Essential oils are used as home remedies for various ailments. Some are even effective in relieving migraine headaches. Essential oils are extracted from plants and are in concentrated forms. Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that involves the usage of essential oils for the treatment of various conditions. These oils can be applied topically. As they are available in concentrated forms, they are diluted with carrier oil and applied to the skin. Essential oils should never be ingested.
5 Best Essential Oils To Relieve Headache:
Some of the best essential oils for headache include:
- Lavender oil for stress headache
- Rosemary oil for pain relief
- Peppermint oil for tension headache
- Chamomile oil for congestion
- Eucalyptus oil for sinus headache
There is not much research on the effectiveness of essential oils on headache. Also, a person should speak with a healthcare professional when thinking of starting with any essential oil. It is also important to do a patch test before using any essential oil for the first time.
Do Essential Oil Help With Headache
Essential oils can be safe to use if the instructions are followed regarding the specific oils.
A 2021 review found that essential oils helped in easing migraine symptoms and reducing neurogenic inflammation and pain sensitivity and relaxing vascular tension.(1) It was found that basil essential oil reduced migraine frequency over 3 months. Its higher dose was found to show more improvement.
2019 research on Anise essential oil found it to be effective for migraine.(2) However, longer-term studies are needed to look for its effectiveness.
How to Use Essential Oil?
There are several ways of using an essential oil, which might vary depending on the condition it is used for. For headaches essential oil can be used in the following ways:
- Applying Oil To The Temples And Forehead: Essential oil can be diluted with a carrier oil before using it on any part of the body. It can then be applied to the temples and massaged across the forehead.
- Inhaling Oil: Essential oil can also be inhaled by adding a few drops of it to a tissue keeping it under the nose and breathing deeply.
- Using Compress: A compress can be created by soaking a towel in cold water containing a few drops of essential oil. It can then be applied to the forehead and neck.
- Adding Oil to Bath: A person can also use essential oil by adding a few drops of it to the bath.
Risks of Using Essential Oil
As the use of essential oil is not supported by the FDA, it is important to buy the oil from a reputable brand. They would not back their product with false health claims and would also mention the ingredient present in the bottle.
If used properly, essential oils are safe.(3) It is important to dilute them with a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation which would occur if they are used without dilution.
According to the National Cancer Institute, citrus-based oils can cause skin burns if the person uses them, and exposes the skin to the sun.(3)
Also, lavender and tea tree oils are known to have hormonal effects on people. In a study, it was found to have similar effects to estrogen and reduce the effectiveness of male hormones.
If a person has any existing health condition and they want to use essential oil, it is always better to consult a doctor and not to forget to do a patch test before starting to use it.
Essential Oils for Headache
There are several studies showing specific essential oils to be effective for headaches:
Lavender oil is often used to improve sleep and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It is believed to reduce migraine episodes that are triggered by stress.
Inhaling lavender essential oil can be effective for acute migraine.(4) An older study found that the participants of the study reported a lower Migraine Disability Assessment Score after using lavender essential oil therapy for 3 months.(5)
Also, lavender essential oil was found to reduce anxiety in people undergoing bone marrow biopsy.(6)
Rosemary oil is known to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.(7)
A study suggested it has pain-relieving properties and is effective in easing the pain when combined with analgesic drugs.(8)
Peppermint oil has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It is the most popular essential oil for treating headaches.
A 2015 review showed peppermint oil to be effective in easing tension headaches. It can be applied to temples and forehead.(7)
Peppermint oil contains menthol as an active ingredient that can be effective in treating migraine.(8)
Chamomile tea is consumed by people to relax, unwind and soothe symptoms of discomfort, pain, and congestion.
Chamomile essential oil is considered to have similar effects. Research shows it reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.(9) Sometimes a headache is due to anxiety, therefore it can be effective in alleviating headaches.
Its role in reducing headache can also be due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Alternatives to Reduce Headache
Other remedies can also be tried to relieve migraine headaches. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Adopting relaxation techniques
- Sleeping in a dark room
- Trying over-the-counter pain killers
- A person can also try massage and exercises for it.
It is important to contact a doctor for a recurrent headache as it plays a role in impacting the quality of life. A doctor can determine the cause and start appropriate treatment. These essential oils are extracted from natural things, still before using them one should be cautious as there are adverse effects as well. Being aware of them can be helpful in avoiding the discomfort of their occurrence.