Essential Oils for Migraine Headaches: Stop the Pain
Migraines are disabling. The World Health Organization places migraine as one of the 20 most disabling medical illnesses on the planet.
In this post, I’m going to go over 5 essential oils for migraine headaches and how to use them.
What is a Migraine Headache?
Migraines are usually associated with sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. This may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Migraine headaches normally involve one side of the head, but in some instances pain may be on both sides. The pain is often described as throbbing or pounding and made worse by physical exertion, loud noise or bright lights. They typically last for several hours up to several days.
The medical community treats migraines with over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDS, analgesics and caffeine. The effects of taking these daily can make headaches worse due to medication overuse.
They also use prescribed medication such as narcotics and acetaminophen, triptans and ergotamines, which are used to treat migraines once they start. Aimovig and other injections, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, triccyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, which are used to prevent migraines. Barbiturates and sedatives can also be prescribed to help sleep off the pain.
How do Essential Oils Help with Migraines
Essential oils can help relieve migraines due to their pain-relieving properties. Some essential oils do this through aromas to alleviate stress and anxiety. Others because they cool the skin and soothe nerves. Other essential oils have decongestant properties that help relieve sinus headaches.
The essential oils below can be used with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or olive oil. They can also be used as a blend with a carrier oil to massage into your temples, behind your ears, and the top of your neck.
The following are 5 of the best essential oils to use to help treat migraine headaches:
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is used for it’s cooling effect and to help relax the mind and muscles and alleviate pain. It has been shown to reduce the intensity of headaches in about 15 minutes after use.
Massage peppermint oil with a carrier oil onto forehead and temples. Blend it with lavender oil and carrier oil and do the same to relieve pain.
Add a few drops to your bath water to help relax.
Add 3-4 drops in hot water, and with a towel over your head, breathe in deeply through your nose to help relax and relieve pain.
2. Rosemary Oil
Research has known that rosemary oil has pain-relieving properties, is an anti-inflammatory, and alleviates mental fatigue. It eases headaches associated with tiredness, stress or musculoskeletal pain. Rosemary soothes stomach upset and aides in digestion. It improves circulation and reduces insomnia.
Massage affected area with a few drops of rosemary oil mixed with a carrier oil for pain relief.
Blend 2 drops of rosemary oil with 2 drops of peppermint oil and a carrier oil and massage into temples and back of neck for pain relief.
Add 5-6 drops of rosemary oil by itself or with lavender oil into a bath to help you relax.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil works on migraines by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and reducing pain. Lavender oil regulates serotonin levels in the body, which helps reduce pain in the nervous system that can lead to migraine headaches. One study showed that inhaling lavender for 15 minutes helped reduce the severity of migraines.
Put a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue or cotton ball and inhale deeply for 15 minutes to calm and relieve headache pain.
Dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and apply to skin to help relax and relieve pain.
Add 4-5 drops to a diffuser to help relax you.
Add 5-10 drops to a warm bath to help relax you.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
There is scientific evidence that eucalyptus oil works well for relieving headache pain. Studies have shown that eucalyptus essential oil has pain-relieving properties, and that it’s scent helped to lower blood pressure and alleviate pain after surgery. Eucalyptus oil when combined with peppermint oil provide relaxing effects to both the muscles and the mind. If your headache is caused by sinus issues, this oil will clear sinuses to relieve sinus tension that causes headaches.
Dilute 2-4 drops in a carrier oil and apply to your forehead, temples, chest, neck and back.
Dilute 2 drops of eucalyptus oil and 2 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil and apply to temples and forehead.
Inhale straight from the bottle or a few drops on a cotton ball for sinus relief or headache relief.
Add 4-5 drops to warm water and breathe in deeply with a towel over your head.
Add 4-5 drops in a diffuser.
5. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil is one of the top essential oils for headaches and migraines. It works in a similar way that NSAIDs work. Chamomile oil has a calming effect on the nervous system and the muscles of the body. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can reduce anxiety levels and improve sleep.
Add a drop of chamomile oil to your tea, water or soup.
Mix 2 drops of chamomile oil with 2 drops of peppermint oil and a teaspoon of a carrier oil and rub on temples, forehead and back of head.
Add 4-5 drops to a warm bath.
Add 4-5 drops to warm water and inhale deeply with a towel over your head.
Add a few drops to a diffuser.
PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD NOT USE CHAMOMILE OIL AS IT POSES A RISK OF MISCARRIAGE.
The Bottom Line
Essential oils for migraine headaches can be beneficial and are generally safe and effective to use. Just know that essential oils work best when used in conjunction with your prescription medication. Also remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to essential oils. Never use too much. And if your migraines become too severe, make sure you see a doctor.