Essential Oils For Headaches And Migraines

  • Useful Essential Oils

    Which essential oils are effective for headaches and migraines?


    As explained in the video, the following essential oil products have traditionally been used for headaches and migraines:

    • Headache Roll-On Relief – If you feel a headache coming on, take a moment to sit, close your eyes and focus your attention on where the pain is located. Roll it on directly to those areas. You may also like to apply it to the temples and forehead as well as under the nose. For sinus headaches, also apply it to cheek and nose areas.
    • Birch Essential Oil – Diffuse it or dilute it to a maximum of 2% in any carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and apply on your forehead or any other part of the head and neck where the pain seems to originate. Note: Birch oil is harmful in high concentrations as it can cause poisoning by absorption through the skin. Use very small amounts. Avoid using it during pregnancy. If using it in the bath, make sure it is properly dispersed by mixing it with an emulsifier like liquid soap. Birch essential oil should not be used for children 3 years of age and younger.

    Or you may like to try Headache Reliever Synergy – Diffuse it or dilute it 3-5% in any carrier oil (15-25 drops per tablespoon) and apply on your forehead (or wherever you feel the pain) and also massage it into your temples.

    Lavender essential oil has also been traditionally used for headaches. Diffuse it or dilute it 5% in any carrier oil (25 drops per tablespoon) or dilute and use in an aromatic bath.

    You may also find the pain management page useful.


    This video is by the founder of Amrita Aromatherapy and master aromatherapist Christoph Streicher, Ph.D.

    Learn more about aromatherapy or see our how to use essential oil videos.


    Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.


  • About the Condition

    What is a headache? What is a migraine?


    A headache is basically a pain in the head region. They can be isolated to one particular spot or occur on both sides of the head. Sometimes they can even radiate across the head. It can be a sharp pain, throbbing sensation or dull ache. They can appear all at once or gradually build up. They can last for a few minutes or for several days. Some headaches can be sign of more serious conditions which require urgent medical attention – see below for more details.

    A migraine is a type of headache. A less common type of migraine is called a "migraine with aura." If you notice different feelings and symptoms before the migraine onset, it is termed an "aura" and the symptoms are called a "prodrome." Some of the other types of headaches include cluster headaches and tension-type headaches.

    What causes a headache? What causes a migraine?

    If the headache isn't caused by another condition, it is called a "primary headache." These types of headache are thought to be caused by problems with or the overactivity of pain-sensitive structures in the head. Other factors which may play a part include the brain's chemical activity, the nerves or blood vessels outside the skull, or the head or neck muscles. There may also be a genetic influence in making someone more likely to suffer from headaches.

    Some people find that a headache or migraine can be brought on by triggers such as drinking alcohol (particularly red wine) or by certain foods (e.g. by processed meats that contain nitrates), changes in sleep or lack of sleep, poor posture, skipped meals or by stress.

    Headaches can be a sign of a serious condition, such as a stroke, meningitis, encephalitis or a brain tumor. You should go to a hospital emergency room or call 911 or your local emergency number if you have a terrible headache accompanied by one or more of the following: confusion or trouble understanding speech, fainting, high fever, numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body, a stiff neck, nausea or vomiting (if not clearly related to the flu or a hangover), or any trouble seeing, speaking or walking.


    Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.

  • Other Treatments

    What are conventional medical treatments for headaches and migraines?


    Obviously avoiding whatever you have found triggers you to develop a headache is one way to reduce the number of headaches you experience. Most doctors would also advise you to try and reduce your stress levels and to adopt regular exercise as part of your routine.

    Of course there are medications for migraines and tension headaches. But even doctors advise that taking too many pain relievers can cause rebound or pain reliever-induced headaches. Aspirin should never be used by anyone under age 19, because it may increase the risk for Reye's syndrome.

    Doctors also prescribe a class of drugs known as triptans for migraines. Sometimes they also recommend the use of blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, muscle relaxants, relaxation and biofeedback techniques, avoidance of certain foods, cefaly (a device that gives electrical impulses on the skin at the forehead or cerena (a device for people who experience a migraine with aura – which gives off a magnetic pulse that stimulates the brain’s occipital cortex).

    For cluster headaches, some doctors have found that inhaling pure oxygen can provide relief.

    What are alternative treatments for headaches and migraines?

    As mentioned above stress reduction techniques and biofeedback techniques help some people to reduce the occurrence and severity of their headaches. Some people also find acupuncture, massage, herbs, and special diets to be effective.

    Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for headaches and migraines. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.


    Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.

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