Treating Migraines with Essential OIls

Treating Migraines with Essential OIls

Migraines are the most debilitating kind of headache possible. They are so much more than a bad headache. If you have never had one, I hope you never do. But for those of us who do suffer from them, I commiserate with you. They are awful. FYI: There is a migraine awareness group, M.A.G.N.U.M., that you may find helpful.

A typical migraine headache affects one half of the head, rather than the entire head, and it pulses. Horribly. It usually lasts from two to 72 hours, though some types can go on for a full week. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Regular activities usually aggravate these symptoms.

Can migraines be prevented?

At times yes, they can be prevented. You can reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks by identifying and then avoiding migraine triggers. You can keep track of your migraine patterns and identify triggers by keeping a migraine diary. Here are some surprising, and some not so surprising, triggers for migraines.

DSCN1006Some things to record in your migraine diary:

  • What did you eat prior to attack? When did you last eat? What did you eat?
  • What was your stress level? Did you have an argument with someone? Were you working? Driving? At the computer? In the kitchen?
  • What were you smelling?
  • What were you wearing? Did you have a hat on? Clothes too tight? Something around your neck?
  • Were you outside or inside? What was the temperature?
  • What time of day is it?

MeditationManThings to think about:

  • Stress management and coping techniques, along with relaxation techniques, can often help prevent or reduce the severity of the migraine attacks.
  • Migraine sufferers also seem to have fewer attacks when they eat on a regular schedule and get adequate rest.
  • Regular exercise — in moderation — can also help prevent migraines.
  • See a chiropractor. If the vertebrae is misaligned,  it can cause inflamed nerves which can create imbalances in the head, which in turn can trigger a migraine.
  • Many people have found acupuncture helps to lesson the severity and frequency of their migraines.
  • Reflexology can also help. Particularly foot zoning.
  • Feverfew is the best herbal medicine for migraines. It isn’t a quick fix, though, it’s more a preventative. So if you suffer from migraines regularly, take daily capsules. Or if you grow your own, which I have done, eat a few leaves a day. Or drink a tea made of it daily. You need to use it daily for at least 3 months for it to be effective. Do not use Feverfew if you are pregnant. (10)
  • Add 10 drops of Eucalyptus Globulus to 1 teaspoon carrier oil and massage a portion into temples when headache starts. (8)
  • Drinking grapefruit juice is also helpful to some people.

essential-oilsEssential oils to use:

This is highly individual, mainly because each person reacts to scents differently. There are certain scents, Peppermint for one, that have often been used to help with headaches and migraines. For me, I can’t use Rosemary because it gives me headaches. So find which one will work for you.

Possible oils:

Peppermint, Lavender, Grapefruit, Roman Chamomile, Neroli, Rosemary, Petitgrain Bigarade, Marjoram, Angelica Root, Coriander, Clary Sage, Melissa

Rocky Mountain Oils has a blend called Migraine Relief that has helped my migraines. It contains Basil, Marjoram, Lavender, Peppermint, Helichrysum gymnocephalium, Roman Chamomile, Helichrysum italicum.

Below are some recommendations from friends on Facebook:

  • TA:  “Try Lavender on the temples.”
  • DBO: “Immune Strength (from Rocky Mountain oils)  is what I use. On my temples, across the bridge of my nose, and along my entire neck/hair line at the base of neck and skull.”
  • ARL: “Omg…I hear ya!!! The blend that worked best for me was Relieve Me on the back of my neck and enlighten on my temples. And a good massage to top it off!”
  • ReflexologyCSN: “Immune Strength with foot zoning. I had a zoner help me with them. She put the oil on the pad of my big toe and really dug in with her knuckle. It hurt like the dickens but between the oil and the zone I can catch and take care of my migraines before they get out of control.”
  • TMR: “I get hemiplegic migraines too. I use a 2:1 ratio of Peppermint and Lavender in F.C.O. and put it in a roll-on bottle. When I first feel one coming on, usually the visual disturbances, I draw a line with it across my forehead, up the back of my neck, on my temples, on the insides of my wrists and put a spot under my nose for inhalation. I then put an ice pack on the back of my neck and rest in a dark quiet room. That usually stops it in its tracks.”
  • CF: “One of my closest friends has MS and this is what I gave her to help with her migraines: two drops Peppermint oil, 3 drops Lemon oil, 3 drops Lavender and 2 drops Basil undiluted and applied to the temples and back of the neck.”
  • CD: “Peppermint, Lavender and Ginger Root.”


