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The Top Essential Oils for Headaches

General Health

The Top Essential Oils for Headaches

The Top Essential Oils for Headaches

There’s not a convenient time for a hassle to attack. In your super active, boss-lady, kid-juggling days, you want some fast relief. Luckily, there are some essential oils for headaches that can find the job done. The best part? This is a natural way to alleviate your pain and keep awake throughout the day. The additional bonus is that all these amazing essential oils for disorders smell pretty fantastic. So, there is sure to be a blend you’ll love.

The next step is easy, just make your favorite mix and keep the mix into your purse for a fast dab on your temples as needed.

What Are Essential Oils for Headaches?

Woman holding a wooden bowl with a dropper bottle of essential oil filled with dried lavender and the sign "Natural Medicine"
Some essential oils have chemical components that help to relieve headaches.

Okay, so what exactly are essential oils for
headaches? Well, these oils all contain some chemical components that work to
ease those nasty headache symptoms. In short, these oils come from a variety of
plants that naturally relieve pain, reduce stress, provide skin-cooling
effects, and more.

These oils work just like any other essential
oil. Meaning, you can inhale them or apply them topically. However, for
headache symptoms, the absolute best way to get fast results is by applying a
mixture to your forehead, temples, and back of your neck.

Do They Really Work?

Woman putting an essential oil blend into a wooden essential oil diffuser.

Because essential oils are a form of
alternative medicine, you might be skeptical as to their effectiveness. Have no
fear — these oils get the job done.

Based on scientific research, we’ve put
together a list of the best essential oils for headaches so you can test them
out to find your perfect blend. They contain properties that impact your
nervous system, anxiety and stress levels, and hormone output. Plus, some are
analgesic as well, meaning they actually relieve pain similar to a commercial
pain reliever.

But don’t take our word for it. Read on and
try these oils out for yourself!

The 5 Best Essential Oils for Headaches

1. Peppermint

A bottle of peppermint essential oil with a dropper surrounded by peppermint leaves

A minty burst of
energy for your senses! Peppermint essential oil’s aroma may initially seem
overpowering when you need to relieve a headache. Yet, it’s been scientifically
proven as a great natural remedy.

The menthol in the
peppermint essential oil is a wonder worker for migraines specifically, as
menthol is an analgesic when applied topically to skin.[1][2] In studies,
peppermint essential oil was effective in treating headaches because of this
analgesic function.[3]

Additionally, the
menthol in the oil lends a cooling effect that eases pain and also draws blood
flow to the area.[4] This can
increase your cognitive function as it eases your pain from a headache or

One study even
compared peppermint essential oil to a common pain reliever, paracetamol,
stating that it works just as well.[5] As the oil
seeps into your skin and then into your bloodstream, all the amazing benefits
reach your head quickly and effectively.

2. Lavender

A bottle of lavender essential oil surrounded by dry lavender

Lavender essential
oil is often praised as a one-and-done oil. Basically, that means it has so
many benefits for health and beauty that it’s a great starter oil to use for a
variety of purposes. Headache relief falls into that category too!

Lavender has a
sweet and floral aroma, and is one of the best essential oils for anxiety.
Additionally, when lavender essential oil was inhaled for 15 minutes by
patients with acute migraines, there was a significant improvement in their
recorded headache severity.[6]

Easing symptoms of
migraines can be particularly tough. There are so many factors that cause
discomfort during a migraine attack, such as light sensitivity, throbbing pain,
and pressure. Thankfully, lavender essential oil can rescue you from most mild
migraine symptoms via simple aromatherapy. You can try using lavender essential
oil for headaches by diffusing it and rubbing it with a carrier oil onto your
skin. This way, you’ll have double the headache-fighting power.

3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil next to freshly cut eucalyptus plant

This earthy and awakening oil is one of the few great essential oils for allergies, because it can benefit asthma and act as an anti-inflammatory agent.[7] That’s due to the menthol content, which helps headaches similarly to when you use peppermint essential oil.

However, not everyone is fond of peppermint, so we’ve given eucalyptus essential oil its own spot on our list of the top essential oils for headaches. Not to mention, eucalyptus has also been scientifically-proven to reduce headache symptoms.[8]

The other aspects
of eucalyptus oil that benefit those suffering headaches are its abilities to
combat inflammation and swelling.[9] In various
studies on pain, eucalyptus essential oil proved effective in reducing pain
levels after inhalation.[10]

In short, the oil
triggers receptors in your olfactory system which, in turn, affect your
relation to pain, stress, and more. You can use eucalyptus oil alone or in a
blend to get some great pain-fighting benefits. This oil will help you get back
on your feet in no time.

4. Rosemary

A bottle of rosemary essential oil net to freshly cut rosemary stems

Rosemary essential
oil is herbaceous, fresh, and a little sweet. The aroma is unique and pleasant,
plus it packs some great benefits too.

Rosemary is
anti-inflammatory and has pain-relieving properties.[11]
This makes it a winning oil for headaches caused by inflammation, such as when
you have a mild fever. However, recent research has suggested it works well for
all headache types. One study assessed the effectiveness of an essential oil
blend featuring rosemary on middle-aged women with recurrent headaches.[12] It found
that the blend helped treat their headaches significantly better than the
control group, which had no benefit.[13]

On top of this,
rosemary is one of the best essential oils for hair growth,
because it increases blood flow to the tissues on your scalp, which in turn may
help to stimulate hair growth.[14] So you
can also add some rosemary essential oil into your shampoo or hair masks. That
way, you can fight off headaches while keeping your hair lush and strong.

5. Chamomile

An open bottle of chamomile oil next to freshly cut chamomile flowers

The mild, sweet, and sedating smell of chamomile essential oil can calm many ailments and help you get to sleep. However, it’s also shown promise when it comes to reducing headaches and migraine pain. In Iran, it’s used as a form of traditional medicine against headaches.[15]

One study applied chamomile oil topically to migraine-afflicted people. The researchers found that chamomile worked primarily because of the chamomile flavonoids, due to their neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory abilities.[16]

It’s best to use
this oil in the evenings when you want some sleep support as well. As headaches
can interfere with sleep, chamomile makes for a powerful aid in both fields.

You can apply it topically or diffuse it to maximize the speed of its effects.

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