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Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


see also Migraines

Headaches can be triggered by many different conditions but the typical result is the nerves in the head muscles and blood vessels of the head signal the brain that there is pain.   The triggers can be anything from a blow to the head, disease, to emotional distress.  There are many different types of headaches documented in the literature (over 150) but the most common are:

    Tension headaches – These are the most common headache that most people will experience from time to time.  Tightness is felt in areas around the head that results in mild to moderate pain.  The more common areas are the back of the neck, the temples, or the forehead.  The cause is not yet fully understood.

    Chronic daily headaches – If there are repeated tension headaches from day to day it is labeled chronic daily headaches.

    Migraine headaches –  A migraine is a much more painful experience.  This can be a moderate to severe throbbing sensation that lasts a few hours or sometimes for days.  Again the precise reason for this type of headache is not yet know.  Go to Migraines for more information.

    Cluster headaches – This is one of the most severe of headaches.  The name is because they come in repeated frequent attacks or “cluster periods”.  The attacks may be 2 or 3 times a day and may last from weeks to months.  They may then go away for months or even years.  They often begin in the middle of the night while someone is asleep.  The pain is usually on one side of the head or the other and typically right behind the eye.  The pain is intense, constant, and throbbing making it almost impossible to function normally.

    Sinus headaches – When the membranes of the sinus cavities become inflamed and swollen there can be pressure around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead area where these cavities are located.  This pressure then can result in a sinus headache.

    Acute headaches – Typically seen in children these headaches come on suddenly and last for a short time.

    Hormone headaches – Changing hormone levels during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause may trigger headaches.  This may also include hormone changes with medications such as birth control pills.

Essential oils have a well-deserved reputation for helping with headaches. The tab above for Suggested Protocols will have some of the most commonly suggested helps and the tab Experiences & Testimonials will include other's experiences.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Soothing BlendC, FrankincenseC, LavenderEC, Tension BlendC, PeppermintEC, WintergreenC

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: BasilC, CloveC, EucalyptusC, GingerC, LemonEC, LemongrassC, MarjoramEC, RosemaryEC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Mild tension headache:

  A drop or two of Peppermint oil rubbed on the temples, forehead, and/or back of neck is a simple and effective solution for most.

  Tension Blend is a blend of oils in a handy roll on dispenser that is also very effective and more convenient.

Sinus headaches:

  To relieve immediate pain Tension Blend or Peppermint as described above will be helpful.

  Also attend to the sinus infection as described under Sinus Infections.

More severe headaches:

  Use Peppermint or Tension Blend as described previously but follow with a damp, cool compress using a clean hand towel. Apply this compress to the forehead and closed eyes and/or the back of the neck, while resting for a few minutes. Repeat as often as needed and schedule will permit.  A few drops of an oil may be put directly on the damp towel to extend the help.  Keep oils away from eyes.

  Equal parts Frankincense, Lavender and Peppermint applied to temples, back of neck, crown of head and inhaled is highly recommended.

  Some will find an inhaler or using cup and inhale may prove advantageous.

  Different bodies and conditions will respond differently to oils. Sometimes it is necessary to rotate or try different oils. Consider Frankincense, Wintergreen or other oils listed above.

Migraine headaches:

  Go to Migraine Headaches for more detailed information.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:

      Dani Garn

Dani - I have had many experiences with (...) essential oils in the last few months and I would like to share them with others.

I have yet to believe how fast I can get rid of my fiancé's and my pain! I've had headaches so bad in the back of my head for years that only the expensive chiropractor could fix, until this morning when I put some Soothing Blend and coconut oil on my neck. It works so fast that it is unbelievable relief! Same with my hands and other sore joints. I knew that years of popping my joints would come back to haunt me!! But the oils have been great!!


Samara - We know a lady that gets a headache every time she smells the oils. Then she gets very nauseated.  She signed up and bought a Dr. Mom kit and really wants to keep trying the oils.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Pat - Have her use the gelatin capsule protocol using Lemon, Melaleuca and Oregano. That would be 14 drops of the combined oils in a gel cap taken once a day with food. This might help her body detoxify and assimilate some great oils. Also she could go on the probiotics.

