Headaches are the worst, and not just for the obvious reason of the pain that they cause. They can be a particularly frustrating struggle for those who don’t feel comfortable putting chemicals into their body like those found in modern medicines. Natural remedy seekers, rejoice! There is a solution for your headaches that doesn’t require you to ingest synthetic or artificial chemicals.
Essential oils are a popular and effective natural remedy for headaches. There are a few top choices that you’ll want to reach for the next time you feel a headache coming on. We’ll discuss which herbs and plants are our personal favorite essential oils and ways that you can use them to alleviate your next headache.
Types and Causes of Headaches
Before we get into which essential oils make the best headache remedy, let’s first look at what can cause head pain. There are several sources and types of headaches that result in different levels of pain intensity in various regions of the head.
The brain itself is not what experiences the headache pain but rather it is from the body parts around the brain being inflamed. Inflammation that causes headaches can be found in the nerves, muscles, and blood vessels of the neck, shoulders, and head.
Headaches have causes that can vary greatly across a wide range of sources. Causes can be related to stress, colds and other sicknesses, medical conditions, food allergies, physical injuries, and more. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience ongoing headaches that are not improving.
Now that we understand what we’re feeling when we experience a headache, we can better understand which essential oils we would want to reach for when we feel one coming. Essential oils that are known for promoting blood flow and have anti-inflammatory properties are going to be the best choices for natural, chemical-free headache solutions.
When we talk about headaches, and pain in general, we have to start by talking about peppermint essential oil. Studies show that peppermint can have a significant ability (similar to medicines like acetaminophen) to improve headache pain, especially in subjects with tension headaches. Peppermint has been used for years for its pain-relieving properties.
When applied topically, the menthol in peppermint creates a pleasant burning sensation that acts as a counter-irritant to take the pain away from the affected area. Peppermint is a key player for anyone seeking to use essential oils for headache relief. Read on for some of our other favorites that blend well with peppermint and offer some soothing benefits of their own.
Wintergreen is similar to peppermint in its ability to relieve pain with a pleasant burning sensation. The scent of wintergreen is one often characterizing muscle-relaxing ointments and balms on today’s market. The calming and analgesic properties of wintergreen make it a good choice when looking for essential oils to fight your headaches and other minor pains.
Lavender is a great choice for headaches. It makes an excellent aromatherapy blend when used in combination with peppermint. Studies show lavender specifically helps with neurological disorders and nerve pain, which are related to certain types of headaches.
Lavender is a popular essential oil that is used for calming the mind and easing anxiety which can be key components to relieving headache pain. The sedative properties of lavender will help you relax and release the tension in your head that can cause headaches. Plus, it is even known to be helpful in stabilizing moods and emotions.
Take one inhale of eucalyptus essential oil and you’ll be transported in your mind to a luxurious day at the spa. Eucalyptus is an excellent addition to peppermint, wintergreen, or lavender to create a blend that soothes and helps release the tension causing your headache.
Eucalyptus is calming and smells absolutely amazing—exactly what you’re looking for when you’re in the midst of a bad headache. Eucalyptus essential oil is a common ingredient in bath soaks because it has powerful aromatherapy benefits that relax you both mentally and physically.
We definitely have to add lemon to our list of favorites when it comes to creating a mood-boosting, headache-relieving blend of essential oils. Citrus scents (lemon in particular) are an excellent addition to your essential oil roller or diffuser blend. Lemon essential oil helps create an energized atmosphere that will motivate you and brighten your mood, exactly what you need when a headache hits in the middle of your workday.
Lemon uplifts your spirits and helps to wake up the senses. If your headache pain is caused by a bad night’s sleep or stress before a big day, try inhaling lemon essential oil for a boost of energy to wake you up and get you out the door!
The Best Ways To Use Essential Oils for Headaches
Now that you know which essential oils are our favorites for fighting headaches, let’s talk about the most effective methods for using and applying them. Remember that if you’re applying essential oils topically, you should always dilute it by combining it with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil.
This will help protect your skin from the potency of the pure essential oils which can sometimes cause irritation if they come in direct contact with your skin. Here are some safe ways to use your essential oils the next time you get a headache!
One of the best ways to carry and use your essential oil is through a roller. Rollers contain the essential oil blend, combined with a carrier oil, so you can safely apply it directly onto your skin. Simply roll the applicator onto your temples and forehead for a natural headache remedy.
We especially love to use rollers for our essential oils because they are travel-friendly and won’t leak in your purse or drawer. An essential oil roller filled with peppermint and our other favorite oils is your secret weapon the next time you’re fighting a headache.
Diffuse It To Create a Zen Atmosphere
A diffuser is a must for any essential oil user. The diffuser is a great way to get the aromatherapy benefits from essential oils because it creates a fine mist that carries the scent throughout your home. When you feel a headache coming on, the soothing scents of the same essential oils you apply to your temples can also be diffused to create the ultimate atmosphere of relaxation.
Inhale the Aroma
When you’re pressed for time and need a quick way to use your essential oils and soak in their soothing benefits, there is one great trick to keep in mind. Dab a drop or two of your essential oil into the palm of your hands and rub them together.
Then, bring your hands up to your face and cup them around your nose and mouth as you take a big, long inhale. This is the easiest and quickest way to breathe in the benefits of your essential oils and surround yourself with aromatherapy. If you don’t have a roller nearby, this hack will help you in a pinch.
Our Favorite—Bathe in It!
What better way to soak in the goodness of natural essential oils than to literally soak in them? Add a few drops of oil to your bath and dunk in a fun bath bomb that’s infused with essential oils for the perfect self-care routine to fight that headache.
This is a great solution especially if you experience a headache at home or before bed. Fill your bathroom with the healing aromatherapy scents of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, or wintergreen. These scents all make for a headache-soothing and tension-relieving bath, whether you use them together or separately.
For the perfect bedtime routine to ward off headaches, soak in a bathtub filled to the brim with an essential oil-infused bath bomb and add extra drops of lavender and peppermint. When you get out of the bath, dab a drop or two more of lavender, peppermint, and a carrier oil to the temples and inside of your wrists.
Final Thoughts On the Best Essential Oils for Headaches
To conclude, there is hope for those with headaches that are seeking a natural solution. Essential oils made with pure therapeutic grade processes can bring relief. Peppermint is an absolute must and our number one favorite essential oil for fighting headache pain. Blend it with some of our other favorites like lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon to create an intoxicating and powerful headache relief combination.
The best part about using essential oils for headache relief is that you get both the encompassing aromatherapy effects as well as the physical soothing properties of the plants. If you’re looking for a natural way to ward off your headaches, essential oils can give you hope!
Remember to talk with your doctor if you continue to experience head pain that does not improve over time. We think your next headache won’t stand a chance against the powerful soothing and calming properties of peppermint and our other favorite essential oils.
Types of Headache | Stanford Healthcare
Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache | NCBI