Alternative Headache Remedies That Really Work

The actual pain of a headache may result from contraction of muscles in the scalp, face or neck, blood vessel dilation in the head, or brain swelling that stretches the brain’s coverings.  Another source of headache pain is that the nerves in the face or head are irritated.

If you want to find out the cause, start keeping a diary to see what triggers your headaches.

  • Possible causes
    • Allergies (e.g. chocolate, milk products, alcohol, strong cheese, chicken, etc)
    • Stress or muscle tension
    • Eye strain
    • Overexposure to cold air or sunlight
    • Low blood sugar
    • Infection or toxins in the body
    • Hangover
    • Bruxism (grinding your teeth at night)
    • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
    • Chemical sensitivities (this includes many scented candles and air fresheners)
    • Magnesium deficiency
    • High Calcium levels
    • Menstruation (hormone fluctuation can cause headaches)
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Excessive chewing, e.g. chewing gum or tobacco (can create chronic tightness in muscles, which puts pressure on nerves)
    • Dehydration (causes blood vessels to constrict or even go into spasm)
    • Going too long between meals (metabolic changes can trigger headaches)
    • Smoking (nicotine constricts blood vessels, which can trigger headaches)
  • Remedies
    • Lavender is a popular headache reliever and acts by calming the nervous system. Fill a bowl with steaming water, drop 1-3 drops of rosemary essential oil, cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl to inhale the steam. Do this for several minutes or as long as it’s comfortable.
    • Slice up an apple, sprinkle with some salt and eat on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
    • Cinnamon helps with headaches due to cold air exposure. Mix 1/2 tsp with some water into a paste and smear on temples and forehead. Try not to scare the mail man when opening the door.
    • Peppermint is awesome! It has muscle relaxing properties, but even better, it works as well as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen (main ingredient in aspirin) according to a German study (Klinik fur Neurologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat, Kiel). It actually prevents your body from sending pain signals to your central nervous system.  So brew yourself a nice strong cup of peppermint tea, or put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a tissue and inhale.  Just don’t get the oil too close to the eyes.
    • Rosemary is another herb that helps with headaches caused by cold air. Fill a bowl with steaming water, drop 1-3 drops of rosemary essential oil, cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl to inhale the steam. Do this for several minutes or as long as it’s comfortable. If you don’t have rosemary essential oil, boil a few sprigs of the herb in 2-3 cups of water and use this for the inhalation.
    • For sinus headaches, boil vinegar and water, cover your head with a towl, lean over pot and inhale.
    • Add 1-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to a cup of tea and sweeten with honey.
    • Feverfew reduces the frequency of migraines by preventing blood vessels from constricting and limits the release of compounds that cause inflammation. Do not take if pregnant or nursing. Raw leaves may cause mouth sores. Dry the leaves and crush into a loose powder. Take with some water or tea. Side effects may include nervousness and mild gastrointestinal irritation.
    • Ginkgo biloba improves circulation, decreases inflammation and inhibits production of platelet-activating factor that is believed to be linked to migraines.
    • Marjoram is calming and useful for stress headaches. Steep some leaves in 1 cup boiling water and drink.
    • Pay attention to what triggers the headache. It may be caused by certain food allergies.
    • Valerian, skullcap, lemon balm, and passion flower all have sedative and antispasmodic properties. You can make a tea out of them and sweeten with a bit of honey if you like.
    • Chamomile and rosemary have muscle relaxing properties and can also be made into a tea.
    • Indulge in a hot foot bath. Soak for about 15 minutes before going to bed. Add a drop of rosemary or lavender essential oil to the bath for some extra therapy.
    • Remember to move your neck and head, especially if you are at a desk all day. Every hour, make it a point to roll your neck and move your shoulders about. This will help loosen muscles and prevent tension headaches.
    • Gently massage your neck and base of the skull, or better yet, ask someone else to do it for you!


I created this site because I believe in the individual - in you, to have the power to change your health. Your holistic health. It's usually easiest to start with the body. But without developing the mind and spirit, one's perspective and outlook on life and oneself, the body will keep on breaking. All three are linked. Love your body and being, they really deserves it. I have a passion for researching the latest in mind/body medicine, and have done so for years. I quit a full time job at a large corporation to devote myself to this. I update this blog regularly, so keep checking back. Do send me a note (, I will be happy to receive your comments.

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