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Essential Oils for Migraines: Which Ones Are the Most Effective?

Essential Oils for Migraines: Which Ones Are the Most Effective?

For thousands of years, we have been taking advantage of essential oils harvested from plants. Some of these oils are used on the skin, while most are used for aromatherapy. But what exactly are the benefits of these oils? How effective are essential oils for migraines?

Find out the answers to these questions, as well as which oils you should use.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are oils that are extracted from plants. Compared to other types of oils, these are fairly light, and evaporate quickly. For this reason, essential oils are commonly used for aromatherapy, since their volatility helps them evaporate into the air quickly1.

However, people also mix essential oils with carrier oils, which are a heavier, neutral oil. This is done to dilute the oil in order to make it safer to rub on the skin. These types of oils are commonly used in acupressure, or in massage therapy.

Essential oils have been used in alternative medicine for thousands of years. These days, essential oils have regained popularity as a means of dealing with headaches and migraines.

Essential Oils for Migraines

There have yet to be any conclusive studies regarding the effectiveness of essential oils for migraines. However, some studies have shown that certain oils can have a therapeutic effect, and can help with relaxation, and thus provide relief for migraine2.

This means that there might be some merit to using essential oils in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Here are some of the common essential oils for migraines:

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is a gentle oil, and has many benefits. Unlike other essential oils, lavender oil is safe for use on skin, so you can mix it with a carrier oil to rub it on your temples or forehead if you have a migraine.

However, the most common use of lavender oil is for aromatherapy. The scent of lavender is said to help improve sleep, calm a person down, and increase levels of comfort and relaxation3.

One possible theory as to why lavender can help with migraines is that it can block bad smells. Some people with migraine can be very sensitive to certain smells, and this can trigger their migraine. Using lavender oil can help “block” these smells, which can help them better manage migraine attacks.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is another widely used essential oil. It can help with headaches, fight fatigue, and even improve a person’s mood.

With regard to migraines, peppermint oil functions similarly to lavender oil. Both of these essential oils for migraines help block bad smells, and can keep a person calm and relaxed.

Using peppermint oil for aromatherapy can also help a person calm down faster. This means that if they have a migraine attack, using peppermint oil is a convenient way for them to ease the pain of their migraines4.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil has been known to be a mood booster. While there are no studies done on lemon oil and its effect on migraine, the fact that it is a mood booster means that it can help relax a person having a migraine.

Key Takeaways

Essential oils do have their uses, especially with regard to headaches and migraine. However, you should not rely solely on essential oils, since they might not always help.

The best thing to do would be to use essential oils for migraines in conjunction with modern medicine, in order to find a form of treatment that best suits your needs.

As always, be sure to consult your doctor first before trying out essential oils. This way, they can guide you on how best to use these oils to help with your headaches and migraines.

Learn more about Migraines here.

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


1 Aromatherapy for Migraine: A Possible Complementary Therapy, https://migrainedisease.org/treating-migraine/treatment/cam/aromatherapy-for-migraine/, Accessed October 18, 2021

2 Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms – ScienceDirect, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S094471131180053X?via%3Dihub, Accessed October 18, 2021

3 Essential Oils 101: Do They Work + How Do You Use Them? – Cleveland Clinic, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/essential-oils-101-do-they-work-how-do-you-use-them/, Accessed October 18, 2021

4 Can Aromatherapy Help with Migraine? • National Headache Foundation, https://headaches.org/2017/03/16/can-aromatherapy-help-with-migraine/, Accessed October 18, 2021

5 Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/aromatherapy-do-essential-oils-really-work, Accessed October 18, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Oct 19
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran