How to Use Essential Oils for Migraines
What's the big deal about using essential oils for migraines?
Essential oils and their use are based on the idea that the body can potentially heal itself and people can harness those powers to alleviate a multitude of ailments by choosing the right oils. That can include the treatment and relief of migraines.
Several essential oils have properties that reduce inflammation, stress and anxiety, promotes healthy sleep habits, relieve sinus pressure and allergies, and manage hormonal levels.
There have been several studies done that showed the benefits of popular essential oils as an alternative treatment to traditional therapies. The use of less studied scents for migraines and headaches relies more on the knowledge gained through centuries of tradition. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese practiced the use of essential oils.
Before using any essential oil for your migraines, talk with your doctor first to go over any risks there may be by including them in your holistic migraine treatment plan. Some essential oils are not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so check with your doctor before using any new oils.
What to Look for Before Purchasing an Essential Oil
When looking for and purchasing essential oils, quality is important. The higher the quality, the more concentrated the oil. You will pay more for it, but since a little goes a long way, it will be a wise investment.
Try to find oils that are pure, organic, and unadulterated. Look for reputable sellers and brands with positive reviews, read the labels (the more information on them the better), and avoid oils with added fragrances and dyes.
The 15 Best Essential Oils for Migraines
Lemon essential oil has cleansing, purifying and invigorating properties — it is a very versatile oil.
The benefits of lemon essential oil include cleansing and purifying the air and surfaces, aids in digestion and naturally cleanses the body, supports healthy respiratory function, and enhances mood. It can be used as a natural cleaning agent in the home, added to food to enhance flavor, and diffused to promote a positive and healthy mood.
My favorite ways to use lemon essential oil are:
- Adding a drop to a cup of hot water in the morning to help aid in digestion.
- I add a drop or two to a cup of hot water and golden turmeric paste, which helps relieve pain, inflammation, bloating, and detoxifies the body I drink this at the onset of a migraine to help take the edge off (I will often add a dropperful of feverfew extract to help ease the migraine if it is severe).
Ginger is excellent for digestion, relieves nausea and occasional indigestion. I try to keep a box of ginger tea or ginger chews on hand, but when I run out, I can put a drop of ginger and lemon essential oil in a cup of hot water to help ease any nausea due to migraine.
If I need a quick absorption of ginger, I will rub a few drops of it onto my abdomen. It can also be used in a diffuser to help ease nausea. If you are traveling, rub a drop into your hands and inhale or use a car diffuser if driving.
Peppermint oil has a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin, the ability to inhibit muscle contractions, and stimulates blood flow in the forehead (when applied topically).
In a 1996 study, peppermint oil was used as an alternative treatment to usual headache therapies with 41 patients. Participants applied the peppermint oil topically 15 and 30 minutes after a headache began and reported pain relief in their headache diaries. It was well-tolerated, and there were no adverse side effects.
If peppermint oil is too overwhelming, using spearmint instead can help. Spearmint has the same qualities as peppermint oil with a much subtler scent.
Lavender oil has many benefits.
It works as a sedative, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and calming agent as well as induces relaxation and relieves tension and stress. It can also help with feelings of restlessness and poor sleep and regulates serotonin levels which help minimize pain in the nervous system.
Aromatic and topical use of lavender oil affects the limbic system, which is a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus. It is here that two main components of lavender oil, linalool, and linalyl acetate, are rapidly absorbed through the skin and are thought to cause central nervous system depression. Due to this effect, lavender oil can be used to treat anxiety provoked headaches.
Frankincense, Lemongrass, and Marjoram (Morphine Bomb)
The combination of frankincense, lemongrass, and marjoram essential oils is an effective pain reliever for most chronic pain conditions. Frankincense promotes feelings of relaxation, lemongrass supports healthy digestion, and marjoram has calming properties and positive effects on the nervous system.
I combine 20 drops of each essential oil in a rollerball and top it off with fractionated coconut oil. Whenever a migraine hits or my sciatica flares up, I just whip out my roller ball and apply this blend to wherever I am feeling pain or discomfort.
You could also make capsules by adding six drops of each to a veggie capsule and take one every 3-4 hours as needed.
Deep Blue Proprietary Blend (dōTERRA)
Deep Blue is a soothing and cooling oil blend made up of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, ylang-ylang, helichrysum, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and osmanthus essential oils. I love using this blend to ease the sciatic pain I often have, soreness of tender spots, and occipital/neck pain due to a migraine.
This proprietary blend of oils is available in a cream, roll-on, and supplement. It works well with the morphine bomb to tackle achy, sore or painful joints and muscles. You can either buy this blend or make your own with the same combination of oils.
Eucalyptus oil works as an expectorant – it helps to cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms. It opens the nasal airways and eliminates sinus pressure, which can contribute to headaches, and promotes emotional balance and boosts mood.
In a clinical trial involving 52 patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery, eucalyptus oil was used as treatment. It promoted emotional stability in the patients, reduced edema formation and had anti-inflammatory effects. These pain-reducing and relaxing effects can be beneficial to people suffering from headaches.