The 5 Best Essential Oils for Headaches

You may find relief soothing a headache with essential oils.

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If you suffer from headaches or migraines, you may ease your pain without taking a pill. There are essential oils that may alleviate headaches with no side effects. These essential oils also offer relaxation, reduce stress, and are soothing. And just a few drops go a long way!

Migraines can be debilitating. Yet they are prevalent, affecting one billion people worldwide, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, making migraines the third most common illness in the world.

Many people rely on medication to ease their pain, however, using essential oils offers relief, and science backs this. Essential oils have been used to heal in aromatherapy for thousands of years. These highly concentrated oils are made from flowers, leaves, roots, bark, or stems of plants. They offer relief as they may help improve blood circulation and reduce stress, which are often at the root of headaches, according to Dr. Axe.

The best way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is to dilute five drops into an ounce of carrier oil. Recommended carrier oils are sweet almond, jojoba, olive, or coconut oil. Place this mix into an essential oil diffuser. Or, add a few drops into a warm bath. You can also rub drops onto your forehead and along the back of your neck. Here are the five best essential oils for headaches.


If you are suffering from a tension headache, reach for peppermint. Peppermint cools the skin, according to Dr. Axe. When placed on the skin, peppermint oil stimulates blood flow in the forehead and hinders muscle contractions.

In a German study published in Der Nervenarz, researchers applied peppermint infused in ethanol onto the foreheads of people suffering from tension headaches. They found that after just 15 minutes, the severity of pain was significantly reduced.

Dr. Axe recommends diluting three drops of peppermint oil in coconut oil and rubbing it into your shoulders, the back of your neck, and your forehead.

Peppermint essential oil can be used for headaches.

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Lavender is the oil of choice for reducing stress. It is best used for headaches caused by anxiety, according to Dr. Axe. When absorbed by the skin, the main ingredients of lavender affect the limbic system in the brain, which is connected to emotion.

A study from the European Journal of Neurology shows that migraine headaches may be effectively helped by inhaling lavender essential oil. Dr. Axe recommends adding five to ten drops to a warm bath, then breathing deeply. To reduce tension, apply lavender oil to the wrists, temples, and the back of the neck.

Dropper of lavender essential oil

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This is a great essential oil for relieving sinus headaches. As eucalyptus helps open the nasal passage, it reduces tension in the sinuses that may cause headaches.

Also considered an expectorant, eucalyptus may also help clean away microorganisms and toxins in the body, according to Dr. Axe. For relief, place a few drops in a bowl of hot water and breathe in the vapor, or dilute two to four drops in a carrier oil and rub it into the chest area, the back of the neck, forehead, and temples.

Bottle of eucalyptus essential oil

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Rosemary is an anti inflammatory and has pain relieving properties, according to Dr. Axe. As it has been used over the centuries to help improve circulation, this is a good choice for headache relief. Rosemary is also helpful in reducing stress, which may be the underlying cause of a headache.

Massage your forehead and neck with a few drops of rosemary essential oil mixed into a carrier oil like coconut, then breathe in and relax.

One of the best essential oils for headaches is rosemary.

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Frankincense is a cherished resin from the Indian oli-banum tree, also known as boswellia serrata. Use of this essential oil dates back to the times of Ancient Egypt, according to Natural News Blogs. The Egyptians would rub frankincense onto their heads to relieve migraine pain.

A study in Cephalagia shows that people who suffer from debilitating cluster headaches had a reduction in both frequency and intensity of pain after using boswellia serrata. For headache relief, soak your fingertips in pure frankincense oil and massage your scalp, the back of your neck, temples, and forehead for a few minutes. 

Some people find quick relief by placing a drop of frankincense oil on their thumb and rubbing it onto the roof of the mouth.

For pain relief, use frankincense essential oils.

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