Here are some possible recipes you can use to help you with migraine relief.

Migraine Compress

  • 3 drops Pink Grapefruit
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 1 pint Cold Water

Add all ingredients to a small bowl, soak a light cloth in the bowl, squeeze out the excess and place on the back of neck or on forehead, making sure the compress is well-squeezed out so it doesn’t drip into eyes. Save the remaining water in the fridge. Can be used on children. (5)

Massage, maleGeneral Migraine Body Massage

  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 10 drops Grapefruit
  • 5 drops Peppermint
  • 3 drops Rosemary
  • 1 1/2 ounces F.C.O. (Fractionated Coconut Oil)

Combine ingredients in a dark colored glass bottle. Use a small amount in a massage for at least 15 minutes, once a week. Can also massage into stomach area and back of neck, if the person is feeling nauseous. If used on a child under 7 years old, dilute essential oils in 4 ounces of carrier oil.  (5)

Serious Headache Helper

  • 8 drops Peppermint
  • 8 drops Birch Bark
  • 1 tablespoon Lavender
  • 1 tablespoon Jojoba oil

Add all ingredients to a dark colored glass bottle. Shake well for two minutes with hand wrapped all of the way around bottle to warm the oils and help them synergize. Label bottle and sit in a dark, cool place for 24 hours before use. Shake well before every use. Massage 1 drop into temples, 2 drops into base of the neck, and 2 drops into forehead region. Next place 3 drops into one palm, rub your palms together vigorously then close eyes and inhale vapors from your cupped hands. Breathe slowly and deeply for a few minutes.  (9)

Foot bathHerbal Foot Soak for Headache Relief

  • 2 teaspoons Vegetable Glycerin
  • 5 drops Lavender or Geranium
  • 3 drops Peppermint

Combine in a small bowl and stir well to mix thoroughly. Pour the oil blend into a foot tub with enough very cold water to cover your feet and ankles. Swish with your feet to blend. Soak your feet for 10 – 15 minutes, with your eyes closed, and breathing deeply and regularly. Briskly dry your feet with a thick, rough towel and follow with a peppermint foot lotion or your favorite moisturizer. (9)

In addition:

Two things to think about. First of all, if you are going to make up your own blend to use, have it already prepared in a bottle. Label it “For Migraines” and keep it on hand. This is because the worst time to be mixing your oils is when your migraine is coming on. I don’t know about you but I don’t think very straight then and my eyesight doesn’t work too well. Having one already prepared is the best plan.

And the second thing to think about, CEB told us this, “I’m new to essential oils, so I don’t have it all figured out yet. But, I use a cocktail of supplements recommended by a retired brain surgeon that has reduced my migraines immensely. I have a post on my blog that talks about it.”

And Finally,

What do you like to do when you get migraines? Please comment below and help our readers come  up with new solutions to this painful issue!



  1. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well Being, by Julia Lawless
  3. The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood
  4. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
  5. Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends, by Valerie Ann Worwood
  6. The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia: A Concise Guide to Over 385 Plant Oils, by Carol Schiller & David Schiller
  7. Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published by Patricia Davis
  8. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2nd edition, by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green
  9. Hands On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments, and other Topical Therapies, by Stephanie L. Tourles
  10. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family by Rosemary Gladstar



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  1. […] This article  is the beginning of our Pain Relief with Essential Oils series. While the recipes can be interchangeable, Sprains, Strains, and Breaks will be talked about in another article, as will Plantar Fasciitis and Fibromyalgia. We have already addressed treating arthritis and migraines. […]