If you suffer from frequent headaches but feel a bit squeamish about dosing yourself with potent headache medicine, you know what a conundrum it can be. Here are five natural headache remedies to help soothe your pain.
Headaches are my nemesis. In college, I used to get pounding headaches that would last for days. I cringe thinking of all the pills I popped and the time I spent holed up in my room with the shades drawn to keep the light out. Since then, I’ve learned that most of them were caused by sinus and allergy issues.
Now I treat a headache as my little warning sign – it’s telling me to stop and pay attention. Because I’m most likely dealing with allergies and congestion or I’m stressed out and anxious – things I can remedy before the pain gets too intense.
5 secret weapons for stopping a headache
1. Cayenne + Water
One of the biggest headache remedies is simply drinking water, because oftentimes a headache is just letting you know that you’re dehydrated. A recent remedy I learned recommends adding a bit of cayenne to your water, which blocks nerve pain signals. Cayenne pepper is also said to equalize blood pressure in the body, which relieves pressure in your head. You can add 1/2 teaspoon to water, give it a stir to mix well, and dab a tiny bit on the inside of your nose. Then drink the rest! Feel free to add some lemon or honey if needed. You can also buy capsaicin cream, which has the same active ingredient.
2. Peppermint + Massage
Peppermint essential oil is great for a tension headache. I find that these headaches usually happen when I’m stressed or have been staring at the computer for too long. So take a break from the screens and massage 5-10 drops of peppermint oil into the temples and the base of your neck. Not only is the smell relaxing, but peppermint is anti-inflammatory and will help dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow.
If I feel like sinus issues are causing the headache, then I’ll add eucalyptus oil to help with congestion. You can mix both with a bit of oil and give yourself a head massage.
3. Magnesium + Bath
I was curious about magnesium after reading about my friend Kiersten’s success with it for her migraines. Turns out, the mineral magnesium helps relax nerves that transmit pain impulses to the brain and also soothes internal inflammation.
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to boost my magnesium is with an Epsom salts bath. You’ll absorb a significant amount of magnesium through your skin with a nightly bath of 2 cups Epsom salts, 1/2 cup baking soda along with soothing lavender essential oil.
4. Foot Soak + Mustard Powder
Another hydrotherapy option is a hot foot bath. Putting your feet in hot water dilates the blood vessels in your feet and constricts the blood flow to the head. Adding a tablespoon or two of mustard powder will help remove toxins through the feet. Soak for 20 minutes, adding new water to keep it hot. You can also put an ice pack behind your head while you soak.
5. Ginger Tea + Coffee
I’ll admit that one of the first things I try when I feel a headache coming on is a bit of caffeine. In fact, clinical trials have shown that caffeine can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches. But don’t go overboard, because coffee will dehydrate you, leading you back to tip #1!
If a bit off caffeine doesn’t help, try a cup of ginger tea. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that’s long been used to fight headaches and nausea. It’s easy to make a tea with a bit of fresh ginger.
What natural ways have you found to stop a headache?3