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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 Headaches

Migraine headaches are a moderate to severe throbbing sensation that lasts a few hours or sometimes for days.  The precise reason for this type of headache is not know but one description of the sequence of physiological events is as follows:

     Migraine headache is caused by vasodilatation (enlargement of blood vessels) that causes the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around the large arteries of the brain. Enlargement of these blood vessels stretches the nerves that coil around them and causes the nerves to release chemicals. The chemicals cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement of the artery. The increasing enlargement of the arteries magnifies the pain.

     Migraine attacks commonly activate the sympathetic nervous system in the body. The sympathetic nervous system is often thought of as the part of the nervous system that controls primitive responses to stress and pain, the so-called "fight or flight" response, and this activation causes many of the symptoms associated with migraine attacks; for example, the increased sympathetic nervous activity in the intestine causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

•    Sympathetic activity also delays emptying of the stomach into the small intestine and thereby prevents oral medications from entering the intestine and being absorbed.

•    The impaired absorption of oral medications is a common reason for the ineffectiveness of medications taken to treat migraine headaches.

•    The increased sympathetic activity also decreases the circulation of blood, and this leads to pallor of the skin as well as cold hands and feet.

•    The increased sympathetic activity also contributes to the sensitivity to light and sound sensitivity as well as blurred vision.

 from MedicineNet.com

Some sufferers from migraines say that there are signs that signal when a migraine headache is coming on.  This includes signs such as tingling, light flashes, or other warnings that can suggest taking some preventative measures.  For many the headache is accompanied by sensitivity to light, loud sounds, and may include an upset stomach or even nausea.

Triggers for migraines vary from person to person and are not always predictable (do not always trigger the migraine) in an individual.  Some of the reported triggers for migraines include: stress, sleep disturbance, fasting, dehydration, dietary changes, hormone changes, bright or flashing lights, allergies, chocolate, wine, certain odors, cigarette smoke, and caffeine.

An important step in helping with migraines is to determining from experience for an individual what triggers their migraines. By finding the triggers, one can anticipate them and use the habits of diet and lifestyle coupled with the essential oils to mitigate them.  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, Frankincense, LavenderE, MarjoramE, Tension BlendC, PeppermintEC

Essential oils based products: Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV)

Also consider: BasilEC, Birch, EucalyptusEC, Ginger, Roman ChamomileE, RosemaryE, WintergreenC

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

Suggested protocols:

Because migraines are so individual and varied that the oils to use will also vary.  Listed here are protocols that have worked for others.  Also read the more detailed experiences of others on the Experiences & Testimonials tab above.

Experience One - detailed:

Start as soon as any warning appears. 

  1 - 2 drops of Frankincense on your finger and rub on the roof of your mouth

  Roll Tension Blend on the back of the neck and the base of the skull

  1 - 2 drops of Soothing Blend on the temples and forehead.  Also Soothing Blend can be applied to the neck and shoulder region.

  1 - 2 drops Digestive Blend internally if nauseous.

Repeat every 15 minutes - 2 hours as long as necessary.  Nap if situation allows.

Experience Two - simple:

Start as soon as any warning appears. 

  1 - 2 drops of Tension Blend on the forehead

  Continue Tension Blend over the crown of the head through the hair to the neck and shoulders

  Rub into each area

Repeat every 15 minutes - 2 hours as long as necessary.  Nap if situation allows.

Massage while suffering from a migraine usually is not a pleasant option. Applying the oil or blend as a foot massage may be tolerable. Because root cause and personal reactions are so varied it will take personal experience to find the optimum solution for each individual.

Having a foundation of healthy diet and rest is important.  The Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) will help provide this.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Kathy - What does work for your migraines?

Loryjean - I have to start on them early, and even then it doesn't always take it entirely away. I use Frankincense on the roof of my mouth, Tension Blend on my neck and base of my skull, and Soothing Blend on my temples and across my forehead. If I can get someone to apply the Soothing Blend to my neck and shoulders, that helps, too. I usually apply Digestive Blend to my stomach. I've tried taking Ginger for the nausea, but it doesn't always help.

I keep reapplying for as long as the headache lasts. Most of the time, I do not have to go to bed, although it slows me down and I do try to rest. If I can catch it early, and have a nap, that also helps, although one of the aspects of my migraines is that I can't sleep until it is pretty much over. I often use Lavender at that point, because I use it every night before bed and my body recognizes that as the time to sleep! I also have several chronic medical conditions, so I'm not "just" having a migraine; there are various triggers and even the cleansing effects of oils from time to time have affected me. There are some oils I've not tried, but so far I am happy with these combinations, and I don't have migraines as often as I used to.

Pat - There are quite a few oils that work for migraines. My daughter would not go on without Tension Blend, or Birch. Others swear by Soothing Blend and others get relief only from Frankincense. So one needs to experiment and figure out which one works best for them.

Cristi - I get migraines and I tried a few oils before I found that Peppermint works wonders for me. I just rub it on my forehead, temples and neck.  Sometimes it is the ONLY thing that gets me to sleep. I agree with others try different oils till you find the one that brings you relief.


Evie - Just had a client with severe migraines....says peppermint and Tension Blend makes her headache get worse.  Any wisdom or testimonials out there that would help?

Apryl - I get migraines at times where I have to be in bed and my husband will bring me a big glass of water and the "morphine" pill (6 drops Marjoram and 9 drops Frankincense each in a veggie cap). It helps but I have to take it every 2 to 4 hours. If the person doesn't have veggie caps I would rub a few drops of the oils normally in the pill on my neck and forehead.  If the smell bothers her, maybe put the oils on the bottom of her feet. A cup of coffee and glass of water have also helped me in addition to the oils.

Christine - I have epilepsy and had brain surgery 6 yrs ago in hopes of curing them, which caused a stroke, so I get severe migraines two to three times a week. I decided just too add some stuff together one day that the book recommends....I just poured equal amounts of Peppermint, the Soothing Blend, Cilantro, Lavender, and Frankincense into a roller bottle. I apply it where my head hurts and within a half hour my pain is gone. I call it my little miracle cure. On occasion I have to reapply or add extra Frankincense if it is a really bad one.  As long as I catch it before it gets too bad, I really don't have to do the additional Frankincense, which is crazy because I used to take ten Advil and I would still have a lingering headache.

Christine - I meant to say Basil rather than Cilantro on the blend I use for migraines.


Kathy - I have a friend who has had a migraine for over a week and finally went in to the doctor and was told she has lymphdema (one of her legs is swelling) and she has swelling with inflammation of the brain, they have no idea why.  I suggested the Candida cleanse (I did not have any GI Cleansing Formula) so she is just taking the Oregano, Melaleuca and Lemon in a capsule and she is drinking plenty of Lemon water.  Any other suggestions?  

Julie Ann – Here are suggestions for inflammation.  Use the Massage Blend technique as soon as possible.  The Tension Blend is so fabulous for headaches or migraines of any type.  My experience is that when you apply Tension Blend the pain is gone. Period.  Cypress and Lemon oils are good for swelling. Soothing Blend and Massage Blends and Sandalwood oil are for Inflammation.

Pat – Also strongly suggest Frankincense as soon as possible, internally and topically.  Two drops of Frankincense under the tongue, no capsule is necessary, 4 times a day, then rub some on the crown of the head, and the back of the neck.

Kathy - My friend Rebekah's migraine has lessened and seems to be going down into her shoulders and neck,, she finally let me do an Massage Blend but only on her hands and feet, then we put Birch on her neck and shoulders and then Massage Blend oil on her neck and shoulders - she said that night was the first night she slept all night in 2 weeks.  She has been doing the Candida cleanse for a week now and says she is feeling better - migraine still there but much more bearable.  I got an order yesterday and got Tension Blend so I had her put that on the top of her head, neck and temples - will let you know how that as helped as soon as I hear from her.   

Julie Ann - Tension Blend!!!   I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn with an exhaustion migraine.  It usually takes me 3 days to get over them.  I got up, rubbed Tension Blend on my forehead, through my hair (following the line of pain) down the back of my neck and over my shoulders.   When I got through (10 seconds max) rubbing it in, and started back upstairs to bed the migraine was GONE!   TOTALLY GONE! I laid back down pain free and woke up a few hours later pain free and ran all day wide open and as of tonight at 11:35pm I am still PAIN FREE!!!    I am totally sold on the Tension Blend headache roll-on!  

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.

Loryjean - Since beginning with (...), especially since starting the LLWP, I have non-migraines. I will feel uncomfortable, start using the oils every 15-20 minutes or so, but am able to keep going without the blinding headache and 5 hours of nausea. Since I've only been at this 5 months, and have many health issues, this is a major accomplishment in my life and I am SO GRATEFUL for these oils and getting my life back!

Brooke - I have a friend who has suffered tremendously for over 15 years with severe migraines.  She has to have shots and lay in bed for a couple of days to get over them sometimes.  What are some recommendations you have - whether it be oils or supplements - that could help her either prevent or treat them?  

Loryjean - I don't know that I have enough experience treating migraines; just mine! I did have to try several different combinations that I heard about in meetings, in order to find out what works for me. The first lady I tried to help, early on, called me when she already had the headache, and I only had the one protocol. She was upset because "it didn't work". Most of what I have learned is that you have to get right on it as soon as you start to feel whatever you get, you have to use the oils about every 15-20 minutes continuously until the symptoms go away, and you do still have to relax and rest as much as possible during it.

So far, the oil combinations I know of are: Frankincense, Peppermint and Eucalyptus; Peppermint, Frankincense, Lavender; Soothing Blend, Wintergreen; and I think Birch helps, too. It is my opinion that migraines are highly related to inflammation, so you need to keep your hormones balanced, use anti-inflammatory oils, be hydrated, and taking the Wellness Pack. I use Grounding Blend all day long, and it is the first oil I recommend to people. Migraines have a cycle; you have to keep working on them until you can retrain the body to not go into the cycle. That has taken about four months for me; I usually have about one a month, sometimes two. Just stay on it and keep trying whatever seems to work best. I stand in front of my box of oils and see what I feel I should add to whatever protocol I am trying. The oils really are individual, and of course, learning all you can about them helps.


Kathy (Caz) -  My friend has been having Peppermint and Lemon oil in her water for about a couple of months. 3 or 4 times a day with a drop of both in each. On the weekend she was in hospital with the worse migraine she has had in a long long time. Could they possibly do this??? or could she be having too much??? Is it safe to take the oils continually??? By the way she has really liked having them.

Pat - I have been using oils in my water for over two years.  I have had no problems taking the oils continually. Does she get migraines normally? The Lemon does detoxify the liver, could the toxins expelled cause the migraine?

Brooke - I've been using Peppermint and Lemon in my water since August of last year - and never had any problems.  Everyone is different, but if things she eats trigger it, she may want to check what drinks she is having or even what gum she chews.  My friend who was having severe migraines on a monthly basis discovered it was due to 'aspartame poisoning'.  Anything 'diet' has aspartame in it...may want to check that out.

Loryjean - When I first started seriously using good essential oils, my body began cleansing. I also have migraines, and some of mine initially were really rough, but then they stopped entirely for some time! Anyone with a chronic condition, I think, will experience some degree of cleansing, and should expect to have some discomfort or increased symptoms for a while. It is up to you whether you can simply work through it and continue with the oils; or you need to reduce them or stop. My training in cleansing taught me that you are better off sticking it out if you can; or reduce the use if the discomfort is too great. Sometimes with oils, one can simply switch to different ones for a few days; this is not scientific, but that might help, too.  

Oils don't "cause" a migraine, but just as foods or stress can trigger a migraine, oils can cause cleansing that can act as a trigger. People with migraines often have to experiment to discover what combination of oils works for them; Peppermint, Lavender and Frankincense do not work at all for me; I had to discover what would! I know others who have developed their own personal combinations, as well. We have to remember that oils work with our personal chemistry; while they have specific attributes, not all work the same on everyone. I always recommend several options when asked "which oil should I use?".

Protocols folks recommend for children


12 Feb 2010

Brooke - I have a friend who has an 11- year old who suffers from severe migraines.  She has taken him to all kinds of doctors, and they have wanted to put him on, and have tried to put him on, all kinds of medications.  Everything from blood pressure medication to anti-depressants  If anyone has any suggestions, I would very much appreciate them.  

Cassandra - My 11 year old daughter was having the same issues.  I applied Lavender and Peppermint on the back of her neck and at the base of her head, I also use Soothing Blend around that area with massage she says it helps.

Kathy - Besides Peppermint and Lavender many suggest Frankincense for severe migraines.  I put 1 drop of each on the temples and one on the crown of the head (very top of head).  Sometime the Grounding Blend has helped as well. I do the same with Grounding Blend, 1 drop on each temple and on the top of head.  This is what I do for my 15 year old that gets migraines. 

Not really that the Grounding Blend is GOOD for headaches but I had an acquaintance who was hit in his head 15 years ago and has had pain everyday since.  We found using the Grounding Blend on his forehead, as well as the other oils, was very helpful for him.

Christy was rather proud of her collection of pain medication.  It seemed as though there were always headaches in their family.  Her husband, Jerry, often had horrible migraines.  He could feel them coming on and they increased over about an hour in strength and intensity.  If he was lucky, they only lasted a short time, but he had – had some that lasted 18 hrs or more.  At their height of intensity, he could experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to lights and sounds. 

He would go to the basement, and the family knew if he was down there, it was quiet time in the house.  Over the years he had tried several prescription medications like Axert, Sumatriptan and  Zomig.  They might reduce the pain slightly, but the side effects were horrible.  Dizziness, constipation, impotence and serious mood swings were hardly worth it.  His favorite remedy was a cocktail of 3 Advil, and 2 Tylenol.  He realized so much of two different kinds of medication were not good for his body, but it was the only thing that made the pain bearable. 

One day, Christy was talking to her friend Kim across the street. The conversation merged from headaches and migraines to essential oils.  Christy had never used them and only remembers hearing about them a long time back.  “What could it hurt” she said to herself.  And she accepted 3 small bottles of Frankincense, Peppermint and Lavender.  Kim also gave her instructions on how to use them. 

Christy explained to her husband that night that she wanted to try a new alternative treatment next time he had a migraine.  He was willing to try anything.  Kim felt almost guilty that she was greatly anticipating the next episode.  After a couple weeks though she forgot about the oils and life hurried along. 

Then one day, her cell rang.  It was Jerry and he was coming home early from work.  “It’s a big one…” he warned.

Christy ran from the junk drawer to mail basket to desk drawers looking for the oils.  She found the small vials just as the door opened on the small night stand by her bed.  She ran down the stairs, literally following her husband down the stairs. 

Her husband was not in the mood.  He saw the small bottles, and demanded… “No, Christy, just get my pills. 

Christy whined back with love and sternness.  “You’ve got to try these.  You’ll never know if this is God’s plan for you.  If it doesn’t work in 15 minuets I’ll get the Advil and Tylenol.

Jerry said nothing; he just sat on the basement bed.  His brows furrowed, and his shoulders slumped.  Christy tipped the Lavender toward her finger then wiped the oil on his right temple, then did the same to his left.  She followed the same routine with the other oils, she put a couple drops of Peppermint in her hand and rubbed the back of his neck, up toward the base of his skull.

“Ok, lie down.”

Jerry dropped backwards to the bed and folded his arm across his eyes.  Christy grabbed her bottles and quietly turned to go up the stairs.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes to check you.” she whispered.

“Bring my pills.” He quipped back.

When Christy got back up stairs, she called Kim to tell the test was on.

Kim reminded her that sometimes it takes more than one application, and several applications would not hurt him. 

“Yea, I don’t know if he will do that.”  Christy complained.

15 minutes later Christy stepped quietly down the stairs. 

“Jerry?”  She said in a quiet whisper.

“Do you have the Advil?��  He asked.

“Kim told me it might take a few applications.”  She said timidly.

“You promised, just give me the pills.”  Jerry said.

Christy reluctantly gave Jerry his pills and a small glass of water.  “Did the oils help at all?”  She questioned.

“Maybe a little.”  Jerry said as he flopped backwards again.

Christy went back upstairs, and closed the door.

Christy later called Kim, disappointed in the results and Jerry's attitude about using the oils.

Kim explained frequency again to Christy and told her that what is good for one person may not be the best for another.  She offered; “Let me have you try some other oils and see if they are more effective.  And you talk to Jerry about giving these a sincere try.  Kim made two more small bottles for Christy.  In one she placed Birch essential oil, in the other she placed Basil.  She took these to Christy and explained; “Next time use these two and the Frankincense I gave you.”

Two weeks went by.  Christy had – had a talk to Jerry about giving the oils a fair chance.  Jerry came home from work one day, and with a single look, Christy knew Jerry was having a bad migraine.  She grabbed the oils and followed Jerry down the stairs.  Jerry said nothing.  He just sat on the edge of the bed with his eyes closed.  Christy this time mixed a couple drops of the Basil, Birch and Frankincense in her hand with a couple drops of coconut oil, and began applying them on Jerry.  She put some drops on his temple, on the base of his neck, above his eyebrows and just above the cheeks on his lower eye socket.  She then carefully and lightly massaged these areas.  Not hard, and with small circular motions.  On his neck she worked the oils from the base of the neck to the top of the head.  Every few minutes, she would add additional oils and repeat the process.    After about 3 rounds, Christy took off Jerry’s shoes and socks and began applying the oils to his feet.  She worked the oils mostly into region 1 of the upper foot and toes.  After about 15 minutes she again put oils on the region of Jerry’s head.  As she did, she noticed that Jerry was breathing heavily and was asleep.  She wiped her hand on a pillow that Jerry was sleeping on and quietly went up stairs with a small smile on her face.

About ½ hour later, Jerry came up from the stairs.  Christy looked at his face.  It was happy, his eyes were clear; there were no winkles on his forehead.  He grabbed Christy around the waist, and said; “WOW, I feel BETTER!!”

Over the next few months, Jerry learned how to use the oils that were most effective for him and to recognize the signs that a serious migraine was coming on.  If he could apply the oils early and often, he usually had success controlling the pain.  He and Christy also learned Massage Blend technique and found on those occasional very stubborn migraines, the ATT was very effective at ending the pain.  They would simply use the Birch, Frankincense, Basil combo at the end of the ATT in place of using Peppermint and Wild Orange in the 5 zones on the back.  Christy would apply them with the palm slide, thumb walk, the five zones, and work the oils from the base of the neck to the top of the head.

Christy was excited one day as she went through bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets, desk drawers, her purse and the car glove box removing and throwing away all of her pain killers and aspirin.  As she felt the weight of the bag go in the trash, she felt the weight of such harmful drugs lifted off her shoulders.  She had found a better way.  More natural, more effective, a true gift of the earth.

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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.