This is a very common ailment we are asked about often. Here is some information to help you help yourself.
As always, if your headache is not helped with any of these simple offerings, please do seek the advice of your licensed medical care professional.
Almost all types of headaches can get relief from the use of essential oils.
Headaches can come from many causes and be felt in various areas of the head & neck. Getting the flu or a cold - raising body temperatures will cause a headache.
Sinus infections and allergies are another common cause. Tension headaches and migraines are other types of headaches.
And of course there can be a very serious type of sudden onset head pain which may indicate a stroke. If this is suspected at all, you must seek immediate medical help, do not delay, you or your loved one needs to be seen by a licensed medical professional NOW.
Also if you have suffered a blow to the head you should be evaluated by your doctor to make sure it is not more serious than a simple bump. Concussions and brain contusions need to be handled by your doctor.
For most of the common type headaches to decide what essential oils may be needed to give relief is to figure out what is the cause of the headache might be.
Below will be a helpful guide for a few of the most common causes of every day headaches.
If your headache is due to pressure in your sinuses or infections, pain is felt primarily on the face, around the eyes and nose, many people will even report that their teeth may hurt.
You will most likely feel some immediate relief by inhaling any of the following oils or a blend of any of them: Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Eucalyptus.
Rosemary- 3 drops
Thyme - 1 drop
Peppermint - 1 drop
Place all of these in a Personal inhaler and use as needed. Or blend together and place 1 or 2 drops on a tissue and inhale as needed.
These oils are commonly used to help relieve congestion and also have great analgesic properties.
Some people will get relief if they put a warm or cool compress on the face. You can add a drop or two of essential oils to the basin you use to rinse your compress in and apply to the area of the face affected. Holding there for several minutes.
If your headache is due to a fever, you may need to apply essential oils to a cool compress and apply to the forehead.
Again any of these oils Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Eucalyptus are great to use to help bring down a fever using a cool compress.
They may even make you break into a sweat indicating your fever is breaking. As your body temperature returns to normal your headache will usually diminish too.
You've have a very rough day and you feel your shoulders are up by your ears and your upper back is extremely tense.
Your neck and shoulders are tight as a drum and your head is now pounding. What you have here is the classic tension headache.
All those tight muscles are causing your head to ache. Some tension headaches are felt mainly in the back of the head, but occasionally you will feel the pressure curl up over your head and into the temples.
Your eyes can even be affected. And in some folks they will feel the discomfort all along their spine!
For this type of headache you will want to apply some Peppermint and Rosemary added to a small amount of a carrier oil and massaged into the back of your neck and if you can into your upper back and shoulder areas.
Better yet if you can lie down after you have applied this for just a few moments. This should help some of the tension release and you should feel better shortly.
We like to put a cool compress on our foreheads and sometimes on the back of our neck too, while we lay down.
Do not keep the compress cool, but let it come to your own body temperature slowly while you lay down. If you can fall asleep for a few minutes all the better.
One of the types of headache we hear about often is the migraine. These can be very debilitating and are known to affect your whole body. They can cause nausea, blurred vision, bright lights hurt and incapacitating head pain are common with migraines.
The best way to treat a migraine is before the pain starts.
Many times people that suffer from migraines can tell when one is on its way.
These folks can often figure out the ‘trigger’ when they think about each episode and document the events surrounding the time the headache is triggered. Avoiding the ‘triggering’ event is very important.
Otherwise if you can tell a migraine headache is impending, now is when you want to start to use aromatherapy.
Make a cool compress using equal portions of Lavender and Peppermint placed in the water basin. Apply this across your forehead and down onto the temple area.
At the same time place a warm compress where Sweet Marjoram has been place in the water basin. Place this on the back of your neck.
The Marjoram and the heat help the blood vessels to increase in size (known as vasodilatation). Since it is thought that migraines are caused from the stricture of blood vessels, opening them up (dilating) appears to help the most.
If you already know what triggers your migraines, whether it is food or other chemicals of course your first action is to avoid these triggers. A woman’s monthly cycle is also a possibility of the cause of migraines or other headaches.
Unfortunately you may not be able to avoid these hormonal type headaches without consulting a medical professional.
Headaches can also be caused from lack of hydration. Headaches around the eyes and sinuses may be nothing more than a "dehydration" headache.
