Headaches – they’re ruthless! They often come about without any sign of warning, without so much as a flicker of an idea that a throbbing headache is around the corner. No chance to prepare, headaches come and attack you without any warning and you will be left surprised with pain that all you can do is be irritated from the moment it strikes you. This is how a headache attacks – And when it finally hits you, it makes you feel like you really need to find something to counter it – and FAST! Using essential oils for headaches is a wonderful alternative way to get rid of that nasty headache!
Types of Headaches
First though, some essential oils are more effective in addressing certain types of headaches. To start, let’s understand where a headache may come from. Here are the most common types of headaches:
1. Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches typically affect one side of the head more than the other. They are characterized by a sharp, throbbing pain sensation. Migraines are usually triggered by anxiety, stress, lack of sleep or hormonal changes.
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2. Tension Headaches
This type of headache causes mild to intense pain and can last from 30 minutes to a few days! Tension headaches are usually triggered by staring at the screen for too long (maybe from television, computer, or extended phone use), or from driving for a long period of time.
3. Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches are caused by a sinus infection and they often include symptoms such as nasal discharge, pain over your upper teeth, pressure on the sinus area and sometimes a fever. A lot of people may be confused and think that they have headaches from sinusitis, but actually they have migraines or tension headaches. To confirm sinusitis and receive a proper headache diagnosis, please see your doctor.
4. Sugar Headache
How can something so annoying sound so sweet? Sugar headaches. Those types of headaches are caused by low blood sugar levels from fasting, dieting, or eating irregular meals. Eating a large amount of foods with high glucose content can trigger sugar headaches too!
5. Dehydration Headache
Dehydration is more common that you may think and affects a large percentage of the population on a daily basis. This Scientific Journal at the US National Library of Medicine titled “Water, Hydration and Health”, confirms that water deprivation and dehydration can lead to the development of headache.
Natural Headache Remedies
There are a lot of known remedies to relieve us from the pain and agony that is brought by headaches, and the effectiveness of these remedies sometimes vary greatly for each individual person. Your first step of defense against a headache should always be to drink a tall glass of water. Some people get relief from headaches just by sleeping it off or by taking a power nap. Some people need a massage to take away the pain, and there are also those who immediately go to their medicine cabinet and take a pill. Sure, these over the counter remedies are effective BUT these over the counter treatments can cause unpleasant side effects.
There is also another, alternative way for you to get that nasty little headache away from you. You don’t need to take a pain reliever medication, get a massage or force yourself to sleep it off. All you need are some good essential oils and the knowledge of which oil to use and how to use it to make it work.
Which Essential Oils Help With Headaches?
Aromatherapy and the use and application of essential oils can help you get relief from your headaches. Below are some of the individual essential oils that are good for headaches. The essential oil that will work best to relieve your headache will depend on the type of headache you’re having.
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus essential oil contains chemical components that allows it to act not only as an anti-inflammatory, but also as an expectorant, meaning it helps bring up mucus and other materials from your lung areas. If you are experiencing a headache that is caused by sinusitis or any problem that includes the sinuses, then this essential oil is the best kind for you to use.
There are different varieties of Eucalyptus essential oil. Make sure you pick the Eucalyptus Globulus, as it is best for headaches & sinus infections.
Eucalyptus oil is also proven to decrease a person’s pain and blood pressure when inhaled or applied topically because of it’s cooling sensation to the system. It is also a cost effective way to alleviate body and muscle pains.
How do you use Eucalyptus oil for migraine headaches and sinus headaches? The Eucalyptus scent is great for migraine types of headaches. Massage it into the temples and the back of the neck to ease migraine symptoms. Eucalyptus oil can also be applied on the chest area, on top of the nose and on pillowcases to clear the nasal passages and relieve sinus headache symptoms.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita)
Most people find the scent of the peppermint essential oil to be very pleasing and comfortable because of it being quite familiar. When diluted at a low level of concentration, the peppermint oil can cause minty and an uplifting sensation but this could also be one of the most intense among all of the essential oils. It contains menthol, which gives that cool sensation that could really help in relieving a headache. Peppermint essential oil can also be used for muscle pain and other body aches by stimulating blood flow to specific areas when applied topically.
Although the menthol in the peppermint oil can feel very relaxing, it can also have a stimulating effect that is why you should avoid using this when it is already your bedtime because you might find yourself still up in the middle of the night when you should already be fast asleep.
