Headache, nausea, and fatigue — many of us have experienced symptoms of a hangover after a night out. While hangovers are unpleasant, they eventually go away on their own. But are there ways to ease symptoms more quickly?
You’ve probably heard of a variety of different home remedies to help relieve hangover symptoms. One of them may have been to use essential oils.
But are essential oils actually useful for a hangover? And if so, which ones? Keep reading as we tackle these questions and more below.
Very little research has been performed on essential oils and their effectiveness in easing hangovers. Much of the current evidence for their use is anecdotal, meaning that it’s based on personal experience.
However, some types of essential oils may be helpful for some of the common hangover symptoms. Below, we’ll explore the research into three essential oils that may work to ease a variety of hangover symptoms.
The ginger plant is used in cooking, teas, dietary supplements, and essential oils. Products containing ginger are actually made from the underground stem of the plant, which is called a rhizome.
Many studies have been performed on the potential health benefits of ginger. Ginger essential oil can be inhaled using a diffuser or applied topically as a massage oil. It may help with several types of hangover symptoms.
Two small studies have been done on ginger aromatherapy and postoperative nausea and vomiting:
2017 studyin patients who had undergone abdominal surgery found that their nausea and vomiting scores were significantly lower following aromatherapy with ginger oil.
2016 studysaw a small positive effect of ginger oil aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting. However, this effect wasn’t statistically significant.
Aches and pains
Studies on ginger essential oil have focused on topical applications to help ease pain in older individuals:
2014 studyfound that Swedish massage with ginger oil helped reduce chronic lower back pain in both short-term and long-term assessments.
2019 studyin people with knee arthritis found that massage with a blend of ginger and rosemary oils lowered pain scores and improved function.
If you’re applying essential oils topically to soothe aches and pains, be sure to first dilute them using a carrier oil.
A 2013 study assessed the use of massage with ginger essential oil in women with menstrual cramps. In addition to reducing the severity of the cramps, massage with ginger essential oil also appeared to reduce dizziness.
Peppermint is a type of herb that’s actually a cross between two different types of mint plants. It’s available in many forms, including flavorings, teas, and essential oils.
Peppermint essential oil may be used topically or through a diffuser. It may work to ease the following hangover symptoms:
2016 studylooked at peppermint oil aromatherapy for postoperative nausea. It found that participants rated their levels of nausea as lower after inhaling peppermint oil.
- However, a
2018 studyinvestigating the effect of peppermint oil aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy found no difference between peppermint oil and the placebo.
Studies on using peppermint for headache and migraine often focus on one of its active ingredients: menthol. In fact, studies from
Lavender is a fragrant herb that’s grown in many parts of the world. It’s used in a variety of dietary supplements, in making tea, and as an essential oil. Lavender essential oil can be used in a diffuser or applied to the body after diluting it in a carrier oil.
Lavender essential oil may help with the following hangover symptoms:
Aches and pains
Lavender oil is commonly associated with relaxation, and there’s evidence to suggest that it can relieve headaches and symptoms of migraine.
Lavender is often mentioned as a way to lower anxiety.
- Essential oils can be toxic if consumed. Never eat or drink essential oils. Store all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
- When diffusing an essential oil, make sure that the room you’re in has good ventilation. Consider pets, children, and pregnant women who might be inhaling aromatherapy. Some essential oils are dangerous for pets and children. Many essential oils aren’t recommended for pregnant women.
- If applying an essential oil to the skin, be sure to dilute it appropriately in a carrier oil before doing so. You should also perform a patch test by putting a small amount on your skin before applying it to larger areas.
- Know that some essential oils shouldn’t be used on or around young children. One example is peppermint essential oil.
- If you experience a reaction to an essential oil, stop using it.
- If you’re taking prescription medications or are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using essential oils.
While hangover symptoms can vary by individual, some of the common ones are:
- nausea or stomach upset
- weakness or shakiness
- feeling dizzy or like the room is spinning (vertigo)
- body aches and pains
- being very thirsty or having a dry mouth
- feeling irritable or anxious
- sensitivity to light or sounds
There are other things that you can do at home to help ease your hangover symptoms. These include:
- Hydrate. Since alcohol can dehydrate you, focus on replacing lost fluids. In addition to drinking water, having sports drinks or Pedialyte can also help rehydrate you and replace lost electrolytes.
- Eat something. Try eating foods like crackers or toast to help boost blood sugar and calm your stomach. Additionally, soups and broths can help replace electrotypes.
- Use a pain reliever. Taking some ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) can help with pain, but remember that it can also irritate your stomach. Avoid taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), as it could further stress your liver.
- Rest up. The only tried and true cure for a hangover is time. Sometimes, going back to bed and getting more rest can help you get through the worst of your symptoms.
A hangover can occur after you’ve had too much alcohol. Some of the common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, and headache. Hangover symptoms typically go away on their own after several hours.
Research on essentials oils and their effectiveness in treating hangovers is currently very limited. There are some essential oils, such as ginger, peppermint, and lavender, that may work to alleviate specific hangover symptoms.
If you do use essential oils for a hangover, always follow appropriate safety precautions. Other things that you can do to feel better include rehydrating, having a snack, and getting some rest.