Headaches are unfortunately a common part of many peoples’ lives. They can vary from a minor annoyance, to full-blown migraines which can be debilitating and cause time off work. Those who work a lot, or have immense amounts of stress have headaches more often, which add additional tension and misery to an already fragile state of health.
While is it tempting to reach for over the counter medicines when a headache begins, there are many other, more natural ways that can heal a headache.
Ten of the most popular and widely used options are listed below so next time you have a headache, try one of these instead of reaching for the packet of pills.
Peppermint comes in many forms including oils and tea so everyone can find it useful in some way. Peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic properties, which have a number of benefits, including relieving headaches. Peppermint oil is highly concentrated but can still be used in small doses; one possible use is to mix it with water, apply it to a washcloth, and place it directly on the forehead.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender has been shown to help with a range of health issues, including sleep and headaches. Like with peppermint, the oil is highly concentrated but can still be used on a regular basis. Possible uses for lavender oil in treating headaches include: putting several drops into a hot bath or steamer, placing a few drops on a pillow at night, and using lavender shampoo.
3. Changes to diet
Modern day diets are full of ingredients that our ancestors would never have imagined. It is perhaps no surprise that some headaches can be attributed to our diet and specific foods we consume. By changing our diet to include healthier foods, we can reduce the incidences of headaches. While this may not bring immediate relief when a headache strikes, there will be longer-term benefits.
Flaxseed has many health benefits, and relieving headaches is just one of them. Flaxseed contains key ingredients such as Omega 3, which is beneficial in many ways. Flaxseed is relatively easy to introduce to any diet as it can be used in cereals, salads, or desserts.
Almonds contain the painkiller salicin, which has been proven to help with headaches, particularly the tension type ones. These can easily be eaten on their own as a snack so are a practical remedy that can be used at any time of day or place.
Cayenne pepper has been shown to be beneficial in many ways, particularly regarding headaches and migraines. It contains an active ingredient, capsaicin, which is a natural pain reliever. In this case, hotter really is better.
Yoga in general is helpful in healing a headache, but there are some positions that are much better than others are. Not only does yoga force you to stop being busy and take a few moments to relax, but the stretches and breathing exercises have many physical benefits. For example, lying against a wall with your legs up against it can stretch the muscles in the neck, which are often the cause of tension headaches.
8. Avoid caffeine and chocolate
Along with alcohol, coffee and chocolate have repeatedly been shown to be headache causing. Caffeine reduces tiredness and increases alertness and muscle coordination. Some other food and drinks, such as energy drinks, also contain high levels of caffeine. However, some people find caffeine can be a treatment for headaches and migraines. You therefore need to be careful in assessing how caffeine affects you and avoid it if you think it might be causing headaches.
9. Drink more water
Many headaches are caused by dehydration and drinking water can relieve this dehydration, and consequently reduce the headache. Some drinks are not refreshing and do not help with rehydrating the body, so pick the drink carefully. Water is guaranteed to rehydrate the body and will heal any headache that is caused by dehydration.
10. Apples & Apple Cider Vinegar
Apples and apple cider vinegar have a long history of being used in medicine and traditional healing. Apples and cider vinegar in particular, are well known for improving the body’s acid and alkaline balance. It can be taken in many ways, but simply a spoonful in water is sufficient.