Ahh, headaches. Whether they’re caused by staring at a computer screen or the aftermath
of a big night out, they’re always completely debilitating. There’s something about having a tight band of pressure around your head that makes doing even the simplest things about 10,000 times harder. So when life gets busy and a nasty headache strikes, it can be tempting to reach for the Panadol and get on with it. But popping painkillers like they’re peanut-covered M & Ms has been linked to health issues like digestive problems and liver and kidney damage. Luckily, you don’t have to delve into the medicine cabinet every time a headache rears its ugly head. There are plenty of tried and tested natural remedies that are just as effective in treating headaches:
1. Grab some ginger tea
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger works wonders for easing headaches. By drinking ginger tea as soon as you feel a headache coming on, you may be able to ward off the pain. We love the Three Ginger Tea from Pukka. Otherwise, you can make your own by grinding half a teaspoon of ginger and stirring it into boiled water.
2. Sniff peppermint
By keeping a vial of peppermint oil on your desk, you can be prepared for when a headache hits. Taking a whiff of the herbal aroma has been proven to relieve stress-related headaches. The AVEDA peppermint oil is a super refreshing and invigorating option. You can also massage the oil directly into your temples to help reduce tension.
3. Kick it with Cayenne
Capasaicin (an ingredient in cayenne peppers) has been proven to kill headaches by desensitising nerve endings. But don’t worry, you don’t have to scoff a handful of chili to reap the benefits. Try mixing 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne with 1/2 a glass of water. Stir it up, then dunk a q-tip in the mixture. Apply the q-tip to the inside of your nostrils, until you can feel the heat from the cayenne. You’ll feel a slight burning sensation at first, but once the discomfort wears off you’ll most likely find that your headache has too!
4. Take magnesium
The superstar mineral magnesium is known for its many uses, from supporting muscle and nerve function to regulating blood sugar levels. But did you know it can also be used to relieve migraines? This is because the supplement is thought to affect changes in blood vessels in the brain. Research shows that people with migraines often have low levels of magnesium. Because of this, magnesium is often used to treat people with recurring migraines (as well as for short-term relief). Try Swisse Ultiboost Magnesium for your daily dose. Otherwise, if you’re not keen on taking your magnesium in vitamin form, you can drink it! Try Unique Water’s magnesium-enriched mineralised water.
5. Soak it up
Believe it or not, soaking your feet in a relaxing footbath can fend off headaches. This is because drawing blood to the feet eases the pressure on blood vessels in the head. If you can’t make it to a foot spa, just fill up your bathtub or a bucket with some warm water. For added luxury, try adding a mineral-enriched body wash like Origins Salt Suds Foaming Body Wash to the water. You can also add some hot mustard powder to the water for extra healing eat!
6. Drink a coffee
Yep, we’re giving you permission to hit up your local cafe for a latte. There’s a good reason caffeine is a common ingredient in a lot of pain relief medications. Your trusty cup of joe has been proven to relieve headaches, as it constricts blood vessels. Just make sure you steer clear of mochas or cappuccinos: chocolate can trigger headaches and make them worse.
7. Ave’ an avo
While you’re at the cafe, why not treat yourself to some avo on toast? Due to it being rich in magnesium, avocado has been shown to help alleviate headache pain. For a double dose of magnesium, try pairing it with some spinach and salmon. Yum!
8. Tie it up
Next time you have a headache, try this clever trick. Tie a headband, scarf or tie around your head, then tighten it to the point where you can feel pressure. Reducing the blood flow to your scalp can help to relieve the pain caused by swollen blood vessels.
9. Smell some green apple
An apple a day really does keep the doctor away! Green apples, to be exact. Research shows that smelling the fruit can reduce the severity of headaches. In case you’re wondering if eating a green apple has the same effect: unfortunately not. Inhalation has is the most effective method, as the chemical messengers in the brain have direct access to the brain. Feel free to eat it after you give it a whiff, though!
10. Massage your fingers
This trick is so simple, it’s hard to believe it actually works! When you feel a headache is on its way, locate the pressure point between your thumb and index finger. Using your other hand, massage this spot until you feel your headache subsiding.
11. Pop some vitamin B2
Just like magnesium, vitamin B2 (also known as Riboflavin), boasts a myriad of health benefits. It’s great for maintaining your energy levels, boosting your nervous system and as it turns out, relieving headaches! Taking the vitamin daily can also help prevent future migraines for frequent sufferers. Try Solgar Vitamin B2 Riboflavin.
12. Do a cider compress
Apple cider vinegar has been used to treat everything from scurvy to hay fever for centuries. It’s also a natural remedy for headaches! Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the taste of the sour liquid: doing a compress is just as effective. Just fill a bowl with 1/4 cup ACV, 3 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of cold water. Place a towel over your head so that it drapes over the bowl, trapping the steam, and hold your face over. After 5 to 10 minutes, you should be headache-free!
13. Go nuts
Tossing back a handful of almonds can help reduce your painful headache. They’re naturally high in salicin, which is a pain-relief agent found in many medications. However, steer clear if you’ve also got a sore jaw or you have a migraine steer clear: they can make your symptoms worse.