In the article
The study of headaches continues even today, and surprisingly, there are still many unsolved questions related to its origin and occurrence. Nowadays, the research efforts are spearheaded by IHS (International Headache Society), a charitable organisation, which was founded in England in the year 1991.
Home Remedies for Headaches
Wouldn’t it be great if rather than swallowing a painkiller, you could eat a fruit or drink some teas would ease the throbbing on your head after a long day at work? Though home remedies need some effort, they can be an effective way to minimize the pain and agony of headache. The most common and effective home remedies for headaches are as below:
1. Mint and ginger:
Mint and ginger are the most commonly used home remedies for a headache. Making mint or ginger tea when you have a constant dull headache relieves pain almost instantaneously. They are easily available and very effective.
2. Ice pack:
An Ice pack or a wet cloth spread over the head can do wonders to relieve headaches, especially migraines.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
The magic drink – a small quantity of apple cider vinegar (ACV) does wonders to relieve you from the trauma of a persistent and dull headache. Ensure that the apple cider vinegar is diluted sufficiently so that it does not damage the enamel of the teeth during consumption.
4. Lavender Oil:
Inhalation of lavender oil does wonders to relieve headaches. This aromatic oil is readily available in stores and mixing it in warm water before having a bath is ideal for relieving troublesome headaches.
Cloves can be very good at soothing painful headaches. Inhaling the scent of the powdered cloves gives almost instant relief. Mixing clove and coconut oil and massaging the mixture on forehead is a great and effective home remedy.
6. Rosemary oil:
This oil can be applied externally on the temples to soothe a headache, especially migraines and tension headaches to some extent.
7. Camphor and Clay:
Apply a paste of freshly ground clay on the forehead. Sandalwood with a pinch of camphor can also be used to make the paste. This ancient remedy has been tried and tested for centuries.
If there is no cold or a cough, drink a teaspoon of honey mixed in a glass of warm water. This will surely bring instant relief from headaches.
Studies show that consumption of Vitamin B reduces the intensity and duration of a headache. Any B-complex supplement riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and folate (vitamin B12) are known to reduce headaches. B complex capsules is cost effective and are easily available.
10. Magnesium-rich foods:
Consumption of foods which are rich in Magnesium can help reduce headache, according to a latest research. Examples of foods rich in magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits like avocado, banana etc. and seafood.
Drinking a lot of water makes a world of difference. It will re balance the doshas, as per Vedic texts and help eliminate the excess of dosha. Water is a key ingredient for balance and deficiency of water in the body can cause headache and other serious consequences.
Massage your head, forehead, shoulders, and neck. Massage alleviates the pain in the head and soothes your nerves. Use an essential oil for better results.
13. Sufficient Sleep:
This may seem like an obvious factor, but no sleep can cause severe bodily harm and affect the mind, which will manifest as a severe hammering headache. Seven hours sleep is recommended for good health, both mental and physical.
14. Stress Reduction:
Tension headaches are caused by Tension- pretty self explanatory. Soothing your tense body can go a long way in reducing overall stress. Taking a hot shower, listening to soothing music, resting in a dark and comfortable area and applying meditation techniques like keeping your mind blank, focusing on a thought for a long while keeping your body loose and low chanting and deep inhalation-exhalation routine can go a long way to reducing stress.
Exercise pumps blood to all parts of the body, enhances digestion, and keep the organs functioning. Have a bad headache? Shut down your system, put on your jogging shoes and run for your health. It is sure to make your headache disappear.
16. Sleeping on the side of the dominant nostril:
An effective way to avoid a headache initially is to see which nostril is the dominant one and take rest on that side to reduce the heavy breathing and changes in your breathing pattern.
One of the ancient ways to reduce stress and headaches is the use of acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique where the acupressure needle is pricked at a particular part of the body associated with the appropriate nerve ending. Following are a few methods to use pressure points to reduce a headache at home. For more information, a professional acupuncturist must be consulted.
The ‘Hegu’ pressure point, which is located between the base of your left thumb and the index finger must be pressed hard to give instant relief to a headache.
To relieve sinus pain, with your index finger, apply gentle pressure for about 10 seconds after an interval at the base of the two eyebrows where it meets the nose and gently massage.
To relieve tension in the neck, which causes tension headaches, firmly press the small of the neck at the base of your skull in the parallel hollow areas with your fingers for approximately 10 seconds.
Pressing the area where bhindhi or the red dot is kept for one minute relieves eye strain which generally causes a sinus headache.
If possible, stand on your head for a few minutes before dawn or after sunset. This will increase the blood flow to the brain and give relief from your horrible headache. Other poses involving bending your neck, head and shoulder will also give some relief. Regular Yoga is very beneficial for a good balanced body and mind. Yogic Breathing exercises also help in relieving many ailments, headaches included.
Ancient categorisation and cures for headaches
In Ayurveda, Kapha, Pitta and Vata are the three dosahas which govern the human body. Every human body type has an excess of one of the above per which they can be categorised, treated, and maintained. Kapha is associated with structure and solidity, like the earth. Pitta is associated with energy and transformation, like the fire. Vata is associated with movement and flow, like the air. An extra or deficient dosha which causes the body to behave in a certain manner. Below are the categories of headaches:
1. Sinus headache
It is caused due to a kapha-vata imabalance. Kapha pacifying foods must be eaten which are generally bitter and pungent. Sweet, sour, and salty foods must be minimised.
2. Tension Headache
The sharp, fluctuating pain of a tension headache is said to be caused by a dominance of Vata dosha. Vata pacifying foods which are sweet sour and salty must be mainly consumed.
3. Migraine Headache
A migraine headache is said to be caused by a Pitta-Vata imbalance, which results in a burning sort of searing and sharp pain. Extra heat causes eyestrain, digestive imbalances, anger, frustration, and stress which results in migraines. Pitta pacifying foods which are sweet, bitter and astringent must be consumed. Acidic foods and bitter, salty, and sour foods must be avoided.
The above techniques can be applied to reduce headaches at home. Several balms are also commercially available to soothe your headache, and some of them are quite good. The ancients seem to have had answers to all the questions which modern medicine raises but alas, poor documentation and loss of practice across the centuries have destroyed the expert medical knowledge they possessed. One can only hope that science and medical history converges soon so even doctors can prescribe natural remedies over medication.