Headaches can present in a kaleidoscope of ways, and the underlying causes can be even more numerous. There are cluster headaches, tension headaches, migraines, and more, not to mention more rare forms like chronic or exercise headaches, plus secondary headaches that branch out from an underlying condition like an infection, or panic attacks (source). But the variety of possible types and causes can be boiled down to one common root: headaches are painful.
And depending on the type of headache and the underlying cause, you can sometimes find relief with the simplest of natural remedies before you ever have to reach for a bottle of acetaminophen or make a doctor’s appointment. Why go through all that trouble when a simple pinch of salt, capsule of probiotics, or a few drops of essential oil will do the trick? My philosophy is that when faced with an ailment, natural remedies should be the first course of action to consider.
So…let’s look at all the possible natural remedies in five parts! Today’s topic: Essential oils. We will also discuss minerals, body tension release, pain relief, and digestion.
Remember: when you use natural remedies, they are best viewed as the first line of defense, not the only line of defense. There seems to be an expectation in the natural community to use only natural versions of everything, like it’s a badge of honor to not “have” to use modern medicine. But it’s silly to not utilize ALL of the options we have available to us in this day and age. There’s nothing wrong with using modern medicine and alternative methods to treat your headaches! In my opinion, natural remedies are the initial place to default to when you get a headache. If they don’t work, you can always move to conventional and modern solutions: using over the counter medications, prescription medications, seeing your doctor.
Essential oils are oils derived from plants that have distinctive aromas and sometimes medicinal properties. Common essential oils include peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and tea tree (melaleuca).
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the “oil of” the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils do not form a distinctive category for any medical, pharmacological, or culinary purpose. They are not essential for health.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products. (source)
Essential oils are useful for a myriad of reasons, but for the purposes of headache relief, we need to look at which ones perform best for you to use in your homemade medicine cabinet.
A note on essential oils:
It is prudent to be selective about which essential oils you buy and use. They can be used for aromatherapy, for skin application, or even internally. Get the highest quality essential oils you can afford, and prioritize by getting the best quality oils that you choose to use: first internally, second externally (on the skin), and third for aromatherapy.
Click here for my recommendation on what type to look for.
I recommend this brand of essential oils very highly! I use them all the time, and have for several years now. There are other brands available that are also high quality, but I tend to stick with what I know. For you local Arizona people, I also recommend checking out Desert Sage Herbs in Mesa. They are knowledgeable and wonderful, and their essential oils are very high quality, like the ones at the link above and here.
This was the first natural headache remedy I was exposed to before I was familiar with essential oils. I was over at my friend’s parent’s house and another friend was overcome with a sudden headache. My friend’s mother got up, and confidently came back with a bottle of peppermint essential oil that she told my friend to apply to both temples, about a drop for each temple. Within 5 minutes her headache was gone! And it wasn’t just that it worked so quickly: it was also that we were all very skeptical, having only relied on pills from bottles to combat headache pain.
Peppermint oil has been known for it’s headache-relief abilities, and is even proven to help with tension headaches in some studies (source).
If peppermint oil is too strong for you, try using spearmint oil. I recommend using spearmint oil for children, so that’s usually what I have on hand at my house 🙂
The Bottom Line? Apply a single drop of this peppermint oil to each temple or pain area as needed.
Eucalyptus essential oil can be a little tricky, mostly because there are several different strains. It can get overwhelming to know which kind to buy! The most common is the strain called eucalyptus globulus, which is the type that I buy and recommend. You can find it here.
Eucalyptus oil is helpful for many ailments, most notably in easing congestion like in my homemade vapor rub. But it can also alleviate the symptoms of headache pain. Eucalyptus oil works best for headaches when combined with other essential oils like peppermint, spearmint, or lavender (source). I like to blend a drop of peppermint oil with a drop of eucalyptus oil and then apply the oil mixture to the temples of my head.
If I have a tension headache, I like to apply the oil mixture to the area where the pain is localized. For me, that’s usually my right eyebrow bone. I know, weird!
The Bottom Line? Apply a single drop of this eucalyptus oil to each temple or pain area as needed, or as directed above in an essential oil blend.
Rosemary oil is a little less well-known, but it has many beneficial properties, and one of them is the ability to help with headaches because it is
an analgesic and nervine (a substance that strengthens, calms, and soothes the nerves) (source)
The Bottom Line? Apply a single drop of this rosemary oil to each temple or pain area as needed.
Lavender oil seems to be something of a wonder essential oil! It is one of my top three oils that I use most often at home, and I love to put it on a terra cotta drop diffuser hanging by my bed to help me when I don’t feel settled enough to fall asleep at night. You may find a few different types of lavender available such as English lavender (lavandula angustifolia) or Spike lavender (lavandula latifolia). I prefer the spike lavender, myself. The difference between them?
Lavender has been shown to have a slight calming and soothing affect, specifically when used as inhalation therapy, so this can help when used alone, or by blending it with other oils as well. (source) You can use lavender to treat headaches by mixing with peppermint oil and/or eucalyptus and applying to the temples of the head, or where ever the pain is localized on the head. Or you can use it as aromatherapy.
The Bottom Line? Apply a single drop of this lavender oil to each temple or pain area as needed, or as directed above in an essential oil blend. Additionally, use as aromatherapy as needed: open the bottle and waft under the nose, or diffuse on a terra cotta drop (my favorite diffuser!).
Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is also called melaleuca oil. There is limited information on whether or not tea tree oil can help with headaches. Some sources say that using tea tree oil as aromatherapy can help a headache lift, some sources say that tea tree oil isn’t effective at all, and some even say that tea tree oil can cause a headache (specifically, a migraine).
So use discretion. Many of us have tea tree oil on hand, since it is so varied in its use in home remedies and natural cleaners. Tea tree oil, simply inhaled when you have a headache, may provide some relief. Give it a try, if you feel it may work for you.
The Bottom Line? Use this tea tree oil as aromatherapy as needed: open the bottle and waft under the nose, or diffuse on a terra cotta drop.
When it comes to essential oils, Young Living sets the standard for purity and authenticity. Young Living carefully monitors every step of the production of the oils from beginning to end through a unique seed to seal process, ensuring the purity of each essential oil and protecting nature’s living energy in every bottle. This unsurpassed commitment to quality means that you can be confident that Young Living essential oils are both safe and effective.
You can purchase Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oils in one of two ways:
- as a Wholesale Member (best option)
- Retail Customer via the Young Living website
I recommend buying Young Living essential oils by joining as a wholesale member. Wholesale Members get an amazing 24% discount off every product that is offered. As a Young Living Wholesale Member you only have to agree to order a minimum of $50 per year.
The Premium Starter Kit is the Best Value:
When you order your own premium starter kit, you are entitled to wholesale pricing on all Young Living products, this is a 24% discount. Share this with your friends and family by ordering for them, or have them enroll to get their own kit and discount. The Premium Starter Kit is valued at over $300. As a Wholesale Member you get this for 50% off!
The Premium Starter Kit includes:
- Ten 5 mL bottles of essential oils including: Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense, PanAway, Peace & Calming, Thieves, Purification, Valor and Joy.
- A home diffuser (retail value alone on this one is $96)
- 5 mL bottle of Stress Away
- Aroma Glide roller fitment (to turn any oil into a roll on)
- Two sample packets each of Lavender, Peppermint, Peace & Calming, Lemon, and Thieves (for you to share with your friends)
- Two NingXia Red 2-oz. samples (this is a great supplement for energy)