I suffer fairly often with headaches and although there are hundreds of factors and different cases and ways of symptoms being presented. In my case, I've noticed some triggers and discovered some natural alternatives to relieve a headache.
Many people have experienced a headache and many suffer them recurrently, there are many differing types of headaches which as I said above could be a symptoms of something underlying or could be the outcome of many factors. Today I will focus on one of the more common types: a tension or stress headache. These are usually categorised as a band like pressure around the head often around the temples, as with many ailments they are easier to prevent than to cure! For me a trigger could be not drinking enough water in regular amounts throughout the day, spending too long looking at a computer or focusing my eyes on something or having a stressful day which for me even I can often feel a headache coming on because I have frowned too much and tensing the muscles in my forehead! Therefore a lot of these enigmas solve themselves! Making sure you're drinking enough water/herbal teas regularly throughout the day, if you're spending a lot of time on a computer have regular breaks away from screens to rest your eyes, if you wear glasses they can strain your eyes if you wear them too much or too little!
If it's too late to prevent rather than reaching for the paracetamol I try other methods first, I find cooling the area of pain can really help such as using the cooling stick-on forehead strips that you can get in places like Boots - they are really handy to carry around with you in your handbag, gel eye masks also can really help if the tension is behind the eyes. Often sleeping can help me but this is usually a last resort or if a headache appears late at night, but simply closing your eyes or laying down in a quiet, dark room seems obvious but can really help! Or use a temple balm which will cool the area as well as the motion of massaging the temples will ease tension; here is an easy recipe for you try and make at home!
Tension Headache Temple Balm
Peppermint is wonderfully cooling and numbing whilst helping to increase circulation to the applied area, Rosemary and Lavender are my favourite essential oils to relax and destress, Rosemary also increases memory and concentration and increases circulation also. Lemon balm/lemony scents are great to uplift and refresh.
Click the link for each ingredient if you'd like to buy them yourself; I'd recommend Neal's Yard Remedies if you like making your own products and you're based in the UK as they are always organic, cruelty-free and good quality. *contain affiliate links
You Will Need:
Makes approx one 15 ml container, double/triple etc as required.
15 g coconut oil (if using a more liquid-y oil such as olive, you may have to use slightly more beeswax so the final balm sets)
5 g beeswax*
5 drops peppermint essential oil*
7 drops rosemary essential oil*
4 drops lavender essential oil*
3 drops lemonbalm/lemon essential oil* (any citrussy scent would work here if you don't have lemon balm)
Melt the top two ingredients on a low heat together in a bain marie, i.e. a saucepan of simmering water with a bowl placed on top with the ingredients in the top bowl. Stir and once all melted, take off the heat and quickly add the essential oils, stir to combine and pour into prepared container. Leave to cool and harden for around an hour. To use simply place finger in balm and apply to temples in circular motions and the balm should melt and blend into the skin.
If you do suffer from headaches and have never received any professional help regarding these symptoms, please seek medical advice from a qualified herbalist or Doctor to rule out any more sinister underlying problems.
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.