Our lives are becoming more stressful every single day. Stress and anxiety are everywhere, from the deadline at the office to exams at college. Henceforth, it is becoming a significant cause of headaches.
Researchers say that when it comes to migraine, excess sensitivity to light and poor sleep can intensify the problem if you have a family history.
People nowadays fidget with their phones for hours before going to sleep. Naturally, this increases the chance of migraines.
It is a no-brainer that headaches and migraine can make life unbearable.
Various stress-relieving medications are available in the market, but they come with a handful of side effects.
Therefore today, we’ll discuss essential oils for headaches and stress, which is an organic and effective solution with no adverse effects.
What are essential oils?
Essential Oils are concentrated extracts from various parts (leaves, stems, roots) of plants. The extract goes through multiple processes, like distillation and cold pressing until the final product is achieved.
Every essential oil is made of different chemical compositions. The chemical composition of the oil is mostly based on the plant or herb source.
Essential oils can solve various problems, from hormonal issues to mental health and so much more.
Aromatherapy experts consider essential oils as a notable complementary method of treatment.
What essential oils are suitable for headaches and migraines?
Here are five essential oils that may be helpful for headaches and migraines:
1. Peppermint oil
This oil has a cooling effect on the skin and can reduce headaches when applied topically.
Peppermint oil is one of the most popular oils for treating headaches. This oil has found itself a position for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
This essential oil contains “methanol,” which is very effective against migraine. Even research suggests that peppermint oil is used to combat migraine and headaches. One can apply peppermint oil diluted with a carrier oil (olive oil, apricot oil) on their temples and forehead to reduce headaches and migraine pain.
Many people inhale peppermint oil for headaches to help relieve nasal congestion and other symptoms associated with headaches.
2. Lavender oil
Lavender oil has been used as a mood stabilizer by many aromatherapists. In addition, specialists consider it the best essential oil for headaches.
This essential oil has a calming effect and can reduce headache pain when applied topically with a carrier oil (jojoba oil, argan oil).
There’s a groundbreaking study done on lavender oil in 2022, which shows that lavender oil is helpful for the treatment of migraine.
Bathing with water diluted with lavender oil or inhaling the aroma of this magic oil can also help improve sleep and reduce stress.
3. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil has a robust and refreshing scent due to the presence of eucalyptol and has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically.
A study shows that eucalyptus oil can ease nerve pain and minimize headaches linked to the nervous system.
It can also be inhaled to help clear congestion and improve breathing, which may benefit those with sinus.
Sometimes, one may catch a cold and suffer continuous headaches with throbbing pain.
Applying eucalyptus oil for headaches with a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil) can relieve overactive nerves and lower blood pressure to comfort the person.
4. Rosemary oil
This essential oil is broadly used in aromatherapy due to its wonderful scent and anti-inflammatory properties.
Due to its analgesic properties, research shows that rosemary oil has a stimulating effect and can improve circulation, reduce headache pain, and aid nervous disorders.
It can also improve focus and concentration, which may be helpful for those who are suffering from headaches due to tension from work, college, etc.
Especially if someone is suffering from anxiety, a common cause of headaches, rosemary oil can be inhaled or applied topically in such a scenario.
5. Chamomile oil
Chamomile oil has a calming effect and has been shown to reduce headache pain and improve sleep when applied topically.
You can also inhale this oil through a diffuser or drop five to seven drops of oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.
It can also help reduce muscle tension and improve relaxation, which may benefit those with tension headaches.
You can also add one to two drops of this oil to tea and drink it before bedtime.
Research says the oil’s neuroprotective effects can clear your head of stress and depression and allow you to sleep well.
Five things to consider before buying essential oils
- Make sure the essential oil you buy is contained in a glass bottle. Essential oils are not stored in plastic bottles because they break down plastic and lose quality.
- It will be good if the bottle is of amber brown or cobalt blue colour. This is because it protects the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the oil for a more extended period.
- Organic oils can be a little costlier than industrially made oils. However, experts suggest using organic ones, as they are of better quality.
- Many bottles can have catchphrases like “Complete solution oil for headaches,” but don’t get fooled by them. Make sure you go through the constituents of the oil mentioned on the label and also look for the industry-grade stamp. It will be best if you buy branded essential oils and that too from a reliable source.
- The bottles of essential oils should have a common Latin name.
Note: If a bottle says “chamomile,” it indeed doesn’t specify whether it’s German or Roman Chamomile. However, if the tag says ‘Matricaria Chamomilla,’ you’ll be sure it’s German Chamomile.
3 FAQs about essential oils.
1. Are essential oils the same as fragrance oils?
As previously said, essential oils are derived from parts of plants through various processes and then refined to achieve the final product. On the other hand, fragrance oils are made in a laboratory.
2. When do essential oils expire?
Try keeping these oils in a cool shade, away from sunlight, with the lid tightly sealed. Generally, essential oils can be used for three years if stored correctly.
However, there are a few exceptions, like patchouli oil which can last for up to ten years, and tea tree oil, which stays usable for a year.
3. Why is quality so important with essential oils?
Quality of the essential oil is vital because low quality oil can initially save you money. Still, its ability to treat the problem will never match a high quality product. Also, low quality essential oils can irritate the skin and have adverse effects. So, it’s better to go with a branded product to avoid problems of any kind.
Hence it will also be worthwhile to do a patch test. Apply one or two drops of the oil on your arm and wait for a day. If you see no allergic reaction, you can use the oil, but if you notice any allergy, it will be better if you don’t use the oil.
If you’re suffering from headaches and migraine regularly, you can consider using essential oils to ease your discomfort but make sure to consult a specialist before using any essential oil.
There are various kinds of essential oil with different aromas, including the ones mentioned above. However, the choice of oil may vary from person to person depending upon personal taste and the kind of problem.
Nevertheless, if your situation doesn’t improve even after using the oils, you may book an appointment with a physician to take a deeper look at your issues.