Plant Wonder Collective

TMJ Relief Roller

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, causes pain in the jaw, face, & ears and can make chewing and opening your mouth painful, or even difficult.

I’ve dealt with TMJ pain on and off for years. I’ll have periods where my jaw doesn’t bother me at all. But, as soon as I’m in a phase where I’m not sleeping well and my stress levels are increased, reliably, my jaw and teeth will start to ache and I won’t be able to open my mouth without my jaw joint clicking painfully.

When I was first diagnosed with TMJ many years ago, my dentist made a fitted guard for me to wear at night, as I grind my teeth while I sleep — a contributing factor to the TMJ. He also told me to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), on a regular basis.

NSAIDs are one of the most frequently used kind of medication and are utilized to relieve pain & inflammation, and to reduce high body temperature. Some people take them daily to help cope with headaches, period cramps, sprains, strains, and much more. A few common examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac (Voltaren).

Despite their wide use, NSAIDs actually have a number of very negative health effects. Research has showed that all NSAIDs increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, and stroke from the first day of use.

A study published in the British Journal of General Practice states, “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are responsible for 30% of hospital admissions for [adverse drug reactions], mainly due to bleeding, heart attack, stroke, and renal damage” (Davis & Robson, 2016). I could dive a lot deeper into all of this but, I’m sure you can see why taking this type of medication multiple times daily long term is something I’d like to avoid!

Over the years, I’ve found that reducing stress and getting enough sleep can hugely reduce my TMJ issues. Sometimes, however, this is much easier said than done. Recently, my mother had a heart attack and my 5 month old son has been sick & teething so he hasn’t been sleeping well. All of this has me more stressed than usual and sleeping waaaay less than I’d like to be. My jaw is more painful than it’s been in a long time, as a result.

This means it’s definitely time to schedule an appointment for some craniosacral therapy, as this has also helped immensely in the past. But, with a few deadlines looming and lots of other things keeping me busy, I know I won’t get around to making an appointment for at least a week or two.

So, in the meantime, this roller will help to bring some relief.

Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) has long been utilized for easing inflammation and painful joints. In fact back in 1656, Nicholas Culpeper, a physician, herbalist, and botanist, recommended comfrey for just that.

Several clinical trials have demonstrated the benefits of using comfrey topically to ease pain, inflammation of the muscles & joints, arthritis, sprains, strains, and contusions (Staiger, 2012).

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamamelum nobile) has calming, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to relieve muscle tension and spasms and help soothe anxiety and tension, making it well-suited to easing TMJ pain (Meamerbashi, 2017).

Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) is well-loved for its ability to reduce stress and tension. Human studies have showed that it helps to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and reduces pain (Karaman et al., 2016). As stress greatly exacerbates TMJ, lavender is a lovely addition to this roller.

To make this TMJ relief roller, you will need:

  • Dried comfrey leaf
  • Dried chamomile flowers
  • Your carrier oil of choice — olive or sunflower oil are nice options
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Glass roller bottle


The first step is making a comfrey & chamomile infused oil (or make a jar of comfrey oil and a jar of chamomile oil so you can use them separately later on).

Fill a dry, heat proof jar or glass measuring cup about half full with herbs and pour the carrier oil over them, making sure the herbs are fully submerged and covered with at least an inch or so of oil.

If you’re making a blended oil, use 2 parts chamomile and 1 part comfrey. (If you’re making 2 separate oils, use this same ratio in your roller at the end.)

Gently heat the herbs over very low heat (ideally 100°- 140° F) for 1 to 5 hours in a double boiler or crockpot.

The oil has finished infusing when the color and smell of the herbs has been imparted. At this point, turn off the heat and let the oil cool.

Strain the oil through a cheesecloth into a clean, dry jar. Label the jar with the herbs used, type of oil, and date. You will not remember what is in the jar if you don’t label it. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Pour the infused carrier oil(s) into a roller glass roller bottle with a drop or two of essential oil.

To use: roll onto achy jaw and gently massage into the skin. Repeat as needed.


Davis, A., & Robson, J. (2016). The dangers of NSAIDs: look both ways. British Journal of General Practice, 66(645): 172–173. doi: 10.3399/bjgp16X684433

Karaman, T., Karaman, S., Dogru, S., Tapar, H., Sahin, A., Suren, M., Arici, S., & Kaya, Z. (2016). Evaluating the efficacy of lavender aromatherapy on peripheral venous cannulation pain and anxiety: A prospective, randomized study. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 23, 64–68.

Meamarbashi, A. (2017). Herbs and natural supplements in the prevention and treatment of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 7(1): 16–26.

Staiger, C. (2012). Comfrey: A Clinical Overview. Phototherapy Research, 26(10): 1441–1448. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4612

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