We know for a fact that everyone on this planet has suffered from a headache at least once in their lives. It is definitely one of the most annoying problems we face on a regular basis and surprisingly it is very common. There are a variety of headaches that one can suffer from and ache in this huge spectrum of headaches varies from cause to cause. There are mild headaches, then there are headaches due to cold and flu, or headaches due to anxiety and stress, headaches due to lack of sleep or headaches that are extreme, throbbing and last a very long period of time.
Did you know? There are many factors that can cause headaches. From emotional factors triggering pain in your head to food related issues – gastric headaches, hunger headaches, or too much MSG in the soup headaches, hormonal imbalance headaches to brain freeze or overworked brain causing headaches and the list goes on and on.
If your headaches recur often or you are prone to severe, throbbing pain, it is important to consult a medical practitioner and get it tested. This could be anything from migraine to sinus to a tumor and should not be neglected. If you fall in the other category, this article is for you.
Do you track your headache patterns?
Before we proceed, I would like to ask you a few questions. Since how long have you been suffering from headaches? Is it recurring or happens once in you don’t even know how many days? Do you know the reasons behind your headaches? What helps you to get rid of the pain – rest, exercise or medication?
It is important to chart down the factors that trigger the pain in your head. Not only will it help you take the right medicine but will also ensure that you can manage to curb down the pain right when it starts.
A majority of people across the country are accustomed to treating headaches with painkillers. Yup, it does provide quick relief. However, have you ever wondered how harmful they can be? Every suffered from an upset stomach or acidity after taking a painkiller?
This not-so-expensive-quick-medication is a big no-no in natural and holistic healing. In fact, just to let you know these painkillers, including ibuprofen, severely harm your kidney and liver. You can read in detail about how these drugs act on your liver and how can you prevent it here.
Whatever the reason behind your headaches is, we want you to know that there are ample of natural home remedies available for alleviating headaches.
Amongst the many natural remedies, there is one that highlights using the essential oil of peppermint for headaches. And here’s is why:
Why should you use peppermint oil for headaches?
Peppermint oil is derived from a herb that is a mixture of spearmint and watermint. Peppermint has been used in natural remedies for cold, headaches, nausea, indigestion and a lot of other things. You can read about the versatile uses of peppermint oil here.
Peppermint oil is an effective headache reliever. It is revered for its calming and numbing properties, and its high menthol content. Menthol is the biochemical that soothes your nerves.
Research: A 1996 study conducted on 41 patients suggests that if the application of peppermint oil is within the first 30 minutes of the headache, there sure would be signs of relief. The oil of peppermint was considered as the natural pain reliever with no side effects.
Also, the oil of peppermint can be used for people who suffer from migraines. Replace the medications and painkillers every time you experience a trigger and resort to a quick massage from peppermint oil on the temples and the forehead.
How to use peppermint oil for headaches?
There are four different ways of using peppermint oil for headaches. We have listed each of them below in detail:
1. Peppermint oil massage for headaches
Method 1: Mix about 3 to 4 drops of peppermint essential oil in a tablespoon of a carrier oil like coconut or olive and blend them together.
Massage this blend topically over your forehead, temples, neck, shoulders, behind the ears and behind the neck. Massage your feet using this oil blend and you can apply a few drops of the mixture right under your nose and on your wrists too.
Tip: Peppermint oil when used with coconut oil boosts blood circulation and instantly shows effective results in decreasing pain.
Method 2: Blend peppermint essential oil in water and store this mixture in a dark coloured glass bottle. Keep it away from light. Every time you experience the ache, dip a cotton swab into the mixture and apply it on your forehead and temples.
Based on the intensity of your headache, you can dip the cotton either once or a couple of times. This is needed because the oil has been diluted and will take some time to start showing results. You should feel better in about 30 minutes. Reapply the mixture as and when needed.
Note: Newbies typically use peppermint oil directly on their skin without giving it a much thought. However, it is important to know that essential oils – of all kinds – can be extremely harmful. And oils like peppermint that are potent. They should never be directly applied.
2. Peppermint oil steam therapy for headaches:
The second way if using peppermint oil for headaches is by inhaling its fumes. If your headache has been induced due to sinus, this therapy would work wonders for you.
Method 1: Take a pot and boil some water. Place the pot on a heat resistant surface such that you are able to breathe in the steam. Now add a few drops of peppermint oil to this water. Drape a towel over your head to not let the steam escape. Inhale these fumes for at least 10 minutes or as long as you can. Take a break in between if needed. Repeat the process a few times a day if required.
Tip: Instead of a pot, you could also use an electric kettle or a steamer.
Method 2: If you are suffering from recurring headaches, especially due to stress, this therapy should work like magic on you. Gift yourself a diffuser. Place it in and around your workspace and at home. Whenever you start to feel the pressure or are under stress, quickly light up your space with the aroma if peppermint oil.
