Essential Oils for Headaches: Do They Work?

There are hundreds of different uses for essential oils, from helping you sleep to supporting promoting a sense of calm in your life. Some use them on their own, while others use them in tandem with Western medicine. 

At Home of Chiji, we are big believers in doing what feels right. If you’re trying to find a way to enhance your life with essential oils for headaches, we’ve got all of the information you need to make the best decision for you. 

How Do Essential Oils Work?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with essential oils, here’s a brief primer.

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. These oils retain the natural flavor and smell of the original plant. Each of them has a unique chemical composition, which impacts the way that the body responds. That’s why different essential oils can give you different benefits.

People use essential oils for a variety of reasons, both mental and physical. They have gone from something only a tiny amount of people used and were aware of to something far more popular. The even better news is that an increase in popularity also leads to more research. Knowing something is backed by science makes a lot of people far more comfortable with using them. 

How essential oils work is individual to that oil and the method you are using to get it into your body. We’ll get into those methods in detail later in this article but first, a quick caveat. Although some use oral ingestion methods to consume essential oils, you should use that method with extreme caution. Never use essential oils for medical conditions without consulting your doctor first. 

Essential Oils for Headaches

Essential oils are amazing, but let’s dive into why you’re here. When you’re using essential oils for headaches, which of the many different options are best? It can quickly get overwhelming to pick one out on your own, so we’re here to help you sort through them. 

Remember, the first one that you try may not be the one that works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try different oils until you find the perfect one for your unique headaches. 

Lavender Essential Oil

In addition to being one of the most popular essential oils on the market, lavender is one of the few that has its headache-reducing benefits backed by science

Whether dealing with a run-of-the-mill headache or one caused by stress, lavender essential oils can positively impact your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system (or ANS) is the part of your brain most likely behind migraine and cluster headaches. 

Lavender essential oil may also be able to help you sleep better. Better sleep often leads to fewer headaches, as well as a whole other host of positive benefits for your body. 

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oils are another popular option to help manage headaches. 

Specifically, this oil may help tension and migraine headaches. In addition, there is some evidence that peppermint essential oil can help reduce feelings of nausea. As anyone with chronic headaches knows, nausea (and even vomiting) can be a regular part of the package. 

Peppermint essential oil can also help stimulate blood flow to the forehead while relieving mental and physical tension. Plus, it just smells great!

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Although eucalyptus essential oil is more well-known for helping open up the sinuses and ease the symptoms of respiratory illness, it can also be helpful for headaches.

Overall, eucalyptus essential oil can be an effective pain reducer. That is likely due to the way that it impacts the nervous system. It may even help lower blood pressure, which can be a contributing factor to developing a headache.

If you’re experiencing headaches as part of a viral illness, eucalyptus essential oil will quickly become your go-to. 

Rosemary Essential Oil

You may think of rosemary as something that you only cook with, but it also has potential as an essential oil that can help headaches. 

Rosemary essential oil combines many of the best headache-related benefits of multiple other oils. It can help reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, soothe an upset stomach, help you sleep, and decrease muscle tension. For many people, at least one of those factors is a common headache trigger.

How To Use Essential Oils for Headaches

When it comes to using essential oils for headaches, there are a few different ways to do it. You may want to do a little experimentation to see which one works best for you. Don’t feel like you have to stick with just one essential oil, either. Many people create their own combinations of oils, especially once they’ve discovered which work the best for them.

Topical Application

The topical application of essential oils for headaches gets them directly where you need them. 

With that said, it’s important to note that you must always dilute pure essential oils before applying them to your skin. That means using a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba, to help reduce the risk of skin irritation from essential oils that are too strong. A typical dilution of one percent means adding a single drop of essential oil to a teaspoon of the carrier oil. 

Once you have an appropriately diluted essential oil, massage it gently into your temples and forehead. 

If you don’t want to use essential oil directly onto the skin, you can also use a compress. Soak a washcloth in cold water that has had a few drops of essential oils added to it, then apply it to your forehead or the back of your neck. 

Our Crystal Energy™ Roll-On Oil offers the perfect mix of fragrance oils and charged crystal energy. It’s super easy to use when you’re on the go and need a quick energy or healing boost. Plus, there are four different scents and crystals to choose from! 


Aromatherapy remains one of the most popular ways to use essential oils, primarily due to its diversity. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any special equipment to use essential oils in this way (although you certainly can). 

For example, a few drops of essential oil on a tissue held under the nose can be just as effective as using a diffuser. You can also fill a sink with warm water, add a few drops of essential oil, and lean over it with a towel over your head. Just breathing in the oils can help activate the nervous system and get you the benefits you’re looking for. 

If you’re dealing with a headache, especially as part of a larger illness that is causing congestion, your best bet may be to use essential oils in the bath. Not only are baths great for self-care, but they are also a great way to help ease both stuffiness and headaches. 

Light a candle and relax. Take deep breaths. The warm, humid air can help open up your sinuses, while the essential oils help get rid of your headache.

Are There Risks With Using Essential Oils for Headaches?

The human body is incredibly complex, so there is never a one-size-fits-all option that will work for everyone. In addition, there are always risks involved with anything that impacts the body. Being aware of those risks is key to making the right choice for your body and minimizing potential side effects. 

First, and most importantly, any new headaches should always be evaluated by a medical professional. Sometimes a headache is more than just a headache, and it needs to be looked into more thoroughly. Consulting your doctor can also help ensure that you won’t encounter interactions between any prescription medications you may be taking and the essential oils you’ve chosen. 

Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. While that doesn’t mean that they are unsafe, you must source them only from reputable companies. Not all essential oils are created equal, and buying them from a trustworthy company helps to increase the likelihood that you’re getting a quality, safe product. 

One final tip to minimizing the potential risks of using essential oils for headaches is always performing a patch test. If you’re using them topically, place a small amount of appropriately diluted essential oils on your skin and wait 48 hours. If your skin isn’t showing any irritation or other adverse reaction, they are far less likely to cause issues.

Essential Oils Can Help

Essential oils for headaches offer people a way to manage their headaches in the way that they want. Although a medical professional should always evaluate headaches (especially frequent headaches or migraines), how you handle them is up to you. Many people find that a combination of both essential oils and Western medicine is the most beneficial, but you should do what you feel is right.

Home of Chiji is home to a wide variety of products that you can use to live your best life. Whether you’re focusing on self-care, trying to rid your life of negative energy, or seeking ways to manage your stress level, we’d love to be part of your process. We so often become disconnected from our power when, ultimately, we control our own destiny. The sky’s the limit!


Essential Oils | National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (

Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial | PubMed (

[Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache] | PubMed (