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Essential Oils for Headaches Or Migraines

I get LOTS of headaches (mostly from stress) so I have a bunch of good tips and ideas for how you can use essential oils to help reduce the pain and causes of headaches!

Essential Oils for Headaches Or Migraines

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My Headaches Story

I am pretty darn healthy for the most part, being a vegetarian and only taking medication for depression. So last year when my doctor did my labs and found that my liver had kinda bad numbers I was a little confused.

She asked it I drank A LOT… hmmm I like a beer or two, but my hard drinking days are over. Then she asked me if I took painkillers… well yes… like at least 3 a day for headaches.

She was not pleased… first off, from now on I have to actually READ the bottles and see the recommended doses AND she wanted me to take fewer painkillers…. oopssies!

So I turned to essential oils to take over treating headaches (I am taking WAY fewer pills for headache relief now!). NO, they are pain relievers, but they can help get to the causes of my headaches by helping mitigate so of the stress and other causes of my pain.

For this post I also had my friend Suzanne give her best oils tips for migraine help (I don't get migraines, just regular stress headaches!)

Essential Oils For Headaches

I have a pretty well stocked essential oils box, BUT you don't need all of these to help with headaches. If I was just going to get a few that would help I would start with lavender, peppermint and chamomile which would also be good for a pillow spray! For headaches I put the oils into a roller ball that I can throw into my pocketbook!

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, stress-relieving and sinus-clearing properties.  Soothe pain and eliminate sinus pressure by applying to the temples or inhaling/diffusing.

Lavender Oil

Lavender Essential Oils

Lavender essential oil is widely praised for its sedative and central nervous system-calming properties.  Lavender is high in linalool and linalyl acetate which directly depress the nervous system, making this a great remedy for stress or tension headaches.  Simply apply this oil to the temples or forehead, or place a cold compress sprinkled with this oil on the back of your neck. Inhaling lavender is a great way to help reduce stress and sleep!

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile Essential Oil

Like lavender, chamomile is great for gently inducing sleep and reducing anxiety.  For headaches, it is great for its ability to soothe topical inflammation. Sometimes, headaches are caused by a lack of sleep, in which case using small amounts of chamomile oil will bring you swiftly into sleep – and hopefully a morning without a headache!  Its best used by diffusing or adding to bath water.

Clary Sage Oil

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Studies have also shown that this oil is able to balance hormone levels. Since some headaches are induced by hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, it is wise to keep a bottle of clary sage oil nearby.  Rub into the temples or used in aromatherapy practices.

Rose Oil

Rose Essential Oils

This essential oil has long been used to soothe muscles and induce relaxation in the body and mind. When it comes to tension headaches, which can often lead to migraines, relaxing the muscles is important.  DO NOT use if pregnant.  Rub a mixture of rose oil and carrier oil on the neck and shoulders.

Melissa (Lemon Balm) Oil

Although not the most well-known oil on the market, melissa essential oil for headaches is known to calm the nervous system and interact directly with neurotransmitters. Apply topically to the site of pain.

Jasmine Oil

Jasmine Essential Oils

Jasmine oil is used for a different kind of headache sufferer:  one that is from depression or a low mood.  Unlike other oils listed here, Jasmine is a stimulant substance, and it can help with lethargy and depression, two symptoms that can actually make your headache worse.  Don’t use for anxiety-related headaches.  You can combine it with rose oil for an amazing scent and relief.  Jasmine oil is best when inhaled via room diffuser or through aromatherapy treatments.

Spearmint Oil

The refreshing aroma and powerful anti-inflammatory effects of spearmint oil can help to clear up the sinuses and reduce pressure, while also relaxing tension in blood vessels and capillaries.  Apply directly to the temples or the back of the neck and shoulders to reduce inflammation or inhale to clear up sinus pressure.

Helichrysum Oil

Commonly used in parts of Europe, this essential oil can quickly soothe inflammation and eliminate tension – two of the most common causes of headaches.  Use on a cold compress and applied to the forehead, temples or the back of the neck, or a few drops can be put on your pillow before you go to sleep.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

The analgesic and stimulating properties of rosemary can soothe the pain of headaches, while also boosting your energy levels and improving your focus. This doesn’t have an anxious effect, however, but is rather a calm collectedness caused by inhaling this essential oil for headaches. This is one of the most popular natural remedies for headaches and migraines.  Use by applying a few drops to a compress, or on your chest.

There are also some other essential oils that you can add to a headache essential oil blend. These oils can help to alleviate tension, relax muscles, and help provide topical pain relief.

Some Additional Essential Oils For Headaches

Clove essential oil. Clove essential oil has compounds that help relieve pain and promote healing.

Bergamot essential oil. If stress is causing your headaches, then adding a drop or two of bergamot oil to your headache blend can help soothe your headache. Bergamot essential oil helps alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety and can improve mood.

Basil essential oil. You can use basil, along with rosemary, lavender and rose essential oils, for an effective aromatherapy remedy for relieving headache pain.

Migraine Essential Oil Help

If you get migraines the above will help, but migraines have other symptoms, such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.  For migraines, also try:

Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass is an invigorating essential oil for headaches and migraines because it can boost mood, increase energy levels and re-balance neurotransmitter levels to prevent episodes of depression.  Use lemongrass oil topically on the temples, shoulders and neck, or consume small amounts to directly boost your mood.

Sandalwood Oil

Despite being somewhat hard to find, the aroma of sandalwood is an excellent remedy for migraines, helping to quickly improve mood and relax the nerves, while also soothing pain and controlling stomach upset.  Use by adding a few drops of sandalwood to your bathwater, or using it in a room diffuser.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil can quickly relieve the pain of headaches.  It will also help with nausea.  Use by consuming small amounts of the oil, applying in a cold compress, or use it in aromatherapy for quick and noticeable effects.

Ginger Oil

Nausea is a very common side effect of migraines and can be caused by rapid movement or exposure to light. Ginger essential oil is well known for soothing the stomach and reducing inflammation when consumed in small quantities.  It’s a powerful analgesic substance when applied to the temples or forehead and can soothe stomach when inhaled via room diffuser or aromatherapy.

Marjoram Oil

The anti-spasmodic nature of marjoram can help soothe upset stomachs caused by migraines, and prevent symptoms of nausea, while also easing muscle tension and reducing the severity of the pain.  Put a few drops in tea or hot water.