Not only will the fragrance lingering around you induce calming hormones in your body, but it will also help you alleviate the recurring process of headaches.
Caution: Our body adapts very soon to the ever changing environment. Exposing yourself to the aroma every now and then will reduce the calming effects. Hence, we recommend that you use this therapy only when needed. Alternatively, you can apply a drop or two of the oil (mixed in a carrier oil) to your wrists to stay refreshed.
Tip: The effect of the technique multiplies manifolds when the essential oil of peppermint and the essential oil of lavender are mixed and diffused together. Lavender is an antidepressant and mood uplifter. Also, it helps in inducing sleep, thus, allowing the body to relax.
3. Ingesting peppermint essential oil for headaches
Another one of the most revered ways of treating your headache using peppermint oil is by ingesting peppermint tea.
How to prepare peppermint tea to cure headaches: It’s quite simple and effective. All you need to do is boil the water and add tea leaves to it. Preferably green tea. Take down the tea off the stove and pour it into a mug. Add a few drops of the peppermint oil to it. Sip the tea while it is still hot. This process can be repeated about 2 to 3 times a day based on the severity of the headache.
Note: Do check that the oil you are using can be ingested before pro wedding with this step.
4. Take a peppermint bath
This probably is the most refreshing of all therapies available. Once a week, take a warm bath and soak yourself in the aroma of peppermint oil. You can add lavender oil to your bathtub too. Let your body relax while the oils work their magic on your nerves.
How to control migraine attacks using peppermint oil?
First things first. If you suffer from migraine, then by now you must be aware of the fact that there can only be prevention for migraine. There are no cures for treating this problem permanently. However, wise and proper usage of therapies can help you prevent the onset to quite an extent.
Always maintain your headache journal. No matter what therapy you take, it is essential to maintain the records of things that trigger the pain. The triggers could be anything from light to sound to food to your mood or more. This journal will help you track a pattern that is responsible for causing headaches.
Based on the triggers you identify, resort to one of the above mentioned therapies. Also, always carry the essential oil with you if you are going to get into a situation that can induce pain. By doing something just as simple as inhaling the oil directly from the bottle once or twice, you can control and sometimes even prevent the pain.
Who should not use peppermint oil?
A pregnant woman or a nursing mother should never use peppermint essential oil. Neither should you use it on an infant or a child. Using peppermint oil on a child’s face may cause spasms and breathing problems.
One should not ingest peppermint oil if they take anti-rejection drug cyclosporine or medications for high blood pressure or diabetes medication. Peppermint oil can also affect the gallbladder and make gallstones worse.
If you are consuming antacids with peppermint oil, that may lead to heartburn. Never, without proper research and updates from your health practitioner, should you consume peppermint oil in excessive quantities or try different peppermint preparations. The oil has not been tested on children and should not be used for treating children below the age of 8 without medical approval.
What are the side-effects of using peppermint oil for headaches?
While there are no chances of side effects if the oil is used in the ways as advised and within the limits, however, some people can be affected by its usage. The reasons vary from person to person. The primary side effects can be related to heartburn, rashes, redness on skin or allergic reactions. One can get mouth ulcers in ingesting more than the required amount of the oil. While applying the oil on the forehead, always avoid the eye area as the oil might cause eye irritation. Excessive use of the oil can also lead to dizziness.
A word of caution: Always buy 100% pure essential oil for the best results.
You can buy the oils from reputed stores online such as Amazon.com or from other stores like Aura Cacia, Mountain Rose Herbs, Essential Vitality, Young Living, do Terra or more.
Besides using the peppermint essential oil and other natural remedies to cure headaches, you can also include a few foods in your diet that prevent headaches and migraine attacks:
Foods that you can eat to prevent headaches:
- Potato: Unlike the popular belief that potato only helps you get fat, this superfood is rich in both energy and vitamins. Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 – a vitamin extremely important for your brain to function properly.
- Watermelon: The fruit is rich in electrolytes. It prevents dehydration and helps in flushing out toxins from the body. These unwanted toxins are amongst the major causes that trigger headaches.
- Banana: A banana is day is a must for everyone and more so if you are prone to headaches. Banana is rich in magnesium and helps boost the production of estrogen that in turn calms your nerves down. Interesting, right?
- Whole wheat bread: It is a form of carb that helps us produce endorphins. These endorphins are known to make us happy and therefore, there would be no headache.
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds is a super healthy form of snack that you can include in your diet. It is rich in copper and calcium. Copper is the key element required to ease the blood vessels.
Apart from these superfoods, you can include walnut, goji berries, black beans, honey, and mulberries in your diet.
We hope that these little secrets will help you get rid of headaches. Do share your secret tips with us in the comments below.
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