We all have experienced one type of a headache or another. As the most common disorders of the nervous system, migraines and severe headaches are the 5th leading health complaint in the world.

Common causes

Next time you have a headache, observe your environment or retrace your steps to see what might have triggered it. Most headaches are generally caused by external factors including stress, weather conditions, allergies, anxiety, dehydration, hunger, depression, noise, perfumes, second-hand smoking or exposure to toxic chemicals.

How we deal with headaches

Since most of us lead busy lives, whenever we get a headache we tend to reach for quick solutions that will enable us to get on with the rest of the day. If you get a headache whilst at work for example, the quickest and most effective solution may often seem like a painkiller. After all, it’s convenient and all you need is water and voila! The trouble is that these seemingly harmless medications lead to a mild addiction as we depend on them for every kind of pain.

So, what’s the alternative, especially if you lead a busy life and don’t have time to cook up an old recipe from a thousand years ago?! Well, there are natural and convenient ways for you to treat, prevent and minimize your chances of getting any type of headache. It’s important to note that natural remedies are not quick fixes, but instead require you to alter the way you view medicine.

Our health and well-being do not come in boxes, and they are certainly not found in over-the-counter medication. So here is a list of proven natural remedies that you can replace with the current medication you are using. To reap the full benefits of the natural remedies mentioned here, it’s important to be consistent in using them.

Our bodies are so full of toxins that they might not recognize the good we are putting in for a while so be patient. Without further ado, here’s a list of my favourite natural remedies for headaches. You are welcome to try one of them, or all of them because nature has no side effects.

1. Essential oils – Lavender and peppermint 

Let’s start with lavender as it has countless benefits. In addition to its refreshing and relaxing scent, lavender is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It’s also a greats stress reliever, which usually triggers headaches. According to a study conducted in 2012, inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes was found to be both a safe and effective treatment for managing headaches and migraines. [1] 

Other clinical trials that also involved inhaling lavender essential oil found that this reduced both anxiety and stress. Remember to use pure essential oil to get the therapeutic effect needed. 

As for peppermint essential oil, it’s a great oil that is known to relief tension headaches. When applied on the forehead, the oil has a calming and cooling effect and increases blood flow. In addition to this, the menthol in peppermint essential oil helps reduce pain and relax muscles.

2. Drink plenty of water/stay hydrated 

Most of us don’t drink enough water and if you are anything like I used to be, you think that drinking sugary drinks or hot beverages can replace water. However, these drinks are what greatly contribute to dehydration and make us prone to headaches. Next time you have a headache, ask yourself when was the last you drank water.

Chances are, it was hours before a headache was triggered. I know we can get very busy during the day so if you want to ensure you are staying hydrated, I would recommend a drinking bottle that helps you track your water intake throughout the day.

3. Magnesium

Although magnesium is an important mineral, most of us do not take the recommended amount. If you have regular headaches or suffer from depression which triggers a headache, it’s very likely that you suffer from magnesium deficiency. [2]

To combat this deficiency and reduce your chances of getting headaches, you should increase your magnesium intake by including it in your diet. We often forget that food is the only medicine we need, and that by just making small changes in our eating habits, we can prevent mild/severe health conditions or treat them. Here are few examples of food that is high in magnesium:

•Leafy greens including spinach, turnip greens, kale etc
•Seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds etc

•Dark chocolate! Yes, you read that right. Dark chocolate has countless
health benefits and in addition to being high in magnesium, it’s also high in coper, iron and manganese. To enjoy the benefits of all these nutrients, make sure you buy dark chocolate that’s at least 60% cocoa.

•Fish is also another great source of magnesium, and salmon is particular high in magnesium. Eating fish regularly is also known to reduce your chances of getting chronic diseases including heart disease.

•Avocados are not only high in magnesium but also vitamin B complex; another deficiency linked to headaches. (see below) In addition, avocados also improve cholesterol level and reduce inflammation. 

4. Vitamin B complex 
Vitamin B complex helps improve circulation, immune function, cardiovascular health and brain cells. These include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. Together they have specific health benefits that range from producing important hormones, preventing migraines to promoting healthy skin. To get your fair share of these essential vitamins, incorporate the following food into your diet;

• Nuts
• Fruits
• Leafy vegetables
• Liver
• Whole-grain cereals
• Eggs
• Milk
• Yogurt
• Meat

5. Apple cider vinegar

Ever had a cold and your mother told you to boil water and cover your head with a towel so the steam would help you clear your nasal passage?! Well, that was a great advice! Similarly, when you have a headache, boil water and add about quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar.
To stay safe, transfer the hot content from the pot to a bowl so you can place it on a table. This way, you can comfortably sit down and place the towel over your head to let the steam do its work.

Do you know any other natural remedies for headaches?


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
[2] https://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/symptoms-signs/

Author's Bio: 

Ikram is passionate about health, wellness, and non-toxic living. She loves sharing tips on how to lead a healthier life using natural solutions. The undeniable link between lifestyle choices and chronic disease are of great interest to her. She writes about these topics on her blog: http://www.thehealthyhousehold.com/