Homemade Headache Salve for Migraines and More

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This homemade headache salve is one of my favorite ways to help eliminate my headaches naturally. So, I have been trying to find more natural remedies instead of turning to a store-bought medication every time I don’t feel well.  

Homemade headache salve for stress, sinus or migraines

Homemade Headache Salve

I have been having luck with using essential oils so I wanted to find a way to make something to use for headaches. This DIY salve is easy to make and takes care of a variety of headaches. Of course, there are lots of peppermint salve uses including sinus relief and sore muscle rubs. It’s truly one of my favorite essential oils.

So, between stress and allergies, I am prone to headaches more often than I like. I wanted something that was easier to do than a steam inhalation since I cannot work with my head over a pot of hot water with essential oils in it. 

homemade headache salve

How do you make peppermint salve?

This homemade headache salve is very easy to make. You can customize it depending on the type of headache that you have.  So, I have found that for me, peppermint essential oil works the best. However, if your headache is brought on by stress, you may also want to add lavender essential oil with the peppermint.

These easy natural sinus relief salts are all that's standing between me and a week in bed.

Homemade headache salve for congestion

If your headache is caused by congestion, you may want to add eucalyptus essential oil with the peppermint.  Migraines can be helped by peppermint essential oil and basil essential oil. You might want to try my sinus relief salts. So, the process for making this homemade headache salve is the same no matter which oils you choose to use.

How do you make essential oil salve?

Homemade headache salve supplies

  • 2 glass bowls of different sizes
  • Hot water
  • Essential oils of your choice. Scent until you notice it.
  • Small metal container or glass baby food jar with a top
  • Virgin Coconut Oil

Homemade headache salve directions

Put the hot water from the faucet into the larger bowl. Then, set the smaller bowl on top of the larger bowl and wait. Finally, replace with more hot water if needed until melted.

Put the Virgin Coconut Oil in a smaller bowl to melt. How much you use depends on the size of the container you want to store it in. Finally, add one or two drops of essential oil(s) into the Virgin Coconut Oil once it has melted.

homemade headache salve

Stir it gently and pour it into the small container. Put the lid on. Let it return to room temperature and solidify. Depending on the temperature in your area, you may want to store this in the refrigerator.  Virgin Coconut Oil melts at about 78F.  So, to use this, dab a bit on your finger and rub into your temples, the back of your neck or your sinuses (wherever the headache bothers you most)

Can you apply essential oil directly to the skin?

You should not be applying your essential oil directly to the skin. Instead, you should always use a carrier oil. In this DIY salve recipe, I use coconut oil in this homemade headache salve which makes it a firm, salve like consistency. In a roller bottle, you could use something like jojoba oil. So, applying it directly to the skin can cause irritation so it’s always best to use a carrier oil.

Homemade headache salve

What essential oils are good for migraine headaches?

So, here are a few other essential oils that you might want to experiment with in this DIY salve. Experiences vary depending on the person and the triggers of their headache. So adjust how you make this homemade headache salve until it works best for you.

  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • Chamomile essential oil

Helpful Migraine Tips & Printable Headache Tracker

Don’t forget to track your headaches along with using this homemade headache salve to try and determine what some of your triggers are. I have a free printable headache tracker form you can use. Have you tried any home remedies that work for headaches or other common illnesses? So, have you tried my bath bombs recipe for headache relief? 

Finally, if you’re looking for a stress balm recipe, you might want to check out this post on how to make a stress ball with clay for aromatherapy.

Yield: 1

Homemade Headache Salve for Migraines and More

Homemade Headache Salve for Migraines and More

Check out this homemade headache salve. It's one of my favorite DIY salve recipes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost 10


  • 2 glass bowls of different sizes
  • Hot water
  • Essential oils of your choice. Scent until you notice it.
  • Small metal container or glass baby food jar with a top
  • Virgin Coconut Oil


