Why Essential Oils are Good for Headaches
Essential oils are formulated by extracting the oil from leaves, stems, flowers, the root, bark, and/or any other part of a plant. Essentially, the oils are organic and plant-based, so it’s a good alternative to traditional medicine if you can avoid it. Aromatherapy is the process that uses essential oil via the senses, namely, in scent form or roll-on. The health benefits of using essential oils is fact-based. This is the reason why many people around the world, and for centuries, swear by these plants for the cure to what ails them - especially headaches. Below are just four of the top essential oils for headaches. Take a look at the top essential oil picks and see why they are great for headaches. It may surprise you! At Earth’s Cure, incidentally, we utilize these essential oils and more to get rid of your worst tension and migraine headaches.
1.) Peppermint Oil
Many people know peppermint for its soothing effect on muscles. And most, do ingest peppermint in tea form, for calming a sour stomach. But many people do not associate peppermint oil with headache relief. But it’s one the best essential oils to calm a tension headache in the same way it might work on a sore ankle as a topical oil. It helps to relieve muscle contraction and soreness. The active ingredient in peppermint oil when used as a topical treatment is menthol. Research from 2015 as cited by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), indicates:
Menthol is a natural compound manufactured in many topical medications. It has a number of potential peripheral and central analgesic effects.…when applied as a gel, it showed a statistically significant improvement in headache by at least one severity level in 52% of subjects 2 h after applying menthol 6% gel.
2.) Lemon Oil
Lemon oil has been used for centuries by Eastern cultures and more recently in traditional medicine as a remedy for all types of chronic headaches. Studies show that lemon balm oil can have a positive effect on the brain; in this way it also treats the cause of the headache. That’s why it is highly recommended for use in treating chronic headaches especially those that show up from stress, anxiety, or fatigue. A Very Well Health article cites a 2004 study by Brain Research on the benefits of using lemon oil in the reduction of anxiety, which can be a big contributor to tension headaches. It says in part:
Several preliminary studies suggest that lemon essential oil may help reduce anxiety and stress. For example, a 2004 study on rats determined that exposure to the odor of lemon essential oil helped reduce levels of corticosterone (a type of stress hormone). Published in Brain Research, the study also found that lemon essential oil may possess anxiety-reducing and pain-relieving properties.
3.) Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil has been used traditionally to treat headaches and improve circulation by grandmothers going centuries back. But more recently, traditional medicine is coming on board. Including this essential oil as a part of a complementary treatment program for headaches associated with other diseases or pain conditions. A study in 2008, also conducted by NCBI, states that Rosemary is effective in the treatment of headaches for its anti-inflammatory properties. Says the study, in part:
Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Family Lamiaceae), popularly named rosemary, is used for food flavoring and has been used in folk medicine for many conditions; they have antispasmodic, analgesic, antirheumatic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, and antiepileptic effects. … data suggest that it possesses anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activity.
4.) Lavender Oil
Look, most of us have taken a lavender scented bath at some point or had a massage that uses lavender for its calming effects. But did you know it’s also great in the treatment of headaches for that very same reason? It’s soothing and tension relieving properties make it one of the best essential oils to calm a raging headache. Of course, homeopath enthusiasts have been keen on this oil for decades, but the medical community is starting to pay attention. The Mayo Clinic has even begun citing the effects of lavender oil on the peripheral treatment of pain and nausea. They stated in a recent article titled, Why Aromatherapy is Showing Up in Hospital Surgical Units:
Women in labor have also reported positive results using scents such as rose, lavender and frankincense. In one study, these scents seemed to help ease anxiety and fear, and reduce the need for pain medications.
No matter who you are, at some point you have suffered from the dreaded tension headache or worse, a migraine. There is nothing more challenging, than having to take prescription medication for relief. By that point, you are most likely, out for the day. So, aromatherapy and essential oils are a very good alternative to pills or at least as a complement to your over-the-counter options. As you can see from the above stated studies, essential oil therapy is even gaining in traction with the medical community. Nothing is a cure-all and as always, there may be an underlying cause for chronic headaches. So, always seek the advice of a medical professional before using essential oil as a treatment for serious or chronic headaches. However, if you are like most of us, and lack of sleep, tension, high stress or anxiety, has you dealing with headaches, the use of essential oils as a regular treatment in the reduction of stress, anxiety, and pain, is a beautiful alternative to pain meds.
For more on any of these oils and all our products including our own Headache Relief Essential Oil, contact EarthsCure today!