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4 effective essential oils for headaches and migraines

It's a brand new day. You roll off your bed grateful for another day and hoping to step out there and make the best of the day, but for this pulsating headache that seems to have woken up with you. Or you're approaching the end of your work day and looking forward to a well-deserved rest at home, but an awful headache creeps up to remind you how stressful your day has been.

Unfortunately, most of us are familiar with the above scenarios. Headaches can be really really unsettling, any time of the day. The nagging pain and discomfort can keep you miserable all day (add sleepless and frustrated to that, if it hits you at night).

Headaches are of different types, depending on the location of the ache and the causes. Tension headaches resulting from stress is one of the most common types of headaches. Other common types of headaches include migraines, sinus headaches, hormonal headaches, caffeine headaches and cluster headaches.

Generally, there are many ways to relieve a headache, and these include over-the-counter painkillers and several home remedies for headaches.

However, when you consider the fact that headaches occur quite frequently and prolonged intake of pain relievers like paracetamol poses a big risk to your health, it becomes necessary to seek safer ways to get rid of headaches. This is one of the many reasons people opt for natural remedies because they're considered safer and effective as well.

Natural Remedies For Headaches

Firstly, if you're experiencing frequent headaches, you could try making one or two changes in your lifestyle. Eating healthy and avoiding junk foods; getting at least 5-8 hours of sleep every night; incorporating a routine of regular, moderate exercises; reducing the number of hours you expose your eyes to your phone, TV or computer screens; reducing your alcohol intake; etc may help to keep headaches away from you.

There is a wide range of home remedies you can use to ease a headache naturally. Some of these remedies can effectively reduce your discomfort, while some can help to prevent headaches.

Here are some natural headache remedies to try:

Drink Water: Simple as this may sound, drinking much water is a good way to reduce the severity of a headache. Keeping your body well hydrated can also help to keep some types of headaches at bay. Make sure your body is getting enough water daily by drinking clean water as well as eating foods with high water content such as cucumber, watermelon, soups, etc.

Take a Warm Bath: A warm bath is relaxing. It may just be what you need to relieve a headache, especially a stress-induced one.

Sleep: Sleep deprivation can cause severe headaches. Catching some zzz's can help drive your headache away, especially if you haven’t been getting enough sleep. Turn off any glaring light, rest your body comfortably and get a good nap.

Other natural methods of relieving headache include applying a warm or cold compress to your head, acupuncture, meditation, listening to calm sounds like soft music, massage, aromatherapy, etc.

Aromatherapy for Headaches

Aromatherapy, which basically involves the use of plant essential oils for healing purposes, is a most effective and time-tested natural remedy for headaches. Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils to treat ailments and diseases. This widely trusted method of headache-relief has been around for hundreds of years, and for good reasons, too.

Essential oils are highly concentrated oil extracted from plants. They are one of the most effective natural remedies for headaches. Not only are essential oils good for headaches. They are natural, safe and have no negative side effects to your body, compared to conventional pain relievers.

Whether it's a migraine attack, tension headache, sinus headache, hormone-related headache or a hangover headache, you can effectively get rid of the headache naturally with essential oils.

Moreover, the natural healing powers of essential oils not only work to ease headache pain, they also help to resolve some underlying causes of headaches. Essential oils effectively alleviate stress by reducing the level of stress hormone in your body. They also have pharmacological properties that help to decongest a stuffy nose, reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation and promote good sleep.

This wonderful ability to tackle both the headache and its causes makes essential oils the best home remedies for combating headaches.

Are Essential Oils Safe For Use?

Essential oils are very safe, provided you use them properly and for the intended purposes. You should ensure you dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil before applying on your skin in order to avoid skin irritation.

If you're worried your skin might be sensitive to an essential oil even after the dilution, put a small amount of the oil on a patch of your skin to test for any allergic reaction. If you notice no reaction within 48 hours, then the oil is safe for your use.

How To Use Essential Oils For Headaches And Migraines

There are several ways to use essential oils to treat headaches and migraines. You can use any of the following methods:

Dilute and Apply Directly

This is the most common method of applying essential oils for headaches. Place a few drops of the oil on your palm and rub on your temples and forehead. If you're using this method, be sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil like jojoba, fractionated coconut, or sweet almond oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and therefore could cause skin irritation if used undiluted. Carrier oils help to get the volatile essential oil absorbed into your skin without irritation. Use one drop of essential oil per teaspoon (about 5 ml) of carrier oil.

