Tension, then pain. The shoulder and neck tightness moves to your head, the throbbing increasing as it goes. Noise and light make it worse. You’ve had all sorts of headaches at one time or another. Tension, cluster, migraine, and the list goes on. There’s actually a headache type for each of your fingers. There are at least 10 types!
It helps to read up on headaches for safety’s sake, in case any are cause for concern, such as high blood pressure. Headaches may have an underlying cause that can be changed, as in the case of too much caffeine or muscular exertion.
Why Essential Oils Are Good For Headaches
Regardless of the cause of your headaches, essential oils offer support. They relieve muscular and nervous tension, stimulate circulation, and rid your system of toxins. Have you noticed how a headache comes on when you are overtired? There are oils that promote sound sleep. And those that balance stress hormones and soothe your emotions.
As we take stock of the types of headaches you and your loved ones encounter, remember there are oils to make heads happy again!
8 Best Essential Oils For Headaches & Migraines (EACH TYPE)
1. Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita)
Cheerful peppermint and its menthol compound offer a cooling wave followed by comforting warmth. This layering of sensations occurs as peppermint settles in to soothe your headache. Gentle stimulation of your circulation with an increase in oxygen offers analgesic relief, bringing comfort, clarity, and an uplifted mood.
Consider peppermint oil for migraine support as it numbs and calms. This benefit applies to neck and shoulder muscle and nerve pain too, often a sign that a headache is coming.
Blend 6 drops of peppermint in 10 ml of carrier oil and apply directly to your forehead for quick relief.
Best for: Increased circulation and oxygenation.
2. German chamomile Oil (Matricaria chamomilla)
German chamomile is so fresh and perky looking in its floral form, it is easy to forget its ancient roots. And don’t let its cheerful appearance let you think this is a lightweight! In fact, it is rich in antioxidants. Along with this it thwarts microbes, a benefit when headaches come on because of sinus infections or head congestion.
German chamomile then goes on to calm any digestive causes of headaches, such as intestinal upsets. This calming benefit helps to allay stress and anxiety as it promotes sound sleep.
Place a drop on a cotton ball to inhale prior to a quieting meditation.
Best for: Relieving stress and anxiety.
3. Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender’s gentle powers offer relief from tension. It is an antioxidant, ridding you of free radicals that cause inflammation, including pain associated with headaches. It even balances the stress hormone cortisol level when you slow down for needed rest. Healthy human volunteers experienced reductions in saliva cortisol levels after smelling lavender.
Lavender reduces muscle tension, a true benefit when shoulders and neck tighten. The main compound, linalyl acetate, bestows calm and supports sound sleep.
Massage a blend of 6 drops lavender in 10 ml of carrier oil to the nape of your neck and shoulders when muscular tension and pain begin.
Best for: Ridding toxins.
4. Clary Sage Oil (Salvia sclarea)
Clary sage contains calming, sedating esters and alcohols like linalool with its warmth and balancing attributes. Two monoterpene compounds, alpha-pinene and limonene, help you to feel uplifted as they balance hormones. The sedating effects reduce the tension and worry that contribute to headaches.
One controlled clinical trial concluded that women who were in the blended essential oil group showed the greatest improvement in life and sleep quality. And, mental calm was reported in another human subjects trial that observed the calming effect of clary sage on the limbic system. A sense of wellbeing reduces headache tension.
Add 2 drops to a lava necklace, offering you calming aromas for hours.
Best for: Improved sleep quality.
5. Sandalwood Oil (Santalum album)
Sandalwood supports headache reduction in more ways than one! It is especially helpful in reducing muscle and nerve spasms that are associated with headache onset. Its santalol compounds calm the potential for inflammation in nerves, limiting the tension that leads to utter exhaustion.
Sandalwood is further benefit by lowering blood pressure and flushing your system of retained fluids. Another gift is sandalwood’s staying power. Use it as your day begins, assuring it will go the distance with you!
Mix a few drops with a handful of shower gel, lathering its richness all over, especially massaging well around your neck and shoulders.
Best for: Reducing spasms in tissues.
6. Rosemary Oil (Rosmarinus officinale)
Eucalyptol is a powerful rosemary constituent. It stimulates circulation, reducing headache pain and swelling. The compound pinene invigorates your respiratory system, adding another layer of protection. Better breathing and a circulation boost help to stave off headaches!
