Headaches can be really frustrating and can happen at any time of the day. You can choose over-the-counter meds to lessen the pain, or use essential oils for headaches as an alternative.
Essential oils have been used for more than 5,000 years as a natural remedy for various conditions and pain, especially headaches. Choosing among the available essential oils for headaches, however, can be daunting but can be also a good chance to familiarize yourself with them. To make things a bit easier, just take a look at the top essential oils for headaches.
The best essential oils for headaches are:
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Spearmint (Mentha Spicata)
- Rose (Rosa centifolia)
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
- Roman Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Let’s look in detail, how the above mentioned essential oils for headaches work and how to use them.
The Best Essential Oils for Headaches and How to Use Them
- Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) enhances blood flow when applied to the temples and forehead. The oil is derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant and can be very effective. Peppermint essential oil is probably the most widely used essential oil for headaches.
Just mix water and peppermint essential oil in a cup, dip cotton into the mixture, and rub it across the top of the forehead right next to the hairline. It creates a cooling sensation when applied to the skin and should provide relief in about 30 minutes. Just reapply if the oil did not work after an hour, using the same steps. It works for mild headaches and migraines as well.
It should be noted that Peppermint Oil is highly concentrated and may not be recommended to use for babies and small children.
2. Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus (Eucalypstus globulus) has a morphine-like effect that relieves pain and headaches. It is extracted from the fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs. With its anti-inflammatory and medicinal qualities, it also relieves sinus pressure and sore throat (which may cause headaches in the first place).
Dilute a drop or two to a base oil and massage this onto the scalp, neck, and temples. With the occasional application, it improves blood flow to the scalp, giving relief from tension headaches. It also detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system.
Eucalyptus oil is very concentrated which, at most times, should be diluted with a base oil.
3. Lavender essential oil
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a great stress reliever that calms the delicate mind and body. Lavender oil is extracted through steam distillation from the flowers of the lavender plant. It’s valued all over the world for its elegant and relaxing scent. It creates a relaxing spa-like atmosphere if used during baths (a few drops will suffice). Lavender essential oil is super effective for headache treatment since the best essential oils for headaches are often those that encourage relaxation.
For quick relief from headache, add 2 to 4 drops of lavender to 2 cups of boiling water then inhale the steam. The oil also brings restful sleep at night if used on beddings. Just apply the oil on the bed sheets and pillows for maximum effect. It can really help ease tension, pressure, and headache.
Note that Lavender oil can irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions so testing it beforehand is necessary.
4. Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has long been used as a treatment for headaches and poor blood circulation. Rosemary oil is extracted by both steam and hydrodistillation. It has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and stimulating properties. When combined with a base oil like coconut or olive oil, it can effectively treat headaches.
Just apply it to the back of the neck, forehead, and temples. Diffuse rosemary oil or apply topically to help reduce nervous tension and fatigue. It also helps the mind to grow stronger and even prevents the kind of stress that causes headaches.
The undiluted oil is likely unsafe to be taken by mouth and should be handled with care.
5. Spearmint essential oil
Spearmint (Mentha Spicata) should be a great alternative if peppermint is too overwhelming (such as in the case of small children and people with sensitive skin). The oil is steam distilled from the spearmint plant and has a subtle scent. It is often used in aromatherapy to ease headaches, fatigue, migraines, digestive problems, and nervousness.
When added to bathwater, spearmint oil can induce relaxation and can lower the body temperature. It really helps when applied to those suffering from fever or chills. This is a great addition to this list of essential oils for headaches because of its antispasmodic properties. Its sweet aroma is uplifting, making it ideal for evoking a sense of positivity and focus.
6. Rose oil
Rose (Rosa centifolia) works on the nervous system and limits nervous tension. The oil is extracted from the petals of various types of rose. It can alleviate insomnia, headaches, and depression.
Putting a few drops of rose oil in a warm or hot water bath is the most effective way to use it. The hot water opens the pores and the properties of the oil immediately work its way into the body, improving blood circulation in the process. The aroma will also disperse throughout the bathwater and into the air, giving a soothing effect on the individual.
Even a touch of oil on the wrist, temples, or ears can be beneficial in reducing headache or pain. In aromatherapy, it is used as a natural sedative to help fight off depression, particularly the kind that already affects a person’s overall health.
7. Ginger oil
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the greatest essential oils for headaches due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea effects. It is taken from the underground stem of the ginger plant. It is a tropical plant that’s known to effectively relieve nausea, and its pungent smell is what alleviates headaches.
Just open a ginger oil bottle and breathe in multiple times. The oil can also be applied to the scalp (be sure to massage it gently to relax aching nerves). It can calm down a raging nervous system and help prevent recurring headaches. It’s a helpful oil to use for managing muscle pain and even aching joints.
Nursing moms and pregnant women should use it with caution, however, even though it is deemed useful for morning sickness.
8. Jasmine essential oil
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) can help stimulate mood and reduce stress, which is why it’s recommended to those suffering from lethargy and depression. The oil is derived from the jasmine flower and is quite popular for its hormone-balancing effect. Aside from having anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, it comes with a mild sedative effect and can be used for nervous disorders and sleep problems.
Jasmine oil is most effective when used in aromatherapy treatments or inhaled through a diffuser. Likewise, it can be applied to pulse points to soothe tension, as well as to support muscles and joints. Place a dab of jasmine oil in your hands, rub them together, and rub your hands over your nose and mouth. Inhale it deeply to promote feelings of vitality and warmth.
As always, do a skin test prior to usage.
9. Lemongrass essential oil
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is another essential oil that can really help with depression symptoms and headaches. It is distilled from the leaves and woody stalks of the lemongrass plant. The calming and soothing effect of this oil has the power to relieve pain, tension, or pressure that may result in headaches.
Massage the diluted lemongrass essential oil onto the temples and inhale the lemony scent. Another way to maximize its effects is by diffusing the oil in a home diffuser.
When used properly, the oil boosts mental strength and uplifts the spirit, providing relief from anxiety and headaches.
Do note though, that pregnant women should not use this oil as there is a very slight possibility of it causing miscarriage.
10. Roman Chamomile
Roman Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is used for stress-related headaches. It contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that are used for relieving anxiety and stress. Its analgesic properties effectively reduce pain in muscles and joints and decrease the severity of headaches.
Add a few drops of the essential oil in your choice of carrier oil. Add the resulting mix to warm or hot water and breathe in the steam. It can be also used to soothe the body and mind – just add one to two drops to herbal teas or hot drinks. This is an amazing oil for harnessing the power of relaxation.
Orange (Citrus sinensis) gives a breath of fresh air and positivity. The oil is typically found within the orange fruit’s rind. Its sweet and tangy scent lifts mood and also brings a comforting sensation.
Add a few drops of the oil to bubble baths and breathe in the sweet and playful scent. Bathing in oil-infused water helps eliminate toxins, boosts the immune system, and calms the nerves.
You may also rub it in your palms, and afterward, put your palms over your mouth and nose. Inhale deeply for an uplifting fragrance. Diffuse orange oil in the office or at home to create a pleasant atmosphere. It is very effective for relieving headaches, anxiety, depression, and inflammation.
There you have it – eleven essential oils for headaches that work every time. You just have to try them out, and find the most effective one for your headaches.
As time goes by, essential oils are only becoming more popular as a form of alternative medicine. They’re quite effective for many conditions and they even improve overall health. As you’ve learned here though, it isn’t enough to simply find (and purchase) the best essential oils for headache – it is important to know the best way to use them to maximize their effectiveness and reduce risks (such as in the case of allergies). Of course, proper use is also the only way to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.