I Tried It: Peppermint Oil for Headaches | picklesnhoney.com #peppermint #essentialoil #diy #headache

I Tried It: Peppermint Oil for Headaches

I Tried It: Peppermint Oil for Headaches | picklesnhoney.com #peppermint #essentialoil #diy #headache

I’m weird about taking over-the-counter medications for most things. Antacids for heartburn? I’d rather slowly eat a handful of almonds (yes, this actually works!) or drink a little baking soda mixed in water. Ibuprofen for pain and inflammation? Give me an epsom salt bath and a golden milk latte, extra turmeric please. For minor aches and pains, I’m a big believer that my symptoms are my body’s way of telling me it needs a change or some extra love, and that most of the time, there’s a totally natural remedy that will help.

In the last couple of years, I’ve built up a small but well-curated collection of essential oils for both my mental and physical health. I love a few drops of lavender oil in the shower for relaxation, eucalyptus oil for a stuffy nose, and peppermint oil for everything from a natural bug repellent (it’s great in the city, not-so-much for mosquito-heavy places) to a surprisingly effective headache salve.

To use peppermint oil for headaches, you’ll need two ingredients:

  1. a high quality peppermint essential oil
  2. a carrier oil that agrees with your skin (I like jojoba or avocado oil)

You never want to put straight-up essential oil on your skin—it’s too intense and can burn and leave a rash. Peppermint oil is potent, so a drop or two mixed into a teaspoon or so of carrier oil should be enough. From there, apply a small amount wherever you have a headache (or any ache or pain, for that matter) and gently massage the area until it’s mostly absorbed. I find this very helpful on my temples, sinuses, and neck, where I often store my stress—and it’s even better if you can have someone else do the massaging. 😉 The smell is wonderful of course, but the tingling and numbing effect of peppermint oil is what really does the trick. Just make sure you thoroughly wash your hands after applying because peppermint oil in your eyes is VERY not fun.

Unlike over-the-counter medications, I find it works almost immediately. Even Aaron, who is a-okay with popping four Advil at a time {shudder}, has started using peppermint essential oil at the first signs of a headache.

Other headache remedies you might consider: drink more water, get outside for a walk, and stop looking at your screen.

Have you tried peppermint oil for a headache? Did it work well for you?

Photo by Christin Hume.


Leave a Comment

  1. Paige says

    This is a very timely post. I’ve been suffering from tension headaches lately because of work and life stress and I hate being reliant on ibuprofen and other medication. I’m going to pick up some peppermint essential oil on my lunch break today, mix it with my face oil, and give it a go! Thank you for this all natural solution!

    1. Sorry yo hear about your tension headaches, Paige. I hope the peppermint oil will be a good solution, and that life/work will be less stressful for you soon. <3

  2. Kayla says

    Hi there. Thanks for sharing all of this. Out of curiosity, how long does the peppermint oil typically take to work?

    1. It’s an immediate cooling/numbing sensation, and then typically within 20 minutes I’m feeling better. Of course, things like drinking a glass of water, massaging your temples, taking a screen break, etc. will all help in conjunction with the peppermint oil. 🙂

    2. Nadine says

      I have been suffering with migraine headaches for some time now and it’s getting progressively worse, I’m going to therapy right now to see if I can get some relief. I have peppermint oil , can I mix with water? I dont have carrier oil.

      1. Amanda says

        Hi Nadine, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with migraines. That sounds awful. Because oil and water don’t mix, I wouldn’t try mixing the peppermint oil with water. You really do need a carrier oil to dilute it.

  3. Sally says

    Thank you so much for sharing! So many inspirational things you do:)

  4. Jen says

    This post was exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing! Feeling totally inspired and can’t wait to give peppermint oil a try the next time I have a headache or muscle ache. x

    1. Awesome! Definitely let me know how it works for you.

  5. Yvonda says

    Thank you sharing this I have been going through migraine headaches. I’m hoping this will work for me.

  6. Aline says

    Does it work if the oil is mixed with water instead of another oil?

    1. Amanda says

      I haven’t tried that, but I would think the oil and water would just separate. The peppermint oil is VERY potent so you definitely want to dilute it.

      1. Aline says
  7. September says

    It work for me in hot water … Be mindful to use just a few drops because baby that steam hits the spot immediately

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you for sharing this!

  8. Eliza says

    Love this stuff! I love to read your articles because your writing style is too good, it is very very helpful for all of us…

  9. Kim says

    Thank you for your post. I actually tried pepermint oil straight and had immediate relief but also had immediate burning so had to wash it off. I know this is not recommended but I was desperate. I then mixed 1 teaspoon jojoba with 2 drops of peppermint. This did not seem to work for me. What is the highest concentration you would recommend mixing?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Kim, I think this really depends on the peppermint oil you’re using because they vary in potency from brand to brand. Trial and error is probably best here…my advice would be to keep adding a drop of peppermint to your jojoba until it’s “tingly” enough for you. You could even use 1/2 teaspoon jojoba during your trials to keep the batch small.

  10. Kim says

    Thanks for sharing this! I really like the peppermint oil smell, and I too find it’s really effective for headaches.

  11. Paula says

    I’m taking peppermint oil capsules for IBS and it works great except it gives me daily headaches. Will peppermint oil help my headaches if it’s the peppermint oil causing my headaches?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Paula, That sounds like a catch 22. I would consult your doctor re: using peppermint oil for headaches if taking it internally is causing them.

  12. Gavin says

    Hi Amanda
    My daughter suffers with headaches and has developed knobs on her head. I’ve mixed pepperment oil and coconut oil for her. I hope this works.

  13. Michelle says

    Great article! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Kathy Oxendine says

    Hi Amanda

    My 14-year-old son occasionally gets headaches that cause him to retreat to the couch and not eat his lunch. Both unusual occurrences for him!

    The first time I used peppermint oil , I did not dilute it. Fortunately, nothing happened. The next time ( right now) , I diluted with olive oil. So we’ll see.

    Thank you ,

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Kathy, I hope the peppermint /olive oil mix helped your son!


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