Monica - My suggestion would be to spend some time with this lady, and find out about her health, her lifestyle, what she uses to clean her home, wash her clothes, wash her body and hair, moisturize, cosmetics, hair color, hair styling products, nail polish, what does she eat, does she drink caffeine, does she drink soda, does she have a sweet tooth, etc....

My guess is that she is quite possibly overloaded with toxicity.  One of the most wonderful things about essential oils, is their ability to help rid the body of toxins.  The 'bad' part (for folks who don't understand the process), is that sometimes the 'getting rid of process' of toxins can be uncomfortable (personally, I see this as a good thing - often referred to in holistic health circles as a "cleansing crisis")... 

Once she makes some lifestyle changes to bring her body into better balance, she should no longer experience these uncomfortable sensations; although the length of time for this to balance out will depend upon the individual.

Meanwhile, she can put the oils on the soles of her feet, or in capsules for ingestion, rather than inhalation, if that is more comfortable for her.  By all means, I would suggest the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) Trio, Probiotic Defense Formula, Candida Kill protocol (GI Cleansing Formula), and Weight Loss/Detoxification protocol, to help balance her system in a more timely manner.


John - I had a killer headache the other day, probably bordering on a migraine.  I'm sure it was stressed induced because of the day I had- had.  I had a few oils with me at work, but none seemed to help at all.  I was excited to get home and try the Lavender, Peppermint, and Frankincense blend.  I was bummed to learn that my wife had used the last of the Frankincense in a ulcer blend she did for a friend.

Desperate, I grabbed Marjoram, which is also listed as effective for headaches.  I blended the Marjoram, Lavender and Peppermint and my wife rubbed it in with a neck and shoulder massage.  I also put it on my temples.  I lay down with a cold pack in a towel under my neck, and closed my eyes.  In about 15 minutes, I found my the pain I had been experiencing all day - gone.  Completely.

I think I have a new favorite blend for headaches.

I should have said, I used about 5 drops each of Lavender and Marjoram and 2 drops of Peppermint.  I also used cup and inhale while I had my neck massaged.  If I had not felt better so soon, I would have put the same blend in a bath.


John (Cal) - My wife and I were painting the basement last night and I think we both got too many fumes.  I woke up with a bad headache, and my wife is still in bed with the covers over her head and has a bad migraine.  I know oils can be good for headaches.  I remember Peppermint.  Any suggestions, how I use them, where I put them?  This might make a believer out of my wife!

Gina - Sorry you and your wife are suffering from horrible headaches today. A little secret for the next time you paint.  Add any of the oils to the paint bucket and it will cut down on the fumes tremendously, plus it puts a much nicer aroma (and vibration) in the room. I can only imagine how bad it was, being enclosed in the basement.

In the meantime, the last time I had a migraine, the only oil I had with me was Wintergreen and I splashed that all over my head and it worked. But, sometimes Soothing Blend with Peppermint and a cold cloth behind my neck helps. I know someone else who gets relief from the combination of Frankincense, Lavender, then Peppermint. I would try whatever you are drawn to. And then rub her shoulders and the reflexology "head points" of the feet, and hopefully there will be some relief. Each person is different so you may have to try different combinations.

Rob - John my experience is that Gina is right on.  It might take some experimentation to find the best essential oil help for you. But I would start with Peppermint, Lavender and Frankincense.  Some have found Soothing Blend very effective and Wintergreen makes sense because its key constituent, methylsalycilate, is actually produced synthetically to make some pharmaceutical remedies.

Start with Peppermint on the temples, across the forehead, and on the back of the neck.

Jon - Thanks everybody.  I have never tried essential oils on a headache till today. Wow. No kidding. I put Peppermint on my temples and started massaging and within 30 seconds I realized my eyes were able to open more and my mind cleared.  I have never felt a headache so obviously go away so quick.  My wife didn't have the same luck as me.  We worked with Peppermint and Lavender for about a 1/2 hour.  We don't have Soothing Blend, Frankincense or Wintergreen.  After a while she hurt too much to even massage, so I stopped.  She slept about another hour and when she woke up the migraine was gone.  She won't admit it yet, but I'm sure the oils helped.  She did ask if we could get an extra bottle of Peppermint that she could carry around so she must think it did some good!! .

Protocols folks recommend for children



Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


What Science & Research are saying



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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.