What Essential Oils Are Good for Headaches?

There is almost nothing worse than a lingering headache. It can throw off your whole day or more if you suffer from chronic headaches. And if you suffer from migraines, you can lose multiple days to pain, nausea, and other symptoms -- not to mention the lingering feeling of being hungover from your migraine in the days following your recovery.

Especially if you frequently struggle with headaches or migraines, traditional over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can lose their appeal for headache relief. Long term usage of ibuprofen, for example, can have some negative side effects. And so if you’re suffering from headaches or migraine headaches on a weekly basis, for example, you might end up holding out on taking pain medication to see if the pain goes away on its own to avoid such a side effect… But you shouldn’t have to live with that pain!

If you suffer from chronic headache pain or migraine attacks, you should first speak to your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying condition or something else that might be serious. But if you’ve done your due diligence and are just looking for pain relief, essential oils might be a viable natural remedy.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

If you’re thinking about using essential oils to ease your headaches, you might first want to know how they work. Essential oils are effectively plant extracts. These concentrated liquids are usually diluted with water or mixed with a carrier oil before either being used with an essential oil diffuser or perhaps applied topically to the skin. Essential oils can also be infused into products like scented candles, laundry detergent, or even some skincare products. It just depends on your individual sensitivities and preferences.

Essential oils are mainly effective through aromatherapy, or else are effective because they are absorbed through your skin when applied directly. Either way, absorbing or inhaling essential oils allows the essential oil molecules to stimulate your limbic system, and the impact it has on your limbic system is thought to influence both emotional wellness and physical health to give you health benefits.

How Do You Use Essential Oils?

Now that you know essential oils work, you might be wondering how you can deploy them to help ease headache or migraine pain. Luckily, actually incorporating essential oils into your self-care routines is pretty straightforward. There are a few typical ways in which you might use essential oils to help you feel better if a headache or migraine is holding you back.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers are affordable, easy-to-use devices that enable you to diffuse essential oils into the air so that you get the most out of your aromatherapy experience. All you have to do is fill the water reservoir, add a few drops of your preferred essential oil, and turn it on. Most essential oils are quiet and unobtrusive, and you can adjust the amount of essential oil you add to your preferred strength. 

You can also use a humidifier if it has a tray for adding essential oils -- this enables you not just to balance the humidity in the air of your living or working space but also get great aromatherapy benefits. 

Topical Application

Essential oils can be applied directly to your skin, as long as they’re properly mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil to prevent painful irritation or burns to your skin. If you’re suffering from a tension headache, applying an essential oil like peppermint oil mixed with a carrier oil to your temples can ease your pain and help you relax. 

Add Essential Oil To A Bath

If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser and aren’t sure about applying essential oils directly to your skin, you could run a hot bath and add a few drops of soothing essential oil. Some essential oils can help you to relax and are thought to increase blood flow and reduce stress, both of which can have a positive impact on a tension-type headache or migraine.

Products With Essential Oils

If the idea of diluting essential oils or otherwise ensuring your dosage is safe makes you nervous, you can easily get products that are pre-mixed or infused with essential oils for their pain-relieving properties. Many scented candles or scented wax melts are infused with essential oils, so if you select one with the right essential oils, lighting a candle could help in treating headaches.

You can also purchase roll-ons or lotions that have essential oils mixed in a healthy dosage already. So if you’re getting ready to bed but aren’t sure you’re going to be able to sleep off the pain in your head, something like an essential oil-infused lotion worked into your bedtime routine might help you get the relief you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Which Essential Oils Are Best For Headaches?

Not all essential oils are the same! As essential oils are typically pressed from plants, each extract offers its own particular benefits. While some are thought to help you stay alert and focused, others are meant to help you calm down and relax. Essential oils can offer a wide range of benefits, and you may need to try a few to find the one that works best for your symptoms. 

Also, you’re not confined to one essential oil! If you find that two different oil have positive effects on your headaches or migraines, you can easily mix the two or more essential oils (being mindful of staying within the confines of a healthy dosage) to reach the most effective blend for you.

Some essential oils that are thought to be effective in relieving headaches are as follows.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is the essential oil most commonly used to ease the pain and discomfort of a headache or migraine. The strong menthol scent in peppermint essential oil is thought to reduce pain and tension, which is really important if you’re trying to get over your headache and on with your day. It’s thought to be particularly helpful when mixed with a carrier oil and applied to your temples.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary is a common folk-remedy, thought to help you relax, ease your pain, and even improve circulation. The latter, particularly, is helpful if you’re struggling with a headache. Rosemary is also thought to help you get to sleep if you struggle with insomnia, and to help your body relax if you carry tension in it -- both of which can go a long way to easing the symptoms of a headache.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile is a well-known remedy for poor sleep or too much stress. Since both of these things can contribute to headaches and migraines, introducing some chamomile essential oil into your routine can ease a headache once you have it -- but it could also contribute to preventing future headaches by easing some struggles, like a lack of sleep, that can cause them. It also is thought to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so you may be able to benefit from those as well. 

Eucalyptus Oil

There are a few different things that tend to cause headaches. One thing that commonly causes headaches is sinus issues. Eucalyptus oil has a strong, cooling scent that can help clear out your sinuses and relieve the tension that might be causing your headache.

Lavender Oil

One of the most commonly used essential oils for stress relief and relaxation, as well as help regulating blood pressure, lavender oil can also be effective in helping you overcome the pain of headaches and migraines. There have been studies on lavender essential oil that have shown it to have a positive impact on those who suffer from migraines -- and if you suffer from migraines, you know exactly how crucial any bit of help can be. Frankincense and bergamot can be helpful for stress headaches, too. 

Do You Use The Same Essential Oils If You Have Migraines?

Migraines are a bit different from normal headaches. Although a wide variety of things can trigger a migraine in those who suffer from them, the exact cause of migraines isn’t fully known. Migraines can be cripplingly painful and can come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and temporary vision loss. 

If you’re lucky enough to never have experienced a migraine, it’s hard to explain just how painful they can be. It’s almost impossible to go about your day or do much of anything when you’re in the middle of an attack. It’s also likely that, after you have a migraine, you’ll continue to feel affected by it even after the real pain of it goes away. 

While we recommend speaking to your doctor first and foremost if you think you’re getting migraines, essential oils are thought to be helpful when it comes to managing migraines. In general, you can use the same essential oils you would use to calm the symptoms of a headache for a migraine. Lavender oil, particularly, is thought to have a more significant impact on migraines than the others.

However, it’s also worth incorporating essential oils that are good for nausea into your essential oil migraine easement mixture to help beat the other symptoms of migraines. The following essential oils are thought to be useful when it comes to settling your stomach.

  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Fennel
  • Lemon
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint

In Summary

Although your first port of call when it comes to medical problems should always be your care provider, essential oils are thought to be helpful when it comes to easing the pain and associated symptoms of headaches and migraines. Particularly when diluted and applied topically to your temples, essential oils can help you get the relief you need in a natural, simple way.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/essential-oils-for-headaches 

https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/ibuprofen-advil-side-effects#heart-attack-and-stroke

https://www.healthline.com/health/carrier-oil  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/ 

https://www.migrainedisorders.org/how-to-use-essential-oils-to-manage-migraine/ 

https://www.healthline.com/health/essential-oils-for-nausea#lavender-oil 

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