Migraines are debilitating headaches that can be so many times worse than the normal headaches. Find out the top 10 essential oils for migraines, how essential oils help migraines and research concerning essential oils and migraines.
What is a Migraine?
The term ‘migraine’ is derived from the Greek word hemicrania which means pain on ‘one side of the head’. A migraine is scientifically known as a primary headache disorder that is marked by pulsating recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe and can last anywhere from 2 to 72 hours. Migraines usually come with a host of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound and light, among others. A migraine is different from a normal headache in a way that it usually follows 4 phases, though not all phases are experienced by migraine sufferers. The four stages include:
» Prodrome phase – The prodorme phase occurs about two hours or two days before the start of pain or the aura phase. The symptoms include depression, irritability, euphoria, fatigue, stiff neck muscles, constipation or diarrhea, changing moods, sensitivity to smells or sound, etc.
» Aura phase – Migraines usually occur following an aura. An aura is a short period of visual disturbances including black spots or blurry areas which affect the vision, signaling that the headache will soon occur. Other signs that happen before a migraine takes over in full blast include pin pricking sensations on the hands and fingers.
» Pain Phase – This is the phase where the migraine headache starts with its intense and throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. The headache can last for 2 hours to 72 hours and is accompanied by other symptoms including vomiting, blurred vision and sensitivity to sound, light and smells.
» Postdrome phase – Postdrome is the final phase of migraines where the actual and acute pain of the headache has subsided. In this phase, some migraine sufferers feel tired, have impaired thinking and reduced cognitive abilities while others feel refreshed and euphoric.
How Do Essential Oils Help Migraines?
Essential oils are potent plant extracts in liquid form. They are highly concentrated substances that are extracted through two special processes: steam distillation and cold pressing (this is for citrus oils). Essential oils are powerful antioxidants and their chemical constituents include terpenes, ketones, alcohols, acetates and other molecules that give them great medicinal value. The different scents of essential oils have therapeutic effects hence the term ‘aroma therapy.’ Some of the ways in which essential oils help migraines include:
- Provide long lasting cooling effects on skin which helps numb down the pain
- Have analgesic properties which fight both mild and severe pain
- Have relaxing and refreshing scents that curb nausea related to migraines
- Promote deep and peaceful sleep which is good for migraine sufferers
- Reduce inflammation
- Relaxing tensed muscles
- And more
Below, find two direct studies conducted on essential oils for migraines. The research shows that essential oils of lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus are effective natural migraine and headache relievers.
Research on Essential Oils for Migraines
► Study One: A study recorded in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and phytopharmocology showed that the essential oil of peppermint inhibits non-competively 5-hydroxytryptamin (Serotonine) and substance P induced smooth muscle contraction in animal-models. It also generates a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin on local application and induces a significant increase of the blood flow in the forehead. It also has an analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headache. (1)
► Study Two: Research was conducted to show the efficacy of lavender essential oil inhalation for the treatment of migraines in a placebo-controlled clinical trial. The study found that the inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches. (2)
Top 10 Essential Oils for Migraines
1. Peppermint (where to get it)
2. Eucalyptus (where to get it)
3. Rosemary (where to get it)
4. Lavender (where to get it)
5. Lemongrass (where to get it)
6. Bay Leaf (where to get it)
7. Wintergreen (where to get it)
8. Basil (where to get it)
9. Sweet Marjoram (where to get it)
10. Melissa (where to get it)
5 Essential Oil Recipes for Migraines
In this post, I share 5 valuable essential oil recipes for migraines that are very effective! Check them out: 5 Essential Oil Recipes for Migraines
(1) Göbel H1, Schmidt G, Dworschak M, Stolze H, Heuss D. Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms. Phytomedicine. 1995 Oct;2(2):93-102. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(11)80053-X.
(2) Sasannejad P1, Saeedi M, Shoeibi A, Gorji A, Abbasi M, Foroughipour M. Eur Neurol. Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. 2012;67(5):288-91. doi: 10.1159/000335249. Epub 2012 Apr 17.
Using essential oils for migraines is a natural way to combat these torturous headaches and minimize your use of conventional pain killers that have long-term side effects that many with chronic pain are trying to avoid.