Headaches are often a sign of a deeper problem (like magnesium deficiency). Sometimes though headaches have a practical cause, like five-kids-playing-marching-band-in-the-house-syndrome. Whatever the case, a natural headache relief stick can help.
I almost never get headaches anymore since changing my diet and boosting my magnesium levels. Every once in a while there’s unavoidable stress or noise though and I can feel a headache coming on. I keep this headache relief stick on hand for times like these.
This blend is made with a combination of cooling essential oils that help relieve stress, tension, and nerve pain. It’s also great for motion sickness or nausea (sailboat induced in my case- not morning sickness!)
Why Magnesium Oil?
It’s important to dilute essential oils so they don’t cause irritation. Instead of a carrier oil here, we’re using magnesium oil as our carrier.
There’s a large body of evidence on magnesium’s role in the body, including for headaches. Magnesium can help stop a headache before it starts, or bring soothing relief when one is coming on. I make my own magnesium oil with this recipe since it is less expensive, but you can also get pre-made magnesium oil.
Technically magnesium oil isn’t an oil at all, but a highly saturated mineral solution. The minerals help to suspend the essential oils and dilute much like salt does. If you prefer a carrier oil or that’s what you have on hand and need relief fast, then that’s also an option. Fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed, or olive oil will all work.
What Causes Headaches (For Real)?
Headaches are caused by a whole variety of issues, but there’s always a root cause. Our best bet is to nourish our bodies, practice healthy movement, and address any underlying health problems.
According to Mayo Clinic, headaches are caused by chemical activity in the brain, nerves, blood vessels or muscles in the head and neck that are acting up. Common causes of headaches include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Allergies and congestion
- Neuralgia (nerve pain)
- Unhealthy alcohol, especially red wine (check out Dry Farm Wines for their healthy wine options)
- Foods that contain nitrates or msg
- Not enough sleep
- Not enough food/water
- Dental problems
How This Headache Relief Blend Works
I’ve chosen this blend of essential oils and magnesium because it tackles a broad spectrum of headaches. So whether you’re having nausea, are stressed, or the kids are being rowdy this blend will likely help the resulting headache.
We’re talking about Lavandula angustifolia here, not spike lavender. This essential oil helps relieve several causes of headaches, including:
- Stress and anxious feelings
- Tight muscles
Frankincense is the next oil in our blend. There are several different varieties but boswellia carterii is one of the most popular chemotypes and is good for relieving stress. Boswellia serrata was shown to reduce the intensity and frequency of cluster headaches in a 2012 study. Both types of frankincense help relieve tension, stress, and inflammation induced headaches.
Chamomile essential oil is also popular for managing stress and tension. We can use either Roman or German chamomile in this blend, but both work a little differently. Most prefer the smell of Roman chamomile and it’s also better for reducing stress. German chamomile is better at calming inflammation.
Both types of chamomile help with:
- Neuralgia (nerve pain)
Mint (and Safety)
Peppermint has cooling menthol which helps relieve tense, achy muscles and headaches. It’s also invigorating and gives a little perk-me-up (that’s not coffee) when feet are dragging. However, peppermint has a few more safety considerations than the other oils in this blend.
Peppermint essential oil shouldn’t be applied near the faces of very young children since it can cause breathing problems. Moms who are breastfeeding or baby wearing wouldn’t want to apply this while holding baby close. Thankfully, there’s a workaround here.
Spearmint has way less menthol and is also good for stress and headaches. While both peppermint and spearmint work similarly, spearmint is less intense and doesn’t have the same safety precautions around children. While I don’t recommend putting this on a baby, using spearmint means it’s safe for your baby to be next to you and smell the blend.
Spearmint is also safe for children over age two to use topically. Generally, any essential oils used on children should be diluted more than for adults. The recipe below is meant for adults but with some modifications could be used on older children.
Is This Safe During Pregnancy?
According to certified aromatherapists, this blend is safe to use during pregnancy. Because it’s diluted an appropriate amount and is used in a small area it’s safe for expecting mamas.
Where to Get Supplies
Most of these ingredients are in my first aid kit, but a premixed roller bottle makes them easier to apply and keep in my purse.
You could make this as a spray or lotion, but I prefer something that doesn’t get on my hands. Let me tell you, accidentally getting essential oils in your eye is no fun!
- I use a blue roller bottle but I also have a bunch of cheaper, clear roll on bottles. These amber roller bottles are also nice.
- Plant Therapy is one of my favorite places to get high quality and affordable essential oils.
- You can find magnesium oil here, or make your own with these magnesium flakes.