These types of headaches are often the type you may wake up with in the mornings. Overnight you have lost quite a bit of your bodies water supply by perspiration and respiration while you slept.
Of course failing to drink enough water throughout the day or during and after exercising can cause dehydration.
For most folks all you need to do is drink a large glass of water - 16 ounces or more. Drink WATER not another liquid.
Smell some Peppermint and Rosemary and lay down for a few minutes. If due to dehydration you'll feel relief shortly.
If your headache is due to low blood sugar typically you haven't eaten for hours or you may have other health issues. Of course, get a drink of water and get yourself a bite to eat.
Rub a little Peppermint and Lavender on the back of your neck. Relief should be forthcoming once your blood sugar levels stabilize.
If your headache is due to improper alignment of the neck, you may want to seek the skills of a chiropractor.
Many other things may trigger headaches, medications, women's monthly cycle, hormonal imbalances, and other disease processes.
If you can find out the cause, there may be many other essential oils that can be useful for those conditions.
The most commonly used essential oils for headache relief are: Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender and Eucalyptus.
Other Essential oils to consider when dealing with headaches include: Basil, Rose, Eucalyptus radiata . (sinus congestion), Juniper berry (tension), Melissa(rubbed on temples), Grapefruit, Roman Chamomile (tension).
I suffered for years with headaches caused from a falling injury to my neck and upper back as a teenager.
Although my parents took me to see a chiropractor and I had a few 'adjustments' I was plagued for years with headaches.
Since my parents did not believe in using aspirin for headache or for any pain they, and now we, use the following methods.
This regimen works very well for headaches from injury, tension, fever, sinusitis and other causes. We have found that this course of treatment works even better with the addition of the use of essential oils.
1. Sleep on a contour pillow. This type of pillow helps to restore the natural curve to your neck and relieves a lot of tension. You have to sleep on your back, so be sure to put a small pillow under your knees so you don't end up with lower back problems.
2. Drink a large glass of water - 16 ounces - PLAIN WATER!
3. Prior to lying down soak your feet in hot water for 20 minutes - keep it hot but not so hot as to scald them. Soak just your feet! You can add a couple drops of Peppermint to this basin if you want.
4. Get 2 washcloths to be used as cool compresses. After you have one of them wet, place it in a zip lock bag. This one will be placed behind your head - on your neck. The other one wring out and place on your forehead.
5. Lie down and cover yourself lightly.
6. Just lay there and relax. Falling asleep is allowed.
7. Do not freshen the compresses. Just let them gradually warm up.
8. Use essential oils as described earlier in this article for the specific type of headache you are suffering.
Figuring out the cause of your headache is half the battle. Do not become dependant on pain killers whether they are over the counter or prescribed.
In an article on the ABC program 20/20 a few years ago, it was found that some pain relievers can make you so dependent on them, you have to continue to take them or suffer from pain constantly. Weaning off pain meds can take several months.
Remember there are many causes of headaches. Some are easy to figure out, while others very difficult.
Food and chemical sensitivities, hormonal changes, life changes and the list goes on.
Although essential oils may be all that you need.
You may also need to consult with herbalists (for liver cleansing), a Chiropractor (misalignment of the spine), a massage therapist and your physician (hormonal imbalances and other health issues).
After having suffered from years of headache pain, I can truly say, there is nothing like having a pain free existence!! Hopefully you will find relief too.
Please e-mail us if you have other ways to get headache relief too.To the Top of the Page
Here is our list that may help with various ailments, emotions and more.
The essential oils are not listed in any particular order (other than alphabetical) and there still may be other essential oils that work just for you. Remember what works for one person may not work the same for someone else.
You would use them by Inhalation, Massage, Bath, Compress etc. Depending on the ailment or condition would depend on the method of application. Before using any essential oil for any condition make sure to consult with your licensed medical practioner. If you are not sure what your problem is - please find out, don’t self diagnose. ( “*” most commonly used for this condition)
Helichrysum, Peppermint, Rosemary – there may be others to help with various situations. Consult a physician before proceeding with any essential oils in cases of brain injuries and traumas.
