4 Useful essential oils for migraines

essential oils for migraines

A strong headache can be sometimes really unpleasant. Add vomiting and extremely strong sensitivity to light or a sound of a pin hitting the ground and you will have an idea how agonising the symptoms of migraines can be. It can give a hard time both at work and in a private life.

About 14.7% of people in the world suffer from migrainous headaches, which is roughly 1 in 7. Women are 3 times more affected than men.

Essential oils for migraines
What do migraines feel like?

In this article you will find what migraine is and what are the most common causes and symptoms of migraine. In addition to it, I’ll also give you some tips such as home remedies for migraines or best essential oils for migraines. These essential oils should help with migraines relieving the worst pain, if it already began.

Why does migraine happen?

Migraine is a disease of nervous system, but why does migrain happen in the first place?

How does a migraine happen?
Why do migraines occur?

Migraines occur in people whose nervous system is more sensitive than the nervous system of other people. In people suffering from migraines, nerve cells in the brain are easily stimulated.

Symptoms of migraines

Even before the migraine itself develops, there are symptoms of migraines which can tell you that an attack is about to begin. These symptoms differ from person to person, but when you get your tenth migraine in a row, you’ll probably know the signs that a migraine is coming and how long do migraines last.

How does a migraine start?

Some pre-migraine symptoms may be increased fatigue, restlessness or irritability, increased appetite, depression, frequent yawning or stiffness in the back of the neck.
For others, on the contrary, it can be an unusually cheerful mood or hyperactivity depends on the type of migraine.

In a migraine itself, pulsating or throbbing pain is usually felt on one side of the head, but it can occur on both sides. This pain can last several hours or even several days. This strong headache is sometimes accompanied by vomiting and very often by sensitivity to light and any sounds.
People suffering from migraines feel the need to hide in a room with the blinds down and isolate themselves from any sounds around them. In a migraine attack, you may have speech and vision problems or you can feel dizzy.
The patient is often unable to function normally, because any physical activity aggravates the pain. Symptoms can vary from mild to debilitating.

Migraine triggers

Certain external factors can be the main causes of migraine. Let’s have a look at some of them:

  • Unmanageable stress
  • Certain foods or dehydration
  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
  • Weather changes
  • Excessive physical or emotional burden
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Repetitive or very loud sounds
  • Hormone/menstrual fluctuations
  • Colds

A lot of people can have a migraine caused by cervical spine pain. Such pain usually begins in the area of the neck and radiates upward to the eye and forehead. It often happens when you’ve been making repetitive movements for too long, or if you stay in the same position for too long, for example when you’re working on a computer. Neck muscles can simply get overstretched.

Another reason for cervical spine pain may be the position in which you sleep.
If the muscle gets too tired, there may not be enough blood flow in it. And insufficient blood flow in a muscle causes the muscle to be very stiff, which can cause a migraine.

Migraine and stress

Never-ending stress is another common trigger for migraines. Sometimes we have so many things to do that we feel physically exhausted. School, work, children, offices, shopping…. I’m sure you’ve been there. Besides, it has an impact on our psychological side. How we feel about stress in the long term also affects whether our hormones are in balance or not.

Before I go into what can prevent or suppress migraine, I’m going to mention one more stress-related thing. And that’s sleep. If we sleep no more than 4-5 hours every night, or the quality of our sleep is not the best, again the stress level in our body increases. When we have a lack of sleep, we feel irritated and exhausted. I’m sure you know this feeling. I know it’s hard sometimes, but try to make your sleep a priority, and you’ll see that you’ll be able to deal with everyday situations much more calmly, and that even those migraine attacks won’t happen so often.

Now, let’s talk essential oils for migraines. Every essential oil can affect our health in several ways. They can relieve muscle tension, stimulate blood flow, settle your hormonal imbalance, relieve pain, improve sleep quality, relax the mind and nervous system, or simply boost your mood.
But hey, let’s stop beating around the bush. Let’s have a look at some of the best essential oils for migraines.

How do you stop a migraine naturally with essential oils?

  • Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • True lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Spike lavender oil (Lavandula latifolia)
  • Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)

Rosemary oil for headaches

Rosemary oil for headaches
Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary essential oil is a good analgesic, which makes this oil a perfect choice for tired, stiff and overworked muscles. It has a warming effect and is able to increase your blood flow in muscles.
So consider this essential oil if your migraine comes from a cervical spine pain.

Rosemary essential oil is well known for its stimulating effect on the central nervous system. For that reason, it is recommended for conditions such as nervous debility or mental and physical fatigue.

