14 Essential Oils for Headaches to Keep the Pain Away

woman having headache

Though modern scientific research is a bit lackadaisical when it comes to recognizing the healing powers of essential oils, thousands of years of experience give testimony to their success. Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese medicine have proven that when it comes to essential oils for headaches, even the worst migraines, essential oils have been useful over and over again. We will lay out for you 14 of the top performers and give you tips on how to use them.

Basic Tips for Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are typically used in a diffuser for aroma therapy or added to a carrier oil, like coconut, almond, olive or jojoba, for massage. In most cases, unless specifically directed and they are considered “food” oils, essential oils are not to be consumed orally. Additionally, be careful with essential oils around sensitive areas, especially your eyes, and be aware that your skin may be sensitive to oils. If your skin does not tolerate a particular oil, consider diluting it with a carrier oil.

Essential oils will relieve the inflammation, pressure, and pain of headaches, but if your problem was brought on by some injury or is related to another form of illness or health condition, you might need to consult a medical professional for further treatment.

14 Essential Oils for Headaches That You’ll Love to Smell

1. Jasmine Oil

We begin our list of essential oils for headaches with the sweet aroma of jasmine oil. Some problems coincide with depression, lack of energy and lethargy, which tend to compound the severity of a headache. Jasmine oil can help relieve those symptoms along with a headache.

What to do:

  • Place jasmine oil in a room diffuser to spread its aroma throughout the chamber.
  • You can also put a few drops of jasmine oil in the cup of one hand, rub it between your palms, and hold your hands to your face 8 to 10 times for the space of a few seconds each time.

NOTE: Do not use jasmine oil if your headache is related to anxiety.

two jasmine flowers

2. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is another very popular remedy among essential oils for headaches. First off, rosemary is an analgesic with characteristics that stimulate energy and focus along with creating calm. Unlike jasmine oil, it can be used in situations where your headache is brought on by anxiety. This remedy works for regular or migraine headaches.

What to do:

  • Rosemary can be used in a room diffuser as well.
  • Place a few drops of oil on a cold compress and place it on the back of your neck.
  • You can also put the tip of your middle finger over the bottle to obtain a single dab to place behind each ear.

3. Eucalyptus Oil

Sinus headaches and tension headaches can be swept away by the use of eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus has the public properties of shrinking sinus inflammation and brining a sense of calm relief. Thus it is also trendy among the essential oils for headaches.

What to do:

  • Many people use eucalyptus oil in a humidifier or place a few drops in the pot when making use of a steam treatment for clearing sinuses.
  • Dab a drop on your middle finger and rub it into each temple to help bring relief.
  • You can also rub a few drops of eucalyptus oil between your palms and breathe it in.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender is another tried and true remedy among the essential oils for headaches. This sweet-smelling oil works as a sedative to calm the central nervous system. The high content of linalool and linalyl acetate found in lavender oil works to calm anxiety and stress, which will help relieve your headache.

What to do:

  • Place a dab on your fingertip and rub it into your temples or forehead.
  • Rubbing a drop into each of your wrists where you typically take your pulse is also effective at relieving stress.
  • Adding a few drops to a cool compress to place on the back of your neck can also work.

5. Clary Sage Oil

Clary sage oil has scientific studies to back its effectiveness at balancing hormone levels. Since some headaches are a result of hormonal situations, especially in women during menstruation, this is a potent member of our list of essential oils for headaches.

What to do:

  • Clary sage works well in room diffusers, especially at night.
  • Consider wearing clary sage oil on your wrists or behind your ears as a therapeutic Cologne on days when you need it most.
  • A few drops of clary sage oil on a small cotton cloth which you can hold up to your face and inhale throughout the day is also helpful.

clary sage leaves

6. Peppermint Oil

Another frequent and powerful member on our list of essential oils for headaches is peppermint oil. Peppermint stimulates blood flow to eliminate inflammation and pain. It is one of the most popular essential oil treatments for migraines.

What to do:

  • A few drops of peppermint oil can be added to tea or other drinks.
  • Dab a drop of peppermint oil on your finger and rub it on your gums.

