Headaches are one of the most common of physical complaints. Some people suffer from them on occasion, while others wrestle with headaches on a regular basis, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t experienced one. Headaches strike us in various locations in our head and neck regions, and attack with varying degrees of strength. Some headaches you can tolerate, others need some taming, and others still can literally be debilitating, leaving us bedridden in the dark and begging for sleep to render us unconscious.
The pain of a headache is thought to begin with the trigeminal nerve, located in the brain stem. When typical headache “triggers” are present (such as noise, stress, pain) the trigeminal nerve is stimulated and releases a burst of neurotransmitters. (Chemicals that pass impulses from one nerve to the next.) This then triggers a secondary response, in which serotonin is promptly released. There is a direct link between serotonin levels and headaches. Serotonin acts as a “filter” to screen out “noises”, while still admitting signals that demand our attention such as a baby crying, or our name being called out. Under normal circumstances, the serotonin circulating within your system will counteract any possible “triggers” from manifesting into a headache.
For the most part, when you are suffering a headache, your serotonin levels at that time are lower than they should be. Scientific tests have shown an amazingly direct correlation between serotonin and headaches. When test subjects were injected with a drug that depletes serotonin, they got headaches. Likewise, when they were injected with serotonin, the headaches went away. This is the case for the majority of headache sufferers. Remember, some headaches and migraines are possible signs of a heart or stroke incident, and warrant immediate medical attention. ANY headache that has a sudden onset and is severe, needs prompt emergency evaluation!
Common Headache “Triggers”
* Lack of Sleep
* Hormonal Changes / Fluctuations (puberty-PMS-menopause-andropause, etc)
* Extreme Weather (heat/cold/humidity)
* Chemical Additives In Foods
* Bright and/or Strobing Lights
* Sound (piercing or loud)
* Cold or Flu
* “Computer-itis” (sitting in front of a computer screen too long)
Below are some effective Home Headache Remedies that won’t tax your liver, like regularly popping pain reliever products will, and many people state they experience rapid relief using these natural remedies. With any headache, the remedy is always more effective the sooner you apply it. Try not to wait to see if the headache passes. It is always best to try and “shake down” a headache in its early stages vs. getting “behind” the pain.
Home Headache Remedies
Hot Foot Bath – This remedy brings amazingly quick relief for most headaches. Soak your feet only in a hot basin of water. You want it to be 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. This quickly diverts the blood supply from your throbbing head, down to your feet. Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes, then immediately lay down for 15-20 minutes.
Cool Cloth & Peppermint – Take a couple washcloths, soak them with water and then wring out thoroughly. Place them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and then place a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil onto each cloth. Place one on the base of your neck, and hold the other to your forehead. Keep cloths in place for at least 15 minutes, after which time you should already start to notice your headache diminishing. This exact same application can be done using Lavender Essential Oil as well. Some people respond better to the peppermint, while others respond better to the lavender. Make sure you only use true essential oils, and never place them directly on your skin.
Essential Oil Massage – Using either of the same essential oils mentioned above, peppermint essential oil or lavender essential oil, you can also place 2-3 drops of either of these oils into 1 Tbsp of olive oil, coconut oil, etc, and swish gently to mix. Next, you’ll put this mixture onto the pads of your fingers, and gently massage your pain source points for 5 minutes or so. (temples, base of neck, forehead, top of head, etc)
Apple Cider Vinegar – This is another amazing headache remedy, that can be applied one of two ways (or both). The first method is to take 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and stir into 8-12 oz of WARM water. You might feel an instant kind of “un-ease” in your stomach, which will quickly pass. Untold numbers of people who use this remedy method, claim it offers them very quick relief from their headache. And, those who suffer from chronic headaches can find relief by taking this “headache cocktail” twice daily (before breakfast and dinner), to prevent those headaches from occurring in the first place.
The second method of using apple cider vinegar, is to make a facial steam tent. Boil some water, and after taking it off the heat, add in 1/2-1 cup of apple cider vinegar, depending on the size of the pot. Place a large towel over your head and hold your face into the steam of the hot vinegar water, with your eyes closed. Either method is said to bring relief in a matter of minutes. (If the vinegar steam makes you cough, then dilute it with more water.)
Ginger – This remedy will help relieve the excruciating pressure building up inside your head, and take away that “exploding” sensation. Mix enough powdered ginger and cold water together in a small bowl, to make a thin, smooth paste. Then apply to the forehead and temples with the back of a large spoon. Now just lay down. You should start feeling relief within 15 minutes. Ginger is also effective when made into a strong tea, to dampen any nausea and/or vomiting that might be present as well.
Ginger & Chive Tea – A simple remedy for relieving headaches due to sinus congestion caused by colds and flu, is to make this simple tea with ginger and chives. Into approximately 1 cup of boiling water, add 1 1/2 Tbsps of finely chopped chives and 1/2 tsp of finely shredded ginger root. Cover with a plate and let steep for an hour. Strain and drink lukewarm. Headache usually reduces, or goes away within 20 minutes or less. This can be repeated as often as necessary, if you are experiencing frequent headaches during an illness.
Listerine Compress – This remedy sounds intriguing doesn’t it? The commercial mouthwash Listerine contains a lot of thymol and eucalyptol from eucalyptus. Both of these constituents really help to relax the muscles when they are exposed to heat and then applied to the surface of the skin. Just bring a couple of cups of Listerine to JUST UNDER A BOIL, or until quite hot. Remove from the heat and drop 2-3 washcloths into the hot liquid. When tolerable to touch, wring out the cloths and place them on forehead and base of the neck. DO NOT DRINK THIS LIQUID! It is for compresses use only.
Whether you suffer from only the occasional headache or more troublesome chronic headaches, try implementing these home headache remedies for quick and natural headache relief.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews