Essential oils can be used as home remedies for a variety of ailments. But is using essential oils an effective way to relieve headaches, and if so, what are the best essential oils?

A quick look at 5 of the best essential oils for headaches.

Best for Stress Headaches: Lavender Oil
Best for Pain Relief: Rosemary Oil
Best for tension headaches: Peppermint Oil
Best for Congestion: Chamomile Oil
Best for Sinus Headaches: Eucalyptus Oil

Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine based on the use of these oils. Aromatherapists believe that each essential oil offers a different set of health benefits. People can apply essential oils topically. However, one should dilute the drops in a carrier oil and apply them to the skin. Essential oils should never be ingested. Research confirms some of the health benefits of certain essential oils.

This article explores five of the best essential oils for treating headaches, based on supporting scientific evidence.

The best essential oils for headaches

Several studies show that specific essential oils may benefit headaches. All information presented is purely based on research and correct at the time of publication.

Best for Stress Headaches: Lavender Oil

People often use lavender to improve sleep and reduce stress, anxiety or depression. Many people also believe that it can help relieve stress-triggered migraine episodes. A 20 review suggests that inhaling lavender essential oil may be a safe and effective treatment for managing acute migraine.

A 2016 study found that participants self-reported a lower Migraine Disability Assessment Score (MIDAS) after 3 months of lavender essential oil therapy. Recent research examined the effects of lavender oil aroma on people undergoing bone marrow biopsy. She revealed that inhaling this essential oil helped reduce the anxiety of these participants.
An example of lavender essential oil available for purchase online is Nature’s Truth 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil.

Best for Pain Relief: Rosemary Oil

Practitioners have traditionally used rosemary essential oil to treat a variety of ailments. A 2015 systematic review of essential oils suggests that rosemary may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Another study suggests that rosemary oil may have pain-relieving properties and may be more effective in relieving pain when individuals combine it therapeutically with pain-relieving medications. However, in some people, rosemary oil can cause contact dermatitis. The research above indicates that rosemary oil can help reduce the pain associated with a headache. However, more human studies are needed before scientists can confirm this finding.

Best for Tension Headaches: Peppermint Oil

People have used peppermint medicinally for thousands of years. It is one of the most popular essential oils for treating headaches. A review of published studies on essential oils indicates that applying peppermint oil to the temples and forehead helps relieve tension headaches. The active ingredient in peppermint oil is menthol. Research shows that this substance can also be effective in treating migraine when a person applies it as a gel to the head. However, research on peppermint oil is very limited. Additionally, it can cause allergic reactions and rashes when people apply it topically. It is also not known if pregnant or breastfeeding women can use it safely.

Best for Congestion: Chamomile Oil

Chamomile tea is traditionally drunk to relax, unwind and soothe symptoms of discomfort, pain or congestion due to allergies or a cold. Chamomile essential oil may have a similar effect by helping to reduce a range of inflammations throughout the body. Older research shows that chamomile oil may improve some symptoms of anxiety and depression. As some headaches can be caused by anxiety or stress, relieving stress with chamomile oil can help ease the headache. The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile itself can also ease a headache, although more research is needed to investigate its health benefits. However, high concentrations of chamomile oil can lead to toxicity. Be sure to dilute the oil before using it topically.

Best for Sinus Headaches: Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus is also traditionally used to clear the sinuses and reduce inflammation throughout the body. People with a respiratory condition or asthma can sometimes benefit from inhaling eucalyptus, which can relieve their symptoms. Additionally, it appears that eucalyptus may help treat muscle and joint pain and regulate the nervous system to reduce headaches. An older study found inhaling eucalyptus oil to be effective in relieving pain and lowering blood pressure.

How to choose

Here are some factors to consider before buying essential oils:

Quality: It’s important to carefully check a company’s certifications, the ingredients in the oil, and how the manufacturer creates the oil before buying.

Pets and humans: Some essential oils are toxic to pets, and there hasn’t been enough research to determine if the oils are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is important to take into account the presence of other people or animals in the house.

Sensitivity: Essential oils can cause contact dermatitis. It is important to dilute all oils with a carrier oil, and discontinue use immediately if a reaction occurs. Always do a patch test before applying a new essential oil topically.

How to use them

There are several ways to use essential oils to treat a headache, including:

Apply oil to the temples or forehead: essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, before applying to the skin. Once diluted, the person can massage the oil on their temples and on their forehead.

Inhale the oil: People can inhale essential oils by adding a few drops to a handkerchief, holding the handkerchief under their nose, and taking a deep breath.

Use a compress: A compress can be created by soaking a towel in cold water with a few drops of essential oil. She can then apply the compress to the forehead or neck.

Add oil to bath: A person can add a few diluted drops of essential oil to a warm bath.


Essential oils are generally safe when a person uses them correctly. If a person does not dilute an oil in a carrier oil before applying it, it can cause skin irritation. Additionally, citrus-based oils can cause skin burns if a person exposes their skin to the sun after use.

Some people are also allergic to essential oils, even in their diluted form. It may therefore be useful to apply a small amount to a patch of skin to test for any allergic reactions. If there is no reaction within 48 hours, the oil is safe to use.

It may be helpful to consult a guide on best practices for using essential oils. If a person suffers from health problems, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using these substances.

Frequently Asked Questions About Essential Oils For Headaches

Where should I apply essential oils for headaches?

If a person applies essential oils topically, they should use a carrier oil. Examples include olive oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.
After diluting the essential oil, people can apply it directly to the forehead or temples, taking care to avoid the eyes. Other methods include placing a few drops on a cold water compress, using a diffuser, or mixing the oil in a bath.

What essential oils help headaches?

Certain essential oils can help reduce headache pain, including lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, and eucalyptus.

Can I use essential oils for headaches during my pregnancy?

Some essential oils can be harmful to the fetus during pregnancy. Avoid using essential oils during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


People have used essential oils for generations, both for relaxation and to treat a variety of ailments. Some scientific evidence suggests that specific essential oils may be particularly beneficial in reducing headache symptoms. These are lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile and eucalyptus oils.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.