Using essential oils for headaches and migraines can provide great pain relief without the risks of strong painkillers. Read on to learn more…
Most people experience headaches only on an occasional basis. After popping a couple of aspirins, their headache disappears within a few minutes, and they can go on with their day. But, for those who suffer with chronic headaches, two aspirins just don’t cut it anymore. The pain becomes so debilitating that they often turn to stronger pain killers, which are addictive and damaging to the body. Luckily, there is a better way to treat headaches using natural, healthy essential oils. They work fast, and there are no dangerous side effects to worry about.
Using essential oils for headaches & migraines
Before we take a look at the best essential oils for headaches, let’s first briefly discuss what exactly essential oils are and how they’re produced…
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are a concentrated form of a plant’s essence. They contain all of the plant’s aromas and beneficial properties in a tiny amount of liquid. Usually, a person would have to consume a large amount of plant matter to achieve the same benefits, but essential oils reduce down the amount that is needed.
How are essential oils made?
There are several methods of making an essential oils, the most common of which is distillation using steam.
The plants are simmered in a small amount of water in a heat resistant pan. Once the water temperature reaches a high enough heat, steam is produced. The steam creates condensation that is collected. The condensation is what contains the plant’s essence.
Sometimes, plant matter is also soaked in a carrier oil or high-proof alcohol for several weeks too. The plant’s properties are transferred to the liquid, but not in the same strength that is achieved by distillation.
How can essential oils be used to treat headaches?
Because headaches are in a localized region, the best way to use an essential oil for headaches is topically. A specific amount of essential oils are added to a carrier oil.
Both almond and jojoba oils work best as carrier oils because they’re so light and weightless. This allows them to quickly be absorbed through the skin without leaving a heavy, oily residue. The diluted essential oils are then dabbed on with a cotton ball or small sponge.
Another way to use the essential oils to treat headaches is to add them to a bowl of hot water then breathe in the steam. It works best if you drape a towel over your head while you do this. The last way to use them is by adding the essential oils to a vaporizer that is kept nearby while you sit or lay down comfortably.
Which essential oils work best for headaches & migraines?
Each plant has specific properties to it that makes it best for different ailments. Some of the essential oils that work best for headaches include:
This strongly scented plant is an efficient anti-inflammatory agent because of the high levels of oxide 1,8-cineole that is in it. It works best for headaches that occur during the daytime because it has a stimulating effect that could disrupt sleep if taken at night. It can be combined with lavender.
The high levels of linalyl acetate esters in lavender make it an effective sedative and anti-inflammatory agent too. When used alone, it is most suitable for headaches that occur at night because it can cause drowsiness. It can be used with Roman chamomile or spearmint for more severe headaches.
When compared to other members of the mint family of plants, spearmint has the highest levels of menthol. It soothes tense muscles very effectively, which makes it work wonders for tension headaches. It is a stimulant, so it should be used only during the daytime. Spearmint can be combined with lavender and eucalyptus.
Roman chamomile oil
Roman chamomile contains isobutyl angelate esters that cause the plant to be effective as a sedative and calming agent. It also reduces inflammation that’s common with painful headaches. Combine it with lavender or helichrysum at night.
This member of the daisy family is a fungicide, anti-inflammatory agent, and astringent. Sometimes, people call it the “curry” plant, but it’s not a spice. It is, though, effective at soothing skin and calming headaches. Combine it with Roman chamomile or lavender.
How much essential oil is needed?
The amount of essential oil you should add to the carrier oil depends on which essential oil you’re using. Some are stronger than others.
For the treatment of headaches, the following quantities can be used:
- Use 4 drops of eucalyptus.
- Use 8 drops of lavender.
- Use 4 drops of spearmint.
- Use 8 drops of Roman chamomile.
- Use 4 drops of helichrysum.
Are there any side effects?
While using these essential oils for headaches and migraines is quite safe and natural, some people might experience skin sensitivities or an allergic reaction to the oils. For this reason, it’s best to test each oil on a small spot of the skin before using it on a larger area. If there is any redness or rash, then skip that particular essential oil, and use a different one. You can read more about essential oil safety here.