peppermint and anise essential oils both help migraine headaches

Migraines can be so bad, they can be crippling. As if the throbbing headache isn’t bad enough, there can also be nausea, and every light and sound can bother you. Two new studies offer new, safe, effective help, which is welcome news because many conventional migraine therapies have poor efficacy and severe side effects.

The first study compared peppermint essential oil to anaesthetic lidocaine. Giving 4% lidocaine through the nose can quickly improve migraine symptoms. Peppermint essential oil has a long history of helping headaches. Could the safer herbal remedy work as well as the drug?

A double-blind study put that question to the test. There were three groups in the study. One was given a placebo, and the other two were given either 4% lidocaine or 1.5% peppermint essential oil. When they started to get a headache, they would lie down and put 2 drops of their treatment in their nose. They would then continue to lie down for 30 seconds. If they still had migraine symptoms 15 minutes later, they could take a second dose. Each migraine sufferer recorded his or her symptoms after half an hour.

At the end of the 2 month study, the people in the lidocaine and the people in the peppermint essential oil group has a significant reduction in headache intensity compared to the placebo group. Both treatments led to headache relief in 5 minutes. And, compared to the placebo, both treatment groups experienced significantly less impact on daily life as a result of lower headache intensity (Int J Prev Med 2019;10:121).

In your nose or on your face, essential oils can help. This time the essential oil was anise. The anise was mixed with a cream to form a 7% anise essential oil cream. That cream or the same cream without anise essential oil was applied to the temporal and forehead areas at the beginning of a migraine attack. There were 37 people in the study, and the study lasted for 6 weeks.

Scores on the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) went down by a significant 6.76 points. There was no improvement in the placebo group. While the frequency of migraine attacks increased slightly in the placebo group, it decreased significantly in the anise group. Duration of migraine headaches shortened significantly in the anise group but not in the placebo group. Severity of headaches improved the same in both groups. After 6 weeks, the anise group took significantly less pain killers, unlike the placebo group.

This study suggests that anise essential oil reduces the frequency and duration of migraines but, perhaps, not the severity. Anise has the added health benefit of reducing analgesic drugs (J Ethnopharmacol 2019;236:155-160).

These studies add two new safe natural treatments for migraine, joining other herbs, acupuncture and nutrients as natural help for migraine sufferers.

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For much more on preventing and treating migraines, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia .

For comprehensive help with migraines, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now. Linda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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