Headaches can hit for many different reasons, and though they can often be treated with pain relievers or other medicines, many people look for alternatives.
The easy way out is, of course, to pop a painkiller, maybe even indulge in acupressure, sip on some chamomile tea. And we’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of that pounding headache. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 natural home remedies that will zap the pain from your debilitating headache.
It is essential that you avoid headache-inducing substances like MSG (monosodium glutamate), excessive caffeine, alcohol, phenylethylamine found in chocolate and cheese, tyramine found in nuts and fermented meats and soy, and aspartame present in many artificially sweetened foods. If you start getting a headache, steer clear of all devices including your phone, laptop, and TV. Eat healthily, and at regular intervals since a drop in blood sugar can set the stage for headaches. At least three times a week, if not more, spend 30 minutes exercising. And always, we mean always, stay hydrated.
1. Ginger, The All-Rounder
Touted as an elixir for headaches, Ginger is a home remedy for instant relief. It helps reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, hence easing the pain. And since it stimulates digestion, it also helps quell nausea which occurs during migraines.
4. Make Time for Thyme
To relieve headache pain, dab a drop or two of thyme or rosemary essential oil on each temple and your forehead. Rub gently into the skin, then sit quietly for several minutes to let this home remedy work.
5. Basic Stretches
A few simple exercises to stretch your head and neck can help reduce the intensity of a headache. Move your chin upwards and downwards, left and right, and bend your neck sideways towards each shoulder. You can also try to slowly rotate the neck in clockwise and anticlockwise directions to help the shoulder and neck muscles relax. So when a headache looms, you know what to do.
6. Heat Up or Cool Down?
Applying an ice pack to the back of your neck can give relief from a migraine since the cold from the ice helps reduce inflammation that contributes to headaches. Plus, it has a numbing effect on the pain. And believe it or not, just soaking your feet in hot water also helps get rid of a headache. For a severe headache, add a bit of hot mustard powder to the water. “You can also place a washcloth dipped in ice-cold or hot water over your head for 5 minutes. Repeat the process several times”, recommends Dr. Ahuja.
7. Crazy for Cloves
Cloves can be used to ease a throbbing headache due to its cooling and pain-relieving properties. Crush a few cloves gently and put them in a sachet or a clean handkerchief. Inhale the smell of the crushed cloves whenever you have a headache until you get some relief from the pain. You can also put two drops of clove oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil plus sea salt and gently massage your forehead and temples with it.
8. Basil is the Best
A strong-scented herb which is used for natural headache treatment, it has many analgesic benefits. The oil works as a muscle relaxant and helps get rid of headaches caused by tension and tight muscles. You can put 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves in a cup of boiling water and let it simmer. Add a little honey and sip the tea slowly. You can also chew some fresh basil leaves, or inhale the steam after boiling basil in a pot of water.
9. Apple a Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Both apples and apple cider vinegar can be used to fight off a headache. They help restore the acid-alkaline balance in the body. “Mix a half cup of apple cider vinegar with a half cup of water and boil the mixture in a covered saucepan. Remove from heat, hold a towel over your head and slowly inhale the steam. This will provide instant relief from sinus headaches”, says Dr. Supriya Bali, Max Hospitals.
If you wake up with a headache, just eat a piece of apple sprinkled with salt, and drink some warm water after. Or add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water, with honey and a splash of lemon juice. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
10. The Power of Prevention
Could striking a “camel pose” asana ease your aching head? Yes, Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to boost relaxation. It will get your mind focused, stretch out your muscles, and get you moving in ways that can help you drop the tension. Regularly practicing yoga is the best thing to do, after all, prevention is better than cure.
Tip: Make a conscious effort to take deep, full breaths that start in your diaphragm and fill up your lungs. This will get plenty of fresh oxygen circulating through your blood and will also help relax your mind and body.
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