Analgesic : How it relieves pain
most frequently utilized ingredients in analgesic rubs are methyl
salicylate, menthol, and capsaicin. These ingredients are capable of
penetrating the skin and spreading throughout the muscles and joints.
Each chemical works
uniquely and has its own effect. These substances
have been approved by the FDA for temporary relief of minor pain.
Methyl salicylate is an anti inflammatory, chemically related to
Aspirin. Methyl salicylate is the ester of salicylic acid and methanol,
while Aspirin is the ester of salicylic acid and acetic acid. Aspirin
is now entirely synthetic, but was traditionally processed from Willow
bark. Methyl salicylate is often extracted from the essential oil of
Birch bark and the essential oil Wintergreen, but is commonly
synthesized for commercial use. Just like
Aspirin, Methyl salicylate is effective due to its ability to inhibit
COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. These are the enzymes that catalyze production
of the prostaglandin hormones responsible for causing inflammation and
pain. Unlike Aspirin, Methyl Salicylate creates a pleasant local
warming sensation and does not harm the stomach or intestines. Follow
product directions carefully
and avoid using Methyl salicylate if you are taking
Aspirin or have impaired liver or kidney function.
Menthol is said to be a kappa opioid receptor agonist. An opioid works
by binding to an opioid receptor site, resulting in decreased
perception of pain. Menthol is commonly extracted from the essential
oil of peppermint, but
is also synthesized for commercial use. Menthol is able to trigger
TRPM8 receptors in the skin, causing the sensation of being cold. Many
people report to enjoy the combination of sensations caused by Menthol
and Methyl Salicylate.
Capsaicin is thought to work by interfering
with sensory neurons. Capsaicin for topical use is extracted from
peppers, though not in the form of essential oil. It causes a heating
applied. It is often reported that the sensation caused by Capsaicin is
irritating and relatively unpleasant, though it may be effective
for some types of pain.
The next time you are suffering from muscle or joint pain, you may want
to consider the benefits of using a natural topical analgesic with
essential oils vs taking
an oral medication. There is a catch however as these amazing pain
relievers are accompanied by odors. Avoid lingering odors by keeping
the product off your clothes and by using a thin product that allows
the smell to quickly dissipate and the ingredients to rapidly absorb.
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(2002). "Menthol: a natural analgesic compound". Neuroscience Letters
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P. Sapio, Krish Sethachutkul, Joseph E. Moody. "Simultaneous GLC
determination of methyl salicylate and menthol in a topical analgesic
formulation". USV Pharmaceutical Corporation.
British Pharmacopoeia Secretariat (2009). "Index, BP 2009".
MJ, Schumacher MA, Tominaga M, Rosen TA, Levine JD, Julius D (October
1997). "The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion channel in the
pain pathway". Nature 389 (6653): 816–24. doi:10.1038/39807.
- 10/28/2009 - owner of Bartenblends.
MT, Pizzorno JE Jr (2006). Capsicum frutescens (Cayenne pepper). In JE
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