Whether you suffer from migraine headaches, sinus headaches or tension headaches, a natural pain reliever is a must. I have rounded up the best essential oils for headache relief plus a recipe for a roll on you can reach for any time you need instant relief.
Headaches are a common issue most of us deal with from time to time. Some common causes of headaches are muscle tension, stress, hormones, allergies (hay fever), sinus tension, dehydration, food intolerances, alcohol, environmental factors and even genetics.
There is strong evidence that several pure essential oils can be effective pain relievers for headaches sufferers. In this post, let’s explore the best essential oils for headaches and I’ll teach you the most effective ways to use them to remedy head pain fast!
Why Not Take Over the Counter Pain Relievers?
The typical headache treatment is an over the counter painkiller. The problem with painkillers is that they take a toll on your liver and kidneys. Other side effects include heartburn, stomach irritation, anemia, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and seizures.
Plus they don’t target the root of the problem. If you experience frequent headaches, it is important that you find a holistic approach to pain relief.
Essential oils are not only a natural remedy for headaches. They also tackle the root of the problem since they are capable of calming the body and mind, encouraging blood flow to the brain and reducing inflammation.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oil is the volatile liquid of a plant. It is highly concentrated and contains hundreds of chemical constituents that make an oil antiviral, anti bacterial, anti microbial, antiseptic, anti parasitic, anti fungal and anti inflammatory.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to heal and protect against sickness. Not only can essential oils be used to heal the body, they also are known to have effects on the mind. Many oils can uplift, revive or relax.
The Best Essential Oils for Headaches:
Peppermint Essential Oil is extremely fast when it comes to soothing pain. I always keep a bottle of peppermint by my side to relieve cramps. With it’s cooling sensation, it brings much needed relief, quickly. It contains menthol which has pain-relieving properties and helps muscles relax. THIS study showed that peppermint oil was more effective at relieving pain than aspirin.
Peppermint oil is most effective when dealing with hangover headaches, headaches due to hormonal imbalances and tension headaches.
Lavender Essential Oil due to it’s strong analgesic properties, is incredibly effective in relieving pain, and also contains relaxing properties to release tension. So many headaches come from tension.
Lavender helps relax muscles so the pain can be released. I never leave town without a bottle of lavender.
There has also been a study where lavender shows to be effective for migraine relief. A 2012 study in the European Neurology journal showed that 71% of patient’s migraine attacks were resolved by the inhalation of lavender essential oil.
Lavender is best for migraines, stress headaches and hormonal headaches and works well when headaches occur due to lack of sleep.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil has menthol action to help relive pain much like peppermint essential oil. If your migraine is due to sinus issues, this oil can relieve sinus pressure.
According to THIS review, eucalyptus has been used to activate and regulate the nervous system for pain.
Eucalyptus oil is best for allergy related headaches and sinus headaches. Sinus congestion can be relieved by inhaling eucalyptus and applying eucalyptus to the temples can help relieve sinus pressure.
Frankincense Essential Oil can reduce the swelling of the blood vessels and reduces the pain of a headache! According to THIS systematic review, frankincense has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Migraines are characterized by constricted blood vessels which is why the anti inflammatory properties of Frankincense can be so effective to reducing pressure and pain.
Copaiba Essential Oil is an incredible oil to reduce inflammation. It might be the most powerful inflammation busting oils there is! This oil has been shown to reduce pain and loosen muscles and even ease the discomfort of headaches and migraines.
Another interesting fact about copaiba is that it is a magnifier. This means that when layered on top of another oil, it enhances the benefits of that oil.
Copaiba is potentially the highest anti-inflammatory substance known. It has greater action than Ibuprofen or even Cortisone – but with zero side effects!
Other Oils That Effectively Relieve Headaches:
Where to Get the Best Essential Oils:
When using essential oils, high quality, organic oils are a must. I typically get my essential oils from Plant Therapy. I love that they offer organic oils that are affordable. Plus they offer fast and free shipping. You can use my code JENNIRAINCLOUD to get 10% off your order! You might be interested in my full Plant Therapy Review.
The Best Ways to Use Essential Oil for Headaches:
- The most effective way to use essential oils for headache relief is by applying a couple drops to the temples and back of the neck. It is necessary to dilute the oils. Refer to my post on dilution and conversions for essential oils.
- Inhaling essential oils is a great way to relieve a headache. Using an essential oil diffuser is a great way to inhale oils. You can also use an essential oil inhaler. If you’re in a hurry or in a lot of pain, you can also just inhale oils straight from the bottle.
- Add essential oils to a warm bath.
- Drop essential oils on a warm washcloth and apply to your forehead or neck.