Angelica, Anise, Black Pepper, Cajeput, Camphor, Cedarwood, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clove Bud, Cypress, Elemi, Eucalyptus (any), Fennel, Fir Needle, Frankincense, Galbanum, Ginger, Helichrysum, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Melissa, Myrrh, Myrtle, Neroli, Niaouli, Nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint, Pennyroyal, Pine, Ravensara, Ravintsara, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Spruce Needle, Sweet Marjoram, Tea Tree, Thyme borneol, Thyme
Cajeput, Camphor, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Cypress, Elemi, Eucalyptus (any), Fennel, Fir Needle, Frankincense, Galbanum, Helichrysum, Hyssop, Lavandin, Lemon, Litsea Cubeba, Myrtle, Niaouli, Sweet Marjoram, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Spruce Needle, Tea tree, Thyme
German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Litsea Cubeba, Neroli, Peppermint, Rose
Basil, Bergamot, Cajeput, Camphor, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clove bud, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Citriodora, Geranium, Juniper berry, Lavandin, Lavender, Lemongrass, Litsea cubeba, Melissa, Patchouli, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Thyme, Vetiver
Anise, Cajeput, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Clary sage, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Melissa, Myrrh, Peppermint, Pine, Ravensara, Ravintsara, Sage, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Thyme,
Anise, Bay Laurel, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Celery, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel, Fir needle, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lime, Myrrh, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme
Allspice, Basil, Cajeput, Clary sage, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Cypress, Fennel, Frankincense, Galbanum, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Lavender, Litsea Cubeba, Mandarin, Marjoram, Melissa, Neroli, Nutmeg, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Tarragon,To the Top of the Page
We are often asked to give a list of “What” this or that essential oil can be used for. As Aromatherapists we do not look at essential oils that ‘way’. Instead we know that each essential oil can be used for MANY, MANY situations whether it is emotional, physical or spiritual.
Essential oils can be used for a plethora of health conditions or environmental issues or emotional situations.
At the top of this list but not the very least of this gigantic list is simply to just enjoy them by diffusing them into the air! (Okay, granted there are a few that aren’t the most pleasant smelling but they still may be someone’s favorite.)
Aromatherapists prefer to have an ailment or health condition given and then find the appropriate essential oil or oils that can be tried.
Since everyone has different chemical imbalances an essential oil that works for one person may not be the one for the next person.
Often we start with the most commonly suggested oil for the situation but again we may totally change the suggestion or add one or more essential oils to any given condition.
We also take into consideration the clients preferences. Essential oils that you like should always be chosen to help your experience be more pleasant and acceptable.
When it comes to environmental uses – as an example we know that certain essential oils will work better at surface cleaning or insect repelling than others.
And again the list of environmental uses continues to grow and of course the list here is large too.
The following lists are the most commonly used essential oils.
These are just a few of the over 150 oils that have therapeutic properties or environmental or industrial uses.
Remember the properties listed are when essential oils are inhaled or used in carrier oils or personal care products such as shampoos, lotions or baths.
The listed properties are not for the ingestion of essential oils. Ingestion of essential oils is never suggested. Dried and fresh Herbal preparations are often ingested.
Please note that in many aromatherapy books you will find lists of properties supposedly for the property of the essential oil.
In reality many of the properties listed in these books are for the herbal preparation or application or simply trade beauty hype.
Would or could any of these herbal properties be something for you to consider? You may, but remember you will need to seek the advice of a qualified herbalist.
As aromatherapists we cannot suggest to you to ingest essential oils.
Remember to that Essential oils and Herbal Applications (dried or fresh herbs, teas and tinctures) can all be obtained from the same plants.
But the Essential oil often times has different actions and reactions in the body than the herbal preparation.
Some common herbal properties include the following and are not properties of the essential oil from the same plant: Antitoxic, vermifuge, parasiticide, astringent, emenogogue, diuretic, hypo or hypertensive, febrifuge, choleretic, cholagogue, diabetes and many others.
Below I have tried to list properties as best and correctly as possible.
Again though some uses will not only depend on the inhalation of the essential oils but may be attributed to the application when used in conjunction with massage.
These though, are the 10 most often sought after for overall general health. Hopefully I’ll get a chance over the next several months to compile the next most often called for essential oils.
In the meantime as you read through these lists realize the better approach is to find a list of essential oils for the problem you would like to have help with.
In the long run of things a list of essential oils that work for your given situation will be better utilized for your particular needs.
We call this “journaling” or simply keeping a written record of what and how much you used including any combinations that worked for you.