Natural Headache Relief Stick
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops chamomile essential oil
- 1 ounce magnesium oil (may need less)
- Remove the roller bottle stop (this includes the entire plastic part with the ball in it). I slide a butter knife between the plastic rim and the glass to pop it off.
- Pour the essential oils into the roller bottle.
- Add just enough magnesium oil to reach the top.
- Put the roller stop back in and tightly cap.
If you have chronic headaches or even migraines, I highly recommend trying herbal remedies like feverfew.
Shelf Life and Storage
Because magnesium is a mineral, magnesium oil can last for years. Essential oils have a varying shelf life, but according to the aromatherapists at Plant Therapy the oils in this blend will last about 2-3 years. The blend should be stored away from direct light, heat, or freezing temperatures for optimal shelf life.
Here’s more on how to store and organize your natural remedies.
What have you found helpful to relieve headaches? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Discussion (68 Comments)
Awesome idea! I have a headache blend I have used, but didn’t use magnesium oil. That will be how I make it in the future. I add Birch oil to mine too. I’ve read though that you have to be careful with birch if you are allergic to aspirin and if you have epilepsy.
Where do you get Birch oil? I have used this for my arthritis in the past, but haven’t been able to find good quality in years!!
Do you apply the magnesium oil to your forehead (for a headache). Or are there are points, perhaps the back of the neck, where it would be effective to apply? My son has headaches and he is away at college, so I’m looking for a good solution for him.
Great idea, I really want to try it.
How do you get the roller ball out of the top of the bottle? I’ve tried, and can’t figure out a way to do it. Thanks.
That used to confound me, too! Then one day I finally figured it out – you don’t pull out just the ball; what you want to do is pull off the entire plug/ball assembly. Just get a good grip on it with pliers, right where it goes around the neck of the bottle, and pull straight out. After you fill your bottle, push it firmly back down on. Hope it works out well for you!
You can also use your thumb, finger nail or something with a flat end to pry the roller assembly up from the lip of the bottle (look for the spot where they meet at the place the thread for the screw top ends on the glass). If you just pry it up a little in several places it will lift to the point that you can grab it with your fingers and pull it off or just keep prying a little at at time all around until it comes off. I have also found recently that they make a tool for this now, I think I saw it on Amazon, though I haven’t tried it myself yet since it seemed pricey to me. I’m sure that price will come down though and I might try it then.
To help get the roller top off: Set the cap on top of the roller ball and push with your thumb the cap til you hear a “pop” and that will bring it up about 1/8-1/4″ and then you can either grab it with your fingers or get a butter knife to lift it off the rest of the way with out damaging the roller ball. Now to put it back on all you do is set your roller ball cap in the bottle, take the bottle cap and set it on top, then screw the cap on as if you were going to close the bottle til you hear a “pop”. Easy-peasy!
Can you use the clear bottles or does it has to be the blue container? I have recently joined and I love everything I’ve read!
Katie - Wellness Mama
You can use either one 🙂
I’ve used salon pas patches all my life for headaches (or any aches). They always work for me. I know they have camphor and menthol in them. I wonder if it would be alright to add camphor to this recipe, or are there any reasons I shouldn’t do that? Thanks for the advice in advance, I try not to mess with essential oils. 🙂
The thing that us in the health community generally fail to mention is the fact that fluorescent lights from our office buildings along with WiFi and other forms of electronic and magnetic pollution are huge contributors to these underlying issues.
While I do keep peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils on my desk for this same reason, we need to fix the problem and not keep using band aids!
I’ve covered EMF extensively on my podcast.
Keep up the good work Katie!
Does this work well for tension headaches? I get tension headaches that are so bad that they turn into migraines. I am looking for something that will help prevent and help relieve tension headaches. Thank you so much for your time and have a blessed day!
Katie - Wellness Mama
That’s what most of mine are from too 🙂
Hi Katie, I had been a fan of yours for a while now but I am not able to log-in. Anytime I try, it will tell me I am not registered but anytime I try to sign up, it tells me I am already registered. Am I doing something wrong. I am so happy to have found you. What a great favor you are doing some of us. Good job. Thanks in advance.
Please email me at [email protected] and include the email address you used to register. That will help me find your account =)
I really like the idea of using a roll-on bottle for applying the essential oils/mag oil directly on the spot. I started putting plantain infused oil in roll-on bottles for easy application to burns, scratches, etc., plus it’s easy to carry in a purse. Thanks for all you do!
Great recipe! I will definitely be trying this out! 🙂
I usually just use peppermint essential oil on my temples and back of neck, but this combination sounds great!
Do you know if NOW foods brand essential oils are any good?