Top 10 Essential Oils to relieve Headaches and Migraines

Here are my top 10 essential oils to relieve headaches and migraines

The following essential oils are great for relieving headaches and migraines. In no particular order

  1. Basil
  2. Eucalyptus Globulus
  3. Lavender Spike
  4. Lavender
  5. Peppermint
  6. Rosemary
  7. Thyme
  8. Cardamom
  9. Clary Sage
  10. Lemon

How do essential oils relieve headaches?

Some of the essential oils listed like basil, eucalyptus globulus, lavender spike and rosemary help relieve headaches and migraines by clearing the sinuses, dilating the blood vessels and opening your airways to make it so you can breathe more freely.

These are generally good for easing congestion associated with sinusitis and for relieving headaches associated with colds and flu.

Others like clary sage, lavender and cardamom are relaxing and great for relieving tension headaches and having a calming effect.

Some of them like rosemary, lavender, marjoram and clary sage also have an analgesic (pain relieving) effect. 

Which essential oils to pick to relieve headaches and migraines

Essential oils like marjoram are a good all-round essential oil, with calming and pain-relieving properties. Marjoram has similar properties to lavender essential oil, but without the ‘old lady’ smell.

The more stimulating essential oils like rosemary and basil are great for relieving migraines and sinus headaches

If you have a range of essential oils to choose from try sniffing several off the list and pick the one you are most drawn to on the day.

Ways to use essential oils to relieve headaches

Use in a compress. 

In a bowl of ice cold water add a teaspoon of sweet almond or olive oil and 2 drops of lavender spike essential oil and 1 drop of rosemary essential oil. Stir gently to mix.

Dip a flannel into the scented cold water and squeeze out the excess water. Place on either the back of your neck or your forehead until your headache subsides. As the water warms up add more ice too cool and repeat if neccesary.

essential oils to relieve headaches steam inhalation

Use as an inhalation

In a bowl of very hot, almost boiling water add a couple of drops of eucalyptus globulus essential oil. Gently stir. Pop a towel over your head to form a tent over the bowl (being very careful not to spill the contents of the bowl) and take some deep breaths for up to 15 mins.


What helps menopausal brain fog manage stress levels massage

Create a massage blend to use to massage into the back of your neck and your occipital area

Add 3 drops of basil essential oil and 3 drops of orange essential oil into 15 ml of sweet almond carrier oil and stir gently to mix.

Massage this into the shoulders, back of the neck and the back of the head/scalp. Alternatively use as a massage medium for Indian Head Massage

Do not use Basil Essential oil if pregnant, have liver problems, or are a child under 15 years of age

image of aromatherapy diffuser and a cushion on a sofa

Use in a diffuser

In a diffuser add 3 or 4 drops of your favourite essential oil from the list and diffuse intermittently throughout the day. Be careful if you have pets. Ensure it is out of their direct reach

essential oils to relieve headaches foot bath. Image of woman having a foot bath with epsom salts<br />

Use in a foot bath

Another great way of relieving headaches using essential oils is to pour a washing up bowl or foot spa full of hot water – as hot as you can stand it without hurting yourself. Add a couple of handfuls of epsom salts and swish around until the epsom salts dissolve.

Add 2 or 3 drops of your favourite essential oil to 5 ml of sweet almond or olive oil and stir.

Swish this into the water. Soak your feet for 15-20 mins and then pat dry with a towel

essential oils to relieve headaches woman image of woman with a laptop and a headache

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

If you’d like to book a treatment please go to

Sarah Cooper


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