4 Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil for Peripheral Neuropathy Nerve Pain Relief

The use of coconut oil for health and medicinal purposes goes back to Egyptian times, and in the centuries since Cleopatra may have used it as a hair gel, a whole host of other benefits have been discovered. The medium chain tryglycerides are known to provide many benefits including fat burning, healthy liver function, killing bacteria, as well as skin moisturizing.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you will be pleased to know that there are several benefits that coconut oil can provide which can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

More specifically the use of coconut oil as a dietary aid to reducing, or even reversing, some of the conditions which lead to peripheral neuropathy has been suggested by many and research continues in many medical establishments to gather further evidence of its effectiveness.

1. Massage Oil to Boost Circulation and Relieve Muscles 

As you may know, one of the issues associated with peripheral neuropathy is that of poor circulation and anything that can help promote a better flow of blood, especially in the hands and feet is to be welcomed.

Benefits of coconut oil for peripheral neuropathy

One of the best methods known to do this is an all-over body massage. Massaging also promotes oxygen flow within muscles and tissues, which can also help with pain relief.

Massage has a whole list of uses which include reducing anxiety, getting rid of headaches, alleviating sports injuries, and is often used a simple way to promote relaxation.

The best massages are done using special combinations of oil, and this is where our coconut oil comes to the fore.

One of the first advantages of using coconut oil is that at room temperature it will be solid, so it will generally create less mess when used as a massage oil on its own than liquid oils. However, the very best massage oils are in liquid form and this is usually a recipe of two or more oils. If that is what you plan to do, then you will need to heat it slightly to make it a liquid.

You can mix coconut with any of your favorite massage oils, but if you want to add those that are best for pain relief and muscle relaxation then sesame oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, and rosemary oil, are some of the best for those benefits.

2. Lubrication of Joints to Reduce Stiffness and Improve Flexibility

The joints in your hands and feet have to contend with a lot of wear and tear and if peripheral neuropathy is added into the mix, they can become especially troublesome. One way to help relieve some of these symptoms including stiffness is to lubricate your joints using coconut oil.

You’ll be pleased to know that we are not talking about warming up a glass of coconut oil and drinking it down in the same way you'd fill the oil sump in your car. Instead, the way this lubrication works is by using coconut oil as a body lotion and applying a small layer to your skin. Pay particular attention to the joints your hands and feet, but other joints such as your knees, your elbows, and your shoulders will also benefit from this process.

One of the best times to apply the oil is immediately after you have taken a shower or a nice relaxing bath before bedtime. Whether you wear nightwear or sleep 'au natural,' there is also no issue in terms of the oil leaving greasy marks in your best bed linen. Instead of applying it after a bath or shower, you can also try applying it to your joints just before you are about to take part in any kind of sport or exercise activity.

Whichever time you choose, the amount of coconut oil you apply should be in proportion to your body weight. The recommended formula is that for every 50 pounds of weight, you should use a teaspoon of coconut oil.

3. Reduction of Joint Pain and Inflammation

Suffering from pain in the joints in hands and feet is something that those with peripheral neuropathy know only too well, whether that be sharp jabbing pains on their skin, throbbing within their muscles, to name but two. Of course, you could take pain killers, but that merely masks the symptoms, rather than relieving them.

Reduction of Joint Pain and Inflammation

What coconut oil can do, with a little help from one or two other ingredients, is to provide a soothing salve to help reduce the pain and the inflammation.

The reason it can do so is mainly due to the fatty acids within coconut oil that can naturally reduce inflammation and in doing so, alleviate the pain caused by it.

Coconut oil also has high levels of Vitamin E which also contribute towards reducing inflammation too.

To make the pain-relieving salve you are going to need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of coconut oil
  • 25 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 25 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 1/2 ounce of beeswax beads or granules

The first step in the process to make the salve is to melt the coconut oil and beeswax together in a pot, and when this has been done, you add in both the lavender and peppermint essential oils. Once everything has been mixed, pour the liquid in a jar and close it with a screwed lid. You then allow the mix to cool.

Once cooled, the contents of the jar should solidify, and it is at this point you can use the pain relieving salve by rubbing it onto those joints which are giving you pain. This salve will also promote good circulation and help to reduce swelling and inflammation.

4. Dietary Supplement to Promote Overall Better Health

While we are not exactly saying we have the best until last, it has to be said that the health benefits that can potentially be derived from using coconut oil as part of your diet, are plentiful.

This to the extent that many of the issues we have spoken about already, where coconut oil is applied externally to your body, could be addressed in significantly, if you have coconut oil working on the inside of your body too.

