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What Essential Oils Help With Migraines

Contact A Naturopathic Doctor For Advice On Essential Oils And Holistic Remedies

Migraine Relief with Essential Oils

Essential oils have proven therapeutic properties to combat headache pain. Dr. Karen Threlkel is a naturopathic doctor serving primarily women in the greater D.C. area who uses a holistic approach with natural-focused remedies for treating symptoms and underlying conditions. Our team combines various areas of expertise to provide natural remedies or treatments such as essential oils for headaches. Contact Dr. Threlkel to schedule a consultation for more information about a health topic that concerns you.

About The Author:

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Bergamot And Frankincense May Help You Avoid Migraine Triggers

There are cases where the effect of an essential oil on migraine or headache itself is unknown, but it may help with factors related to migraine, says Lin. For example, certain essential oils may be used to help reduce anxiety or support sleep, which in turn may affect headache, she says.

Bergamot and frankincense can be used to reduce anxiety, support the stress response, and maybe help people sleep better, and so from that perspective you can certainly use these scents.

Bergamot oil is made from a type of orange tree. It has an intense, lemony aroma thats been used for both pain and anxiety, so it could also be a helpful headache treatment. Bergamot oil aroma is inhaled some researchers believe that scent receptors in the nose react to essential oils by sending messages to the brain that cause relaxation, similar to the way medications work.

Frankincense essential oil is distilled from the resin of Boswellia carteri, a tree native to the Arabian Peninsula and northeastern Africa. In a study published in the Journal of Oleo Science in 2019, researchers found the effect of frankincense on sleep-deprived rats suggested that it may be beneficial in the management of stress.

How To Make Sure Your Oils Are The Real Deal

Heres the thing with essential oils: they arent regulated by the FDA, and there are no grading systems or certifications to look for on a bottle.

That means that basically anyone out there with a distiller could make a bottle of the stuff and sell it, which isnt the most comforting thought. Some of them could include an ingredient or filler that isnt on the label, or they may not have been harvested correctly.

They could also be contaminated. Heres how to avoid that situation:

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Essential Oils For Headaches During Pregnancy

Essential oils can be used during pregnancy, however it is strongly suggested that you consult with a health care professional before using any aromatherapy products, as each person is different.

Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils have been used safely in clinical trials for headaches during pregnancy.4 However, BHO recommends speaking with your health care professional before starting any essential oil treatment while pregnant.

Aromatherapy For Migraine: A Possible Complementary Therapy

Essential Oils for Headaches: What Oils to Use and How to ...

Medical Review:David Watson, MD

Aromatherapy for Migraine is a topic that comes up frequently. It comes up especially frequently in discussions where people are looking for natural Migraine.

Aromatherapy often comes up when people ask about natural remedies for Migraine and Headache that they can use in place of or in conjunction with their traditionaltreatments prescription and over-the-counter medications. Having explored and tried many natural options over the years, Ive never found anything in that category that can abort a Migraine attack.

That said, there are some complementary therapies that can be helpful during a Migraine attack or even in blocking fragrances and chemicals from triggering a Migraine attack. I choose to call these therapies complementary rather than alternative because they can be used to complement more traditional therapies, rather than being used as an alternative to them.

Aromatherapy can be an excellent complementary therapy for Migraine. Although it cannot abort a Migraine attack, for some people with Migraine, it can offer symptomatic relief and comfort. Aromatherapy for Migraine, as any other therapy, isnt for everyone. For some people whose Migraine attacks are triggered by fragrance, aromatherapy is out. For others, some essential oils are not Migraine triggers.

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Rosemary Oil For Migraines

Rosemary is one herb that can stimulate hair growth, improve memory, boost blood circulation along with reducing pain.

Why to use?

This oil is a stress reliever as inhaling it can significantly lower cortisol levels in saliva. Cortisol is released during stress and is a stress hormone. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well and readily helps to increase blood circulation which can reduce aids in reducing severe headaches.

How to use?

Rosemary oil can be applied directly to the temple or the exact area of pain. The best way is to inhale its vapors for five minutes or to take a vapor bath with the oil. To improve its effects, you can mix 6-8 drops of the oil with other essential oils as well.

How Are Migraines Diagnosed

Unfortunately, doctors cant use blood tests to determine if you are or will be affected by migraines. You should make an appointment with your doctor if youre experiencing unexpected or frequent migraines. They can give you an official diagnosis and make sure that your migraines arent the result of an underlying medical condition.

Your doctor will assess your family history and your symptoms in order to give a diagnosis. It may be beneficial for you to keep a log of your symptoms, which can help you doctor understand your condition. How Can Aromatherapy Be Used for Migraine Relief? Although no conclusive evidence has shown that essential oils will treat migraines, some research demonstrates a potential positive effect.

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So Which Essential Oils Are Best For Headaches In Particular

These are the oils that Rogers recommends for relief.

