If you are looking to move away from prescription drugs and towards natural remedies when it comes to headaches and migraines, then you’ve landed on the right page.

Our list of the 5 best essential oils for migraines and headaches will definitely set you off on the right foot.

Let’s take a look at which oils might suit your needs and why/how they work.


Eucalyptus leaves, flowers and fruit, Eucalypt oil

Commonly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve respiratory problems, it’s easy to see why eucalyptus is at the top of our list. This oil is made using the leaves of eucalyptus trees. The most notable ingredient, known as eucalyptol, makes up around 90% of the oil.

One study showed that the main component included, known as 1,8 cineole, has antimicrobial effects against harmful bacteria such as candida, MRSA, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.1

While the evidence as to how helpful eucalyptus is for headaches and migraines is limited, it does look promising. One trial showed that peppermint and eucalyptus oil demonstrated mentally relaxing and muscle relaxing effects. An increase in cognitive performance was also recorded in 32 healthy subjects.2

Not only is eucalyptus ideal for relieving pain, it has been known to help with pimples. Some even use it as an animal deterrent by applying it to trash bags that may be appealing to hungry visitors.


Rosemary essential oil

Throughout history, rosemary oil has been used to help improve memory3, to aid digestion and to eliminate bacteria. Therefore, aiding the aches and pains of a headache or a migraine is just a small fraction of the effect rosemary has on the body.

This natural shrub, when used in oil form, is often used as an alternative treatment for hair growth. One clinical trial showed an increase in hair growth for patients after using rosemary oil over a period of 6 months.4

So, does rosemary oil help to reduce the brain that comes with a raging headache? In 2007, 30 stroke patients participated in a study in which aromatherapy acupressure was performed using rosemary, peppermint and lavender. The results confirmed a reduction in shoulder pain for each patient.5

This pungent herb is often used to flavor our fave dishes. Aside from this, rosemary oil is often used as an anti-ageing serum, and is said to work wonders on fine lines and age spots.


One popular use for lavender oil is to add a few drops to a steaming hot bath. These scented fumes create a deliciously relaxing atmosphere that help to relieve the stresses of everyday life.6 Adding a few drops of this incredibly versatile oil to your pillow will give you the best night’s sleep you have ever had.

Recent studies have also shown the effects lavender has on the nervous system when used on animals and the human body. Using this potent flower can act as a mood stabilizer and a weak sedative.7

When it comes to migraines, lavender oil has been proven to help! Patients who took part in one 2012 study saw a dramatic reduction in headache attacks after inhaling the oil for 15 minutes.8

This vibrant flower derives from the same family as mint and was used during the mummification process in ancient Egyptian times. It was also used to perfume bed sheets and clothes back in the Victorian times. Who knew lavender could be so interesting!

Many dub lavender the ‘queen’ of oils, and it’s easy to see why. Not only will you fall in love with its floral scent, lavender can be used to encourage the growth of hair. It also possesses natural anti-bacterial elements.

Clary Sage

A bottle of essential oil with fresh clary sage twigs

Sage oil is heavily thought to induce labor, and is often added to a hot bath in the hopes of bringing the baby along.9 Using it to reduce a painful headache or migraine can be just as effective though! The oil is extracted from the stems and leaves of the Salvia sclarea, which is native to the northern Mediterranean Basin.

In 2012, a group of Korean school girls participated in a study to see whether clary sage oil could be used to reduce menstrual cramps.10 The results confirmed that massaging this essential serum into the stomach reduced the level of menstrual pain. This may be because of the antispasmodic properties apparent in this natural product which may help to further reduce pain linked to muscles and headaches.

Clary sage can be used to relieve menstrual cramps and discomfort. It is also known to balance hormones which is helpful for teenagers and those who are approaching the menopause. Throughout the middle ages, it was often used to improve vision for strained and tired eyes. We wouldn’t recommend using on your eyeballs in this day and age however!

Ylang ylang

Historically, ylang ylang was used to stimulate hair growth and heal skin conditions. Not only does it smell heavenly, but this oil also has many other health benefits. Surprisingly, it is known to improve blood circulation, which in turn helps to reduce blood pressure and heart rate.11

This natural remedy is also proven to relieve symptoms of depression and stress in humans.12 These findings evidently show that ylang ylang can be used in an aromatherapy setting to promote a calming and relaxing effect on the body.

The name of this exotic flower literally means ‘flower of flowers’ and must be picked by hand at night in order to preserve its potent properties.

Ylang ylang essential oil is derived from the flowers of the Cananga odorata tree, which is native to the tropical regions of Asia. One interesting fact about ylang ylang essential oil is its reputation as an aphrodisiac. The oil’s scent is said to have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body, which can help increase sexual desire and promote intimacy. In fact, in some cultures, ylang ylang flowers are scattered on the beds of newlywed couples as a symbol of their love and commitment.


Essential oils can be helpful when it comes to pain relief and after reading this article you will find that many of these plants and oils have similar potential healing properties. It’s never too late to try new things, and these oils can help you get relieve your headache or migraine slowly but surely.