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Essential Oils For Headaches: What Might Help?

Essential Oils For Headaches: What Might Help?

The use of essential oils (EO) is quickly becoming a trend, with users from across the globe attesting to their many health benefits. But can these concentrated extracts cure headaches? If so, what essential oil can you use for a headache attack? Find out here.

Rosemary

Rosemary EO is known for its excellent benefits for the hair, but some reports suggest that it can also ease headaches.

One research showed that rosemary has both anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activity, which means it can ease inflammation and help relieve pain.

In another investigation, the researchers mentioned that rosemary is an effective treatment for body pains, headaches, and even seizures.

Lavender

We are no stranger to the healing effects of lavender. With its anxiety-easing and relaxing properties, many products, like lotions and teas, use this plant. So, if you’re experiencing headaches from stress, lavender may just be the right essential oil for you.

Here’s good news: lavender might also be a good option if you’re having a migraine attack.

In one study, the researchers recorded a total of 129 migraine attacks from participants. Ninety-two of these responded well to the inhalation of lavender EO, prompting researchers to conclude that lavender may be an effective and safe treatment for migraine headaches.

essential oil for headache

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus was already an established ingredient even before EOs became a popular home remedies item. Many vapor rubs, pain patches, and oils contain eucalyptus because of its soothing effects. People also inhale eucalyptus essential oil if they are suffering from a clogged or stuffy nose because it helps relieve nasal congestion.

If you’re having a headache because of congestion, eucalyptus essential oil may be a good choice.

Besides congestion-induced headaches, eucalyptus might also help ease other kinds of headaches. According to one report, eucalyptus oil had been used to regulate various systems, like the nervous system, for problems like neuralgia and headache.

Chamomile

People who want to relax and de-stress often drink chamomile tea, because, like lavender, it is famous for its soothing properties. Others who want to sleep soundly also find chamomile effective.

For this reason, if you’ve been having headaches due to stress, anxiety, or sleep deprivation, using chamomile essential oil might help.

However, please note that there are still no studies on how chamomile essential oil directly affects a headache attack.

Peppermint

Tension headaches are the most common headaches that people experience, that’s why we also call them “everyday headaches.”

If you find yourself affected by tension headache, consider using peppermint essential oil. According to one report, treating headaches topically with peppermint oil was significantly more effective than placebo. The report likewise mentioned that the effect of peppermint oil is comparable to paracetamol and acetylsalicylic acid.

How to Use Essential Oils

Whether it’s for headache or other health concerns, here are some ways to use an essential oil:

Massage

To address a headache attack, dilute the essential oil of your choice with a carrier oil (like coconut oil). Afterward, you can use the diluted oil to massage your temples or forehead.

Note: Please do not apply undiluted oil directly to your skin. Remember that EOs are concentrated extracts; undiluted, their potency might irritate the skin.

Inhalation

Another common way to use essential oil for headaches is to put a few drops on tissue paper and hold it under your nose. Others add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.

You can also consider using a diffuser. However, be careful. Some EOs might trigger respiratory symptoms, especially if you have asthma or allergies. Additionally, don’t overdo it.

Diffusing EOs for hours on end might not be good for the indoor air quality. Take regular breaks in between use, and make sure that each use doesn’t last for more than 30 minutes.

Bath

Lastly, you can add a few drops of the EO to your bath water and soak in it for a few minutes.

Final Reminders

To date, we still need more studies to determine if some EOs are effective in treating headaches. If you keep experiencing headaches despite home remedies, make an appointment with the doctor.

Learn more about Brain and NS here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil in experimental animal models
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19053868/
Accessed April 16, 2021

Beneficial Effects of Rosmarinus Officinalis for Treatment of Opium Withdrawal Syndrome during Addiction Treatment Programs: A Clinical Trial
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905473/
Accessed April 16, 2021

Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22517298/
Accessed April 16, 2021

Eucalyptus
https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-2086009#:~:text=has%20proven%20fatal.-,Eucalyptus%20oil%20is%20often%20used%20in%20a%20steam%20inhalation%20to,the%20symptoms%20of%20nasal%20stuffiness.
Accessed April 16, 2021

Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033
Accessed April 16, 2021

6) [Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache]
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27106030/
Accessed April 16, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 23
Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, M.D.
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