At the core of looking after your health is the diet which you eat, as this essentially is what fuels your body. Fill it with rubbish, and you can become fat, lacking in energy and generally unhealthy.

On the other hand, if you provide your body with foods which contain the essential nutrients that it needs, then you'll be full of vitality, fitter, healthier, and crucially, more able to combat health issues that may have befallen you. This includes diabetes, which is a prime cause of peripheral neuropathy.

Coconut oil capsules can be used as a dietary supplement

Firstly, coconut oil contains a high level of healthy saturated fats which can be an effective aid to burning unhealthy fats and reducing the levels of cholesterol in your body.

Obviously the lower these are, the more chance you have of keeping your weight at a healthy level, which is one of the prime factors in helping to control diabetes.

Of course, lowering cholesterol also helps keep your heart healthy, and given that having a healthy circulation is highly desirable when you have peripheral neuropathy, it certainly helps if you keep the organ which pumps that blood around your body in tip-top condition.

High levels of lauric acid can be found in coconut oil and when you digest it, the lauric acid creates a substance called monolaurin. Monolaurin and lauric acid are a formidable duo as they can kill undesirable pathogens such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria, all of which you wish to avoid at all costs if you have diabetes and specifically peripheral neuropathy.

This substance contains a high amount of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). One of the benefits of MCFAs is that they can help to regulate cells reactions with insulin, thus improving your digestive process and keeping blood sugar levels controlled.

One prime factor in Type 2 diabetes is the cells of your body becoming insulin resistant so the MCFAs can potentially help prevent diabetes, or if you already have diabetes, they can improve blood sugar control, which in turn curtails the progression of peripheral neuropathy.

Final Thoughts

The beauty of coconut oil in your diet is that it can be used in so many ways. It can be used as cooking oil for when you are stir-frying meat or vegetables. it can also be brushed onto meat, fish or poultry before covering them in breadcrumbs or seasoning. Coconut can also be an ingredient in a plethora of recipes for baking, curries, stews, and even smoothies.

If the idea of using coconut oil in your cooking doesn’t appeal, you could take the easy option and take coconut oil capsules as a dietary supplement for nerve pain. Obviously, the use of coconut oil is not intended to replace any medication you are already taking, and as with any supplemental treatment, please get the advice of your medical practitioner first before using it.

While coconut oil has tremendous benefits, it should not be the only supplement you rely on for neuropathy relief. Taking a pre-formulated supplement for neuropathy like Nerve Renew it also recommended because it has several clinically studied vitamins and calming herbs in the proper dosage. Even if you decide not to take it, it's still recommended to take the same ingredients like Alpha Lipoic Acid and other herbs for nerve pain.

The references below were used in the research and writing of this article. In accordance with our Editorial Policy, we only rely on research and studies from reputable medical, governmental, and academic institutions to ensure our content is accurate and relevant.
  1. Sherman, K., Ludman, E., Cook, A., Hawkes, R., Roy-Byrne, P., Bentley, S., . . . Cherkin, D. (2010, May). Effectiveness of therapeutic massage for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2922919/
  2. Shilling M, Matt L, Rubin E, et al. Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. J Med Food. 2013;16(12):1079‐1085. doi:10.1089/jmf.2012.0303, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24328700/
  3. Narayanankutty A, Palliyil DM, Kuruvilla K, Raghavamenon AC. Virgin coconut oil reverses hepatic steatosis by restoring redox homeostasis and lipid metabolism in male Wistar rats. J Sci Food Agric. 2018;98(5):1757‐1764. doi:10.1002/jsfa.8650, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28862329/
  4. Mumme K, Stonehouse W. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(2):249‐263. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25636220/
  5. Sekar, S., Shafie, S., Prasadam, I., Crawford, R., Panchal, S., Brown, L., & Xiao, Y. (2017, April 18). Saturated fatty acids induce development of both metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis in rats. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46457
  6. Intahphuak S, Khonsung P, Panthong A. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol. 2010;48(2):151‐157. doi:10.3109/13880200903062614, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20645831/
  7. Lieberman, S., Enig, M., Preuss, H., Harris, M., & Manohar, V. (2006, December 11). A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid: Natural Virucidal and Bactericidal Agents. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/act.2006.12.310
  8. Carpo BG, Verallo-Rowell VM, Kabara J. Novel antibacterial activity of monolaurin compared with conventional antibiotics against organisms from skin infections: an in vitro study. J Drugs Dermatol. 2007;6(10):991‐998, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17966176/