  • stove


  1. Put the hot water from the faucet into the larger bowl. Then, set the smaller bowl on top of the larger bowl and wait. Finally, replace with more hot water if needed until melted.
  2. Put the Virgin Coconut Oil in a smaller bowl to melt. How much you use depends on the size of the container you want to store it in. Finally, add one or two drops of essential oil(s) into the Virgin Coconut Oil once it has melted.homemade headache salve
  3. Stir it gently and pour it into the small container. Put the lid on. Let it return to room temperature and solidify. Depending on the temperature in your area, you may want to store this in the refrigerator.  Virgin Coconut Oil melts at about 78F.  So, to use this, dab a bit on your finger and rub into your temples, the back of your neck or your sinuses (wherever the headache bothers you most)Homemade headache salve
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  1. I'm going to try this!! I'm always getting bad headaches!
  2. Sometimes when I get sinus pressure I don't even know what to take/use to relieve it since I don't have an ongoing problem with it. This looks like it would help address the issue and is something I could make to keep on hand for when I need it.
  3. Having constant migraines as a side effect of brain surgery, I'm sick of taking medicine.  Going to try this one out!! Thanks Ellen!!  Pinned & Tweeted!
    • Ellen Christian says
      Hope it works for you, Jamie!
    • I had thought of this before that my surgery may be the reason for me headaches. Struck me now that I saw it written here. Do you know why that is?  I've had migraines since I was a child and had brain surgery when I was 8.
      • Ellen Christian says
        That must be very difficult. I do hope that this provides some relief for you.
      • They say migraines are hereditary. Worse for males than females believe it or not? I am going to make this as well (will use Lavender, cuz, I LOVE LAVENDER.)Might I also suggest "Oil Pulling"? I have allergies, but as long as I "swish" 3 times a day, I get no allergy symptoms. I've also noticed I have less migraines.
    • Jamie and Sarah, I am wondering how this salve worked out for you with your headaches?  Migraines run in my family.  My husband and one son suffer the most.  My husband has headaches every. single. day.  Some much worse than others.  This would be the main reason I am getting into essential oils.  We have been to doctors, ER visits, headache clinics, surgeries, in-patient and out-patient hospital stays and more medicines than I can remember.  All to no avail.Please let me know how this worked for you.Thanks!
      • Have you tried touch therapy for headaches, it really works and the headache stays away.
      • Ellen I myself have gotten terrible migraines for the last 30 years. I can't tell you how many trips I have made to the ER because of them, the last one cost me more then $7000.00. I have spent hours and hours in doctors offices and tired so many different kinds of medicines but nothing helped until I had one doctor give me Zomig, a nasal spray. I use it as soon as I feel it coming on and it does help, now I have so many ( at least 3 or 4 a week) that I don't like taken that much medicine so I would like to try this to see if it might help also. My question is, have your husband or son had any luck with this or even tried it yet? I have such a small window of time to take the medicine to stop the migraine I just wondered if anyone had any luck with this.
        • Ellen Christian says
          Migraines can be just awful to deal with, Tammy. Yes, my husband has tried it and does get some relief from it for his migraines. Really, like any other treatment, the key is to start early. If you miss that window even a little bit, the relief is much less. I hope you find relief from it!
      • Bobbi, I had migraines every. single. day. It all started on 11/1/11 until I started getting Botox injections for them. It works! I tried going without, and they came back with a vengeance. I have fibromyalgia, which are the cause of my daily headaches, maybe him too!
      • Removing gluten and nightshades from my diet totally erased my migraines! I rarely get headaches, too. Look into triggers especially food. I can’t be around cigarette smoke probably because tobacco is a nightshade. Good luck!
  4. i'm going to make this. I have headaches all.the.time. and I have almost everything we need!! my sister has my coconut oil
  5. I hate taking medication for headaches, I'll have to try this!
  6. Hmm...I might have to try this. I get headaches and usually treat them with caffeine. This is prbably better for me.
  7. Amber Edwards says
    I seriously love this salve! I have used essential oils to treat my headaches many times. But haven't put them into a portable salve. I love this idea! I am going to mix this up before my next trip so I can always have my headache salve ready to use at a moments notice. 
  8. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
    Peppermint works beautifully for me for headaches too. It's also one of my favorite scents, if not THE favorite. 
  9. What a wonderful idea! I have headaches constantly and hate taking pain meds if I dont have to
  10. Woot! I love natural remedies and peppermint oil definitely does the trick for me with headaches. Great idea to put it into a salve form. Thanks for sharing, Ellen!
  11. jenny at dapperhouse says
