Dr. Nada Milosavljevic
2 NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR BATTLING A HEADACHE
Everyday life can be hectic, and it is easy to forget to take time out for ourselves. More and more of us are suffering from headaches due to stress and related lifestyle factors. With the holidays fast upon us, instead of letting headaches taking over our time meant to be spent with family and friends, we’d like to introduce you to some revitalizing smells and tastes around us that can help alleviate this common nuisance.
Whether you experience stress or allergy related headaches, or feel simply run down, taking proactive measures and reducing your stress levels by making positive lifestyle changes can make all the difference. Incorporating essential oils and teas into your daily routine can help you destress and combat headache and allergy symptoms naturally. Below are two natural ingredients we think are worth investing in if you are regularly affected by headaches.
Peppermint is believed to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. The use of peppermint as an herbal medicine dates back to 1,500 BC and dried peppermint leaves were even discovered in ancient Egyptian pyramids. Peppermint was so highly valued by the Egyptians that it was used as a form of currency. The scientific name for peppermint is Mentha piperita, and it is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint. It has become one of the most popular herbs in alternative medicine for its range of health benefits.
One of these benefits is that it can serve as an effective, natural headache reliever. Peppermint essential oil and peppermint tea both offer anti-inflammatory effects to help combat headaches. Research has suggested (although more studies are needed) that peppermint can improve blood flow, increase oxygen delivery and help to unblock sinuses. Additionally, peppermint oil has a number of properties that work to relieve the symptoms of headache brought on by sinus pressure or stress. A main component of peppermint oil is menthol, which has a direct cooling effect on the body, making it useful in pain relief as it imparts a numbing effect.
How to Use:
Applying peppermint oil onto your forehead and temples, in droplet or towelette form, can produce a pleasant cooling effect to help combat the symptoms of a headache.
You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of steaming water, cover your head with a towel, close your eyes, and inhale through your nose. The sinus-opening properties of the oil in the steam will help reduce the painful pressure of a sinus headache.
A cup of peppermint tea at the onset of a headache can help relax the body and produce a cooling effect to reduce the discomfort often experienced with headaches. In addition, peppermint can help calm intestinal spasm and relax the gut. This translates in relief for an upset stomach which can often accompany headache and stress.
Cinnamon has been used by humans for thousands of years and is native to Sri Lanka and the southeastern coast of India. Currently, this spice is grown in the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. As early as 2,000 B.C., Egyptians used cinnamon as a perfuming agent during mummification, where it was regarded as a gift “fit for kings”. Evidence suggests that Arab traders first introduced cinnamon to Europe, where it proved equally popular. During medieval times, doctors used cinnamon in treating conditions such as coughing, sore throat, and arthritis.
Nowadays, cinnamon is recognized for its many health benefits and high levels of antioxidants. Scientifically named Cinnamomum verum, it has active compounds that can help reduce the symptoms of headaches as well as upset stomach. It can support blood flow and has anti-inflammatory properties which can ease swelling. Most of cinnamon’s powerful health benefits are linked to a particular compound called cinnamaldehyde.
How to Use:
Inhale cinnamon essential oil or enjoy a cup or two of cinnamon tea when suffering from headache pain from blocked sinuses or high levels of stress and tension. Long used as a culinary spice cinnamon can help ease headache pain and stomach discomfort as well as provide a hefty dose of antioxidants like polyphenols.