19 Essential Oils for Headaches & Migraines

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2018)

Many essential oils are available that can reduce the symptoms of migraines and headaches.

They have natural ingredients that help alleviate swelling, muscle spasms, inflammation, and pain.

Essential oils can benefit the brain by improving blood circulation.

They bring a sense of calm to the nerves and the whole body.

This benefit is particularly helpful, since many headaches are related to stress and tension.

Best Essential Oils for Headaches

Here are some of the best essential oils that you can use for your headache or migraine.

1. Peppermint

The smell of peppermint is instantly familiar and exhilarating.

This essential oil has menthol, which creates a soothing, cooling sensation.

It helps to boost the spirits and clear the brain.

Peppermint is one of the best essential oils for headaches that are caused by tension.

If you feel the symptoms of a migraine, it is one of the first essential oils to grab.

Just mix a little peppermint oil with a carrier oil (such as almond oil) and massage it into your temples, forehead, and the back of your neck.

Since peppermint can boost your energy, it is recommended not to use it at bedtime.

2. Lavender

Lavender oil is the perennial favorite of those who need a calming effect.

Because of its natural sedative properties, it is the best essential oil to use for headaches that strike in the evening or at night.

If your headache is related to sinus issues or other allergies, lavender is especially good for effective treatment.

3. Chamomile

The same herb that you savor in a calming tea is also beneficial for your headaches and migraines.

Chamomile reduces inflammation and brings a feeling of restfulness.

Like lavender, it is best to use during the evening or at night.

4. Helichrysum

Many people in the United States are not familiar with this essential oil; however, it has been used in European countries for centuries to treat various ailments.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used to treat migraines and head pain.

Users of helichrysum also praise its value for reducing pain.

5. Eucalyptus

You probably would recognize the smell of eucalyptus oil immediately, because is is often the main ingredient in cough drops and other remedies for colds and sinus problems.

Eucalyptus opens the sinuses with its gentle menthol aroma.

It is perfect for headaches caused by sinus pressure.

6. Sandalwood

Sandalwood oil is extracted from tree bark of the sandalwood tree.

Some of its benefits include being a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

Some studies have shown that it may reduce blood pressure.

Sandalwood may be your choice if your headaches are induced by stress.

7. Basil

This venerable herb is not just for making spaghetti sauce.

It has long been used in aromatherapy to ease nervous conditions and to relieve exhaustion.

It is also an oil that resists allergies and may relieve depression.

You may try basil essential oil if your headaches are caused by stress or if you suffer from allergy-related symptoms.

8. Bergamot

Also called bee balm, bergamot is a natural weapon against pain.

It can be rubbed right into the temples or forehead to help relieve a pounding headache or migraine.

Like basil, bergamot has anti-depressive qualities.

This combination of benefits is good for tension headaches.

9. Clove

Clove is a popular ingredient in many international cuisines.

It also has been used for years as a primary ingredient in toothpaste and other dental products.

Clove reduces swelling and improves circulation.

It can be mixed with a carrier oil or sea salt to make a gentle rub for the head, temples, and neck.

It quickly soothes the pain of a migraine or headache.

10. Frankincense

Ancient cultures revered frankincense so much, it was often given as royal gifts.

The essential oil of frankincense can be a special gift to migraine sufferers.

Not only has it been used to thwart migraine pains, but studies show that it may prevent them.

As soon as you experience the dreaded symptoms of an impending migraine, you can use frankincense in three ways.

It can be inhaled, taken orally, or rubbed into the temples and forehead.

If you have to use it during a migraine, it can ease the pain and lessen the duration.

11. Balsam Fir

The smell of fir trees boosts the senses.

The essential oil that is extracted from the Idaho Balsam Fir has been used to relax tense muscles and for soothing pain.

It also has anti-toxic properties that cleanse the body and promotes healing.

12. Ginger

Ginger is a superstar herb in Asian cooking and medicine.

The people of India have used ginger root and oil for centuries for everything from stomach aches to malaria.

It gets its potency from its active ingredient, gingerol.

Scientists have also discovered that ginger oil contains a substance called zingibain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Ginger also has pain-killing properties, which makes it an ideal choice for migraines and headaches.