As much as I’d like to say you will remember what you did and used the last time ‘little Johnny” had a cold or sore throat, mind you, you won’t remember unless you write it down!
Let’s begin, here are the most common essential oils used for health concerns and household uses.
There are several others too but we chose to list these 10 essential oils as our first choices.
Just keep in mind that the list of uses and properties below are just a tiny list of the many properties each of these essential oils possesses.
light greenish-yellow in color, with a fresh fruity-slightly spicy aroma;
Perfumery Note: Top Note;
Traditional Uses - acne, boils, cold sores, eczema, loss of appetite, sore throat, cystitis, colds and flu, depression, anxiety and stress related conditions.
Properties - - antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-spasmodic, deodorant, insect repellent, relaxant
Blends with – angelica, basil, cedarwood, chamomiles, clary sage, coriander, cypress, elemi, frankincense geranium, ginger, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon and other citrus oils, neroli, pine, rose, sandalwood, vetiver
Cautions/safety: Bergamot is photo toxic. Only Bergamot FCF that has had the furocoumarin removed can be safely used on the skin that will be exposed to the Sun or other Ultra Violet light (i.e. tanning beds) It is best to only use Bergamot FCF in applications involving the skin. Photo-toxic in Sun – use Bergamot FCF if you will be mixing blends for use outdoors.
– colorless to pale yellow with a sweet warm herbaceous slightly nutty like aroma; Known as the “Woman’s Helper”;
Perfumery Note Middle to Top Note;
Traditional Uses - dandruff, depression, energy (lack of), exhaustion (nervous), fatigue, oily hair and skin, muscle aches, stress, headaches, migraines, inflammation, menopausal symptoms (spasms and cramps), labor, nervous tension
Properties - - anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-depressant, bactericidal, cicatrisant, deodorant, digestive, stomachic
Blends with - bergamot, cardamom, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, lime, neroli, orange, petitgrain pine, sandalwood, Vetiver
Cautions/safety: Considered non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing.
- colorless with a strong camphorous aroma; This is considered a must have in aromatherapy.
Perfumery Note Top Note;
Traditional Uses - asthma, bronchitis, coughs, headache, lung infections, pneumonia, sinus problems, rheumatism, urinary tract infections, viral infections, muscle and joint pains, neuralgia
Properties - - analgesic, antineuralgic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, cicatrisant, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient, stimulant, vulnerary
Blends with - cedarwood lavender, lemon, marjoram, pine, rosemary, thyme, and
Cautions/safety: Generally non-toxic, non-irritating when used on the skin or diffused. Can cause laryngeal spasms in infants, babies and young children, so avoid applying near the nose or chest area. Do not ingest as this oil is toxic when ingested.
- yellow or greenish color with a fresh, sweet citrus aroma;
Perfumery Note Top Note;
Traditional Uses - acne, anorexia, cellulite, colds, depression, headache, jet lag, sore and tires muscles, oily skin and hair, stress, tinea and tiredness
Properties - antiseptic, antidepressant, bactericidal, stimulant (lymphatic and digestive), uplifting,
Blends with - bergamot, cardamom, coriander, cypress, geranium, lavender, lemon, neroli, palmarosa, petitgrain, pine, rosemary
Cautions/safety: Non-toxic and non-irritating when diffused. Cold Pressed Grapefruit can be mildly photo sensitizing in rare individuals so do not use on the skin prior to exposure to the sun or UV lights.
- (also known as the Mother of all Oils and known as a Balancer!) colorless to pale yellow, with a sweet, floral-herbaceous aroma; This is considered a must have in aromatherapy.
Perfumery Note Middle to Top Note;
Traditional Uses - burns, cellulite, cough, dermatitis, digestion - slow, headache, insect bites, insomnia, psoriasis, scars, sprains, sunburn, tension, thread veins and wounds among many other applications.
Properties - analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cicatrisant, insecticide, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary
Blends with - most oils, especially floral and citrus, cedarwood, clove, clary sage, pine, geranium, patchouli
Cautions/safety: Non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing
- pale yellow with a light yet crisp citrus scent;
Perfumery Note Top Note;
Traditional Uses - - acne, brittle nails, circulation - slow, corns, herpes, infection, influenza, mouth ulcers, sore throat, varicose veins, warts
Properties - – anti-anxiety, antimicrobial, antiseptic, bactericidal, insecticidal, stimulating, refreshing
Blends with - chamomile, elemi, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, geranium, juniper berry, lavender, myrrh, neroli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang, and other citrus oils
Cautions/safety: Non-toxic and non-irritating when diffused. Cold Pressed Lemon can be mildly photo sensitizing in rare individuals so do not use on the skin prior to exposure to the sun or UV lights.
