This week I’m attempting to quit drinking coffee, and it has led to a killer headache two days in a row. When I get a headache, I always run down my list of headache causes:
- Sinus issues or congestion
- Caffeine withdrawal
The start of allergy season is always fun, and I usually get a headache the week before my period (along with general crankiness and food cravings). Plus I’m super sensitive to certain smells. Walking into a candle store is my nightmare.
I’m diligent about headache prevention. Epsom salt baths to keep up my magnesium levels. Toting a water bottle. Keeping allergies in check. Rarely drinking alcohol.
And yet, I still get headaches. Headache home remedies help, but sometimes those remedies are not enough. It was one of those never ending headaches that led me to discover the power of essential oils – particularly peppermint! – for headaches. Desperate for relief, I grabbed the essential oil bottle and applied a few drops to my temples.
Don’t do this.
The peppermint instantly helped soothe the headache, but used undiluted, it was so cold that it felt like my skin was burning! Plus you risk getting the oil in your eye (ouch).
Dilute the peppermint oil in a carrier oil and then apply to your temples, forehead and neck. There’s evidence for peppermint’s headache help. In this study, peppermint oil helps ease headache pain as well as a dose of acetaminophen.
Peppermint isn’t the only essential oil to help relieve pain, ease tension and provide headache relief.
Best essential oils for headaches
The menthol in peppermint has a cooling, pain-relieving action and helps open up the sinuses. It works synergistically with lavender.
2. Sweet marjoram
Marjoram is a warming, relaxing oil with pain-relieving properties. It helps dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow, so it’s a good oil to massage into your temples. Marjoram can be a very sedative oil so try combining it with lavender in a bath or massage before bed.
3. Eucalyptus globulus
The scent of eucalyptus never fails to wake me up and open my sinuses. Its anti-inflammatory effects on the respiratory system help alleviate the congestion and sinus pressure that leads to a headache. It’s a strong oil so follow safety guidelines for use with children.
Lavender’s relaxing scent is comforting and soothing but also anti-inflammatory and analgesic. This 2012 study found that lavender was effective for relieving migraine headaches. Diffuse lavender to restore balance and relieve headache-causing tension, anxiety and stress.
Rosemary has long been used to treat headaches because it stimulates blood flow, reduces inflammation and brings pain relief to an aching head. Its strengthening scent also helps clear out mental anxiety and stress. I look for rosemary ct. camphor like this Spanish rosemary for headache relief. The camphor is helpful for opening up breathing and relieving sinus pressure.
Essential Oil Headache Blend
Add essential oils to a 5 ml bottle. Replace cap and shake to blend.
Ways to use:
Add 12-15 drops of the essential oil blend to a 10ml roller ball and fill with carrier oil. Apply the roller ball to the temples and behind the ears and gently massage.
Hold the bottle of the essential oil blend under your nose and inhale. Or make an inhaler.
Add 12 drops of the essential oil blend to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil and massage it into your head, neck and shoulders.
Add 5-6 drops of the essential oil blend to a diffuser (or follow your diffuser’s instructions) and run for 20 minutes.
Add 6 drops of the essential oil blend to a bowl along with 2 cups cold water and stir. Soak a soft cloth in the water and then remove, wringing out excess water. Apply the compress to your forehead and relax.
Add 12 drops of the essential oil blend to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. Run a warm bath then add the oil and soak for 20 minutes.13