Oils to reach for when a headache strikes!


Headaches are THE WORST.  All different types of headaches are horrible, but I had the unique experience 2 years ago of having my very first migraine headache.

I. Thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die.

Seriously, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I remember sitting in my office where I worked at the time, squinting at the computer screen, and googling brain aneurysms because that’s what I was sure I had.

Well, the good thing was that it was not a brain aneurysm – and I didn’t die. The bad thing was that it was only the beginning of my year long experience with chronic migraine headaches (which I have since learned were due to a hormonal imbalance in my body – but that’s a topic for a whole other post).

A quick Google search told me that 45 million Americans experience chronic headaches (that’s about 1 in 6 people). The three most common types of headaches are:

  1. Tension Headaches
  2. Migraine Headaches (more common in women)
  3. Cluster Headaches (more common in men)

And for those of you that really don’t like to reach for the closest OTC drug in order to get some pain relief, I’m here with some good news:

Yes my friends, essential oils can help with headaches too.

I’m going to go through a few different oils – some single oils, some Young Living blends that were formulated specifically for headaches and/or pain relief – and which ones work best for which types of headaches. Before I do, here are a few things to know:

1. Oils are not drugs (yay!). One thing that means is that you can’t overdose on them. By that, I DON’T mean that you should pour the contents of an entire bottle of peppermint on your head when you have a headache. But what I DO mean is that if an oil helps for a while, but after 30 minutes or so you feel that pain beginning to come back – by all means, grab your oils again and reapply! What this also means is that you can feel free to use one or more of the oils I write about below at the same time. If one doesn’t work, try another. Or try all. It’s all good when it comes to oils.

2. Please be careful with applying oils near your eyes – which you probably will have to do for a headache. I strongly suggest diluting an oil if it’s not in an already diluted blend (some of Young Living’s blends are already diluted in the bottle. A quick look at the ingredients on the label will tell you if that is the case). And if you use your hand to rub in the oil, make sure to NOT touch your eyes with that hand. And I speak from experience with this one.

3. If for some reason you do get some oil into your eye, do NOT flush with water. Grab some carrier oil (Olive oil, coconut oil, etc) or FULL FAT milk. Either of these will help flush out the essential oil from your eye.

And now I present the top 4 winners when it comes to oils for headaches:

1. Peppermint Oil


Peppermint oil is a good oil to start with for most headaches. Most migraine sufferers will probably find that they’ll need something with a bit more “umph”, but for all other headaches – stress, tension, sinus…peppermint can really helpl. I have a separate bottle into which I put peppermint oil diluted with olive oil. I snapped a roller top on it instead of the dropper top to make it easier to apply to the entire surface of the forehead, temples, back of the neck – and anywhere else pain is felt. This is a good oil to breathe in aromatically, as well as apply topically.

2. M-Grain


M-Grain has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that help to relieve pain. This oil blend helps with the pain and nausea that typically accompanies a migraine headaches, but can occur with other headaches as well. You can place a couple drops in the palm of your hand, cup over your nose, and breathe deeply. Apply topically to areas of pain as well (this is another one to dilute if you’re applying near your eyes). It’s a good idea to use this oils as soon as you feel a migraine coming on, although it should help regardless of when you apply it.

3. R.C.


R.C (Respiratory Congestion) is a must-have oil blend to have around during cold and flu season. It opens up the sinuses and helps alleviate congestion and pressure on the sinuses. This oil helps with headaches that are in the sinuses (on either side of the nose and on top of the eyes). This is a good oil to breathe in aromatically and to apply topically.

4. Valor


Valor – which also can be referred to as Devorah’s Most Favorite Oil Blend Ever – is most beneficial for tension headaches that give the sensation of your head being squeezed (and not in a good way). Put a few drops of Valor in the palm of your hand and massage onto your head. No need to dilute this oil blend.

Other oils to try if you don’t have the ones I just mentioned, or if they aren’t giving you the relief you need, are:

Stress Away (you all should have this one if you purchased a membership kit)

Deep Relief

and of course, you can always use good old Lavender. It really does help with so much.


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