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Top 5 Essential Oils for Migraines

Avatar for Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: August 2, 2022
Top 5 Essential Oils for Migraines

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Anyone who has experienced a migraine understands the desire for something, anything to make the pain decrease or vanish. The sharp needles shooting underneath your skin, the dull throbbing in your temples, it all makes for a terrible experience.

Fortunately, there are some natural relief options to minimize or fix your pain altogether.

What Migraines Are

Migraines are more than “just a headache”. They are a severe form of head pain. They can last for hours or sometimes even days. Often they are painful enough to dramatically interfere with your life, making it nearly impossible to work, run errands, or even think.

Many people try to simply sleep off the headache, but often the pain is too severe to be able to fall asleep.

What Triggers a Migraine

Migraines do not just come out of thin air. Something sparks them in our body. They can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Foods like highly salty or processed foods
  • Skipping meals
  • Wine
  • Highly caffeinated drinks
  • Stress

Natural Migraine Remedies

When you choose a natural migraine remedy, you can avoid dealing with over the counter medications (which can sometimes react with any other medication you are on). This also helps reduce dependency on pharmacies or grocery stores.

Natural remedies can also help target the root cause of migraines with the issue of stress. By preventing stress, you can prevent migraines caused by stress.

One great natural remedy is using essential oils.

What Essential Oils Are

Essential oils are liquids created from natural extracts such as flowers and fruits. They can be used for a number of solutions including soothing a sore throat, improving your sleep, or fighting against allergies.

The active chemicals within the essential oils enter our bodies in three ways:

  1. Topical application
  2. Oral application
  3. Aromatic application

Each essential oil offers different benefits. You can choose ones that best fit what you are looking for. Maybe you want to manage your stress to prevent stress related migraines. Maybe you want to help deal with pain relief without using over the counter pills. Check out the following top essential oils for migraines below.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is often used to help deal with pain management because it offers a cooling effect due to its containing menthol. It also helps stop muscle contractions, which often cause our heads to feel tight, tense, and in pain during a migraine.

One research study found putting peppermint oil on the skin of participants can help foster pain relief without any negative side effects. Another research study found using peppermint led to less overall sensitivity during a headache. If you are looking for relief during a migraine, peppermint oil is a great go to choice.

You can find Peppermint Oil here.

Lavender Oil

If you want to try to prevent migraines, lavender oil is a great approach. Often migraines are caused by built up stress. If you can manage your stress better, you can prevent these types of migraines.

Lavender oil is often used for stress management. In fact, some therapists will even use lavender oil in their sessions to help prevent patient stress when talking about difficult issues.

Lavender oil is made up of a number of ingredients, including chemical compounds known as esters. These calm and relax our senses, helping us fight stress and anxiety that can lead to migraines. According to a research study, lavender helps calms your nervous system. This is helpful when we get stressed as our body kicks into fight or flight mode.

Another study found that lavender can positively affect our serotonin levels, which decreases pain in our nervous system and helps prevent migraines.

Using lavender oil to help you relax is a great way to reduce stress, especially if you couple it with relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

In addition to helping prevent migraines, lavender oil can also help if you end up getting a migraine (such as due to food or caffeine). One research study looked at inhaling lavender essential oils and migraines and concluded it can be an effective and healthy tactic to use.

If you only pick up one essential oil to deal with headaches, lavender oil is a great bet! You can find it here.

Basil Oil

Basil oil is another great choice if you want to prevent migraines by preventing or better dealing with stress. Basil oil contains adaptogens, which are powerful warriors against the negative effects of stress. These balance our hormones and help balance out the negative effects of stress onto our body. When you start to feel stressed, you can reach for basil essential oils to help fight back against it.

Sometimes, migraines make us feel mentally drained. It is almost as if we are in a fog, even long after the pain is gone. Basil oil can help give you an energy boost when you need to get back to work. It helps clear our minds and give us that “oomph” needed to get back to our daily lives.

You can find Basil oil here.

Eucalyptus Oil

When we think of eucalyptus, many people imagine adorable koalas. But this natural superstar does more than feed these charming creatures. Eucalyptus is packed full of powerful potential.

Like peppermint, eucalyptus essential oil provides a wonderful cooling sensation. It can help reduce mental fog (which usually is quite present during a migraine. One research study found inhaling eucalyptus oil helps reduce pain in patients, making it a great tool in attacking a migraine.

You can find Eucalyptus Oil here.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil can help when you need to use your brain during a migraine, since it helps improve your mental clarity and concentration. If you absolutely have to work during a migraine, using rosemary oil can help you push through the pain until you can collapse at home.

Rosemary oil also is a good preventative tool. One study found smelling rosemary helps reduce cortisol levels (which is what is released during stress). Rosemary oil can also help with pain relief, as one study found it can help reduce tension and headaches.

You can find Rosemary Oil here.

How to Use

Once you pick your desired essential oil (or essential oils), you can choose from different application methods.

1. Oral Application

This method involves ingesting the oil, such as adding it to a tea. There are enough health concerns about ingestion that we recommend avoiding this method altogether.

2. Topical Application

This method involves placing the essential oil on our skin so the fat soluble properties of the oil can enter into our body (usually in ten minutes or so).

For this method you need to:

  • Make sure you aren’t allergic to the ingredients
  • Make sure your given oil is okay for topical application (since not every essential oil is suited for this type of application)
  • Make sure you have a carrier oil (this helps avoid irritation and foster great application)

You can apply the essential oil topically by using it as a massage oil, since massaging the area first will increase blood circulation and help the oil be better absorbed. Rub it onto your forehead.

3. Aromatic Application

This method involves inhaling the molecules of the essential oil. This lets the chemicals enter our respiratory system and react with things like blood pressure and hormone balance.

Many people use a special tool called a diffuser. This automatically gets the essential oil out into the air so you can easily breathe it in.

This is the URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser.

If you would rather not purchase a diffuser, you can place a few drops of the oil onto a tissue or cotton ball nearby where you are.

Another option is to create an air freshener. Mix the oil and water together and spray throughout the room. If you are resting on your bed waiting for the migraine to pass, you can spray onto the sheets as long as your chosen oil will not dye them.

Finding Essential Oils

It is easy to find essential oils once you know where to work. Most grocery stores and pharmacies carry at least a few choices for you. You can also visit any type of natural store – they usually offer a decent selection.

Of course, you will find the best selection online (and sometimes the best prices too). We recommend the Essential 4 Pack for a small set and the Health and Wellness Kit for a larger one.

If you want either option, you can enter the code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” for a 10% discount on your order!

Other Uses for Essential Oils

Beyond migraine help, there are so many uses for essential oils (increase your energy or help with asthma to name a few). Search our site for numerous articles on different essential oil uses. You can also visit our Pinterest board, which collects a number of useful essential oil strategies.

Essential oils are just a small part of what we enjoy here at Backdoor Survival. Continue your prepping journey with free tips and strategies when you subscribe to our site’s email updates.

After you sign up, you will get a free, downloadable copy of Gaye’s e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Thank you for reading!

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2 Responses to “Top 5 Essential Oils for Migraines”

  1. Truly excellent article and may be helpful for my fiancee who occasionally gets migraines.

    What oils – if any – would you recommend for sleep apnea and snoring in particular?

  2. I love lavender eo topically and aromatically for migraines. When I get migraines, they are caused by the weather, i.e. high to low or vise versa pressure changes. Not fun. I’ll have to try some of the other oils, too. Thanks for the article!

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