How to Make Migraine Aromatherapy Smelling Salts

by Teri Robert Patient Advocate

Smelling salts while most often used to rouse lost consciousness can be incredibly useful for migraines. Relatively inexpensive to make once you invest in some basic supplies, they can help relieve difficult symptoms such as nausea and anxiety. They can also give you enough time to escape odors that would trigger a migraine. Here’s a step by step guide to start complementing your migraine treatment with smelling salts.

Determine your purpose

Which symptoms of migraine are you trying to address? You need to determine this so you can choose which essential oil or combination of them you’re going to use. If you want to combine oils, test the combination by placing a drop of each, together, on a piece of paper.

Assemble your supplies

You’ll need a small colored glass bottle with an orifice reducer (the plastic insert that goes in the top to reduce the opening), a carrier oil, sea salt, essential oils, and a funnel. You may or may not need a pipette.

Add sea salt

Remove the orifice reducer from your bottle, then fill it with sea salt. There are several types of sea salt available. I prefer Dead Sea salt, which is easy to find. If the sea salt you buy is packaged in paper or other material that doesn’t lock out air and moisture, sealing it in a plastic container will help keep it from absorbing moisture from the air and clumping.

Add the essential oils for your migraine needs

Add 12 to 20 drops of the essential oils of your choice. You may want to make more than one bottle of smelling salts to be used for different purposes. One of my favorite uses is to keep a bottle in hand, in case I encounter odors, such as perfume in elevators. If I can get the smelling salts quickly enough and keep them under my nose until I’m away from the trigger odor, I can often avoid a migraine.

Add carrier oil

Add your chosen carrier oil to fill the bottle the rest of the way, BUT not the neck of the bottle. If you accidentally add too much carrier oil, you can touch the edge of a paper towel to it to absorb some of it. The most commonly used carrier oils are fractionated coconut, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and grapeseed.

Insert the orifice reducer

The orifice reducer is a small piece that fits into the top of the bottle to reduce the size of the opening so that it won’t spill or make a mess. With the orifice reducer in place, you won’t have a mess when you open the cap. When using a new bottle, the orifice reducer is usually attached to the cap. Just tighten the cap onto the bottle. When you remove it, the orifice reducer will stay in place.

More on migraine and aromatherapy

For more information about migraine and aromatherapy, see:

It’s important to note that migraine smelling salts should not be used instead of your regular doctor-approved migraine treatment or therapy. They can be just one more weapon in your arsenal to help you thrive with migraine.

Teri Robert
Meet Our Writer
Teri Robert

Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation's Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society.