- pale yellow with a high fresh minty camphorous aroma; This is considered a must have in aromatherapy.
Perfumery Note Top Note;
Traditional Uses - - asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colon - spastic, cramps, diarrhea, exhaustion, fever, headache, hysteria, indigestion, mental fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, shock, vertigo,
Properties – – analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, expectorant, nervine, stomachic
Blends with – clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, marjoram, rosemary, and other mints
Cautions/safety: Can be irritating to the skin. Can cause laryngeal spasms in infants, babies and young children, so avoid applying near the nose or chest area. Because it is so strong it is best used sparingly.
- colorless or pale yellow with a camphorus- woody-herbaceous aroma; a Balancer
Perfumery Note Middle to Top Note;
Traditional Uses - - acne, burns, circulation - slow, dermatitis, fatigue, gout, headache, lice, muscular pains, myalgia, mental fatigue, psoriasis, rheumatism, scabies, sciatica, sinusitis, tinea, varicose veins, whooping cough
Properties - analgesic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, cephalic, cordial, invigorating, nervine, stimulant, vulnerary
Blends with - basil, cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, coriander, elemi, frankincense, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, thyme and other spice oils
Cautions/safety: non toxic, non-irritating, sensitizing in a few folks.
- pale yellow or clear color with fresh spicy-camphorous aroma; This is considered a must have in aromatherapy.
Perfumery Note Top Note;
Traditional Uses - acne, asthma, athletes foot, boils, bunions, coughs, cracked skin, dermatitis, eczema, flu, fleas, fungal infection, gingivitis, insect bites and stings, lice, lung infections, muscular aches, psoriasis, rheumatism, ringworm, sore throat, thrush, vaginal infections, warts, wounds
Properties - - anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, expectorant, fungicidal, germicidal, immune-stimulant, vulnerary
Blends with - clary sage, clove bud, eucalyptus, geranium, lavandin, lavender, lemon, marjoram, nutmeg, pine, rosemary and ylang-ylang
Cautions/safety: Non-toxic, non-irritating, sensitizing in a select few
- pale yellow with a sweet, floral aroma; known as “The Flower of Flowers”;
Perfumery Note Middle to Base
Traditional Uses - - acne, allergies, anger, aphrodisiac, depression, eczema, hair growth, hair rinse, headache, insect bites, insomnia, muscle aches, thrush - oral and vaginal, scars, stress, wounds
Properties - - aphrodesiac, antibacterial, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, disinfectant, euphoric, expectorant, germicidal, nervine, sedative, stimulant, vulnerary
Blends with - balsam, bergamot, black pepper, citrus oils, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, rose, rosewood, vetiver
Cautions/safety: Non-toxic, non-irritating, sensitizing in a select few
Allspice – 10 drops
Peppermint – 10 drops
Sweet Marjoram – 10 drops
BHH Massage Oil – 2 ounce
Blend the essential oils together and add to 2 ounces of BHH Massage oil blend.
Massage well into tight and sore muscles area especially those in the neck, upper back and shoulder area.
Bergamot – 10 drops
Mandarin – 8 drops
Lavender – 8 drops
Nutmeg– 8 drops
Lemongrass – 8 drops
Jojoba – 2 ounces
Fractionated coconut oil – 1 ounce
Blend the essential oils together and then add to the Jojoba and Fractionated Coconut oil. Mix well.
Apply several drops to your neck and upper back.
Apply a few drops to your Temples and massage in using light pressure. Close your eyes and relax.
Spearmint – 10 drops
Lavender – 10 drops
Pine needle – 10 drops
Lemon – 10 drops
Peppermint – 1 drop
Blend in a glass bottle. Diffuse in any diffuser or use in a Personal inhaler.
Peppermint – 10 drops
Eucalyptus – 10 drops
Lemongrass– 10 drops
Blend in a glass bottle. Diffuse in anydiffuser.
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