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Ask an Aromatherapist: Can Essential Oils Help with Headaches? Even Really Bad Ones?

There are many different types of headache and although they are not all the same they have one thing in common -- they cause pain. The three most common types are tension, cluster, and migraine. Headaches can have a variety of causes. Muscular tension, stress, or anxiety can manifest itself as a headache. Headaches can be the result of dehydration, toxicity in the body, cold or flu, poor posture, dental or sinus issues, hunger, food allergies or intolerance, or medications among other things. Getting to the root of the issue can help resolve headache causes. Staying hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of pure, fresh water daily (half your body weight in ounces is a guideline) is a great place to start. Exercise, good nutrition, and adequate rest can go a long way towards keeping the body in balance. And when headache symptoms strike essential oils can be a natural way to combat them.

Essential oils work best when used immediately at the first sign of a headache. Essential oils contain a combination of aromatic compounds that can act as analgesics, vasoconstrictors, anti-inflammatories, decongestants, and promote circulation and reduce swelling.

Top oils to try for headache include:

1. Peppermint (Menta x piperita) (analgesic, promotes circulation, and opens airways)

2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) (analgesic, promotes circulation, and opens airways)

3. Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) ( analgesic, antispasmodic, calming to nervous system)

4. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata or globulus) (analgesic, decongestant, detoxifier, promotes circulation)

5. Lavender (Lavendula angustafolia) (analgesic, calming, soothing to nervous system)

6. Lemon (Citrus limon) (detoxifier, body/mind tonic, circulatory stimulant)

7. Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) (detoxifier, calming, often used for hangover type headache from overindulgence in food or alcohol)

8. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) (nerve tonic, decongestant, promotes circulation)

How to use:

Inhale 1-3 drops of a single or blend or use 10-15 drops in an aromastick/ inhaler.

Diffuse oils or blend

Add 12-18 drops of oil or blend to an ounce of carrier oil and apply to back of neck, sinus points, or forehead. (Caution: keep oils away from eyes and do not use oxidized oil as they may cause skin sensitivity. Peppermint recommended maximum dermal use level is 5.4%. Eucalyptus not recommended for kids under 10, maximal recommended dermal level 20%)

If you are looking for natural relief from headaches or severe headaches and don't already have a collection of essential oils or inhalers consider trying one of my affordable aroma inhalers ($5 - $7.50 with free shipping and they last for a month or more). There are several choices for headache relief or contact Tricia to discuss creating a custom inhaler using the oils above.

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