7. Melissa (Lemon Balm) Oil

Though not as well-known as most of the other oils, Melissa, aka lemon balm, oil is a viable addition to the list of essential oils for headaches. Melissa is known to be able to interact directly with neurotransmitters at the point of pain, which gives it a unique role in dealing with headache pain.

What to do:

  • Put a dab of Melissa oil on your finger and rub it on your temples, forehead or neck; essentially, wherever the pain is most noticeable.
  • Using Melissa combined with a carrier oil to massage your neck and shoulders is also effective.

8. Helichrysum Oil

Among the essential oils for headaches most common in many parts of Europe is Helichrysum oil. This oil works well on headaches which are caused by some form of inflammation or tension.

What to do:

  • This oil worked best when sprinkled on a cold compress and applied to forehead, temples or the back of the neck.
  • You can also add a few drops on your pillowcase to relieve tension whenever you lie down or sleep.

9. Chamomile Oil

Most of us are not strangers to the relaxing qualities of chamomile tea, especially when it is used to help people go to sleep. Chamomile oil is also among the powerful essential oils for headaches. The soothing and relaxing properties of chamomile oil contribute to reduce anxiety and stress as well as reduce inflammation.

What to do:

  • Chamomile oil works well in room diffusers.
  • Put several drops into your warm bath water and have a good soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • It also works well on a cloth or rubbed between your palms if you’re on the go.

10. Rose Oil

Rose oil is also among the common essential oils for headaches. Long used as a muscle relaxant, rose oil helps to relax headaches brought on by stress and tension but is also highly effective at relieving migraines which are often caused by and exacerbated by muscle tension.

What to do:

  • Use rose oil along with a carrier oil for massaging your neck and shoulders.
  • Rose oil also works well when added to a cool compress.

11. Spearmint Oil

If the aroma of peppermint is a little bit too powerful, you might consider using its cousin, spearmint in its place. Also, well-known for relieving sinus pressure and inflammation, spearmint helps to relax the pressure in blood vessels and capillaries to do its magic and secure its place among the essential oils for headaches.

What to do:

  • Inhalation of spearmint oil on a cloth or in your palms can help relieve sinus pressure.
  • Rub spearmint oil directly on areas where the pain is most intense.
  • You can also use spearmint oil on a cold compress.

12. Marjoram Oil or Ginger Oil

One of the wonders of marjoram oil and ginger oils, as a member of the list of essential oils for headaches, is their antispasmodic characteristic. Often associated with migraines are nausea and upset stomach. Besides reducing muscle tension, marjoram and ginger oil also help to calm your stomach and aid you to relax further.

What to do:

  • Place a few drops of either oil in a cup of tea or hot water and drink it.
  • Both oils can also be inhaled via a diffuser or from the palms of your hands to help relieve symptoms of nausea.
  • Ginger oil also works well when applied directly to the point of pain.

13. Sandalwood Oil

One of a top migraine relieving oils is sandalwood oil. Sandalwood oil is included among our essential oils for headaches because it has a powerful effect on improving mood and calming the nerves. An added benefit of sandalwood oil is that it also tends to relieve symptoms of an upset stomach.

What to do:

  • Use sandalwood in a room diffuser or add it to bathwater for a nice, relaxing soak.
  • Sandalwood also works well when applied directly to the point of pain or used on a cold compress.

Pterocarpus santalinus Red Sandalwood

14. Lemongrass Oil

An invigorating oil which wraps up our list of essential oils for headaches is lemongrass oil. Lemongrass oil is a mood and energy booster which helps to relieve headaches that are combined with lethargy and depression. This oil helps to re-balance neurotransmitter levels to make the fog of depression.

What to do:

  • Lemongrass oil works great when applied topically to the primary points of pain.
  • A few drops can also be added to tea or other drinks and be ingested to help bring relief.


Thousands of years of testimony back the use of essential oils for headaches. The simplicity and sweet aroma of these remedies for relieving the very worst of your headaches should motivate you to give them a try. Be sure to follow our tips for using essential oils and get the most out of them for the betterment of your health. Feel free to present questions or comments in the section below.

Image from depositphotos.com and pixabay.com.