If you find yourself frequently reaching for ibuprofen, aspirin, or other pain relievers when your head starts pounding, but are interested in a more natural solution, you might want to try using essential oils for headaches. With just a few deep breaths, you could experience relief from the throbbing caused by stress, tension, or even a migraine.
Do essential oils for headaches work?
While experiences vary from person to person, and there’s no surefire cure-all that works for everyone, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that essential oils for headaches can be very effective. The experts at WebMD recommend peppermint for tension headaches and lavender for migraines, citing aromatherapy research studies with promising results.
Since it can be challenging to figure out exactly which essential oils to try, using a blend that’s specifically designed to treat headaches can be a great option. Luckily, there are many of these available — and to make it a little easier for you to narrow down your search, we’ve rounded up five choices with the best customer reviews.
Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best essential oils for headaches! Relief could be a few deep breaths away.
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Where to buy: $26, Amazon
Why we like it:
- Convenient roll-on packaging
- Blend of nine different essential oils for tension headaches
The doTERRA brand is beloved among essential oil enthusiasts for being extremely high quality and sourced from only the best organic ingredients. So it’s no wonder that this blend, which includes wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil, and rosemary, has many loyal fans. These nine essential oils are all associated with relief from pain, and have calming properties that can help lessen stress as well.
“The only non-pharmaceutical that can even touch my migraines. If I get it right at the beginning, I can stop the pain. … I am only allowed nine pills at a time for my migraines by my insurance. I rely on Past Tense a lot to get me through when I run out of meds. Past Tense is worth its weight in gold!”
Where to buy: $14.95, Amazon
Why we like it:
- Refreshing floral mint scent
- Dropper cap included for easy application
Buyers rave about the smell of this essential oil blend, which contains lavender, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, marjoram, and wintergreen. Simply use the included dropper to apply a few drops to the temples, forehead, behind your ears, or at the back of your neck when a headache starts creeping in, and let the floral, minty scent do its magic. You can also put a few drops on a warm towel and lay it over your forehead as you take deep breaths, or put a few drops in an essential oil diffuser to fill the room with a relaxing scent.
“This is probably my favorite blend of any essential oils I’ve ever bought! Lavender is my favorite scent and it definitely comes through with wonderful accent scents. I get daily/weekly tension headaches mostly from stress or sleeping on my side/stomach and I think this blend helps my mind and muscles relax. And buying this is definitely cheaper than buying all the oils individually, especially since it’s a huge bottle! Very satisfied customer!”
Where to buy: $10.99, Amazon
Why we like it:
- Small and portable, fits in your purse or pocket
- Formulated to ease nausea
If you suffer from migraine headaches, you know that they can not only make your head throb, but can also make you sick to your stomach. Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon for migraine sufferers, and that’s why this essential oil blend includes stomach-settling spearmint, along with peppermint and lavender to tame the pain of a headache. The peppermint provides cooling relief, while the lavender soothes. And if it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry — there’s a money-back guarantee! (We doubt you’ll need it though.)
“I’ve had chronic migraine for [over four years]. … I’ve had seven different doctors at a time, tried everything from homeopathic supplements to acupuncture, and still most days I have some form of headache. Most of my pain sits right behind my eyes, forehead, and temples. While I can say that [this product] is not a cure for a migraine, I can say that it definitely lessens the intense pain in these areas. Of all the pain relievers that I’ve tried other than narcotics, the Migrastil Migraine Headache Stick Roll-on is my favorite choice. Living with chronic migraine is practically unbearable, but I have found relief with this product.”
Where to buy: $19.95, Amazon
Why we like it:
- Includes magnesium chloride for extra pain relief
- Convenient spray application
One possible cause of an aching head is magnesium deficiency. This spray includes pure magnesium oil, along with a variety of essential oils, to pack a powerful one-two punch in your fight against headaches. What’s more, magnesium supplementation can help you sleep better — and solid rest helps relieve headaches. Sweet marjoram helps reduce anxiety, rosemary, and basil help relieve mental fatigue and “brain fog,” while peppermint perks you up. What’s not to love? Simply spray it on your forehead, temples, and back of the neck for relief. Some people swear by applying it to the soles of their feet, as well.
“I love this spray! I suffer from occasional migraines but daily headaches. I used to wake up with headaches every day, and always started my day taking medication. I was always envious of people who never get headaches. I didn’t know what it was like to not always have a headache. I finally do! I still get headaches, but not daily any more. I no longer wake up with headaches. This spray has changed my life! I just spray this on the bottom of my feet every night, and wake up headache-free!”
Where to buy: $17.98, Amazon
Why we like it:
- One powerful ingredient
- Value-sized bottle
If you’d rather keep it simple and not go with a blend of oils, try straight peppermint oil, the go-to essential oil for people suffering from headaches. This cooling oil is intense, so use it with caution: You’ll want to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, or almond oil, before applying it to your skin (you can put it on your temples or the back of your neck). Be very careful not to get it near your eyes, and wash your hands well after handling it. Another bonus to buying plain peppermint oil? It has lots of other household uses, such as discouraging pests like cockroaches and mice.
“I use a lot of peppermint essential oil in our home: DIY disinfectant wipes, headache treatment, bronchial aid, home-freshening, so I needed a more cost-effective product that is still high quality for my purposes. [This product] absolutely fit my requirements in every way!”