Dealing with tinnitus is by no means an easy task: people affected by this condition are ready to do anything for a single minute of silence, often with little to no effect. Today I’m going to spotlight yet another natural approach to the treatment of ringing in the ears, namely essential oils for tinnitus relief.
Many tinnitus sufferers state that their experience with this kind of natural remedies is exceptionally positive, but are there any scientific studies to explain and back the claims? What are essential oils anyway, and how can they possibly relieve tinnitus? Let’s find out!
What are essential oils?
Essential oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, volatile oils, aromatherapy oils—those are all different names for the same thing in the end: plant oils. Concentrated oily substances extracted from all sorts of herbs, flowers, and trees, which contain the unique “essence” of the plant: its scent and healing properties.
Mankind has been using essential oils for centuries already, including them into cosmetics and perfumes, foods and drinks, resorting to them both to heal the body and to soothe the mind.
How do essential oils work?
The short answer is that it depends on the specific plant of origin, as the compounds of all essential oils differ greatly from one to another. Some of them are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, others have antibacterial and analgesic (painkilling) properties. The effects of each oil in this article are described in detail below.
The 3 main aspects of treating tinnitus with essential oils
As you may already know from one of my other articles, tinnitus isn’t really a standalone condition. Rather than that, it’s a manifestation of another disease, pathological process, or injury such as (but not limited to):
Non-infectious inflammations (like allergies, for example)
Depression, anxiety, mood disorders
Injuries to the head and ears
In the light of the previous list, the best essential oils for the treatment of tinnitus have at least one of the following health benefits:
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (beneficial in case of allergies and injuries)
Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal properties (perfect for the treatment and prevention of infections)
Soothing and sedative properties (useful in case of mood disorders and anxiety)
In other words, by treating and alleviating the underlying condition of your tinnitus, the essential oils listed below could be very likely to relieve the symptom itself. So, without further ado, let’s get to the point.
7 powerful essential oils for tinnitus relief
Helichrysum, also known as immortelle, everlasting, and curry plant (although it has nothing to do with the spice, actually) is a representative of the daisy family. In summertime, helichrysum produces large clusters of bright yellow flowers that retain most of their color even after drying.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: bacterial and fungal ear infections, non-infectious inflammations.
Of all essential oils, lavender could be the most well-researched and multipurpose one. However, its fragrance is somewhat exquisite, and many people can’t cope with it for too long.
Scientifically confirmed benefits: improves mood and alleviates depression, serves as a local anesthetic and sedative agent, treats migraine headache, has anti-inflammatory properties, accelerates healing of wounds, and improves quality of sleep.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: migraine, depression and mood disorders, non-infectious inflammatory processes, injuries, chronic stress.
This beautiful member of the cypress family grows in a vast multitude of areas, from the snowy plains of the Arctic down to the African tropics. Juniper essential oils are usually extracted from its berries and pointy needle-like leaves.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: non-infectious inflammations, traumas, injuries.
Did you know that “basil” literally means “royal” in Greek? Sometimes called “king of herbs,” basil is not just a delicious culinary plant, but also serves as the source of an extremely useful essential oil.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: anxiety and mood disorders, chronic stress, insomnia.
A member of the mint family, patchouli is a classic component of traditional Asian perfumes and incenses. It has a rather heavy scent, so this essential oil may not be suitable for some people.
Scientifically confirmed benefits: antimicrobial and antifungal (strong), soothing (sedative), mosquito repellent (not exactly the subject of this article, but I thought you might like this fact nevertheless).
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: bacterial and fungal infections, mood disorders, anxiety.
Petitgrain is the common name for a group of essential oils extracted from plants of the citrus family, such as bitter orange (bigarade), mandarin orange (petitgrain mandarin), bergamot orange (petitgrain bergamot) and lemon (petitgrain citronnier). The listed oils are used mainly (and almost exclusively) in perfumery and for aromatherapy.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: depression, mood disorders, insomnia, chronic stress.
Cypress oils are widely used in Ayurveda to soothe the mind and alleviate depression. Although these properties are mostly traditionally believed to be true rather than are scientifically confirmed, cypress essential oils have a quite pleasant fragrance and have several other benefits for anyone suffering from tinnitus.
May be useful for tinnitus caused by: allergies, non-infectious inflammations.
How to use essential oils for tinnitus relief: a brief instruction
- For tinnitus caused by infections and inflammations: mix one drop of the essential oil of choice with 5-7 drops of olive oil, then put 3-5 drops of the final solution into the affected ear. Let it act for 5 minutes, then gently tilt your head to let residual liquid flow out. Do not put pure essential oil inside your ears. Alternatively, you can gently apply 1-2 drops of the chosen essential oil on your earlobe and behind your ear with a gentle massage.
- For tinnitus caused by inflammations, infections, allergies: another rather popular approach for using essential oils to treat ear-related conditions consists of applying a couple of drops of an essential oil to a cotton ball, then soaking the ball in olive oil. After that, squeeze the ball just enough to remove any residual liquid: the cotton ball should be mildly wet, but not dripping. Before going to sleep, gently put the cotton ball in your ear (without stuffing it inside your ear canal, just let it sit in your external ear overnight). Remove in the morning.
- For tinnitus caused by mood disorders, depression, insomnia: the options are endless. You can use an aromatherapy lamp to spread the scent all around the room, apply a bit of the substance on your body as a perfume, or sprinkle a couple of drops over your bed before going to sleep.
The bottom line
As you see, there are quite a few options to go with. Remember that picking the best essential oil to treat your tinnitus is also a matter of taste, not just about medical effectiveness. After all, what’s the point is terrorizing yourself with a fragrance you hate even if it could be mildly beneficial for your condition? Just find a pleasant alternative and get the most out of your natural treatment!