Natural Headache Remedies To Ease Your Pain

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At one time or another we have all had a headache. They can range from mild to annoying to excruciating. While there are many commercial medications that you can take, I prefer to take the natural route to finding relief.

Headache Remedies

20 Natural Cures for Headaches

1. Lavender and peppermint rub

Mix 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil in one tablespoon of a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed. Rub this mixture on your temples.

2. Ginger

Grate fresh ginger in hot water and drink as a tea. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can also help to relieve the nausea that can accompany headaches.

3. Feverfew

Take as a tincture or a tea. Feverfew is also an anti-inflammatory. Feverfew is also available as a capsule, but seems to be less effective.

4. Acupressure

Apply firm pressure to the point just below your first and second toe on the bottom of your foot. You can also apply pressure to the webbing between your index finger and thumb. Use firm pressure for 3-5 minutes.

5. Butterbur

Fairly new on the market, extract of butterbur is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. You can find it at most health food stores or online.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. It’s one of my favorites for headache relief. It can be taken as a supplement or as a tub soak. Epsom salt is made of magnesium sulfate. A word of caution: don’t take too much magnesium at one time.  It’s the chief ingredient in Milk of Magnesia.  Too much when your body isn’t use to it can have the same laxative effect. (Find magnesium bath flakes, lotions, gels, and oils here.)

7. Hot and cold water

Soak your feet in water as hot as you can stand for two minutes, then as cold as you can stand for another two minutes. Alternate for a total of 20 minutes. This will help increase blood flow and relieve pain.

8. White willow bark

This is the forerunner of aspirin. It’s been used by Native Americans for centuries. It is best taken as a tea, though there are capsules and tinctures available as well.

9. Hot or cold compress

Either one may be more comfortable for your head. Try alternating heat and cold for 20 minutes as you would with your feet. If one bothers you more, use the other one. Heat does nothing for me for headaches, but cold works well.

10. Take a break

If you’ve been working for a while, especially at a computer, take a break to give yourself some time away. Take a walk. Get your circulation going. Sometimes just turning off your mind for a few minutes can help ease a headache.

11. Natural sugars

I get a headache when my blood sugar is low. Good sources of natural sugars include fruit juices, raw honey, or maple syrup. If nothing else, grab some peanut butter. It has natural sugars and protein to help keep your blood sugar even for a while. If you have problems with your blood sugar, you might want to try cinnamon or licorice. Both have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

12. Sleep

Headaches can be caused by too little sleep. Even a short nap can help. Try to rest in a quiet, dark place.

13. Caffeine

Drink a cup of coffee or tea. It can open blood vessels and increase blood flow.

14. Hydration

A headache can signal dehydration. Be sure you’re getting enough water. Sports drinks with electrolytes can help too, but watch the labels. Many contain refined sugars which can make matters worse.

15. Lemon juice

Many people swear by lemon juice in warm water.

16. Avoid triggers

Headaches can also be caused by red wines, aged cheeses, chocolates or nitrates. Some artificial sweeteners can cause problems in some people. If you know what is a trigger for you, avoid it.

17. Sex

The old line “not tonight dear, I have a headache” doesn’t hold water. Sex increases the heart rate, which increases circulation, which can cure a headache. Really!

18. Dark, quiet place

Sometimes just finding a quiet place for even a few minutes can help.

19. Valerian root

Taken mainly for inducing sleep, Valerian root can also help ease a headache. This is best taken in capsule form as the smell can be overwhelming for some. It is non-addictive and very safe.

20. Steam aromatherapy

Fill a large bowl with hot water. Add a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender or chamomile essential oil to the water, and inhale the steam.

If you find yourself with a headache, there are a great many natural alternatives. Have you tried anything that isn’t listed here?


photo credit to Avenue G 

About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Mindy says

    There is some interesting evidence for butterbur preventing migraines. It is important to use the commercially available products though and not the raw butterbur because the raw product contains potentially carcinogenic pyrrolizidine alkaloid constituents.

  2. Small Footprints says

    Wow … such great suggestions and so many of them … one is certainly going to be able to find a remedy from these ideas! I always have a glass of water before doing anything else for a headache … and it, more often than not, works! So glad that I found this post via the Dude, Sustainable Blog Hop!

  3. Dawn says

    Cutting off all of my hair ended up curing all of my migraines! My hair is really thick and when it was long, it turned out the weight was actually hurting me.

    Before I cut my hair off, I was taking Feverfew every day in capsule form and that did seem to help quite a bit.

    But my favorite is steam aromatherapy, for headaches, sinus issues, mood. I love it!

  4. Lyz says

    I keep fever few on hand more specifically natures way has a brand called Mygra few that I never go without, they are tiny little pills that are easy for my daughter to swallow and I can keep in a small pill container in my purse for emergencies when out. I heard good things about butterbur and am interested in trying that as well.

  5. Nancy Keeler says

    The problem with headaches is that they can have so many different causes. I’ve had them since I was 5 years old. Is it sinus related, do you need a chiropractic adjustment, have you been exposed to something or eaten something toxic? One of my remedies is coffee enemas if mine is not due to my neck needing an adjustment. It is retained for 20 minutes and that allows the caffeine in the coffee to be absorbed in the colon which is near the portal vein to the liver. This enables the liver to relieve itself of toxins through the colon.(This is just my general understanding. Please google “coffee enemas” for a more exact description of how/why they work) People, especially those who have never had ANY kind of enema, get kind of freaked out about this. I can tell you I have had a migraine come on with a pounding head and after I had the coffee enema I could feel the pain dissolve. It doesn’t always happen that quick, but it definitely works for me and I recommend that those with migraines/headaches research the benefits.

  6. Anne Thompson says

    Great ideas! Quiet and stillness usually cure mine, and sometimes re-hydrating. Coconut water is a great natural alternative to the sports drinks that contain refined or artificial sugars. Thank you for the information!