A headache (in medical terms known as cephalalgia) can be described as pain in the region of the neck or head.
As per the survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation, 45 million Americans suffer from recurring, chronic headaches and around 28 million suffer from migraines.
Causes of Headaches
The causes are common colds, dental or sinus issues, viral infections, stress, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, eye strain, pollution, noise level, weather changes, sleep deprivation and the effects can be more in case of allergies and recreational drugs.
Headaches can also result from a blow to the head or it can be a serious underlying medical condition. The normal causes of headaches, as found by doctors, have been found to be skipping meals that lead to low levels of nutrients in the body. Another reason is dehydration, and best way to cure a headache is to drink two cool glasses of water and take rest.
12 Home Remedies For Headaches For Faster Relief
1 .Ginger & Lemon
The ginger and lemon mixture can reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the head. Result – helps get rid of a headache.
- Take a lemon and three teaspoons of ginger. Crush the lemon to make juice. For ginger, you can chop them into tiny pieces and then boil in water.
- You can combine both the juice and make a mixture. Ensure the juice is made warm before you make the combination.
- Consume the mixture slowly, sip by sip. Do not gulp down the mixture juice.
- Note: You can make a paste of one teaspoon of ginger with equal amount of water and place it on the forehead for ten minutes. The same mixture can be boiled and you can inhale the vapor.
Although ginger contains many active medical ingredients, the two components responsible for reducing a headache are gingerol & shogaol. The two possess the ability to reduce inflammation, which can give relief in case of headache. The additional advantage is regulation of blood circulation in the blood vessels of the brain having the same medicinal positive effect.
2. Peppermint Leaves
Mint juice has been, from ancient times, used in effective treatment for a headache.
- Take a handful of mint leaves from the kitchen. After cutting the leaves into small pieces, boil them in a bowl with two cups of water.
- The juice can be then rubbed on the forehead as well as the temple to get relief.
- Do not throw the used mint leaves. The second time, boil the mixture and cover the face with a towel to inhale the vapor.
The primary components of peppermint leaves are menthol that can speed up the blood circulation in blocked vessels around the brain. However, do not apply the remedy, if you have the following problems:
3. Basil Leaves
A simple product in the kitchen, it can be effectively used to cure minor headaches caused by strain and stress. Other benefits are its analgesic and calming effects.
- Take five basil leaves and the required quantity of water for making a small drink.
- Pour the mixture in a bowl and heat it. You can add a teaspoon of honey to the boiling water. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
- Make the mixture warm and sip it slowly.
Basil is one of the best home remedies for headaches, as it contains a chemical called ‘eugenol’ (along with carvacrol, thymol and 4-allylphenol having strong anti-oxidant properties). This method can be regarded as one of the best home remedy to be used against headache.
- When you get mild headaches, before popping a pill, you will take five or six almonds and munch them .
In case of tension headache, almonds can be an alternative as it has the main medicinal product salicin. Salicin is considered an anti-inflammatory agent; large amount of magnesium in almonds can make the muscles relax and reduce the excitability of nerves.
The other medical component is known as tryptophans found in almonds. Tryptophans get converted into serotonin in the body and it is effective in reducing the effects of migraine.
Twenty percent of adolescents and children also suffer from headaches due to indigestion or medication allergic to their body and changes in lifestyle.
5. Lavender Oil
Do you know that simply inhaling the perfume of lavender oil can assist in relieving of tension headaches? This oil has also been found useful in reducing symptoms of headaches linked with migraine.
- Take three drops of lavender oil and one bowl of water.
- Boil the water for ten minutes; put the three drops of lavender oil in water and inhale the mixture.
- Alternate method: You can also add two drops of lavender oil and the same amount of olive oil, make a mixture and rub it on your forehead.
The high percentage of esters (linalyl acetate) present in lavender essential oil is known to possess sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. This method is best suited for the evening hours. The other components to make a mark are coumarin compounds. They can assist in dilating or opening up of blood vessels thus reducing the symptoms of headache.
6. Eucalyptus oil or Chamomile Essential Oil
You can use, in similar ways to lavender oil, Eucalyptus oil and Chamomile Oils. All these are best headache remedies. They offer faster relief.
Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiate contain the medicinal compound known as the oxide 1,8-Cineole which can act both as an expectorant and possess anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce symptoms of headache. This process is useful for sinus headaches.
Like lavender, roman chamomile essential oil contains in abundance, esters (isobutyl angelate) having sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon is one of the best ways to get rid of headaches.
- You can take four cinnamon sticks, grind them into fine powder.
- Let minimum water be added to make a fine paste.
- The fine paste should be applied on to the forehead and temples.
- You can take rest for some time and wipe the paste off with warm water.
The important medicinal component is cinnamaldehyde, along with other beneficial compounds such as eugenol, linalool, methyl chavicol. They act together in opening up the areas where there is compression of blood vessels in the head etc.
If you are having cinnamon tea, let it be known that this spice contains manganese, iron, calcium and iron that can effectively cure not only headache but also other problems.
You are allergic to cinnamon. Irritation symptoms can happen. So, it is wise to test on a small part of the arm or leg before applying on the face.
It was used by medical practitioners to regulate the blood pressure upon ingestion.
- Take half teaspoon of pepper powder, five ounces of boiling water and three cotton swabs.
- Put the pepper powder in the boiling water and let it stay for five minutes.
- Dip the cotton swab in the water and hold it to your nostril.
- You might feel a burning sensation in the initial stages, but it will ebb in passage of time.