Use a Diffuser

Inhaling essential oil yields a quicker relief from headache. You can inhale directly from the bottle (and hope not to sniff in more than you should) or dab on a cotton ball or tissue paper before inhaling.

The most convenient and popular way to inhale essential oils effectively is by using a diffuser.

There are different types of diffusers, including ultrasonic diffusers and nebulizing diffusers. Each model of diffuser functions differently and is designed to cater for particular needs. With a diffuser you can decide the exact quantity of oil you want to inhale.

An ultrasonic diffuser uses water. Simply place the desired drops of essential oils into the water and turn on your diffuser. The diffuser creates vibrations in the water, and these vibrations break down your essential oils into tiny particles that are then released as a fine mist. Inhaling this mist gives you the quickest relief from headaches or migraines as the oil enters your bloodstream faster.

Nebulizing diffusers use air pressure to diffuse essential oils, and they don't need water. The fragrance and concentration of essential oil diffused is stronger with nebulizers compared to ultrasonic diffusers.

Diffusers are especially suitable for people who have sensitive skin. You can conveniently carry your diffuser in your bag and use it at home or the office.

Check out our selection of classy, affordable and efficient diffusers.

Add to Your Bath

You can mix about 10 or 15 drops of essential oils with a tablespoon of carrier oil and add to a warm bath. Soak in the bath for about 10-20 minutes or as long as you desire.

Apply as a Compress

Another way of using essential oils to stop headaches is by applying a few drops to a wet towel and resting it on your forehead or round your neck. You can do this either as a warm or cold compress to bring instant relief to your aching head.

Sinus headaches respond better to cold compress, while warm compress is best for other forms of headaches and migraines.

4 Powerful Essential Oils for Headaches and Migraines

There are many natural essential oils with different healing abilities. Here are the four best essential oils for headaches. These essential oils are proven to be very powerful and effective at getting rid of headaches and migraines.


Lavender oil is popular for its calming and sedative properties. It is very effective for reducing inflammation and pain. This makes lavender oil a powerful essential oil for headaches. It acts fast to provide quick relief for headaches caused by anxiety, stress and lack of sleep.

Lavender oil is also good for easing hormonal and hangover headaches fast. Due to its sedative effect, lavender oil is best used at night.


Peppermint oil is a potent essential oil for treating headaches and migraines. It reduces inflammation and stimulates blood flow to different parts of your body. This essential oil contains menthol which aids muscle relaxation and helps to ease pain.

Peppermint oil is best for relieving acute migraines, tension headaches, and headaches resulting from hormonal fluctuations and hangovers. This oil should not be used close to bedtime as the menthol content can affect your sleep.


Eucalyptus oil is one of the best essential oils used for treating headaches naturally in alternative medicine. It helps to decongest a stuffy nose fast, relieve sinus pressure, lower blood pressure and get rid of headache quickly.

Eucalyptus oil effectively soothes sinus and tension headaches, and quickly ease the accompanying pain and discomfort.


Rosemary oil has powerful pain-killing properties, and provides long-lasting relief from headaches and migraines. Like the other essential oils for headaches, it targets the causes of headaches. It boosts blood circulation, relaxes your muscles, reduces the stress hormone (cortisol), stops inflammation pain, and improves sleep.

Best Essential Oils Blend for Headaches and Migraines

Good essential oils for headaches can be used individually on their own, or you can blend two or three essential oils together for a most effective outcome.

Here's our recommended blend for immediate relief from headache -

  • 4 drops Peppermint

  • 3 drops Lavender

  • 3 drops Eucalyptus

  • 2 drops Rosemary

Diffuse and inhale the blended oils or add a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut or sweet almond to the mix, and massage a few drops onto your temples and forehead.

In conclusion, natural remedies can help soothe headaches and migraines effectively, and essential oils are good for soothing headaches. These natural oils obtained from plants offer safe and effective remedies for headaches.

Written by Nkey Chibuzor (Bsc Botany, M.Sc Pharmacognosy and Natural Medicine)


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