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How to Use Essential Oils for Headaches

Cartoon woman with red lightning rods pointing at her head and bubble saying

Using essential oils for headaches is a natural way to relieve tension and pain. Of course, check with your healthcare practitioner first to make sure your headaches aren't caused by a serious medical condition.

This article focuses on tension headaches. Also see Migraine Pain Relief.

For a tension headache, most people can safely massage 2 drops of undiluted lavender essential oil on their temples, behind the ears, and across the back of the neck. Apply twice, if needed. If you are sensitive, dilute the essential oil using a carrier oil.

An alternative to lavender is Roman chamomile, which also soothes and relaxes. Dilute with a carrier oil.

Although many people swear by lavender for headaches, it never much worked for me. My personal experience is that rubbing a drop of peppermint essential oil into my palms and smelling it for a few minutes or rubbing it on the back of my neck usually does wonders for getting rid of a headache. Keep peppermint away from your eyes, as it will cause them to burn.

Blend: 3 drops lavender and 1 drop peppermint in one-half to one teaspoon carrier oil. Massage around neck and temples.

For sinus congestion headaches, eucalyptus and peppermint may help relieve congestion. Add 4 drops of each to a pot of steaming water and breathe in the vapors, being careful not to burn yourself.

For headaches during your menstrual period, marjoram may help.

This next suggestion works best if you use it at the first sign of a headache: Add 2 drops each of lavender, marjoram, and peppermint to a tissue. Sniff deeply three times. Or use the oils to make an aromatherapy inhaler that you can carry with you.

All-Purpose Headache Relief Oil

Place the following oils in a 1-ounce (30 ml) bottle and then shake gently:

  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 10 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 1 drop patchouli essential oil

When you have a headache, rub some of the blend onto your neck and shoulders. You can also massage a few drops into your scalp. Be sure to avoid your eyes.

Source: Aromahead Newsletter

Aromatherapy Massage Oils For Headaches

You can use these three aromatherapy blends to prevent headaches or to help relieve headache pain.

Make the blends using 2 teaspoons carrier oil. Use the blends to massage your temples, forehead, neck, and shoulders.

Blend 1: Aromatherapy for headache caused by muscle tension

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil

Blend 2: Essential oils for headaches caused by negative emotions

  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil

Blend 3: Aromatherapy for headache caused by nervous tension

  • 5 drops marjoram essential oil
  • 3 drops neroli essential oil
  • 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil

You can also use 15 drops of this blend in an aromatherapy bath.

Computer Headache Relief

If computer eye strain makes your head hurt, use this blend:

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops geranium essential oil
  • 1 drop eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons unscented base cream or almond oil

Combine all ingredients and store in a small, dark glass jar with a lid.

Keep the jar by your computer. When you feel a headache coming on, massage a little of the mixture into your temples and the back of your neck.

Source: Massage & Aromatherapy

Bath Blends

For a bath to help relieve a tension headaches, add one of the following essential oil blends to your bath water:

  • 3 drops each of marjoram, Roman chamomile, and lavender
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil 


  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops pine essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Or use this foot bath and compress: 

  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender
  1. Mix the rosemary and lemongrass into a basin of hot water.
  2. Add the lavender to 1/2 cup of cold water.
  3. Soak your feet in the hot water for at least 10 minutes.
  4. At the same time, apply a compress that's been dipped in the cold lavender water to your forehead.

More Essential Oils For Headaches

If none of the above suggestions work for you, other essential oils for headaches you can try are:

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary Sage
  • Coriander
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Melissa
  • Thyme
  • Ylang ylang


Massage & Aromatherapy: Simple Techniques to Use at Home

Healing With Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art

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