Untitled design-23Paula K. Duma, who writes for migraineagain.com loves lavender for many reasons. Ever since she took a trip to Provence, France years ago, she’s “been smitten with lavender.”

Here is her story on how the aromatic flower enriches her life and can help with migraine pain….

It’s planted by my mailbox. It’s a staple in my favorite roasted chicken recipe. It’s tucked into my drawers to make clothes smell fresh. Now, a caring naturopathic friend tells me I’ve got to try it – it’s the new migraine essential. That begs for a little fact-checking first.

Indeed, recent research supports how it can help relieve migraine attacks as an alternative migraine treatment. A 2012 study conducted by Iranian and German scientists and published in the medical journal European Neurology concluded that “inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.”


We would all like to believe that something that smelled so very good would be the fix for our pain forever. Yet as mama always said, wishing doesn’t make it so. The study’s goals, funding sources and methodology all look legitimate enough. An excerpt:

Lavender essential oil has been used as an anxiolytic drug, a mood stabilizer, a sedative, spasmolytic, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, analgesic agent as well as a wound healing accelerator. We have studied for the first time the efficacy of lavender essential oil inhalation for the treatment of migraine in a placebo-controlled clinical trial.

They evaluated 47 patients with a definite diagnosis of migraine headaches, giving half a dose of 15 minutes lavender essential oil inhalation, and the other half liquid paraffin to inhale. Patients recorded changes in attack severity over 2 hours for a total of 129 migraine attacks. Their findings are “statistically significant” but not overwhelming:

* In the lavender group, 71% of patients’ attacks were resolved or partially resolved by inhalation of lavender.

* In the placebo group, 47% of patients’ attacks responded to liquid paraffin.

So, lavender essential oil works better than the placebo as an alternative migraine treatment. Like every other treatment, it doesn’t work on every person or for every migraine, but it’s worth a try.

Based on my personal experience only, it tends to be more effective when used at the earliest stage of migraine symptoms, not a severe attack that’s well underway. For me, it’s a wonderful product to pack in my bag, but not quite as essential as an ice pack and medicine.

You can roll it on your wrists and temples, spray it or drop a bit of oil into your bathtub. Not all lavender products or oils are essential; look for aromatherapy products marked “essential,” undiluted” or “therapy-grade.”

Other essential oils that hold promise for headache sufferers include chamomile, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, ginger, jasmine, lemongrass, marjoram, patchouli, peppermint. (All are safe for pregnant women except peppermint). A friend of mine gave me a bottle of Aveda’s Blue oil, which apparently contains peppermint and blue chamomile oil, that I roll on my wrists on those edgy days. It’s a small indulgence for those of us who have learned to steer clear of migraine triggers like perfumes.


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