    I always want to learn more about using essential oils. This seems like a good place to start and see if it works on my headaches! 
  12. Mel {MamaBuzz} says
    Definitely need to show this to both Dan and my mom. They both get migraines. I could have even used this myself last night. Thanks, Ellen!
  13. Ah ha, I was close when I said hand salve. I'd like to try making some, where does one find essential oils? Pinning this for future reference & use :)
  14. Rachael Ebner says
    I might have to try your headache remedy. I'm always looking for natural alternatives to use instead of drugs.
  15. Mama to 5 BLessings says
    This sounds awesome, I so need to try this, I have been having some awful headaches lately! 
  16. I get awful sinus headaches. This would be a great way to treat them and prevent medication rebound headaches.
  17. Nicole Brady says
    D'oh. I just tossed out a mint tin that we had emptied. I could have used it to make this! I recently discovered coconut oil and love how diverse it is.
  18. Jennifer Soltys says
    I just love this. I have been using essential oils a lot more often and this is just a GREAT idea!!!
  19. Thanks for sharing, this is an awesome "recipe."  I have a few essential oils and would like to try this out.
  20. I love using EO for headaches. What a great tutorial. Thank you!
  21. I have a headache right now.  I could use this!
  22. Nancy @ Whispered Inspirations says
    I did not know it was this simple to make. I suffer from head aches, migraines and sinus pressure. :) NEED this.
  23. you are awesome. I want some tins like that too!!
  24. Heather @ It's a Lovely Life! says
    I'm totally making this! What a brilliant idea and I love the container for it!
  25. Mag@GirlyCreation says
    I must try it. I prefer natural remedy for curing headaches.
  26. Looks like an interesting solution. I've never been a fan of home-made remedies, but this one looks safe (and easy) enough to try.
  27. Kristin Wheeler (@MamaLuvsBooks) says
    Love homemade remedies that work!!!
  28. Liza @ Views From the 'Ville says
    I really need to try this.  I have had headaches my whole life, some that knock me right out.  I have tried those sticks you rub on your head in the past and they seemed to work; I'm sure this is similar yet less expensive and I know exactly what ingredients are in it!
  29. How neat!  I am hearing more and more about essential oils lately and I have got to try them!  This is awesome!  Thanks for sharing!
  30. (HOMEMADE HEADACHE SALVE)  I am going to have to try this, I get awful sinus headaches all the time. And it seems like sinus medications do not even work anymore it seems. Thanks for the heads up.
  31. How do you use this? Do you rub it under your nose or something?  Btw I love lavender!! Will definitely have to try this! 
    • Ellen Christian says
      Rub it into the areas causing the headache. For stress/migraine, I tend to rub it into the back of my neck or my temples. For sinuses I rub it into the sinus area avoiding the eyes.
  32. I love these balms/salves but they are not always easy to find or often quite expensive when you do find them ... I never would have thought of using the coconut oil as the base to make my own. Thank you for this ... I have my essential oils so I'm just about ready to get mixing!
  33. I needed this last week! I had such a killer headache and nothing helped. 
  34. Lisa Schneider says
    Definitely going to try this! Have to watch how much Tylenol I take due to a liver condition & I get such bad headaches! Fingers crossed!!
  35. Can you put all three EOs into the same batch of salve or do you need to make a seperate batch for each EO? Thanks! Cannot wait to try this!
  36. I just made your salve, but it isn't re-solidifying. Did I do something wrong? I gently melted the coconut oil, added the essential oil and poured it into the containers. Should I add a bit of organic beeswax?
  37. Jill Thomas says
    Do you use 2 drops of each oil?
  38. Thank you for this post! I have migraines and have been seeing a neurologist for nearly a year. Maybe something like this would help. I haven't actually worked with essential oils so I will have to but some, but I have plenty of coconut oil. I hope this is the miracle I need!
  39. Ellen this is an awesome salve recipe!! I'm sooo glad my friend Laura told me about it!!:) Thanks again for pinning it!:)
  40. Fiona budd says
    Once made how long will this keep for as this would be brilliant for me!!   :-)
    • Ellen Christian says
      Mine is still going strong after a month. As long as you can still smell the oils, it will still work. You could always remelt the oil & add a few more drops if you need to.
  41. I get terrible, decapitating migraines. So I am always up for trying anything that could possibly help when I get one. I'll be making a batch of this salve.
  42. Megan Hunt says
    I get really severe migraines quite often, and I love the idea of this.. However, I'm allergic to coconut. Is there an alternative that I could use
  43. JanetRoberta says
    Th coconut oil just seems to be a medium for hplding the oil in place, so I'mwondering why it has to be organiccoconut oil.
    • Ellen Christian says
      I buy organic to encourage farmers and brands to offer more organic products. I also believe it is healthier for you to use products that are organic.