What You’ll Need to Make a DIY Headache Roll On:
- 15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (find it HERE)
- 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (find it HERE)
- 5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (find it HERE)
- 5 drops Frankincense Essential Oil (find it HERE) *optional
- 5 drops Copaiba Essential Oil (find it HERE) *optional
- top off with Fractionated Coconut Oil or any other carrier oil.
- Find 10ml roller bottles (find it HERE)
- Small Funnel (find it HERE)
DIY Headache Roll On with Essential Oils
Ditch the drugs and make a simple essential oil based pain reliever that will help relieve a headache naturally. This roll on takes seconds to make and can be carried in your bag for easy use anytime a headache strikes!
- 15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 drops Frankincense Essential Oil
- 5 drops Copaiba Essential Oil
- 5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- top off with Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 10 ml Glass Roll On Bottle
- Small Funnel
- Add essential oils to a glass roll on bottle with a small funnel.
- Top the roll on off with fractionated coconut oil
- Replace the roll on and cap and shake.
- If you don't have fractionated coconut oil, you can use olive oil, jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.
- Eucalyptus can be omitted if you are not experiencing sinus headaches.
- Frankincense and Copaiba are powerful oils but they can be omitted if you don't have them.
How to use a DIY Headache Roll On:
The roll-on should be rolled on the exact area where the pain is coming from. Repeat as often as necessary. I’m always applying to the neck muscles and even shoulders. The temples and forehead are also great places to apply.
Tips for Avoiding Headaches:
- Stay Hydrated-Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces daily. Dehydration is often a cause of headaches and can be easily remedied!
- Eat! Under eating can cause headaches.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep-Over sleeping and not getting enough sleep can cause migraines.
- Work on managing stress. Whether it’s deep breathing, warm baths, meditation or just curling up with a good book, do whatever you need to do to reduce stress and tension.
- Get regular massages to keep the back and neck in check.
- Find the root cause. Take a look at medications, food, alcohol and nutrient deficiencies.
Essential oils can be so incredibly effective, not to mention natural. By incorporating essential oils in your life, you are reducing synthetic drugs as well as side effects! You might be interested in reading my Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils.
I carry my DIY headache roll on with me everywhere I go! A few drops of essential oil can go a long way when it comes to relieving headache symptoms.
I love making roll-on blends of essential oils! Below, I’ve listed a few of my favorite roll on recipes.
More Roll On Recipes:
- Anti Wrinkle Eye Stick
- Coffee Bean Caffeinated Roll On
- Lip Line Eraser Roll On
- Lip Potion Roll On
- Ring Worm Roll On
- Zit Zapper Roll On
I get terrible headaches from time to time and i can’t function with them! I hate taking pills too and often use peppermint essential oil and it seems to provide some relief. Thanks for sharing this blend, I need to try it!
Krstina! You are welcome! I hope you find some relief!
I’m new to essential oils but have done quite a bit of research so I was wondering if this recipe for an oz or for a 10 ml roll on bottle. I wondered because Wintergreen and/or Birch, from what I’ve read, says to use only a 5% soln/oz of the two combined since they both contain methyl salicylate, and this would be double that per oz. Plus it seems like an awful lot of Peppermint and lavender. Thanks for your help.
Yikes Winona! Thanks for telling me that-I’m going to send this recipe to my essential oil company and see what they suggest. Stay tuned!
The amount of drops for this headache blend seem excessive for a 10 ml bottle. I was told About 8 to 10 drops for a 15 ml bottle is sufficient. So a combined total of 90 drops of the oils seems like so much. I see by the comment from Winona that she’s also concerned. Hope to hear back from u soon. Also if I can’t find Birch amongst the brands I buy from, can I use a substitute?
As a professionsl aromatherapist I’m surprised to see such a large volume of essential oil used in this recipe, without a clear indication of how much carrier oil needs to be added. While the essential oils used may be helpful they must be blended with an approipriate amount of carrier oil to safely deliver them into the body without harm. I wouldn’t use more than a 5% dilution of these essential oils.
Hello dear Jenni, such a fabulous blog!!! Have just started the aromatherapy journey, but am very excited!! The primary reason to venture into it is since I too love all things natural, secondly, my Dad has major headache issues. Really want to help him, so would be a great help if you could give some feedback on your headache roll on recipe as promised ( since the quantities were in doubt) . Thanks soo much. God bless.
Nam-I have stuck with these quantities. Do I see as much relief as I do with something like IB Profen? No but when you get headaches often, this roll on is a must since it’s so much better for you and does provide relief that is almost immediate! Good luck for your dad!