• 08/23/2023

The Best Essential Oils to Treat Headaches

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Essential oils are now a household basic item and people use them in many ways. They add them to the baths as an aromatic or use them as a massage oil and a diffuser. Essential oils are famous for their relaxing effects, but they can also treat headaches. 

Essential Oils to Treat Headaches

The next time you get a pounding head, try these nine essential oils to ease the pain.

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is the favorite treatment for headaches. Most homes have it as a staple in their medicine kit. It has menthol that relaxes the muscles and improves painful symptoms. 

The spicy notes of the peppermint leaves provide a cooling sensation when the oil is applied to the temples. It’s potent and can cause skin irritation if you use it undiluted. Make sure to mix with a carrier oil, like coconut, so you don’t burn your skin. 

2. Geranium Oil

Geranium oil has a similar scent to rose and is used in many perfume and soap products. It’s the oil for women as its uplifting and calming aroma also works in getting rid of headaches related to anxiety, depression and negative feelings. It has a relaxant effect on the nervous system so it’s often used in aromatherapy. 

You can combine geranium oil with another oil, like sesame and use it to massage your head or temples. 

3. Lavender Oil

Lavender is a versatile oil and has multiple benefits, including hair growth and treatment of skin problems such as psoriasis. People use it as a diffuser before sleep to achieve relaxation, but it’s as effective in treating migraine attacks. 

Its floral and calming fragrance can help manage migraines and ease the throbbing symptoms. One review described that it may also help lower the episodes of headache and depression in people experiencing migraines. 

You may apply lavender oil directly on any affected area with your fingers. However, if you have sensitive skin, mix it with carrier oil. 

4. Bergamot Oil

Bergamot oil comes from a fruit related to an orange tree, which is found in the Mediterranean region. It’s leveraged as an ingredient in cooking and in beauty products. The fruit has a similar taste to earl gray tea. Its lemony and soothing aroma makes it a natural treatment for headaches and sleep problems.

You can inhale bergamot oil or mix it with olive oil and massage it on the back of your neck. 

5. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary is a versatile herb and has been used for numerous purposes since ancient times. The leaves are popularly used as aromatic in Mediterranean cuisines. The powerful healing benefits of oil extracted from the leaves make it an excellent antidote for several health concerns, including insomnia, stress and headaches. 

It’s as beneficial as lavender in providing pain relief as both have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can mix a few drops of rosemary oil with jojoba oil and use it to massage any painful body part.

6. Eucalyptus Oil

A cold or flu is often associated with headaches. Eucalyptus oil is one of the doctor-approved natural remedies for colds. 

Eucalyptus has cineole, a compound with exceptional medicinal properties, including antiviral and antibacterial. Apart from cold, the oil extracted from the trees are also effective in treating symptoms of a congested sinus. 

You can breathe in the eucalyptus oil to relieve pain or massage it around your head.

7. Chamomile Oil

Another essential oil known for its calming effect is chamomile. Americans often use it to relieve anxiety. People dry the flowers for tea and drink the brew before they go to bed to relax or if they can’t sleep due to insomnia. As a medicine, the oil extracted from the flower heads also works well in soothing the muscles and eliminating tension headaches. 

If you’re taking any medication, ask your doctor if it’s safe to use chamomile-derived products, like oil or tea, as it may interact with some medications. 

You can use chamomile oil in various ways such as a compress and a bath or massage oil. Before using it for massage, mix it with coconut or jojoba oil. 

8. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense comes from the Boswellia tree’s resin. The oil is obtained by tapping the trees. Christian churches use it as incense, but it’s also a major ingredient in skin care products and high-end perfumes due to its aromatic scent and health benefits. It’s believed that frankincense can relieve swelling and pain associated with menstrual disorders, bruises and rheumatic disease. 

A roller bottle of frankincense can come in handy as an inhaler when you experience headaches. 

9. Neroli Oil

Neroli oil is rare but it’s precious and equally beneficial as other essential oils. It comes from the flowers of the bitter orange trees, which explains its citrusy, rich aroma. Like other oils, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great natural solution for treating headaches.

Evidence suggests it can relieve stress and anxiety and minimize symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

You can use it as a topical oil and apply on the skin or mix a few drops into your bath.

How To Choose the Best Essential Oil

You can find several choices for essential oils but not all of them are of good quality. Some bottles may be labeled “therapeutic grade” but no government agency provides a grading system for these products. You need to shop with caution as some oil may also have other added ingredients. 

Here are some tips to guide you when shopping for your favorite oils.

  • Read the label: A good quality oil should include the botanical or Latin name of the plant as the source for the oil, the country where it comes from and added ingredients. 
  • Skip the “fragrance oils”: They are different from essential oils. They’re a mixture of chemicals and essential oils. 
  • Check the company: Buy from companies that have been selling or making essential oils for several years. You can visit their website to check their harvesting process and find product testimonials. 
  • Buy dark glass bottles: Concentrated essential oils are packed in brown or blue bottles to protect them from the sunlight. The quality of oil degrades when it’s exposed to the sun, so look for glass — and not plastic — packaging.
  • Consider the price: Don’t select the cheapest price as the oil is most likely not pure. Essential oil prices vary depending on the production and harvesting cost and the plant or tree source. Frankincense and neroli oils are more expensive compared to lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus. If you find a merchant selling neroli oil at a rock-bottom price, it’s probably poor quality.

Essential Oils To Relieve Headaches From Various Causes

Herbal medicines have been used since ancient times. Essential oils are the modern way people use herbs as medicines to treat different ailments. There’s an essential oil for every type of headache, whether it’s caused by stress, anxiety, sinusitis or migraine. But oils are only effective in their pure form, so when buying, check the label and the company, choose products in dark glass bottles and consider the price. Lastly, look for essential oils and not fragrance oils. 

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