Migraines and Essential Oils

Posted by Meg Shehad on

We need a different strategy in treating migraines. These headaches are very different from tension headaches. Light can be a problem causing pulsating pain making the person seek a dark environment while nausea may be experienced. These headaches can last for hours to days. Interestingly scents can trigger or aggravate a headache. Many migraine sufferers avoid essential oils because of their odor. Then oils can be used in prevention as in relaxing, destressing, relieving muscle tension before the headache begins. Did you know that drinking water can help stop a headache especially if the body is dehydrated. 

When treating migraines in those people that tolerate essential oils, we are looking for anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and calming oils. Blue Chamomile (often called German Chamomile)  is often the first oil of choice because it has bisabolene and its alchohol, bisbolol, both powerful anti-inflammatory substances. Blue Chamomile also has chamazulene, the substance that makes blue chamomile blue, is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. The esters found in lavender are antispasmodic. Lavender works for both tension and migraine headaches. We all know that lavender is calming. If there is nausea, one drop of peppermint on the back of the throat usually will help with that. You can also put a drop in a little water and sip it. Do not over do it. Just a drop or it can be overwhelming. If peppermint is not tolerated, look to ginger.

The basic formula for migraines is blue chamomile and lavender. Here you probably need to pay a little more for a lavender high in esters. Usually the higher priced lavenders have higher ester counts and thus sweeter scents. An exception to this is Oregon Lavender which is high in esters but lower in cost, since it is grown and distilled in the USA. The French and Bulgarian lavenders cost more just because freight and customs are added into the cost and of course the French love to charge more just because its French. 

Blue Chamomile often comes from Egypt. The Germans are favorite customers for this oil and the Egyptains called this chamomile, the one Germans like or German Chamomile. Germany does not grow it or produce it that I know of. We call it blue chamomile because this name clearly describes the oil and differentiates it from Roman Chamomile which the Egyptians also produce. Gritman is lucky to have a USA source for this oil. 

If you are looking for other oils to support your formula look to Exotic Basil, Helichrysum, and Spearmint.

Warm baths, massage, diffusion, and wearing oils can help relieve symptoms. Going into a bathroom and sitting on the toilet with the lights off and warm hands over the eyes can help calm and soothe the body helping to diminish the headache. Often we are at work when we feel the headache coming on. Getting to a dark room, smelling the oils, and a ice pack to the back of the neck can stop the headache and remember to drink water. Coffee is dehydrating and can help bring on a headache. Drink water after the coffee. 


1 comment

  • Thanks for bringing this up. So many people suffer from this debilitating problem, especially my 12 year old granddaughter. She’s missing lots of school days because of this. I will definitely try the lavender/German chamomile oil as well as the chamomile tea

    Lilian Kwiatkowski on

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