Natural Remedies

Essential oils for migraine relief

Peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary essential oils are good for migraine relief.

Story Highlights

  • Migraines, is a specific type of headaches, can be triggered by different factors such as stress, food allergies, weather changes and so on.
  • Until now, people who suffer from migraines have to struggle with them until the end of their lives due to the inability to find a cure.
  • Essential oils have been used for a long time now, as a part of the alternative medicine to address different medical issues, including migraines.
  • Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Lavender essential oils are the best essential oils that you can use to treat and prevent any future migraines attacks.
  • By applying the essential oils topically or via aromatherapy, you can act to reduce your sleep problems, nausea, vomiting and reduce the intensity of your migraine attack.

We all have dealt with headaches at some point in our lives. Millions of people are suffering from a headache right now, and most of them do not know who or what to blame for their headache. However, most headaches come and go within a few hours and most of the times, all that you need to do is go out for fresh air, take a shower, take a nap or take a painkiller. Now imagine having to deal with a headache for a few days. And that is no ordinary headache that we are talking about. We are talking about a strong, annoying migraine, one that probably makes your life a living hell those few days. And unfortunately, no painkiller, no nap, no shower is going to relieve your migraine. But what is? And what is causing your migraine in the first place? Have you heard about the use of essential oils to relieve your migraine? Are you willing to give essential oils a try? Well first, you need to find out exactly which essential oils you can use and why. And that is what we are going to share with you today. Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?

What do you need to know about migraines?

A migraine 1is one of the few different types of headaches that have been commonly noticed to occur. A migraine is described as a severe pain on one side of the head that is often accomplished by other symptoms as well such as sensitivity to light/sound, vomiting, nausea and insomnia. Although the exact cause of migraines is yet to be defined, there are certain trigger factors that we need to mention. These are – hormonal changes, stress, loud noises, certain foods and so on. Unfortunately, there is no clear define treatment for migraines. Instead, there are some medications and painkillers that can be used to reduce the strength of the attack and some lifestyle changes such as exercising and diet changes that can help in reducing the number of migraine attacks in these patient’s lives.

The use of essential oils for migraines

Perhaps you did not know, but essential oils have been used for a long time now to treat headaches and migraines caused by various different causes as a part of the alternative medicine. Essential oils have a few beneficial effects which refer to your general health, but what we want to focus on here is the use of essential oils in the treatment of headaches and especially migraines. It has been considered that essential oils 2can actually relieve stress, improve the blood circulation in the body and with that – provide pain relief. The essential oils can be used either topically or as an aromatherapy. There are a few different essential oils that you can choose from to get some relief from your migraine. Hormonal imbalances, stress, allergies, physical exertion are all problems that can be addressed with the use of essential oils and all of which we have previously mentioned to be common trigger factors for migraines.

The essential oils that will help fight your migraine

Lavender oil – Lavender oil has an amazing smell, but that is not all that lavender oil is good for. Instead, lavender oil is known by its sedative, anti-anxiety, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and calming agents. It has been considered 3that lavender oil works by affecting our limbic system causing a rapid nervous system depression. The effects of lavender oil and its use against migraines have been proven in a study 4in which 47 participants took part in a placebo-controlled clinical trial in which they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes during a migraine attack. The results showed that 92 out of 129 migraine attacks responded to the use of lavender oil as compared with the placebo group where this number was much lower.

How to use lavender oil to treat migraine?

To use the beneficial effects of lavender oil, you can use lavender oil both topically or as an aromatherapy. Apply it topically on your wrists, neck, or back by using at least 5 drops of lavender oil and massaging these areas by using it. You can also add around 10 drops of lavender oil to a warm bath and enjoy a calming session of aromatherapy.

Peppermint oilPeppermint oil, known for its cooling effect, when applied topically, has been widely used for relief from tension headaches 5, and migraines. Peppermint oil has also antimicrobial effects – being able to soothe your digestion and fix your bad breath, it calms down your body and relieves your sore muscles.

How to use peppermint oil to treat migraine?

Peppermint oil should be used topically – by applying 2 drops of peppermint oil, massage your temples and neck and let the peppermint oil do its job and relieve your migraine.

Eucalyptus oil – Eucalyptus oil 6, with its antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties can efficiently alleviate sinus pressure. (sinus pressure can lead to either a tension headache or a migraine thanks to sinusitis)

How to use eucalyptus oil to treat migraine?

By applying 2-4 drops of eucalyptus oil on your temples, neck, chest, and back and massage it slowly into your skin, you will get the chance to relieve your headache and get rid of that runny nose and improve your breathing.

Rosemary oil – Headaches and poor circulation have been treated for a long time now with the use of rosemary essential oil. And why is that, you ask? It is the stimulating, analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties that are characteristic of the rosemary essential oil that are the ones to blame for your improved well-being in this case. Rosemary oil has been used in order to reduce the stress and the emotional triggers 7which are commonly the exact trigger factors that lead to the occurrence of migraines. You can say that rosemary oil actually prevents the occurrence of migraines and when they do occur, rosemary oil acts in order for a migraine to go away as fast as possible.

How to use rosemary oil to treat migraine?

You can either apply rosemary oil topically and massage it into your skin on your wrists, temples, and neck, or you can add a drop of rosemary oil to your soup, tea or water and let it act in its way, reducing your migraine attack and improving your well-being.

Summary

When a person is suffering from a migraine attack that lasts for days and disables him/her from doing just about anything including sleep, eat, work, even communicate, that person is almost desperate to try and find anything that would help to reduce the pain that they have been feeling. And that is the thing about migraines – there are not too many things that you can do to reduce your migraine attack. But one thing that you can try and that not only promises to relieve your pain, but it has also been proven to do so is the use of essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary oils to be exact are the ones that you should try.

These oils, for different reasons, have been claimed to provide a soothing effect, and pain relief, working on not only preventing but also treating your migraine attack. And all that it requires is to add a few drops of these essential oils in your tea, water, soup, or apply them in a topically form, massaging your skin with it, or in the form of  aromatherapy. Not only will you get the chance to enjoy in the beautiful smell, but you will also effectively treat your migraine attack without getting exposed to any harmful chemicals and that, perhaps is the best thing about it. When we are talking about a natural remedy as this one, there is little to no chance that any side effects will develop. Instead, only beneficial effects will happen and you will feel better in no time.


  1. Goadsby PJ. Pathophysiology of migraine. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. 2012;15(Suppl 1):S15-S22. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.99993.

  2. Göbel H, Schmidt G, Dworschak M, Stolze H, Heuss D. Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms. Phytomedicine. 1995;2(2):93-102. doi:10.1016/s0944-7113(11)80053-x.

  3. Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:681304. doi:10.1155/2013/681304.

  4. Sasannejad P, Saeedi M, Shoeibi A, Gorji A, Abbasi M, Foroughipour M. Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Eur Neurol. 2012;67(5):288-291. doi:10.1159/000335249.

  5. Göbel H e. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type. PubMed. 1996. Accessed March 18, 2018.

  6. Ben-Arye E, Dudai N, Eini A, Torem M, Schiff E, Rakover Y. Treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary Care: A Randomized Study Using Aromatic Herbs. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2011;2011:690346. doi:10.1155/2011/690346.

  7. Yu M, Choi J, Chae I et al. Suppression of LPS-induced inflammatory activities by Rosmarinus officinalis L. Food Chem. 2013;136(2):1047-1054. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.08.085.

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Dr Ahmed Zayed (MD)

Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy, healthy life.
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