Lavender Oil, Headaches and Migraines August 13, 2018 08:13
Dr. Brent and Sara Whitehead, the husband and wife team behind Bee in Bloom, firmly believe in the many healing properties of lavender oil. History shows us that people have been using this natural ingredient for thousands of years to cleanse, heal and soothe. Today, multiple clinical studies provide plenty of support for history’s anecdotes about the efficacy of lavender oil.
As someone who experiences headaches and migraines, I have been especially intrigued by claims that lavender oil can be a helpful, natural remedy for these types of issues. I love to diffuse Bee Pure lavender oil around the house anyway, especially at bedtime or when things are stressful. However, I haven’t used it consistently to combat my headaches and migraines. I decided to look into this particular use for lavender oil and share my findings with you all. (If you’re interested, you can check out the links to various studies at the bottom of this blog. )
In terms of clinical studies, there isn’t a lot to be found linking “headaches” and “lavender oil,” but this isn’t actually too surprising. The word “headache,” is extremely generalized. In reality, there are many different types of headaches, caused by a variety of factors (tension, allergies, alignment, etc). I’d venture a guess that the research on lavender oil and “headaches” isn’t there simply because it’d be difficult to do a clinical study on such a catch-all term.
However, there is clinical evidence that lavender oil can help reduce pain, stress and inflammation. Since these symptoms are commonly associated with headaches, it follows that using lavender oil could help to ease the effects of headaches and/ or possibly to reduce the stresses that trigger them in the first place.
As it turns out, there is also clinical support to show that using lavender oil helps with migraine headaches, specifically. A 2012 study in European Neurology suggests that using lavender oil may actually reduce the length and symptoms of migraine headaches.
(If you suffer from migraines, feel free to share a little virtual fist pump with me at this point). Migraines are different from other types of headaches for a variety of reasons. A migraine is an observable neurological event, for one thing. In fact, unlike other kinds of headaches, migraines involve an assortment of neurological symptoms which go far beyond head pain. These include: dizziness, nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Sometimes a single migraine can last for days. Obviously, migraines are no fun, and they can often be debilitating.
So how does lavender oil come in? Let’s go back to that 2012 study. It was a placebo-controlled, clinical trial involving 47 participants who suffered from migraine headaches. Participants were divided into two separate groups, and each group was given different instructions about how to respond to a migraine attack. In response to migraines, of the control group administered a “treatment” (actually a placebo comprised of liquid paraffin), while the other group inhaled the scent of lavender oil for 15 minutes. Both groups were instructed to record the severity of their migraine symptoms periodically over the next two hours following their designated treatment. Ultimately, the lavender oil group responded that there was a decrease in their symptoms at a much higher percentage than those in the control (placebo) group, enough to make the difference between the two groups statistically significant.
Based on this study, it seems that inhalation of lavender essential oil can be a viable option in helping reduce migraine symptoms.
Even though I’ve diffused lavender before when having a migraine, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously tried to stay in the same area as my diffuser or breathe the vapors in and out for a set length of time. It’s definitely something that I plan to try the next time I experience one.
If you want to try this, but don’t have an essential oil diffuser, another really simple way to inhale lavender oil is to apply a few drops to your hands and then cup them over your nose and mouth. You can also create a roller-ball filled with lavender oil and a carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil) and apply this directly beneath your nostrils.
While it’s no magical cure, it’s nice to know that lavender oil offers a natural, simple solution that can provide relief in the face of pain, stress, and even the dreaded migraine.