How to Make Homemade Muscle Rub to Relieve Headaches

headache remedyI experience chronic headaches on a daily basis. 30% of the time I would say they are migraines, with the other 70% being tension-type headaches. Oh how I loathe them. I can’t, nor do I want, to take NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil or Aspirin) every day. I’ve been there and the long and short term side-effects and rebound headaches were just as bad as what I was dealing with in the first place. This led me to exploring different natural headache remedies that I could use as much as I needed to without suffering more for it. This particular muscle rub is geared towards those nasty tension headaches that come from tight shoulders and tense necks. I have found that applying it particularly when I am at the computer around mid-day tends to work the best at staving off the otherwise inevitable ache that would start to creep up on me.

How to Make Homemade Muscle Rub to Relieve Headaches

Ingredients: Peppermint essential oil, Clove essential oil, Ginger essential oil, Wintergreen essential oil, coconut/jojoba/shea nut /grapeseed oil.

Why Wintergreen essential oil: Wintergreen essential oil is incredible powerful when it comes to relieving pain. It contains a substance called methyl salicylate, which is now synthesized and used in OTC pain killers. The concentration of methyl salicylate is so high that 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of wintergreen oil is the equivalent of roughly 21 adult aspirin tablets. It helps with painful inflammation of muscles and joints as well. Note that if you are taking any sort of blood-thinning medications wintergreen should be avoided.

Why Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint essential oil rapidly helps to locally block pain where it is applied. At first it will creates a cooling sensation, which then tends to get warmer. Both the heat and the coolness can help relax sore muscles in their own ways, while the refreshing smell can help clear a pain-clouded mind.

Why Clove essential oil: Used as a topical analgesic (pain-killer) clove oil is best known for its role in the history of dental care and relieving toothaches, but works a peach for sore muscles as well. Eugenol, the component mainly responsible for killing the pain, is readily absorbed through skin. It’s pretty potent, so there is no need to go totally overboard with the clove.

Ginger essential oil: Ginger creates a lovely warming sensation that can help relax and un-knot tight muscles. It also reduces the production of cytokines, which are substances that regulate the immune system and are linked to inflammation and the pain associated with it.

Note: Like the Roots Balm for headaches, this can be made into more of a salve if you prefer that to the oils. Just melt 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax with your carrier oil in a double boiler and then turn off the heat and quickly mix in the essential oils (before the beeswax sets) and store in a little tin.

You will need…
-9 drops of peppermint essential oil
-5 drops of clove essential oil
-9 drops of wintergreen essential oil
-6 drops of ginger essential oil
-3-4 teaspoons of the carrier oil of your choice (coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, or shea nut)
-A dark blue or amber glass container

headache rub ingredients

Blend the oils together with 3-4 teaspoons of your desired carrier oil (it’s important to dilute the oils so they don’t irritate your skin) and store in a dark container, if possible, to maintain its integrity. Keep your blend in a cool, dark, place out of direct light for up to 1 year.

headache rub

I got these little roll-on bottles since I need the relief on a frequent enough basis, and they just make the application a lot easier, but putting some on your fingertips and rubbing it in works just as well. Apply as needed throughout the day to shoulders, back of your neck, and a smidge on your temples if need be.

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:


  1. Shelley Low says:

    May I ask where you got the little blue Bottles?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      I get mine from Amazon, but if you have a local holistic shop in your area they probably carry them as well 🙂

      • Vallee says:

        not all bottles created equally.. look the same.. act the same briefly, but then the cheaper plastic ring that holds the roller ball loosens and ball falls out.. dumping all your oil.. please test and insure long lasting quality of roller bottles than post best supplier. I haven’t found good one yet!@ and the companies I’ve ordered from will not tell me where they get the tops so that I can avoid reordering from same manufacturer who obviously have gone to cheaper plastic ring than they used to use.

  2. Maggie says:

    I have chronic headaches too, and I too do not want to rely on NSAIDS, nor are they always effective for me. Have you ever tried Arnica? It is my absolute go to for muscle pain. I prefer it as oil or in a water based gel (Boiron produces this).

  3. Linda says:

    Where do you order the roll on bottles from?? 🙂

  4. Pat Sinner Dickey says:

    Where did you get the roll on bottles?

  5. Tanya says:

    Where did you get the roll on containers. I too suffer from “cluster headaches” and would love to try this. Thanks for the info.

  6. Sunryze says:

    Where did you purchase the roll on bottles?

  7. Nally says:

    You should start getting massages. More so Neuromuscular Massage Therapy that will loosen and relieve the chronic pain and tension you’re experiencing. I can guarantee that the base of your skull needs work. This way, it’ll lessen those nasty headaches and migraines without having to deal with side effects from meds. Hope this helps you. 🙂

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      Oh my goodness massage therapy is such a life saver! I try to go regularly but sometimes I just get too busy and, well, it’s a vicious cycle. I wish it was more recognized, because it is truly amazing-thanks for bringing it up 🙂

      • DEB says:

