Testing... Lavender Oil For Migraine Relief
Why This Is Important…
Can you use Lavender oil for migraine relief? Absolutely, yes. Not only is there the potential to help, but there is plenty of clinical evidence that it will.
In this article, we touch on the evidence and provide the reasons why you could consider using lavender oil when you next suffer with a migraine….
Could Flowers Break The Pain???
Lavender, the hardy evergreen plant with a lovely purple flower is a lot more than just a pretty face. It has been proven in clinical trials to do some wondrous things, from pain management to a cure for insomnia.
When turned in to an essential oil, it contains numerous compounds including many associated with analgesics.
It is worth remembering that many of these compounds are the same ones that modern drug companies use to make the tablets that fill pharmacy shelves.
While many people consider aromatherapy in it’s many forms to be an ‘alternative’ form of medicine it is really the original form of medicine and a major part of modern drugs (aromatherapy is literally the use of essential oils either via scent, massage oil or as a topical cream).
Discussing essential oils such as lavender oil is merely dealing with a treatment in it’s ‘raw’ form.
Given also that most drugs are designed mainly to stimulate the over or under production of hormones that are already produced in your body, it is easy to understand how an essential oil such as lavender COULD initiate the same response.
The Science Behind Using Lavender Oil For Migraines.
The main trial that is often cited as evidence for the effectiveness of lavender oil in treating migraines is found in the journal of European Neurology.
Significantly, a control group was used meaning that one group thought they were inhaling lavender but were not, while another group was inhaling lavender oil. The study actually concluded that inhaling lavender oil for just 15 minutes could significantly reduce the pain of a migraine.
But in truth the clinical data does not end there – while that may be the main trial specifically on patients suffering with migraines, there are others
We know from a different trial by Da Silva et al in 2015, that lavender oil can offer a similar painkilling effect to that of Tramadol (a high strength painkiller).
Furthermore, lavender oil is already widely known for it’s relaxing and slightly sedative effects. In one particular trial it made considerable differences to the patients in an ICU (intensive care unit), enabling them to sleep much easier and more effectively. (Moeini et al)
Achieving sleep in an intensive care unit is far from easy for obvious reasons (noise/ pain levels/ strange surroundings etc).
If lavender oil helps to achieve sleep in that setting, it is not an unreasonable assumption to give it some benefit to people suffering with migraines also trying to sleep.
Even in women suffering with depression and insomnia, lavender oil was found to have considerable benefits for promoting more and deeper sleep (Lee et al)
Concluding The Data – Does Lavender Oil Help Migraines?
I think it is fair to say that, on balance, there is significant evidence to suggest that lavender oil should have a place in treating migraines.
The main trial cites some pain relief within just 15 minutes of inhaling lavender essential oil. So we have clear evidence that it is effective even during the actual stages of a migraine.
Then we have the fact that we know from our article (triggers of a migraine) that both stress and lack of sleep are major triggers of future migraines.
So it follows that if you accept the studies that show lavender oil promotes relaxation (stress relief) and better sleep, then lavender oil can also help you to reduce the number and severity of future migraines. It will achieve this by reducing your potential triggers.
How To Apply Lavender Essential Oil For Maximum Migraine Relief…
With physical injuries, such as back pain or arthritis in the knee, lavender oil can be diluted with a carrier oil and rubbed in to the affected area.
In the case of migraines, this would not be effective. By far the most effective form of delivery is via scent. This could be by burning incense sticks, but by far the safest and most effective method is through an electronic diffuser.
Side Effects/ Cautions
Please check out our article on side effects of lavender oil for further information. Always check with your doctor before trying any new treatment.
The Final Word –
So is it worth trying lavender oil for migraine relief? Absolutely – for two key reasons.
- There is significant evidence that migraine triggers (sleep disturbance and stress) can be reduced with regular use of lavender oil.
- There is also evidence that even during the stages of a migraine, lavender oil can help greatly as an analgesic and pain reliever.
Of course getting a good quality of oil and an excellent diffuser will be key to it’s success for you. But I have gone through what to look for when setting up treatment in another article.
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References Used –
1. Sasannejad P, Saeedi M, Shoeibi A, Gorji A, Abbasi M, Foroughipour M. (2012). Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. European Neurology.
2. Gabriela L da Silva, Carolina Luft, Adroaldo Lunardelli, Robson H Amaral, Denizar A da Silva Melo, Márcio V F Donadio, Fernanda B Nunes, Marcos S de Azambuja, João C Santana, Cristina M B Moraes, Ricardo O Mello, Eduardo Cassel, Marcos Aurélio de Almeida Pereira, Jarbas R de Oliveira. (August 2010). Antioxidant, Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lavender Essential Oil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências
3. Mahin Moeini, Maryam Khadibi, Reza Bekhradi, Seyed Ahmad Mahmoudian, Fatemeh Nazari. (2010). Effect of Aromatherapy on the Quality of Sleep in Ischemic Heart Disease Patients Hospitalized in Intensive Care Units of Heart Hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research.
4. Inn-Sook Lee, Gyung-Joo Lee. (Jan 2006). Effects of Lavender Aromatherapy on Insomnia and Depression in Women College Students. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi
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