Recently there has been extensive discussion on the use of peppermint oil for headaches. While there’s no authoritative study on this subject, many researchers suspect that oil helps control blood flow in the body and opens up the sinuses to ensure improved oxygen flow, which reduces migraines. Many people also report using peppermint oil for lasting relief from different types of headaches, including migraines.
Peppermint oil is available as:
- Gel capsules
- Incense sticks
- Chewables and candies
- Liquid oil
Keep reading to understand how to find lasting relief from migraine using peppermint oil. Some types of headaches, such as tension and sinus headaches, may respond in a much better way to peppermint oil than others, but the method of use are almost the same.
How to use?
There are five ways to use peppermint oil for relieving headaches:
Inhale peppermint oil with some steam
Take hot water in a bowl and add 5-7 drops of essential oil. Now close your eyes, cover your head with a towel, and breathe through your nose. Do this for around two minutes. Steam inhalation helps with sinus headaches, especially if you have some symptoms of congestion.
Put a few drops in your bath
Taking bath sometimes reduces headache intensity. You can add few drops of peppermint oil to your bath to boost the relaxation benefits. Turn off bathroom lights, and use a small candle if you feel your headache gets worse with bright light. Bathing can not only help headache from coming, but prevent repeated migraine attacks.
Add it to your massage oil
It’s important to dilute essential oils in carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin. The best recommended ratio is 4-6 drops of essential oil to 2 ounce of sweet almond oil, mineral oil, or warmed coconut oil. If you’ve nut allergies you should out all nut-based oils.
Before apply an essential oil, it’s best to do a short allergy test. Mix 3-4 drops of essential oil in one ounce of your chosen carrier oil. Apply this mixture to skin of your forearm. Check for any reaction within 22-48 hours. If there is no reaction, this essential oil is safe for use.
Dab few drops of your oil mixture onto your fingers and gently massage it at the back of your neck, onto your temples, your chest area, and your shoulders. Mostly, tension headaches are caused due to muscle contractions in this area of the body.
Research shows that just 20-30 minute massage can help relieve headache symptoms within 20-24 hours. You can easily make your homemade massage oil by adding few drops (8-12) to an ounce of carrier oil.
Drink peppermint tea
You should never take peppermint oil orally, but you can always make peppermint tea using peppermint leaves. Drinking this tea makes you think more clearly and you will feel more alert. You can also try eating menthol or peppermint candy, which has long been used for treating digestive ailments.
Diffuse it slowly into the air
Use a good diffuser to help diffuse the peppermint oil into the air. This oil can also be inhaled directly from the bottle. If you feel scent is too strong, add few drops to a cotton cloth, tissue or cotton ball and breathe it in. Avoid peppermint incense sticks, as they smell of smoke and may even worsen your symptoms.
Generally, this oil is safe, but avoid large doses as it can be toxic. When taken orally, it can cause heartburn. However, there are no reports of harmful effects of peppermint leaf tea, but long-term safety aspects of drinking peppermint tea are still unknown.
When to avoid peppermint oil?
You should avoid it if you have gallstones, gallbladder disease, kidney issues, or chronic heartburn. It’s not good for infants if it’s undiluted. You should also not use it if you are allergic or have sensitive skin. It can sometimes slow absorption rate when taking some medication.
Peppermint oil is completely safe during pregnancy. If you’re breastfeeding, always remove peppermint oil from your skin before nursing. Infants and children should never inhale peppermint oil.
How peppermint oil work?
Menthol is the active ingredient of peppermint oil. About 47 percent of peppermint is menthol, which can lessen the intensity of acute migraine headaches. In a study in 2001, it was found that a topical gel with 8 percent of menthol successfully decreased pain intensity after 1 hour.
Peppermint oil has also shown its efficacy for the additional symptoms that sinus, migraine, cluster headaches and tension may cause, such as:
• Muscle pain
• Runny nose
Where to buy?
Peppermint is easily available online or at health stores. However, try to buy your peppermint oil from a reputable source, as herbal remedies usually have a higher chance of being contaminated. Go for food-grade peppermint oil if you’ve plans to consume it.
Peppermint oil can sometimes interact with compounds of some prescription drugs. Talk to a pharmacist or a doctor before taking peppermint oil if you’re on some medication.