  • Lavender oil. Lavender oil is sort of the mother of all oils and can help with a lot of ailments. It’s used regularly in Mayo Clinics hospitals, Rodgers says, as a remedy for headaches brought on by anxiety and mental stress.
  • Peppermint oil. The menthol component of peppermint oil can help to relieve tension and discomfort brought on by headaches, and can help you feel more calm and relaxed in general. It can also provide an analgesic effect to help relieve nausea. Additionally, if you have headaches related to allergies or congestion, peppermint oil can help to clear the sinuses and relieve those symptoms as well, says Rodgers.
  • Lemon oil. Lemon can be used to uplift the spirit, but can also induce a sense of calm, which may be helpful to someone who has a tension headache but still needs to be alert, says Rodgers.
  • Roman chamomile oil. Youve likely heard about chamomile teas association with relaxation, so it makes sense that the oil can be used in the same way. Because it can relax the muscles, it can also, in turn, relieve tension associated with headaches. Roman chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties and can provide calming effects for anxiety and stress, says Rodgers.
  • Rosemary oil. This oil has stimulating effects similar to peppermint or eucalyptus oils, says Rodgers. Its also thought to aid in pain relief, so it could be helpful for and achy head.
  • What Are The Symptoms Of A Migraine

    Using Young Living Essential Oils for Headache Relief

    The symptoms of migraines can include the following:

    • People with migraines often report auras, which are similar to what you see after a camera flash, in their vision. The aura often becomes sizeable enough to block the ability to see. This usually lasts from 20 to 60 minutes.
    • Unlike the all-over pain of a regular headache, the pain of a migraine is usually limited to one side of your head or in the frontal lobe.
    • A sensation of pins and needles may be present in your arms and legs. The overall feeling is similar to a muscle going to sleep when you havent moved it for a while.
    • You may experience aphasia, or difficulty in your speech and communication skills. This generally disappears soon after the migraine stops.

    Migraines may be caused by:

    • stress

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    Rose Lavender And Melissa Oil Blend For Steam Inhalation

    Start by boiling the kettle and pouring the hot water into a bowl. You can then add a few drops of rose, lavender, and Melissa essential oil. The three together will help not just to ease your migraine, but settle your mind and relief any other sinus or pressure problems that youre experiencing.

    Just put your head over the bowl with a towel over the top. The towel just helps to circulate the steam around your face, so you can continually breathe it in. Just breathe naturally, allowing the steam to get into your nasal passage and get to work on the rest of your body.

    Melissa essential oil is one that you have likely not heard much about. It is used for repairing the mental health, as it is believed to improve your positive thoughts and to optimise. While it does not directly help your migraine, it can help to get rid of the negative thoughts connected to the pain. The oil will calm the nerves, which affects the nerves in the brain that cause migraines. Melissa oil is also suitable for relieving flu and cold symptoms. If you have a persistent cough, try this oil to help reduce it.

    Migraine And Headache Essential Oil Blend

    Based on scientific studies, you can mix certain essential oils for migraine and headache relief. Scientists found a blend of lavender, rose, basil, and rosemary to be effective in relieving headaches and anxiety.

    This is how to make your headache essential oil blend:

  • Mix 3 drops each of lavender oil, rosemary oil, basil oil, and rose oil with 1 oz. of sweet almond oil.
  • Put in a dark brown bottle and shake well.
  • Massage some of the essential oil blend into your temples every time you need relief from a gnawing or throbbing headache.
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    Essential Oils For Hormonal Headaches

    Hormonal headaches only affect women, and are often caused by changes in hormones brought on by menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.5 Menstruation is known as one of the most common reasons to experience a migraine for women.5

    Women can use aromatherapy for migraines to relieve typical symptoms that occur by applying essential oils, such as peppermint or rosemary oil, to the nerve endings on the scalp, temples and neck.

    What Are Essential Oils And How Do They Work

    5 Essential Oils for Headaches and Migraines

    Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from plants, and their essence is composed of unique aromatic compounds. The chemicals are extracted and are usually combined with a carrier oil . So, how exactly do they work?

    These plants contain chemicals that are easily absorbed, inhaled, and even ingested. The limbic system in the human body actually plays a huge role in controlling the way these essential oils are used and even remembered. The limbic system controls multiple unconscious physiological functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

    It can also help with forming memories, which is why certain smells trigger emotions and thoughts. Due to the fact that essential oils can stimulate the limbic system, its easy to understand why they have the ability to easily help the body heal.

    Essential oils are used in many ways, such as through aromatherapy or inhalation, ingestion, and massage. For migraines, people usually rub their preferred essential oil on to their forehead or temples – this method provides both absorption and inhalation at the same time. It can also be used as anti inflammatory to help ease any red patches on your skin, may help as well on tension headaches.