How do yo use peppermint oil for headaches? Apply pre-diluted oil to your forehead, the temples of your head, or the neck (and into the hairline). Please do not apply Peppermint oil directly to your skin, it could sting and irritate. Buy pre-diluted roll-ons, make your own roll-on, or dilute on the fly by placing 1 tsp of carrier oil into the palm of your hand, and add 2 drops of Peppermint oil. Apply where needed.
3. Spearmint Essential Oil (Mentha spicata)
If you like the feel, scent and effects of the peppermint essential oil but feel that it is too strong for you to handle, then the spearmint essential oil is a really good alternative to use. Spearmint is much more subtle in scent than peppermint essential oil, but it basically has the same calming and therapeutic effects.
4. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
This essential oil is very effective to induce a feeling of calm and relaxation to the one who is using it. If you are having a headache, feeling tired and stressed out, lonely or depressed, then this is the best essential oil that you can use. When you are feeling angry or irritable, this can also help you to feel calm and relaxed.
If you have ever tried drinking chamomile tea, then you are already very familiar with the scent of the chamomile essential oil, only it is much more fragrant and it still has that calming and sedative effect. This essential oils’ anti-inflammatory properties makes it very effective in relieving headaches.
When you diffuse this essential oil properly, you can use it to help calm an irritable baby or a toddler throwing a tantrum – this is truly how effective and powerful it is.
5. Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Pretty sure that it is not a surprise that lavender oil is a part of this list as it has a very aromatic, refreshing and relaxing scent. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an essential part of your essential oils home use first aid kit. Still, one of the most wanted effects of this essential oil is its sedative effects. It could help you relax easily and make you fall asleep quickly and assist in relieving you of your headache that way. Therefore, lavender essential oil is best used when you want to relieve a headache that is felt at night.
Further, Lavender is also one of the best essential oils to use when experiencing too much stress. Just inhaling the floral scent of this essential oil is already enough to take the headache away, especially when you know how to dilute or diffuse it the right way. Lavender oil is also one of the most safe oils to use. However, when you use it excessively, it can have a stimulating effect.
For sugar headaches, you can mix equal parts of lavender, rosemary, and coconut oil. Apply this mix to the nape area (this is at the top of your neck into your back hairline) and on the temples.
6. Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary essential oil is commonly used to relieve stress and can cure tension headaches and migraines by reducing the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your body.
Applying rosemary oil directly to the temples and to the nape area, or taking a vapor bath with a few drops of rosemary oil can improve the body’s circulation. Improved circulation can aid in relieving pain because of more blood flowing to the areas affected. Adding essential oils to a bath is effective because you can inhale the essential oils while the bath water evaporates the oils into the air.
How to Use Essential Oils For Headaches
If you’re wondering where to put essential oils for headaches, there are two main ways that you can enjoy the therapeutic effects of essential oils for headaches:
- Apply Topically: You may opt to apply the oils topically wherever you feel the pain. Popular spots are on your temples or forehead. Always dilute the essential oil with a drop or two of an appropriate essential oil carrier oil, apply the mixture on your skin and wait for the oil to work its magic. If you prefer a super quick fix for your headache, try a headache relief essential oil roll-on, such as this one here. This is definitely also handy to keep in your purse for on-the-go headache relief. If you are not a first time essential oil user, you can definitely blend your own essential oil headache relief mix as well and get it ready for use whenever needed. You can use this as a guide in blending your own mix. Use your personalized blend into a pre-made roll-on product (refillable bottles available here), and kiss your headache goodbye!
- Breathe It In: Another way to use essential oils for headaches is by using an electric essential oil diffuser to disperse the oil into the air. Filling the room you’re in with the aroma of beneficial oils will allow you to continually breathe in an environment of well-being. The olfactory system of smell is extremely strongly developed in humans. It is a great avenue to transport positive messages back to your brain. If you don’t own a diffuser yet, you can put some essential oils on a cotton ball and hold the cotton ball right under your nostril. Then, take a deep breath and enjoy the pain-relieving sensations!
Ready To Go Essential Oil Roll-Ons for Headaches
If you don’t want to stack up your home medicine kit with all of these individual pure essential oils, I did find a great alternative as well. You can get a set of pre-diluted, roll-on type essential oil applicators for under $40 from Plant Therapy. It doesn’t use the individual essential oils, but rather a combination of essential oils into synergy blends that are named Germ Fighter, Lavender, Immune-Aid, Headache, Peppermint and Calming the Child. If you’re looking for the easy solution to help your headaches (and other home first aid situations), this might be the kit for you!
What Do You Think?
Do you have essential oil headaches success stories to share where you’ve used essential oils to help you cope with the throbbing temples? Let us know in the comments below!