Headaches are merciless! They often strike without any sign of warning, without so much as a flicker of an idea that a throbbing headache is around the corner. You don’t get any chance to prepare for headaches. They hit you all of a sudden and cause you intense pain. You can do nothing except feel irritated and surprised when a headache strikes you. And when you have been hit, you feel like you really need to find a remedy FAST to counter it. Using essential oils for headaches is a great alternative way for eliminating that nasty headache!
First though, some essential oils are more effective in resolving certain types of headaches. To begin with, let’s understand where a headache may come from.
Types of Headaches
Headaches can have varying sources or reasons. Here are the most common types of headaches:
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- Migraine Headaches. These types of headaches usually affect one side of the head more than the other. Migraine pain is a sharp, throbbing and disabling pain which can last for hours to days. Some of the triggering factors for migraine headaches are: Stress and anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, medications, lack of sleep, or hormonal changes.
- Hypertension Headaches. This particular type of headache causes mild to intense pain and can last from 30 minutes to a few days! Tension headaches are usually triggered when the head is held in one position for a long time without moving. This could be looking at the TV or computer screen for too long, extended phone use, or driving for a long period of time ³.
- Sinus Headaches. Sinuses are air-filled spaces inside your forehead, cheekbones and behind the bridge of your nose. When they get inflamed they swell, and the channels draining them can get blocked. This build-up of pressure in the sinuses causes pain that feels like a headache. Sinus headaches often include symptoms like nasal discharge, pressure on the sinus area, and sometimes a fever.
- Stress Headaches. Both emotional stress and physical stress can lead to headaches. Stress has a lot of hazardous results and thus it is smart to curb it before it grows.
- Sugar Headaches. Sugar headaches can arise due to either too much or too little sugar. Intake of too much sugar can cause high blood sugar levels. Consuming too little sugar can lead to low blood sugar levels. Fasting, dieting or eating irregular meals can eventually cause sugar headaches. Eating a large amount of foods with high glucose content can also trigger sugar headaches 5.
- Dehydration Headaches. Dehydration headaches happen when there isn’t enough fluid in the body. These headaches can be relatively mild or severe as a migraine 6. Dehydration is more common than you may think. It affects a large percentage of human population on a daily basis.
Start taking action at the first hint of a stress headache – you’ll thank yourself later!
Best Essential Oils for Headaches
Aromatherapy can help you get relief from your headaches and migraines. Below mentioned are some of the individual essential oils for headaches. The oil that will work best for relieving your headache will also depend on the type of headache you have.
Eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globulus) contains anti-inflammatory and expectorant chemical qualities. This means it helps bring up mucus and other materials from lung areas. If you are having a headache because of sinusitis (or any problem that includes sinuses), Eucalyptus is a great choice of oil for you 7.
Different varieties of Eucalyptus essential oil exist. Make sure you pick Eucalyptus globulus when shopping for your oils. It is the best variety for headaches and sinus infections.
The scent of Eucalyptus oil is great for headaches of migraine types. Dilute 3-4 drops in 1 tsp of carrier oil. Then gently massage it into the temples and the back of the neck to relieve migraine symptoms. You can also apply the oil on the chest area, or spray it on pillowcases for help in clearing nasal passages.
The scent of peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) is quite familiar to most of us. It is a pleasing and relaxing aroma that can cause a minty and uplifting sensation. At the same time, Peppermint can also be one of the most intense among all the essential oils.
It contains menthol, which gives that cool sensation that could help in easing a headache.
Though menthol can feel very comforting, it can also have a stimulating effect. For this reason, avoid using Peppermint at bedtime.
Apply pre-diluted oil to your forehead area, the temples of your head, or the neck, as well as into the hairline. Do not apply Peppermint oil to your skin directly as it can cause stinging and irritation.
Buy pre-diluted roll-ons, make your own roll-on, or you can dilute on the fly: keep 1 teaspoon of carrier oil in the palm of your hand, and add 2-3 drops of Peppermint oil to your mix. Apply where needed.
Spearmint essential oil (Mentha spicata) has a much more subtle scent than that of the peppermint oil, but it basically has the same soothing and therapeutic effects 9. If you are fond of the scent, feel and effects of the peppermint essential oil, but feel you cannot handle it as it is too strong for you, then Spearmint is a really excellent alternative to use.
4. Roman Chamomile
Roman Chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile) supports feelings of calmness and relaxation. If you are experiencing a headache, feeling stressed out or lonely, this is the best essential oil for you to use. When you are feeling angry or irritated, Roman Chamomile can also help you to get back to a calm and relaxing feeling.
If you have ever drank chamomile tea, then you are familiar with the scent of chamomile essential oil. The essential oil has much more fragrance than the tea, yet it has the same soothing and sedative effects that the plant carries.
Also, this essential oils’ anti-inflammatory properties support relief from headaches.
Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) possesses a very aromatic, refreshing and relaxing scent. It also contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an essential part of your first aid kit 10.
One of the most desired properties of Lavender essential oil is its sedative effects. It helps you relax, and can get you to fall asleep faster and better. For this reason, lavender essential oil is best used for headaches that arise in the evening.
Further, Lavender is also one of the best essential oils to use when you are experiencing extreme stress 11. Inhaling its floral scent helps to fight the headache, especially when you have knowledge about how to diffuse it in the right manner.
Lavender oil is also one of the most safest oils to use.
For sugar headaches, mix lavender, rosemary and coconut oil in equal parts. Apply this mixture to your nape area (it lies at the top of your neck into your back hairline) as well as on the temples.
Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis) supports stress relief in a natural way. It can bring down the cortisol levels (stress hormones) in your body, which are commonly present in tension headaches and migraines.
Apply rosemary oil to the temples and nape area. Or take a hot steam bath with a few drops of rosemary oil to improve the circulation of the body. Improved circulation can help in pain relief due to the more blood flowing to the affected areas
How to Use Essential Oils For Headaches
If you’re wondering where to apply essential oils for headaches, there are two main ways that you can enjoy the therapeutic effects of essential oils for headaches:
You may choose to apply essential oils topically to any area where you feel pain. Popular spots for applying oils for headaches are on your temples or forehead. Always dilute the essential oil by adding a drop or two of appropriate essential oil carrier oil. Then applying the mixture on your skin.
If you prefer using a super quick fix for your headache, try a headache relief roll-on like this one here.
Breathe It In
Use an electric essential oil diffuser
for dispersing the beneficial oils into the air. Our sense of smell is extremely strong. It is a great avenue for sending positive messages back to your brain. If you don’t have a diffuser yet, you can keep some essential oils on a cotton ball and hold it right under your nostril. Then, take a deep breath and enjoy the pain-relieving sensations.
Filling your room with the scent of aromatherapy oils lets you take your every breath in an environment of well-being.
Do you have any essential oil headaches success stories that you would like to share with us, where you used essential oils to cope with the throbbing temples? Please let us know in the comments below!
(1) What is causing this headache? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php
(3) Tension headache: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000797.htm
(5) Can you get a headache from sugar? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320464.php
(6) Dehydration headaches: Signs, treatment and prevention: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317511.php
(7) Eucalyptus oil: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/eucalyptus-oil
(9) Spearmint: Health benefits and more: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266128.php
(10) Lavender: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender