(Last Updated On: January 24, 2018)

Have a headache? Get an essential oil!

All natural, no harsh chemical, no kidney damage, manna from heaven…

Right?

Wrong.

Did you know?

Some essential oils are phytotoxic. Click To Tweet

That is, if direct sunlight hits you after you’ve applied them, you might get blisters?

Some essential oils are POISONOUS to young children? Even an accidental whiff?

Adding fat to the fire is the fact that a headache is not just a headache. You need to know what kind of headache you have.

Is it a sinus headache or a migraine?

I’m not just pulling these out of my ass. Choosing THE BEST essential oils for headaches (or anything else) is tricky.

And that is why I decided to list out 5 essential oils for your headache.

This isn’t Dr. Axe, giving a long speech about omega fatty acids.

This is Unsullyd, telling you which oil is the best.

At A Glance: My Choices For The Best Essential Oils For Headaches

Migrastil Migraine Headache Stick Roll-on Relief Contains both peppermint and spearmint. You will enjoy applying this due to its roll-on packaging.

Organic Lavender Essential Oil 4 oz USDA Certified Organic, by Mary Tylor Use this soothing lavender oil either directly or with a moisturizing carrier for effective relief from headaches.

Pure Body Naturals Essential Oils Set A collection of 6 different essential oils in a single pack, choose your oil wisely! #ProChoice

Edens Garden Anxiety Ease 10 ml Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil Synergy Blend You may stop buying asprin altogether. Read on to find out why!

Sleep Tight Synergy Essential Oil Blend A blend containing the ‘Flower of Flowers’ and a religious icon, the experience will be nothing less than Divine.

The Best Essential Oil For Headaches

01. Migrastil Migraine Headache Stick Roll-on Relief Review

Peppermint oil

Spearmint oil

Lavender oil

In a base of fractionated Coconut oil

Peppermint oil’s chief ingredient is Menthol, which has strong local anaesthetic and counterirritant (hence anti-inflammatory) properties. Counterirritant means it causes inflammation at one local site to ease inflammation elsewhere.

Menthol is a weak carminative, gently expelling gas from your stomach and intestines.

Spearmint is the gentler brother of Peppermint. It has much less menthol content so its smell is not as strong. This is critical because some users may not be able to endure the intense fragrance of high-menthol peppermint. For them spearmint is more suitable.

Lavender is a powerful soothing agent. Lavender oil is also a muscle relaxant and will help you sleep as well.

Fractionated coconut oil mixes very well with the three essential oils, moisturizes your skin and penetrates deep within.

I liked the roll-on packaging of this because it seems much more effective at spreading the oil than hand massage.

Useful for Tension and Migraine headaches. May be used for Cluster headaches as well.

What I Liked

Local anaesthetic

Anti-inflammatory

Carminative (gently expels gas from your stomach and intestines)

Soothing

Muscle relaxant

Opposes insomnia

What I Didn’t Like

Lavender oil may reduce your blood sugar so avoid if you already have low blood sugar

Do not use if you are allergic to Menthol

Not suitable for young children

 Not to be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women

The Best Essential Oil For Depression

02. Organic Lavender Essential Oil Review

Lavender oil

Fun Fact: Lavender shares an ingredient – Terpinen-4-ol – with Tea Tree Oil even though the two look and smell completely different.

Remember how we stressed on Lavender’s very strong soothing effect? Here’s a study backing that up.

Now this is a bit different to the previous product. This one’s pure Lavender oil.

So, as with all pure essential oils, do not apply it directly to the skin in large quantities.

This comes with a dropper so you can easily take 3-5 drops and gently massage them on the temples, the back of your neck and your wrists to spirit away a headache.

Fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil would be good carrier oils because they moisturize your skin, providing additional comfort.

Useful for Tension Headaches and Migraines. You may get relief in even Cluster Headaches.

What I Liked

 Soothing

 May be diffused in any standard diffuser. 3-5 drops should do for 100 ml water

Muscle relaxant

 Promotes Sleep

What I Didn’t Like

Lavender oil depresses the Central Nervous System so avoid if you are going in for any surgery

If you are allergic to lavender oil you may face a violent reaction. So do a patch test before using it

Not to be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women

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03. Pure Body Naturals Essential Oils Set Review

This isn’t a blend but a collection of different essential oils.

Peppermint oil may be used in a bath by sprinkling NO MORE THAN 10 DROPS into your bathwater. You may even use it in a steam inhalation to clear your sinuses even though Eucalyptus essential oil is the gold standard in that.

Lavender oil regulates our serotonin level. This minimizes pain in our nervous system, stopping headaches.

Sweet Orange oil freshens the air and makes you feel energetic. It is an ideal relaxant.

Lemongrass oil is a muscle relaxant and will also calm you down. It’s a good anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent so you may try to kill a sinus headache with it. However what I liked most about lemongrass is that it’s also called Cymbopogon J.

Eucalyptus oil is IMHO the Gold Standard for clearing sinus headaches. Its main ingredient is cineole (otherwise called eucalyptol) which is also present in Tea Tree and Lavender oils. Cineole acts on receptors in mucus, unclogging the sinus cavities. The best way to counter sinus headaches is steam inhalation. You can do it with everyday items. Put some water to boil and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapour.

Tea Tree Oil is good at clearing congestion and nasal infections.

This is a collection of oils, so just use whichever carrier oil you are comfortable with.

WARNING: This product is 6 different oils sold in one package. Before buying, do patch tests to see if you are allergic to any of the oils.

Useful for Tension, Migraine, Sinus and Cluster headaches.

What I Liked

 Relaxing

 Muscle relaxant

 Anaesthetic

 Anti-inflammatory

 Anti-fungal

What I Didn’t Like

 As always, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it

 Young children will be unable to bear most essential oils

The Best Essential Oil For Anxiety

04. Edens Garden Anxiety Ease: Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil Synergy Blend Review

Lemongrass

Sweet Orange

Ylang Ylang

Australian researchers found that Australia’s native lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) is as good as aspirin in clearing headaches. This product however uses a different species, Cymbopogon flexuosus.

Sweet Orange oil is a good sedative and carminative (expels gas from stomach and intestines) agent.

Ylang Ylang (‘Flower of Flowers’) oil is extracted from trees that are found in the Philippines, Indonesia and Madagascar. It is a wonderful antidepressant. It also helps blood circulation and is a muscle relaxant.

The company claims this product to be GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) certified.

Useful for Tension, Sinus and Migraine headaches.

What I Liked

Anti-fungal

Antiseptic

Anti-inflammatory

Relaxing

Anti-depressant

Muscle relaxant

What I Didn’t Like

Among these, lemongrass lowers blood sugar while sweet orange increases it. Since we can’t say for sure which effect will dominate in the blend we’d recommend avoiding this if you have low OR high blood sugar

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it

 Excessive use of Ylang Ylang may increase headache for some

The Best Essential Oil For Sleep

05. Sleep Tight Synergy Essential Oil Review

Bulgarian Lavender oil

Spanish Marjoram oil

Ylang Ylang oil

Copaiba oil

Roman Chamomile oil

Rue oil

Sandalwood oil

Bulgarian Lavender oil has high percentages of linalool and linalyl acetate. It has a subtler fragrance than French Lavender. (If you’re interested there’s a third species of Lavender – Spike Lavender – whose oil is rich in camphor). It blends well with Ylang Ylang oil and Chamomile oil.

A study published in 2012 identifies Lavender oil as a potent migraine management agent.

Spanish Marjoram oil is extracted from the Thymus mastichina plant*. It has a stronger fragrance compared with its cousin Sweet Marjoram. This oil is rich in Pinene which is a good expectorant**. Spanish Marjoram is also strongly mucolytic**. Marjoram can regulate our hormonal balance as well.

*Do not confuse this with Thyme oil which is extracted from Thymus vulgaris.

**An expectorant agent encourages more secretion of mucus. A mucolytic agent softens mucus. Both properties help clearing sinuses.

In addition to being a good antidepressant, Ylang Ylang oil is good at alleviating PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) stress. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Copaiba oil is obtained by the steam distillation of the sap of several South American trees. Its main ingredient caryophyllene is a powerful antinociceptive (blocks sensation of pain) and antidepressant. This oil can also loosen tense muscles.