An in vivo study found that inhalation of rosemary alleviates stress in mice, acting as a nervous system regulator. A small study of Thai human subjects observed that inhalation of rosemary resulted in stimulatory effects in participants. These were verified via electroencephalography analysis and participants’ mood reports. The compound camphor prompts this welcome, balanced invigoration.
Add 2 drops of rosemary to 20 ml of filtered water in the top of a candle diffuser, keeping the calming aromas nearby.
Best for: Nervous system regulation.
7. Ginger Oil (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is spicy and transformative. It contains compounds the body changes into gingerols that reduce the swelling and irritation of inflamed tissues. There are other ways in which ginger gets to the root of a headache.
The oil offers analgesia as its terpene compounds calm deep tissue pain. There is indication it does so by interfering with pain messages to the brain. This is one way that ginger’s pain quelling ability limits the nausea caused by a headache. The other is how it aids with digestive upsets.
Add 6 drops of ginger to a handful of shampoo to rinse away a headache at day’s beginning or end.
Best for: Pain relief.
8. Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
After you have inhaled the clear menthol aroma of eucalyptus, you are likely to remember it always! You will also recall how it uplifts your entire system. The terpene compounds eucalyptol and camphor are rapidly absorbed into your body, relieving the tension that precedes headaches.
Its cleansing actions relieve mucous membranes, bringing aid for headaches caused by head congestion, or sinus and ear infections. This helps to clear your thinking, one more step toward relieving stress.
Take a whiff of eucalyptus right from the bottle to clear your stuffy, achy head.
Best for: Relieving tension.
Best Essential Oils For Headaches Recipes & Blends
Sound Sleep Blend
This diffusion can be prepared in a matter of minutes! It blends oils that offer you calming relief as you drift off to sleep! Use a warm bowl of water or a timed electronic diffuser by your bedside. Choosing distilled water assures that the vapors you inhale add to your experience.
- 360 ml of warm water
- 30 drops (1.5 ml) of lavender
- 24 drops (1 ml + 4 drops) of clary sage
- 20 drops (1 ml) of German chamomile
- Mix well.
- Begin diffusion 20 minutes before bedtime.
- Sleep well!
Pour the water into a medium sized bowl. Add the essential oils.
If using an electronic diffuser, follow directions for use, preparing a 1% dilution.
Begin the diffusion 20 minutes before bedtime. Set the electronic diffuser for 1 hour.
Pain and Tension Relieving Bountiful Bath
As you have already read, there are marvelously numerous ways that essential oils can interfere with and eliminate headaches. This recipe literally immerses you in oils that relieve pain and spasms, along with delivering detoxifying aids. Added to these are the gifts of hormone balancing and sound sleep promotion.
- 15 ml of liquid castile soap
- 10 drops lavender
- 6 drops ginger
- 4 drops sandalwood
Drop oils into the liquid soap, blending well. Mix into a tub of warm water.
Bathe for 20 minutes, replenishing warmth as needed.
Arise carefully from your relaxing bath.
Best Headache Banishing Balm
This balm is designed to promote circulation, increasing flow of oxygen to tissues. This interplay within your body aids with toxin release as spasms are relieved. Your nervous system is regulated, further releasing tension as sound sleep is promoted. Plus, the apricot carrier oil is an antioxidant that is easily absorbed, adding another benefit. Let the balm help you to calm!
- 60 ml of apricot carrier oil
- 16 drops peppermint
- 8 drops clary sage
- 7 drops rosemary
- 5 drops sandalwood
Drop the oils into the apricot oil. Blend well and store in a glass bottle.
Massage oil across your forehead, into your temples, across the nape of your neck, and over your shoulders. If headache is associated with gastric distress, use the oil to massage across your abdomen.
Use at first signs of building tension or spasms. Apply every few hours during a headache.
- There are several types of headaches with causes like tension, hormones, infections, pollutants, allergies, exertion, and what you drink or eat.
- Essential oils offer you support for ridding or reducing a headache by calming tension, increasing circulation and respiration, detoxifying, fighting microbes, and promoting sound sleep.
- Best essential oils for headaches are peppermint, German chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, ginger, and sandalwood.
- Use tips include a lava necklace infusion, in your shampoo or shower gel, on a cotton ball, a blend applied to your neck or forehead, in a bedtime diffuser and, in the case of lavender, used neat.