Peppermint essential oil has been one of my more recent discoveries, and I’m quite in love. It works so well for my occasional headaches and nausea that it’s become my gateway into the world of essential oils. The jury is still out for me on how well the others work for us, but this one I know is effective.
Peppermint Oil for Headaches
My husband and I recently celebrated our seventh (!) wedding anniversary with a day trip to nearby Durango, CO, for a luxurious baby-free lunch at Seasons (which I highly recommend, by the way. oh my). The only problem? I had the worst headache that morning.
I’m one of those people who tends to suffer rather than take medicine, so it took me over an hour to realize I could actually do something about my headache. Doh! I don’t know what jogged my memory, but suddenly I remembered that peppermint oil had relieved several of my more severe headaches over the past couple of years. Since we hadn’t yet left our home, I dashed upstairs for the bottle before we drove away.
With two drops of oil rubbed into my temples, I felt significantly better within 5 minutes and completely better in the next half hour. It was a bit intense, to be sure (lots of tingling and a little eye-watering), but well worth it. We went on to have a perfectly lovely time, complete with excellent herb-y cocktails and creative fare from local farms.
For me, peppermint works just as well as Tylenol or Ibuprophen without any concerns about side effects. It even helped take the edge off a vicious migraine I got while pregnant. Ugh. While I was still very uncomfortable, at least with the peppermint oil I could function. That really impressed me.
Why does peppermint oil work? When I first tried it on a mild headache, I wondered if it helped merely because the tingling sensations were distracting. This certainly could be part of it, but I later learned that peppermint oil is a natural vasodilator. In other words, it facilitates blood flow. This matches my experience over time, especially with more severe headaches. Also, if your headache is sinus-related, the smell of peppermint can help clear them.