Top Essential Oils for Headaches

There is evidence to suggest that essential oils can provide some form of health benefit to individuals who would utilize them but some of these claims are based on tradition and are anecdotal in nature. For this article, the focus will be on the use of essential oils to address headaches that have some form of confirmed evidence or scientific basis.

man with a headache

What can essential oils do for you and for your headache? In this article, we will look at some of the best essential oils for headaches and how to use them properly.

Essential Oils for Headaches: A Brief Overview

Essential Oils have been used for many years to address various medical conditions and ailments. It is quite simply the extracted and concentrated liquid from a plant. These oils are mainly used in alternative treatments, primarily of which is aromatherapy. Practitioners of aromatherapy called aromatherapists claim that the use of different essential oils can also deliver or bring about different results for different health conditions and ailments.

There is evidence to suggest that essential oils can provide some form of health benefit to individuals who would utilize them but some of these claims are based on tradition and are anecdotal in nature. For this article, the focus will be on the use of essential oils to address headaches that have some form of confirmed evidence or scientific basis. 

This presentation of alternative treatment options that are curative and effective against headaches can be helpful to individuals who are experiencing decreased quality of life due to their headaches. Worldwide estimates claim that more than half of adults tend to experience some form of headache.

Tension related headaches have also been identified as one of the more common reasons or factors for developing headaches. There are numerous over-the-counter medications or OTC drugs available in the market today that can indeed address headaches. These artificial treatment options, though, may have more adverse side effects than their natural treatment counterparts. As such, individuals will look for more natural ways to treat and manage their headaches and one such alternative treatment or option are essential oils.

5 Essential Oils for Headaches

We listed some essential oils that can help alleviate headaches.

1. Lavender Oil

Lavender can help people address their headaches. It is more commonly used to help individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, and stress and has also been shown to help people with sleep disorders.

There are claims that lavender oil can also alleviate the symptoms of stress-related headaches and migraines. These are the types of headaches that are triggered by tension or stressful life events and lavender oil can help with the management of such conditions.

A recent study conducted in 2012 showed the use of lavender essential oil through inhalation can be an effective and much safer treatment for migraines and headaches caused by tension and stress.

2. Rosemary Oil

Traditionally, people have been using rosemary oil to help address issues with circulation and headaches. Evidence taken from several studies, though, show that rosemary essential oils can be specifically effective in treating migraines and headaches. In addition, Rosemary oil may have some form of pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties based on the results of a study completed in 2008.

Different research conducted in 2013 showed that rosemary oil can also lessen the severity of insomnia and reduce pain for people who are currently undergoing withdrawal treatment for opium.

All of these results from different studies show that rosemary oil may be effective in addressing various types of headaches caused by a number of different factors. However, further studies are still needed to establish the actual result or effect of rosemary essential oils on humans.

3. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has been in use for many years in alternative medicine and treatments and is one of the most, if not the most, popular and well-known essential oil to fight against and treat headaches. A review conducted in 2015 suggested that the application of peppermint oil on the forehead and the temples of the individual can alleviate the symptoms of migraines and headaches caused by stress and tension. This is most probably due to the main active ingredient found in peppermint oil which is menthol. In another study conducted in 2015, evidence points to the effectiveness of menthol in terms of addressing migraines when applied as a form of a gel to the individual’s head.

4. Chamomile Oil

Chamomile was originally prepared as a form of herbal tea that can help people unwind and relax to relieve stress and tension. This benefit is also believed to be the same for the use of chamomile oil.

A study conducted in 2012 showed the possible positive effects of chamomile essential oil in helping patients with their depression and anxiety. As stress and anxiety are two (2) of the major causes of headaches and migraines, it is then not surprising that chamomile oil’s effects against both conditions (anxiety and stress) may also translate to better management and prevention of headaches.

Similar to rosemary oil, chamomile oil may also be effective in addressing bodily inflammation but further research is needed to conclusively establish this additional health benefit of chamomile oil.

5. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus has been originally utilized by people to help unclog the sinuses and to ease inflammation. Individuals who are then experiencing headaches caused by respiratory inflammation and clogged sinuses may benefit from the use of eucalyptus oils. To reduce one’s symptoms, eucalyptus simply needs to be inhaled.

Another study also identified eucalyptus as a possible supplement to help people with hypertension or high blood pressure. In the said study, patients or individuals who inhaled eucalyptus experienced lowered and better management of their blood pressure levels. People with high blood pressure are also known to have symptoms of dizziness and headaches and using eucalyptus to manage hypertension may consequently result in the prevention of headaches.

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