Rue oil is extracted by steam-distilling fresh Ruta graveolens herbs. The plant is otherwise known as the ‘Herb of Grace’. It is a good sedative and anaesthetic.

Sandalwood oil is a religious icon. It is extensively used in religious practices across religions as diverse as Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has a calming effect. It is a good expectorant (encourages mucus secretion). It is also good in treating diabetes (Remember abnormal blood sugar count is a trigger for a headache). Chinese traditional medicine uses sandalwood oil to treat migraines.

We would recommend grapeseed oil as a carrier.

Useful for Tension, Migraine, Sinus and even Cluster headaches.

What I Liked

 Sedative

 Multiple oils (Lavender, Sandalwood) are known to be effective against migraines

 Expectorant

 Mucolytic

 Blocks sensation of pain

 Antidepressant

 Loosens tense muscles

What I Didn’t Like

 Spanish Marjoram contains Cineol. This is known to have a poisonous effect on children who inhale the oil

 Rue oil is phototoxic. So remember to dilute this blend in a carrier. If you apply it directly avoid direct exposure to sunlight (uv rays) for 12-18 hours

 As always pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid this

OK, that was a looong list; how does that help me?

We certainly don’t end there.

Having told you which oils I like, I’ll now list out how I went about selecting them, what I looked for.

What to what out for when buying Essential Oils for Headaches

1. Stress is a leading cause of headache Look for oils that help you relax.

2. Tense muscles will obviously cause pain Look for Muscle Relaxants.

3. Poor blood circulation affects the brain causing a lot of problems like fatigue and headache Look for oils that promote blood circulation.

4. Your sinus cavities getting inflamed will trigger a headache Look for anti-inflammatory agents.

5. I particularly remember getting a headache during my exams. Of course there’s stress but more than that there’s lack of sleep Look for oils that promote sleep.

6. Your nasal passage getting blocked will also trigger a headache Look for oils that clear your nose.

7. A build-up of gas in your stomach may cause headaches Look for Carminatives (oils that help you expel gas smoothly).

8. A serotonin (serotonin helps transmit electronic signals between nerves; neurotransmitter) imbalance has many serious consequences including a headache Look for oils that regulate the serotonin level.

9. A hormonal imbalance may cause a headache Look for oils that regulate hormone levels.

10. For immediate temporary relief an anaesthetic property would be useful.

11. Abnormal blood sugar count (both too high and too low) result in headache Look for oils that regulate blood sugar.

Hang on, shouldn’t we talk a bit about headaches as well?

Yes, that would be useful. There are different kinds of headaches; if you know what kind of headache you are having you will know which blend is likely to prove most useful.

Tension Headache: These are standalone attacks. Normally you will feel a one-sided pain and it will subside within a few hours. In most cases they are not severe enough to cripple you.

Migraine Headache: These are periodic attacks that may recur as many as 4 times in a month. You will experience severe two-sided throbbing pain. Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, upset stomach and a high sensitivity to light and sound. This will cripple you.

Sinus Headache: Sinuses are small cavities found behind your nose, eyes and cheeks. When you catch a cold, your nose becomes infected. If that infection spreads to the sinuses they become inflamed, blocking mucus outflow and exerting pressure on your forehead.

Cluster Headache: You will feel an intense pain behind the eyes. Repeated attacks occur over period of days to years. This is the most intense and least common type of headache.

You may very well ask why we reviewed blends here instead of single oils. The reason is that in a blend, the negative qualities of one ingredient may be repressed by another.

For example, in the Migrastil Migraine Headache Stick Roll-on Relief, the relatively strong fragrance of peppermint is somewhat balanced by the weaker Spearmint.

Wrapping Up!

Among the various oils we discussed we would recommend Organic Lavender Essential Oil as a clear winner!

It is useful against all four major types of headaches (Tension, Migraine, Sinus and Cluster). It also relieves you from PMS-based stress and is useful against diabetes (diabetes triggers headaches).

However, while using it you must remember to dilute it in a carrier (to avoid problems from exposure to sunlight) and strictly keep it out of the reach of children.

If you feel we’re missing anything or you know some other product that deserves to be in the top essential oils for headaches please leave a comment below!

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