Feverfew & Butterbur
Headaches, particularly migraines, can be relieved through the use of the Feverfew & Butterbur plants. When a migraine is in the works your blood vessels are changing, and theories suggest that the vessels in your head are expanding and pressing on nerves. Feverfew has been confirmed to relax the tension/constrict blood vessels, easing the painful pressure. It also reduces inflammation and pain overall with a substance called parthenolide, which has results similar to taking a daily aspirin, but without the side effects.
You will need…
-1 ounce fresh or dried flowers
-1 pint of boiling water
Add 1 ounce of fresh or dried feverfew flowers to 1 pint of boiling one. Steep for 10 minutes, and then strain. Drink half a cup twice a day as needed.
Butterbur acts as a natural beta-blocker, which results in normal flow of blood to the brain - which in turn can help control blood pressure/spasmodic capillaries that cause migraines. Usual adult dosage is 50-100mg, twice daily to reduce severity - check with your medical professional before using Butterbur & find a brand labeled PA-free.
Ginger & Cayenne
Ginger contains oils that have anti-inflammatory & pain-relieving effects, this oil is also effective at treating nausea & vomiting. Ginger extracts may also increase serotonin, which can help reduce inflammation. Ginger comes in many really easy to use forms: capsules, powders, tincture, essential oil, tea, lozenges, etc. Ginger can be used topically (diluted) on the temples, forehead & back of neck. The aroma can reduce nausea,
Cayenne has been used for a long time to treat pain & inflammation. The Capsaicin in cayenne inhibits "Substance P" which is part of what makes us feel pain - the capsaicin depletes it.
I like making little ginger shots with cayenne & turmeric. Take 2-3oz of water (or coconut water) and add 1/2 t of fresh grated ginger, pinch of turmeric & cayenne, & squeeze of lemon.
Magnesium & Potassium
Magnesium has the ability to block pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain. Taking 200-600mg of Mag every day can reduce the frequency of HA's. One of my favorite products is CalMag from Natural Vitality - its a powder supplement that you add to water. Start with the recommended dose on the bottle and increase 1/2 teaspoon each day until you have comfortable stools - once you have loose stools, go back 1/2 teaspoon. Your body's need for Magnesium won't always be the same, so let your bowel movements be your guide! Foods that are high in magnesium include: Avocados, Legumes, Seeds, Bananas, Spinach, Kale, & Tuna.
Potassium can also help to alleviate the pain associated with headaches. Foods high in potassium: Apricots, Prunes, Lentils, Bananas, Potatoes (skin too), OJ, Cashews, & Salmon.
Chiropractic Adjustment or Acupuncture
Chiropractic adjustments help alleviate the stress of your system, including stress to the Central Nervous System and spinal column, Chiropractic care can reduce the amount of oxidative stress in the body just like an antioxidant would. Oxidative stress damages all cellular components in the body - this happens when free radicals outnumber the antioxidants within the system. Several clinical studies have shown chiropractic care reduced headaches & was an excellent treatment for reducing intensity.
Acupuncture, a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been used for thousands of years. Acupuncture helps to move energy throughout the body, called Qi, by stimulating certain points on the body. Acupressure is also extremely helpful in moving energy when you don't have access to an Acupuncturist. Just do a quick internet search of "acupressure points for headaches" to find photos or videos. Some of these points are called:
- Tai Chong or Liver 3
- He Gu or Large Intestine 4
- Zu Ling Qi or Gallbladder 41
Dehydration can play a huge roll in HA - a great rule of thumb - is drinking half your weight in oz each day. Coconut Water is filled with electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium. It may also have antioxidant properties, benefits against diabetes, help prevent kidney disease, & the ability to reduce blood pressure,
There are several other nutritious fruits & veggies that are incredibly hydrating & can also help alleviate headaches:
Belladonna - R-sided, throbbing from back of head to R eye, skin hot, face flushed, feels like lying in dark, quiet room, sensitive to noise, touch, & strong smells.
Bryonia - forehead, L eye, extends throughout entire head, worse w/movement, better w/stillness & pressure, constipation, nausea, vomiting, thirst, irritability, wants to be alone.
Gelsemium - dull/heavy pain on R side/back of neck, might feel like tight band around head, dizzy, tired, blurry vision.
Sepia - headaches related to hormone fluctuation.
Ignatia - back/neck spasms, feels like nails in head, HA usually triggered by trauma or grief.
Nux Vomica - stress/food/overwork/alcohol/allergies, may feel nausea, stomachache, constipation, vertigo, worsen w/light, noise, & opening eyes.
Pulsatilla - menstrual cycles, location of HA changes quickly, worsened by stuffy rooms, or heat, better in open air.
Lycopodium - R temple/forehead, worsen when over-heated, going too long w/o eating, or between 4pm-8pm,
Peppermint & Lavender Essential Oils
When using EO's on the body, it is important to use high-quality, therapeutic-grade oils from a trusted company.
Peppermint has a cooling effect on the skin, can increase blood flow & has been shown to ease pain from tension HA's. It can be used aromatically by inhaling, topically by rolling across the forehead, temples, & along the neck, and some even apply one drop to the tongue & then hold the tongue to the roof of the mouth.
Lavender has calming effects and is said to be able to balance the body & work wherever it is needed. It can be used aromatically, topically, & internally as well. Lavender can serve the Cardiovascular & Nervous System, provide emotional balance, and aid skin ailments. Putting a few drops into your hands and then rubbing on your forehead & temples, then cupping your hands to your nose and taking several deep breaths may help too.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV has a long history in the realm of natural remedies - used for deodorant, reflux, scurvy, hay fever, facials, you name it - its good for everything. For HA's, you can use ACV as a steam therapy, or even in a detox bath.
For the Steam you'll need...
- 1/4 cup of ACV
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 cup cool water
Pour ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a large bowl, and then fill the bowl halfway with boiling water. Place a towel over your head so that it drapes over the bowl, trapping the steam, and hold your face over it. Make sure your face isn’t so close that it gets burned by the steam. Do this for 5-10 minutes, or when the water starts to cool down, breathing in and out deeply the whole time. When you’re done, use the towel to pat your face dry, and go drink a glass of cool water.
Add 2 cups ACV to hot bath water. It'll draw excess uric acid out of the body, and provides joint pain, arthritis, gout and headache relief. ACV can also soothe sunburn, heal poison ivy, kill fungus and tone your skin — so there are some extra health benefits to this easy headache remedy.
Visualization, Breath & Energy Work
Folks have a tendency to hold their breath when experiencing discomfort, and the use of our breath is a severely underestimated tool for pain management.
How we breathe has an immediate effect on pain and by altering our breathing pattern, we can either increase or reduce pain. Improving your breathing habits give you access to a powerful tool for pain relief.
Calm Breathing is something I teach in my childbirth class but you definitely don't have to be expecting to use it! Close your eyes, take a deep breath, expanding your belly, visualizing your breath moving straight to the place where you have discomfort - breathe in to a count of 4 and then all the way out to a count of 8.
Repeat this as many times as you need to while allowing the discomfort to move through and out of your body.