How Essential Oils can ease Headache & Migraines

The dull ache, throbbing head and the pressure! If you are one of those who suffer from headaches, then you know what I am talking about. It is estimated that more than half of the adult population suffers from occasional headaches, with tension headache being the most common. There are several over the counter and prescription medicines available in the market, but these treatments come with side effects.

If you are looking for a more natural approach to treat these occasional headaches, you should consider using essential oils. Essential oils can do a lot more than just smelling good.


Essential oils are concentrated essences of plants derived through steam distillation and contains both the aroma and health benefits of the plants they are extracted from. They are extracted from, plant parts like bark, flowers, leaves, rinds, roots and seeds of fruits and plants.

When you inhale essential oils, some of their particles get ingested in our lungs and brain which affects our nervous system before making their way to the bloodstream. They interact with the endocrine system and organs and offers immediate relief.

Essential oils can be helpful in treating certain conditions like Headaches and Migraines. Each essential oil has its own benefit, and some are particularly ideal for treating headaches and migraines. Some essential oils are known to reduces stress which can alleviate headaches or have soothing effect on the pain.

Essential oils provide benefit without causing any side effect which accompanies prescription drug and migraine medicine.


Lavender Essential oil

Lavender is a very popular essential oil known for its calming and relaxing properties. It has a long history of medicinal use amongst various cultures. Lavender oil is known for alleviating headaches and is particularly good for stress and migraine headaches. Breathing in the scent of lavender can help you acutely manage the symptoms associated with migraines. Research has shown that Lavender oil is so calming that when combined with a massage or gentle pressure, it can ease stress which causes tension in the back and neck muscles which end up causing headache.

How to use: You can diffuse lavender oil in the room to benefit from its aroma. It can also by topically applied by mixing 2-3 drops of lavender oil with 1 tbsp of carrier oil and massage on head. You can also put few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball, keep it next to your pillow before sleeping.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Powerful anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary oil are known for boosting its pain-relieving properties which work to relax muscles. It is also known to boost circulation and relieves pain which in turn helps deal with symptoms of migraines.

How to use: You can add few drops of Rosemary oil to a diffuser and inhale its aroma. It is also effective when topically used. Mix few drops of rosemary oil to 1 tbsp of carrier oil like almond oil or coconut oil.

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile is known for its calming properties. It is a popular tea which promotes relaxation. Studies have shown that Chamomile helps reduces stress and anxiety which in turn can help get rid of headache symptoms.  It can also help release tension in muscles while soothing mental and physical stress. Chamomile oil has the ability to treat anxiety and insomnia, which are common causes of headache.

How to use: You can add few drops of Chamomile oil to a diffuser and breathe in. Alternatively, you can add 2-3 few drops to 5ml carrier oil of your choice and massage onto temples, forehead, neck or shoulders for relief.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil can help relieve tension, relax your muscles and helps to soothe your body and mind. If your headaches are due to sinus issues, Eucalyptus essential oil will be your best friend. It helps open nasal passages, clears sinus and helps relieve sinus tension which causes headache.

How to use: A warm water soak works wonderfully to ease symptoms of headache. Add few drops of Eucalyptus oil to warm water and dip your feet for 15 minutes. This will help you relax and relieve stress or any tension related headache. You can also apply eucalyptus oil diluted with carrier oil and to the chest to clear sinus.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils to treat headache and migraines. It has a sharp and strong aroma. It contains menthol which can help release any tension you might have in your muscles. It this is a trigger for you, then releasing this tension can help soothe pain. Peppermint is also known to improve blood circulation which is a common cause of migraines. Peppermint is therefore good for tension and dehydration headaches.

How to use: You can diffuse peppermint oil in a diffuser and benefit by breathing is aroma. Topically applying peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil can help relieve pain from both tension headache and migraine attacks. You can also add 1-2 drops to your bath which can help decrease intensity of headache.

Other essential oils which can help ease headaches and migraines include Geranium essential oil, Frankincense essential oil, Ginger essential oil.


  • It is important to note that some people with migraines develop smell sensitivity and even pleasant odours become unpleasant for them.
  • Essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted before applying on skin as they are highly concentrated as can cause irritation. You can dilute them in carrier oil of your choice and the max concentration of essential oils should be 3-4%
  • Always do a patch test before applying on larger areas of skin.
  • Essential oils are for external use only and should never be ingested
  • Store essential oils out of reach of children and store them apart from other products. Some essential oils can be fatal to pets and therefore always research before using them
  • It is unclear what effects essential oils have on pregnant and breastfeeding women. While some consider them safe, many doctors advice pregnant women to avoid use of essential oils
  • Always buy pure essential oils and stay away from fake counterparts as they wont contain same therapeutic benefits


Staying hydrated, eating regular meals and sticking to a regular sleeping pattern all can help stop headaches naturally. Nowadays many people who suffer from headaches are turning to a new lifestyle and incorporating essential oils instead of turning to medication. The aroma of essential oils can be very soothing and have a very relaxing effect.

If headaches and migraines are persistent and interfere with your life, its better to consult a doctor. For severe or frequent headaches or persistent migraines, essential oils works best as a complementary therapy along with prescription medicines.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for informational and educational purposes. I am not a medical professional and highly recommend consulting a doctor before using essential oils as part of any medical treatment.

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