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
- 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!
- Lampl, C., Haider, B., & Schweiger, C. (2012). Long-term efficacy of Boswellia serrata in four patients with chronic cluster headache. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, 32(9), 719–722.
- Lawless, J. (2014). The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (2nd ed). Harper Thorsons.
- Mayo Clinic. (2020, June 3). Headache.
- Smith, K. (2021, March 20). Personal Interview.
- Yablon, L. A., & Mauskop, A. (2011). Magnesium in headache. In R. Vink (Eds.) et. al., Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. University of Adelaide Press.