        Hey Claire, if you (or anyone) need extra assistance with a persistent type of migraine/head pain and the often associated eye, stomach (nausea) and other symptoms that we can suffer with these nasty afflictions, I thoroughly recommend applying firm accupressure to the point between your thumb and forfinger, deep in the V, where the thumb bone meets the tendons and bone (under) of the index (or pointer finger). Also conjunctly, similar pressure at V between Big toe and second… this gives amazing relief to all types of [tension] pain.
        Another one that is most effective for the nauseous symptoms is similar using pointer finger pressure in the Thoracic Diaphragm at 1 (ONE) inch below the arch of where the LOWER sternum joins the ribcage arch. I have applied these aides to others and myself with great success.
        Also I have mixed a similar blend of oils for head pain but also added quality essential Lavender Oil to the blend….In good health. 😀

    • Joseph says:

      Try cupping, it is like a massage but 180 deg. opposite. Instead of rubbing your muscles to increase blood flow you are pulling them via a vacuum. I also use it to clear blackheads and ingrown hairs, works great on splinters too. Buy the professional set for cheap glass will break and now you have problems. How to use them is on u-tube and purchasing will be on amazon or other outlets. Shop around for prices vary for the EXACT SAME PRODUCT. Benefit is you do this at home and it is less expensive and the results are the same or better.

  8. Shelley says:

    I would love to try this wonderful rub. I am allergic to wintergreen. Could I use menthol or do you suggest another oil?
    Thank you for your time and sharing of yourself.

  9. Vallee says:

    I have used these types of bottles.. older lip balm roller bottles for years without any problems,
    but as I have tried ordering more of these types of bottles to share my oils with friends and family
    for several years I have been extremely disappointed each time.. they work fine briefly.. but after a few uses, the roller ball falls out and dumps all the oil..
    If you find a REALLY good supplier please post. I’ve tried several, but not found any good ones.

  10. Alyssa says:

    Could you suggest an oil other than ginger? Perhaps frankincense? Or Rosemary? I know those two are used for headaches, but won’t have the warming effects of ginger. I just have all those those and the ones you mentioned on hand.

  11. Stacey Adams says:

    Roller bottles last a lot longer if used to just “roll” the oils on without excessive pressure. I know when you are hurting, you want to push the oils in there “real good”. But this excessive pressure snaps the rings very quickly. Roll it on, then massage in with your fingers. Just a helpful tidbit. 🙂

  12. Jacie says:

    Aroma Haven / Rustic Essentials has great roller bottles. I’ve yet to have one leak!

  13. Christopher Bennett says:

    I think folks have asked this above, but I’m not sure you’ve given a super clear answer. Where did you actually order your own blue roller bottles? Thanks! 🙂

  14. Sarah says:

    the roller ball makes it simpler, but not a deal breaker. you can always just put a few drops in the palm of your hand and rub onto the area needed, plus you can always cup your hands together and smell the aroma to help with the speed of the pain removal. I do this regulary with Peppermint, but plan on mixing the ingredients together and trying, since I alreay have all at home anyway. They sell the blue bottles at most Organic grocery stores and teh health mart in the town that I live in.

  15. Moon says:

    I’m so sorry you suffer from migraine pain everyday:( I hope you find a permanent solution someday:) my heart goes out to you.

    • SHELLI says:

      Have you tried FeverFew? take 2 capsules while you have the migraine and 1 every dayafter that you won’t get another one. I have friends who swear by it.

  16. Nicole says:

    I was curious, where do you get your oils? I suffer from arthritis and migraines – would this work as well for that? Thank you!

  17. Megan . says:

    Unfortunately I know what a daily migraine feels like… the only thing that my doctor and I have found to combat this . . .though I know its not a natural remedy but I am prescribed amitriptaline also called elavil, a very small dose before bed time and the next day I don’t have even a headache let a lone a migraine.

  18. sandie says:

    Does it helps for auto immune disorder? My neck, middle of back, shoulders, hips n knee is hurting daily…refuses to take meds.

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Assuming that there is no interaction between one of the oils and your particular disorder, I think this would work great for you-especially if you have any inflammation related to what you’re experiencing. Hope it helps!

  19. Michele Roe says:

    This sounds great. Especially for those afternoon tension headaches! I will def give it a try. My family used to own a fragrance store and we bottled & sold essential oils. I may have some 1/3 oz roll-on /bottles left. Will have to check and can let everyone know. :O)

  20. Kendall says:

    I heard that it is not good to use wintergreen on a daily bases, because it could be toxic. I love the smell and feel of wintergreen, but this concerns me. Do you have any info about this?

    • Carol H. says:

      I’ll go one step further and say that traditional essential oil sources say NEVER USE WINTERGREEN! But have noticed many recipes popping up which use it. Can anyone enlighten me on the reasons for and against?

  21. Carol Mailer says:

    I also experience chronic headaches daily . Do you know the cause of your headaches? My Dr suggested an MRI which I am reluctant to do .. Why are we getting these headaches ? Do you know ??
    Thank you ,

  22. Jo says:

    I know massages help, but has anyone tried a chiropractor? This is my go to when I have headaches. They are caused by my neck being out 99% of the time. I rarely take anything unless I can’t get there because of the weekend, etc. It’s even better to get a massage and then go to chiropractor.

  23. Kate says:

    This sounds like a wonderful mix for the headaches. I’ve been using lavender essential oil mixed with a carrier which also seems to help with headaches and muscle pain as well. I wonder if this would work added to the mix perhaps without the ginger?

    If you suffer from frequent migraines and headaches you might also want to try to get feverfew either tincture or tea (bitter tasting) but it’s suppose to help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines and it definately has helped me.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  24. Kaye says:

    What do you use to write on the bottle?

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