Rosemary essential oil is a pale yellow to almost colourless liquid, with a strong, fresh, woody-herbaceous top note and a clean-woody-balsamic body note which fades into a dry herbaceous base note.

NOTE: It should be avoided if you suffer from epilepsy or high blood pressure. Pregnant women shouldn’t use it either.

Lavender oil uses for migraine

True lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender oil uses for migraine
True lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)

Inhalation of lavender essential oil will induce sense of relaxation, enhace sleep and improve alertness on waking. As I mentioned above, insomnia is often caused by mental stress or anxiety, and better sleep leads to a decrease in stress.
Lavender is also able to reduce anxiety and improve mood and concentration.

To relax your mind, you can inhale lavender from a diffuser, or you can take a lavender bath.

True lavender essential oil is a colourless or pale-yellow liquid with a sweet, floral, herbaceous, refreshing aroma and a pleasant balsamic-woody undertone.

Spike lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia)

Spike lavender essential oil for migraines
Spike lavender oil (Lavandula latifolia)

Spike lavender oil benefits are, due to its composition, more suitable for relieving migraines and cervical spine pain when applied directly to the skin. This is because, compared to true lavender essential oil, it contains larger amount of camphor and 1,8-cineole, two of the many compounds that give this essential oil its characteristic properties.
On the other hand, without linalyl acetate, spike lavender does not have the same relaxing properties as true lavender.

NOTE: It should be avoided if you suffer from epilepsy or have fevers. Pregnant women shouldn’t use it either. This is due to the camphor content.

Peppermint essential oil for headaches

Peppermint essential oil for headaches
Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint essential oil is, for its warming effect, used to relieve muscle pain and headaches caused by muscle tension. It also increases the blood flow in muscles.
Peppermint essential oil can relieve headaches within 15 minutes.
Sometimes migraine can also be caused by sinus infection. So if you feel like a cold is hitting you, the peppermint essential oil can come in handy.

Peppermint essential oil is a pale-yellow or pale-olive-coloured liquid with a fresh, strong grassy-minty odour, a deep balsamic-sweet undertone and a sweet, clean dryout note.

NOTE: Peppermint oil should be avoided in cases of cardiac fibrillation. Peppermint contains menthol and for that reason, it shouldn’t be used in blends for young children – neither in skin applications nor by inhalation.

How to use essential oils for headaches

First of all, I want to emphasize that any essential oils including these essential oils for migraines must always be diluted in carrier oil if you are going to apply them to the skin. Some examples of carrier oils are jojoba or sunflower oil.

As our essential oils for migraines are the stars here and we don’t need the carrier oil to offer us any other properties, you can also use fractionated coconut oil for diluting the chosen essential oil. This carrier oil is inexpensive and non-greasy.

How to use essential oils for headaches

Essential oils for migraines recipe

If nervous exhaustion is what you want to fight, add a few drops of rosemary and true lavender essential oils into your diffuser.

If your migraine is caused by stress or lack of sleep you can have a lavender bath, inhale lavender essential oil by using a diffuser or rub it on your feet or temples. Use not more than 3 drops of an essential oil per 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil if you are going to apply it to the skin. This is how you induce lavender dreams and wake up fresher in the morning.

And last but not least, a blend of spike lavender and rosemary essential oil would be ideal for migraines caused by cervical spine pain. For a warming effect, you can also add a peppermint essential oil into this blend.
Again, to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil add 1 drop of each essential oil. If you decide to use only 1 essential oil, you can add 3 drops of this oil.

You can apply your blend to the temples and forehead to relieve the migraine.
If you need to relieve neck pain, start applying your oils behind your ears along the muscles illustrated in the picture below. These are those muscles that most often cause migraine if they are too tight.

How to use essential oils for headaches
Migraine caused by muscle tension

How to stop migraines completely?

The short answer to a question how to stop migraines is not simple. It may not be possible to completely cure migraines but there are at least ways to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

Yoga or going for a walk to get some fresh air could be another great ways to reduce stress and increase the quality of sleep.

Chances are that you are reading this article because you suffer from migraines or occasional headaches. That’s why I hope I helped you realize some possible triggers that could cause your troubles. I also hope this article helped you learn that a nice essential oil in a diffuser could be one of the several home remedies for headaches that won’t go away.

If you like using essential oils for migraines and consider them useful as a natural remedy against many ailments I would like to suggest you to check my other post about the 3 best essential oils for menstrual cramps.

Let me know in the comments, if you liked this article and if you have experience using essential oils for migraines.