Essential oils are fabulous alternatives to OTC headache and migraine medications that sometimes come with unwanted side effects. Oils have potent compounds that can help to relieve pain, reduce stress, and alleviate tension headaches. 

Aside from reducing the risks of conventional medications, turning to oils for headaches has some added benefits. First, essential oils for headache symptoms don’t just address the pain and the trigger as well—or the root! Addressing the root cause is the key to lasting relief. 

In this article, I’ll start by talking about the top essential oils for headaches and then go into my favorite recipes and how-to’s. 

The Best Essential Oils For Headaches 

Peppermint essential oil

One of the top oils for headaches. Peppermint can improve blood circulation and relax muscles making it one of the best essential oils for tension headaches. 

To Use: Mix 1-2 drops with a half teaspoon of carrier oil and apply directly to temples, base of neck, and shoulders. 

Lavender essential oil

Known for its soothing effects, lavender oil can calm and relieve tension, both mental and physical. Because lavender can also give a proper boost to your central nervous system, it can be helpful in preventing migraine attacks and other headaches. 

To Use: Add 5 drops to a diffuser or mix 2 drops with a carrier oil and apply to temples. Mix with peppermint for added effectiveness. 

Eucalyptus essential oil

Go-to oil for sinus headaches. As an expectorant, eucalyptus oil loosens built up phlegm and decreases sinus pressures that cause headaches. And because it’s anti-inflammatory, eucalyptus can cut down on pain associated with headaches. 

To Use: add 4 drops to the floor of your steamy shower. Diffuse 5 drops. Inhale directly from the bottle. Mix 1-2 drops with a half teaspoon of carrier oil and apply to temples and chest. 

Rosemary essential oil

This oil’s anti-inflammatory effects can help relieve headache pain and soothe an upset stomach that comes with severe headaches. 

To Use: mix 1-2 drops with raw honey and mix into hot water. You can also add a drop to yummy soup! Mix 1-2 drops with a half teaspoon of carrier oil and massage into your temples or the back of your neck. 

Helichrysum essential oil

A strong anti-inflammatory oil that is incredibly effective at fighting cluster headaches. 

To Use: mix 1-2 drops of oil with a carrier oil and apply directly to forehead, temples, and/or the back of your neck. Inhale directly from the bottle. Diffuse 5 drops. Add 2 drops on a cold compress and apply to the forehead. 

Roman Chamomile essential oil

Its anti-inflammatory and relaxant properties are key in helping relieve headaches, especially those that keep you awake at night. 

To Use: mix 5-8 drops of oil with epsom salt and mix well into a steamy bath. Diffuse 5 drops. Add 2 drops to your pillow before drifting to sleep. 

Clary sage essential oil

If hormones are the cause of your headaches, clary sage is known for helping with PMS symptoms including headaches caused by hormone fluctuations. 

To Use: Mix 1-2 drops with a half teaspoon of carrier oil and apply directly to the headache site. Add 5 drops to a diffuser. 

DIY Headache Relief Recipes with Essential Oils

Diffuser Recipe for Headache Relief 

  • 3 drops lavender 
  • 5 drops marjoram
  • 5 drops frankincense
  • 5 drops copaiba 

Add oils to a diffuser and inhale deeply for relief. 

Migraine Blend 

  • 1 drop helichrysum 
  • 1 drop juniper berry 
  • Carrier oil of choice 

Blend ingredients together in palms and massage into temples and neck. 

Headache Roll-On with Essential Oils 

  • 7 drops of peppermint 
  • 5 drops of lavender 
  • 5 drops frankincense 

Add oils to a 5 mL roller bottle and top off with fractionated coconut oil or another carrier oil of your choice. Roll onto temples, shoulders, and base of neck.

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