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    Rosemary May Help With Migraine Pain And Anxiety

    Rosemary is another essential oil that is frequently used in aromatherapy. Rosemary oil applied to the skin has been used to treat muscle pain and improve circulation, so it makes sense that it could help relieve migraine or headache pain.

    Essential oil of rosemary may be added to a base, or neutral, oil and rubbed into the skin. It can also be added to bathwater. Avoid contact with the eyes or any open cuts.

    In a very small study, rosemary was shown to reduce migraine, says Lin.

    A review of rosemarys effect on the nervous system published in 2020 in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences found that rosemary was “a worthy source” for curing inflammation and as an analgesic, a memory-booster, and an anti-anxiety remedy.

    Add Chamomile Instead Of Melissa Oil

    Keep the lavender and rose oil, but put some chamomile into the mixture instead of the Melissa oil. This is perfect if you want to run a bath and add the mixture to your bath water. The steam will become infused with the three essential oils, leaving you with a bathroom full of healing properties.

    While the lavender and rose oil will work as before, the chamomile oil is excellent for relieving stress and tension. This is often through the scent, but there are herbal properties within the oil. Chamomile oil is a diuretic, which will mean you will feel the need to urinate more. The aim is to get rid of all the toxins in your body.

    Toxins can build up and leave your hormones out of balance. This leads to more stress, so you end up with more pain in your head.

    Getting rid of toxins and relieving stress is one of the reasons chamomile tea is suggested as an herbal treatment for the end of the day. You can have a cup while youre in the bath to get double the power.

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    How To Use Essential Oils To Manage Migraine

    I remember my reaction when someone would suggest a natural remedy for my debilitating migraine disease.

    They were one of those people who thought a migraine is just a headache, I would quickly assume. They clearly had no idea on just how debilitating migraine can be the sensitivity to every light and sound, nausea and vomiting, and the pain.

    Like many others, migraine often landed me in the emergency room. But I got to a place of realization that despite my doctors best efforts, I was still experiencing debilitating migraine attacks. I was still on board with his plan for care, but I realized I needed to be proactive in preventing migraine attacks.

    Thats when my eyes were opened to a world of holistic care and natural remedies yup, the ones that I had been dismissing. To my surprise, food, yoga, and essential oils ultimately became my best strategies for reducing both the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

    Essential oils seem to be the least understood, but can be extremely effective remedies, in the context of holistic care. So Id love to shed some light on them for the migraine community.

    Eucalyptus Oil For Headaches And Migraines

    How to Make an Essential Oil Blend for Headaches and Migraines

    Extracted from the leaves and branches of the eucalyptus tree, eucalyptus essential oils benefits include being able to help clear the sinuses, relieve tension and improve inflamed nasal cavities.

    Use eucalyptus essential oil for migraine relief by inhaling the essential oil when experiencing symptoms of a headache, or add 3-4 drops to a diffuser with water and let circulate.

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    When To Stop Using Essential Oils Topically

    As with anything impacting your health, there are times when you dont want to use it.

    If you notice any rash, irritation, or continued burning at the application site, stop using it!

    Also, dont use if your headaches become worse or you notice dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing.

    Not to sound too much like an infomercial, but Id also recommend checking with your doctor if youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Ive never been either of those things and I cant speak to any impact essential oils may have on you or your baby.

    Powerful Essential Oils To Help Relieve Migraines

    If you are like the majority of the population, you have experienced a headache at some point. Luckily you can use essential oils for headaches instead of over-the-counter drugs.

    Headaches are actually the most common nervous system disorder, with at least 50 percent of the population experiencing at least one in the last year, according to the World Health Organization .

    For some people, headaches can be a weekly occurrence. And when they come on, they can severely limit your life. Worldwide, few headache disorders are ever properly diagnosed because they can be difficult to pinpoint.

    The headache itself, while painful and disabling, is actually a feature of a smaller number of principal headache disordersmigraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.

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    How To Use Essential Oils For Headaches

    There are numerous ways of using essential oils for headaches including diffusing them, inhaling a few drops placed on a hanky or cotton ball, applying them topically by mixing 1 2 drops of oil in 1 tsp of carrier oil or placing drops of a combination of oils in a roller bottle filled with carrier oil. Below is a good recipes for a headache salve that is handy to keep in your bag or purse to use wherever you are.

    Headache Salve

    • 2 tbsp shea butter
    • 10 drops peppermint
    • 2 oz salve tin


  • Place the coconut oil and shea butter in a heatproof bowl.
  • Fill a pot with ½ cup of water and place it on the stove over a medium low heat.
  • Rest the heatproof bowl on top of the pot and allow the oil and butter to gently melt to liquid form.
  • Once melted, leave it to cool off for a couple of minutes then stir in the essential oils.
  • Pour into a salve tin and leave it in the refrigerator to set.
  • To use, rub a little on your forehead, temples, shoulders and base of spine.

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