Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil on Headaches and Migraines
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 38 million Americans suffer from migraines. Headaches are also a common nervous system disorder, it’s safe to estimate that at least half of the adult population has experienced a headache at least once within the year. Headaches can come in many forms such as migraine, tension, cluster or stress headaches, they can also be mild, chronic or debilitating.
Common Causes of Headaches
It is important to get to the root cause of your headache. Eliminating the trigger or cause is essential for your quality of life. One of the most common causes of headaches and migraines is diet related. Dietary changes for reducing headaches and migraines may eliminate or reduce the frequency of headaches. If you frequently suffer from headaches or migraines, you may consider keeping a diary to note when you have headaches and what food you have recently consumed in order to identify the source.
Common headache triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Birth Control pills
- Magnesium deficiency
- Meats with nitrates (such as bacon or hot dogs)
- Medication over use
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
- Peanut butter
Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil
If you are looking for some alternatives for headache relief, you may consider peppermint oil. Peppermint oil has a calming and numbing effect on the body. This soothing and well tolerated home remedy offers numerous health benefits such as:
- Freshening breath
- Reducing bloating and gas
- Relieving menstrual cramps
- Sinus care
- Allergy relief
- Relaxing muscles
Peppermint oil is a natural and effective muscle relaxer and painkiller.
A study from researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, used a combination of oils, including peppermint oil which had “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.” The oils were applied to the forehead and temples for pain relief.
Peppermint oil has proven successful for tension headaches, which is the most frequent type of headache and is regarded as standard treatment for acute therapy.
Peppermint oil can also provide relief from nausea that sometimes accompanies headaches, migraines and post-operative surgery.
Peppermint oil has vaso- constricting vaso-dilating properties. Headaches and migraine pain are often due to poor blood flow. Peppermint oil induces a significant increase of the skin blood flow of the forehead after local application, as measured by laser doppler.
- Sip on peppermint tea.
Relax in a peppermint bath.
- Simply add 5-15 drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath and soak.
Apply diluted essential oil to forehead and temples;
- Base of your skull.
- Bottom of your feet.
- Palm and gently inhale.
Use Chemical Free Essential Oils
Don’t use synthetic oils, use 100% pure essential oils. Some brands use a petroleum base solvent which can be neuro toxic, while other brands use synthetic products. These types of oils can have long lasting negative impacts in the environment, and are a source of volatile organic chemicals that can also negatively impact your indoor air quality and your health.
So how can you tell if your oil is pure? Test it on blotting paper. Put a few drops of oil on blotting paper. Pure essential oils will not leave any residue when it evaporates, while petroleum and synthetic oils will.
Look for these signs:
- Essential oils should not feel greasy on your skin
- Will not smell like alcohol
- Disappears on blotting paper
- Will not dissolve in water
- Won’t smell rancid
Be sure to buy essential oils from a reputable source such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Aura Cacia, Young Living, doTerra or Essential Vitality.
Peppermint oil should never be used un-diluted directly onto your skin. There are many ways to dilute it including grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil and coconut oil, all of which are easily available at most grocery stores, health food stores and online.
Do not use Peppermint if you take the anti-rejection drug cyclosporine, medications for diabetes or high blood pressure medications.
Peppermint oil interacts with numerous drugs. Please talk with your doctor if you are taking prescription medicines.
Never put peppermint oil on an infant’s face or a small child’s face. It may cause spasms that cause breathing problems.
The Way of Herbs. By Michael Tierra, L. Ac., O.M.D.
Advanced Aromatherapy, The Science of Essential Oil Therapy. By Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.
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