil Monograghs. Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Bang, J., Oh, D., Choi, H., Sur, B.-J., Lim, S.-J., Kim, J., . . . Kim, K. (2009, March 30). Anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects of piperine in human interleukin 1beta-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes and in rat arthritis models. arthritis research & therapy. London, United Kingdom. Retrieved from

Keville, K., & Green, M. (2009). Aromatherapy: a complete guide to the healing arts (2nd ed.). New York: Crossing Press.

Kurt Schnaubelt, P. (1998). Advanced Aromatherapy. Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Mehmood, M., & Gilani, A. (2010). Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of black pepper and piperine in gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Medicinal Food, 13(5), 1086-96.

Sayyah, M., Saroukhani, G., Peirovi, A., & Kamalinejad, M. (2003, August). Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of the leaf essential oil of Laurus nobilis Linn. Phytotherapy Research, 17(7), 733-736. doi:10.1002/ptr.1197

Tanaka, S., Yoon, Y., Fukui, H., Tabata, M., Akira, T., Okano, K., . . . Yokoyama, K. (1989). Antiulcerogenic Compounds Isolated from Chinese Cinnamon. Planta Medica, 55(3), 245-248.

Valnet, J. (1990). The Practice of Aromatherapy.  (R. Tisserand, Ed.).  Rochester, VT. Healing Arts Press.

Essential Oil Blend for Athletic Muscle Pain
Print Recipe
Essential Oil Blend for Athletic Muscle Pain
Print Recipe
Recipe Notes

Apply the blend after exercise.  Do not exceed three applications per day.

Do not use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding women. Infants/small children should not use this blend.

** For this case study I used Sweet Almond Oil as a base. This oil may take a while to absorb. Combine this oil with other base oils for your desired rate of absorption.

Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Leave a comment