How to Use Lavender Oil for Migraine Relief

Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD on March 16, 2016Written by Natalie Silver on March 16, 2016
lavendar oil for migraines

If you get migraines, you may be looking for new ways to treat them. Recent research suggests that lavender may alleviate migraines. There are several ways to use lavender, so you can choose the route that best suits your needs. Keep reading for more on how to use this home remedy.

Migraine Basics

Migraines are more than just a simple headache. They’re moderate to severe headaches that include multiple stages. Often, migraines are recurring. More than 12 percent of the population gets migraine headaches.

Migraines occur in people of all ages. Triggers can include:

  • light
  • smells
  • loud sounds
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • food
  • weather changes
  • medications
  • caffeine
  • hormonal changes in women

According the Cleveland Clinic, genetics may be at the root of your migraines. Inherited abnormalities in the brain may cause migraine headaches.

What Are the Stages of Migraines?

There are four stages of migraines:

  • During the prodromal stage, there are subtle changes in your body that indicate a migraine may be on its way. These vary by person and may include a twitch, ringing in the ears, or a strange taste in the mouth.
  • An aura can occur before or during a migraine. The most common symptom is loss of vision or other visual disturbances. Some people may not experience symptoms.
  • The attack phase is when you experience the migraine. It can manifest as throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. This may last anywhere from four to 72 hours.
  • The postdromal phase is the end of a migraine. You may feel depleted or a sense of euphoria in some cases.

If you experience migraines, you should speak with your doctor. Together, you can determine the best course of action to alleviate your symptoms.

How to Treat Migraines

There isn’t one single treatment for migraines. You can do the following to reduce the frequency of migraines:

  • Reduce your stress level.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Try relaxation exercises.
  • Keep records of your migraines.

Over-the-counter pain relievers may help alleviate your symptoms. Those who experience frequent migraines may also look to medications that prevent migraines. These should be considered only if you experience migraines multiple times per month.

In addition to traditional medical treatments, there’s also recent evidence that indicates the use of lavender can help migraines.

Lavender is a plant that grows in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world, including the United States. It’s thought to calm, soothe, and work as a sedative. Lavender is available in a variety of forms, including essential oils and topical products, such as lotions. You can even drink lavender tea or purchase fresh or dried lavender plants.

How Lavender Can Help

There’s new evidence that the use of lavender oil can treat migraines. A study in European Neurology looked at the inhalation of lavender essential oils to treat migraines. The study concluded that inhaling lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe way to relieve migraine pain.

The use of lavender therapy on migraines was also reported in a study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine. After a three-month period, participants in the group using lavender reported a reduction in the frequency and severity of their migraines.

How to Use Lavender for Migraine Relief

Before giving lavender to an infant or young child, you should speak with your doctor. They can provide further guidance on whether this is the best treatment.

Adults can inhale lavender essential oil for quick relief. To do this, add 2 to 4 drops of oil to 2 to 3 cups of boiling water. Then, inhale the vapors. You can also massage a few drops into the skin.

Make sure you consult with your doctor before trying any alternative remedies to relieve your migraines.

Read more: Migraine herbal home remedies from around the world »

The Takeaway

Talk to your doctor if you experience migraines and want to try lavender to alleviate your symptoms. Be careful about the administration of essential oils because they can cause side effects and interact with other medications. Together, you can decide whether this is the best course of action for you. You shouldn’t take lavender if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. 

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