The reducing of symptoms lies in the medicinal component, known as capsaicin. For a human being to feel pain, Substance P (neurotransmitter) should reach the brain and capsaicin suppresses this component.
Belonging to the daisy family, this herb was used since long by Native Americans; hence, it is one of the best home remedies for headaches and other body inflammations.
- You can find the extracts of this herb in the form of powders and oils.
- You can massage the forehead with the oil and before partaking of the powder, consult with a physician.
This herb contains chemicals which perform two functions – one is reducing the inflammation, the main cause of headaches, and the second one was to regulate normal blood flow to the brain. The two chemicals are called as isopetasin and petasin.
This oil is mostly used in aromatherapy. Used in topical ways to enhance blood circulation and muscle pain, it is natural that this oil can also be used for headache.
- Take four drops of rosemary oil and massage your forehead.
- The other simple method would be take one tablespoon of crushed rosemary leaves, and boil them in a cup of water.
- Prepare them in the same process as tea, and have the mixture twice or thrice a day.
The important medicinal component is rosmarinic acid, known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties and assist in reducing symptoms of headache.
You can also get headache if you have excess of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. Rosemary oil reduces the concentration of this hormone in the blood. Some of the main chemical components are camphene, 1,8-cineole, limonene and bornyl acetate. But the component which performs the role of a pain killer is carvacrol, which acts as the inhibitor much as anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen).
This kitchen ingredient can be used for reducing signs and symptoms of headache.
- You can crush a few cloves and then put them in a clean handkerchief.
- Inhale the characteristic smell of cloves to get relief from headache.
- You can also mix cloves with salt and then apply on the forehead.
The reducing of symptoms of discomfort lies in the medicinal component, eugenol. The other flavonoids and eugenol combine together to give an anti-inflammatory effect.
Partaking of this fruit can be listed as one of the home remedies for headache caused by hangover.
- You can eat raw bananas the very morning after a party.
The human body loses lots of fructose and potassium due to the diuretic activity and banana has plenty of these minerals. Also it contains magnesium which assists in relaxation of blood vessels.
You can also put the banana peel on the forehead for giving relaxation to the blood vessels in case of headache.
This method you can use when you are faced with a mild headache. If you are in office and have to complete the deadline and you get a mild headache that hinders your concentration, try this method.
- For temporary relief, you can rub the temples on your forehead with your thumb. The massage can depend on the type of headache you are affected with.
- Or, ask a near relative (if in home) or close friend to massage the back side of the neck, head, back or shoulders with their fingers.
When you press the temple or the areas where there is pain, you are in fact improving circulation of blood and the slow, gentle action decreases tension of muscles. Massage makes the body release endorphins that can reduce the effect of stress hormone, cortisol.
A simple human touch can work wonders. In ancient history, saints and holy men had cured an ailing person just by physical touch. By massage, electrical signals are transmitted all over the body, which combined with touch can assist in stimulation of blood circulation in the affected area, eliminate toxins and enhance the immunity of the body.
2. Stretching Exercise
In recent times, the lives of middle-aged individuals are filled with stress due to fast paced life. The mind and body are subjected to overwork. In course of time, the muscles get tensed along with the mind and you suffer from pain.
A headache can occur due to muscle tension near the neck area. You can do the neck exercises to get relief.
- You can try the three easy exercises such as motioning the chin forward, upward and towards each shoulder.
- The other exercise is the isometric neck exercise where you press one palm into the forehead and the other at the rear. These exercises can give you temporary relief from headache. For permanent relief, you should follow a healthy lifestyle.
If you want to have relief from simple ailments, physical activity is essential. You can do body exercises for forty minutes and twenty minutes, breathing exercises to stimulate and maintain the health of the entire body.
You hardly think about breathing except when you are sitting in a suffocated room with no windows. You get little air, but do you know that breathing is difficult when you have a headache. The breaths you take can be shallow. For better results, visualize a positive image such as you have already got relief from headache.
- Inhale deeply for a time of ten seconds. Hold the breath for five seconds.
- When you exhale, the duration taken should be double the time of inhalation.
- Do this exercise five times. For the next time, give a duration of two minutes break.
- It can also be done via the yoga method. You have to close one nostril – inhale in one and then exhale in another.
Lack of proper oxygen to the cell tissues might also contribute to more headaches. So do not take breaths that are too shallow. Inhale deeply from the tummy, let the air fill your lungs. When you want to respire, give a deep breath. The plenty of oxygen circulating in the blood might stimulate the muscles, tissues around the pain area, and you can get relief.
When To See A Doctor?
This ailment can also be the symptom of an underlying serious condition such as encephalitis, meningitis or stroke. It is mandatory to call the emergency control room or hospital in case you have a severe headache followed by:
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Face difficulty in understanding speech
- High symptoms of fever (more than 39 degree to 40 degree Celsius)
- Stiffness in the neck region
- Vomiting or nausea
- Experience symptoms of weakness, paralysis or numbness
You can also pay a visit if:
- The headaches recur more frequently
- You suffer from extreme pain
- Show no signs of improvement even after home remedies or taking Over-the-counter medications
- Face challenges in performing your day-to-day activities (work or sleep)
- You get a headache when coughing, during exercise or sexual activity.
Natural Remedy Vs. Pharmacy
The type of treatment and prescribed medicine will vary depending on the headache.
One of the most prescribed medicine for migraine was sumatriptan. For minor headaches, aspirin was used although it is not administered to children.
The other notable medicines are menthol crystals from Natures Garden and Peppermint Sticks Menthol Crystals and the 4-headquickstrip.