Peppermint Oil for Headache?

One of the oldest remedies for headache is peppermint oil.  In fact, peppermint has been used for medicinally for many things, and studies continue to ascertain how it can be best used.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil has been taken for irritable bowel syndrome, a common complaint of migraineurs.  But what about applying the essential oil to the temples – externally?

A small study was one in Germany to see what oils may be best for headache patients.  Four different oil combinations were used, and two had results that may be helpful for our purposes:

  • Peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil:  Though this combination didn’t seem to be the best for headache pain, it did had a muscle-relaxing and mental-relaxing effect.
  • Peppermint oil:  Peppermint oil alone did seem to fight the pain of headache.

Both preparations were given in a mix with ethanol.

You’ll be looking for a 100% essential oil if you want to give this a try, such as Aura Cacia Peppermint Pure Essential Oil from Vitacost.  Aura Cacia also has Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil.

Eucalyptus and peppermint are also common ingredients in skin rubs for sore muscles or congestion.  I imagine some of these would work well on the temples as well.

Read the study abstract here:  Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters.
via: Headache News Blog

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23 comments… add one

  • Robyn Dobos Sep 11, 2012

    I was FORCED to peppermint oil when Head-On was taken off the shelves. It was the only thing that ever helped my migraines in an immediate way. It is not the same and I really am praying for something like Head-on to make it back to the shelves. If anyone is aware of anything like it, please let me know! I am pregnant and suffering so much because I was taken off my preventative meds in order to keep the baby safe

    • Cindy Evans Dec 5, 2012

      Ask to see if your pharmacy will special order the Head-On, that is how I’m getting it.

  • Marie-Neige Guérin Sep 11, 2012

    never helped me

  • Dorota Viktoria Sep 11, 2012

    the coolness helps, but i mostly soon feel nauseated from the smell. so, never again.

  • I tried it once and when I put it on my forehead. The smell and coolness burned my eyes ! So I will use it again. I have bad eye problems too lens inplant.

  • Rob Diaz Sep 11, 2012

    HeadOn was a big help to me, too! But I’ve found peppermint oil, lavender oil and eucalyptus oil to be helpful, too. I pour two drops of each in my palm, rub my hands together then cup over my mouth and nose to breath it in. Then I rub it on my neck and forehead. Works quite well. I found that it works well even without the cupping it over my mouth and nose, which is a bit intense to be honest (it burns a bit). Just don’t get it in your eyes, whatever you do.

  • Ann Van Ende Sep 11, 2012

    everything that is cooling is good for me but during a heavy migraine I can’t stand the smell of anything. Can anyone tell me what head on is? Here in begium we have the migrana roller, its a roller with essentiel oils that can be used in the neck and it contains peppermint.

    • Jill Sep 24, 2012

      Head-On was a topical product used for migraine relief. It was designed to be rubbed onto the forehead and had a cooling effect. Sounds similar to the Migrana roller you describe. Head-On worked well enough on milder migraines, but the smell and the fumes could be a bit overpowering, especially to the eyes. I prefer using a cold pack along with my pain meds instead.

  • Clair Tuke Woods Sep 11, 2012

    Can any1 reccommend a good preventer medication for migraine? I only medicate when I get a migraine at the min but dr wants me to try a preventer. Thanx :)

    • Jill Sep 24, 2012

      I have used four different migraine preventatives – blood pressure meds Inderal (beta-blocker) and Calan (calcium-channel blocker) which worked fairly well for me, except for some depressive side effects with Inderal; and anti-convulsants Topamax and Zonegran, both of these have done an extremely fine job of prevention. I went from 3-4 per week to *maybe* once a month. I had to switch from Topamax to Zonegran due to unpleasant side effects, but the Zonegran seems to be working just as well with no side effects. :) Hope this helps!!

    • Jolene Sep 24, 2012

      I’m on treximet and love it. It works for me!

  • Ann Van Ende Sep 11, 2012

    I have tried “inderal” as a preventive drug against migraine but I was lightheaded all the time. So that was not really a solution for me. The best preventive thing for me is not eating tomatoes and oranges. A neurologist told me recently that the best thing to do it take a drug for the stomach ‘motilium’. Don’t know if its available in the states, but you can buy it in pharmacies in europe.

  • Jasa Clos Sep 11, 2012

    I use Magnesium and vit b2 supplements, they help tremendously

  • Holly N Coffman Sep 11, 2012

    Anything minty especially peppermint gives me an instant headache

  • Julie Maggs Sep 12, 2012

    tiger balm sometimes helps if i feel one coming on, but like others i can’t stand anything that has a smell when in the migraine zone.

  • Michelle Lee Prior Sep 13, 2012

    I have used bengay for year during bad migraines, also a product sold at chinese

  • Michelle Lee Prior Sep 13, 2012

    markets called “white monkey holding peach balm”. both have helped

  • Michelle Lee Prior Sep 13, 2012

    as far as preventatives; verapamil, topamax, and amiitriptyline are just a few

  • Nanette Filippo Sep 15, 2012

    @Jasa Clos what kind of Magnesium pills do you use??

  • Christina Winburn Sep 17, 2012

    I use pepermint oil for my migranes. It helps to ease the pain.

  • HMH Wellness Center Sep 17, 2012

    just add a cold stone and see how wonderful they work together!

  • Candice Blanco Sep 24, 2012

    I use biofreeze. It is like bengay. You have to be very careful not to get it in or near your eyes. It works great when my migraines hurt all the way down my neck and back.

  • Melissa S Jan 21, 2013

    I use peppermint oil on my forehead and temples. It only works for me when my dog alerts before the pain starts. If my dog alerts when the pain is starting, then I try the oil, use an ice pack and go lay down for an hour or two. If that doesn’t work, then I pop a Relax! I also use the oil for nausea. 2 drops on the tongue and I drink a half bottle of water. Works like a charm!

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