  44. I like this idea. I seem to be having some sinus issues from allergies lately. Another reason for chronic headaches you may want to check into is TMJ. I finally got a night guard from my dentist and my headaches pretty much dissapered. Grinding your teeth can add as much as 200 pounds of pressure onto your jaws, causing headaches. Just a thought :) 
  45. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been looking for relief from migraines. The medicine I used to take is just not working for me anymore. I'm definitely going to try this.
  46. Can you mix the three different oils in one for different headaches, or should you make different batches for different headaches? I have all three types of headaches occasionally, migraines being the worst.
  47. When you mentioned basil and peppermint for migraines do you use a basil oil? or just basil? Thanks
  48. Teri Riggs says
    How much coconut oil to how many drops of oils?
    • Ellen Christian says
      It's not really an exact measurement. Just add it till it smells strong enough to you without being too strong.
  49. I'm going to try this! Lately my migraines have been worse than usual and tylenol and the like just doesn't cut it anymore. Thanks for sharing! http://familyfocusblog.com
  50. I have all the ingredients to make the headache salve for migraines. But how much should I use for 2 oz. of coconut oil. For 4 oz. I use 30 drops of teatree oil for insect bites, scrapes, scratches ,and rashes. It works much better thatn the steroid cream the dr. prescribed for me. My neice has severe migraines and I wanted her to try some of your salve mixture. I was gonna make her about 2 ounces to see if she likes it but I need to know how much Basil and Peppermint oils in the put in the coconut oil?? Thank you for yourhelp!
    • Ellen Christian says
      There isn't an exact measurement that I use. I just add the essential oils until the scent is strong enough. You can try 10-15 for 2 ounces. Thank you for the info for the rash cream. I will try that one!
  51. I am so glad to see that you believe in peppermint oil like I do!!!  I find that it will reduce my migraines by     90-95 percent!  I go straight to the "bottle" and dab a few drop right on my scalp and neck with I feel the migraine coming on.  The peppermint oil is warm and almost hot, however, the relieve begins right away.  It will last for about 4 hours and I just reapply it.  It has saved my job!!! Although, comments range from "who is baking?" to "where are the cookies".  Peppermint oil is the BEST thing for migraines and sinus.  It will drain the most stopped up sinus!  Thanks for getting the news out there!  We should call you "Dr.Peppermint"  Thanks again!  Penny
  52. Thank you! I have headaches ALL THE TIME! I made this, and it works!
  53. Hi where do you put it or where do you use it at my sister gets really bad migraines was wondering if this would help?
    • Ellen Christian says
      I rub it in my temples or on my forehead but wherever she feels the most pain is where she should rub it. I hope it works for her!
  54. Trying this with some Wintergreen Oil...if I truely have a migraine...scent makes it worse....added a small amount of beeswax too for stability.  The wintergreen is good for muscle pain...so maybe this will be a good muscle balm too...
  55. You said that Peppermint EO and Basil together work well with migraines, is there a Basil EO or are you referring to fresh or dried Basil? I get migraines all the time and would love to try this out.
    • Ellen Christian says
      Hi Sarah - Yes, there is a basil essential oil. the actual basil itself won't give the same results. I hope it works for you!
  56. Can this be made with an oil other than coconut? Coconut is a trigger for headaches for me, along with perfumes made from chemicals.
    • Ellen Christian says
      You would need an oil that was solid at room temperature. I do not know of another one. You could try using shea butter instead? Or possibly beeswax?
  57. Do you add only ONE of the essential oils, are all of those you posted?
  58. Gabrielle Schmidt says
    I have used Peppermint in coconut oil as a carrier, and it was really helpful.  Also, for those who suffer from recurrent headaches, you may want to look at the source of the problem which can very often come from the food we eat!!!!
    • Ellen Christian says
      That is totally true, Gabrielle. I have seen a huge improvement in my healthy after changing how I eat.
  59. Thank you for sharing this. I love essential oils so I will be making this one. However I live in a hot climate with temperatures over 40c in the summer months so I'll add bee wax to make it harder so it wont melt.
  60. This is cool! I use Vicks which is very similar. Might have to try making my own!
  61. Hi, may i ask if there is any replacement for the coconut oil? As i live in SEA, the temperature here is high and the coconut oil does not harden. 
    • Ellen Christian says
      Hi Tracy - You could try a combination of shea butter and beeswax and see if that works. Please let me know how it goes!
  62. Hi, Thanks so much for this lovely recipe for headache salve. I recently created a special tin for it with an Altoid container. I had a lot of fun creating it and sharing the project on my blog. I included a link to your post. Thanks so much. Kathy
  63. This sounds like a good recipe for headaches. I was particularly interested in its benefits for congestion because I suffer from that the most. Now all I have to do is get some eucalyptus oil then I'm good to go.


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