It is soothing to the nerves and can ease tension.

13. Neroli

Neroli is made by distilling oils from the blossoms of the bitter-orange tree and is often called orange blossom oil.

For centuries, it has been a popular ingredient in perfumes. Neroli oil has a calming effect that is similar to lavender.

It helps clear the mind and ease nervous tension.

Because it has a mild sedative effect and is an anti-inflammatory, it is a good oil to use for headaches.

14. Rosemary

This beloved culinary herb grows as an evergreen shrub.

It has a distinctive taste and smell that is pleasing to the senses.

Rosemary essential oil is distilled from the shrub’s flowering tops and was sacred in many ancient cultures.

Herbalists recommend rosemary for headaches, migraines, and nervous tension.

Its primary ingredients fight pain and muscle tension.

15. Jasmine

The enchanting smell of jasmine has made it a popular perfume ingredient for many years.

It comes from a beautiful white flower that blooms at night.

Research has shown that this essential oil can boost spirits and help deep depression.

Jasmine is also beneficial for headaches, because it eases sore, tense muscles.

16. Myrrh

Myrrh is an oil that is taken from the resin of the myrrh tree, a shrub that is native to the Middle East.

The Egyptians used it for religious ceremonies and for the mummification process.

It was also used as a medicine and a cosmetic ingredient in some ancient cultures.

Myrrh is good for the digestive tract and the respiratory system.

It is excellent for drying up mucus, which can contribute to sinus headaches.

17. Marjoram

Marjoram is another culinary herb that has deep roots in medicinal uses.

It was favored by the Greeks for good luck and a general health tonic.

The essential oil comes from a small shrub that is native to the Mediterranean area.

Marjoram oil can relax hyperactive people and can calm frazzled nerves.

It also benefits the respiratory system.

It is a good oil to try for headaches that are caused by sinuses or tension.

Marjoram is known as an excellent remedy for pain.

18. Valerian

Like lavender, valerian has been used for centuries to settle nerves and to induce sleep.

This oil comes from a small plant that is grown around the world.

There have been several studies that involved the benefits of valerian oil in reducing migraines and headaches.

It works with the central nervous system to relieve anxiety, depression, and the tension associated with head pain.

19. Wintergreen

Wintergreen oil comes from the leaves of a small shrub that is native to the United States and Canada.

It was treasured by many Native American tribes as a health tonic and for respiratory problems.

They also used wintergreen oil to rub into the body, to ease sore muscles and joints.

This oil is still a standard ingredient in many topical pain relievers used for joint pain.

Wintergreen eases pain and stress and is used extensively for headache relief.

Since it is such a strong oil, experts advise that just a little of it should be used in a carrier oil.

How To Use Essential Oils For Migraines and Headaches

Even though many people find the scent of essential oils soothing, there may be some who are sensitive to certain smells while they are suffering a migraine.

The best way to check your sensitivity is to put a few drops on a cotton ball and take a quick sniff.

You may find that blending scents can be a pleasant experience.

If you are fine with the scent, then you can use one of these ways to treat your headaches:

Massage

Use about an ounce of a gentle carrier oil (such as sweet almond, jojoba, olive oil, or coconut oil) to dilute 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Using your hands and fingertips, gently massage a few drops into your temples, forehead, and the back of your neck.

Be careful not to get the oil around your eyes.

Diffuser

If you own a diffuser, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use the oil or blend that appeals most to your senses.

Having the oil diffused into the air can ward off headaches and migraine attacks.

Aromatherapy

When you are feeling stressed or feel the signs of an upcoming migraine, rub a couple drops of your favorite oil into your palm and take a few slow breaths from your cupped hands.

For aromatherapy on the go, apply a few drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and seal it in a plastic bag.

If you believe your headache is caused by sinus pressure I would recommend reading this post.

You can drape a towel over your head and inhale the healing steam.

This method often unclogs and soothes plugged sinuses.

Article Resources:

Gotter, A. (2017, April 26). 5 Essential Oils for Headaches and Migraines. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/essential-oils-for-headaches

Miles, O. (2010, November). Migrain Statistics. Retrieved from Migrain.com: https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/

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