Headaches are the worst and they can totally throw your day’s activity down the drain. Reaching for pain relievers is perhaps the easiest way out for us. However, I learned from my doctor that medicine overuse itself may also trigger headaches.
If you have recurring headaches and treat them with medicine every time, rebound headaches can happen. It is also bad enough that the pain gets worse the longer you depend on medication. So, try a DIY headache salve with peppermint instead.
What To Do with Headaches
Medicine overuse headaches are preventable by stopping the medication. But common headaches are also bound to happen. In fact, headaches spring from a multitude of causes like hormonal changes, stress, allergies, eye strain, etc.
For some time, I relied on analgesics until I was told to limit their intake. The pain did not disappear though, but it did become infrequent and more manageable.
I resorted to trying the effectiveness of essential oils, which worked well for me. Peppermint is one of the best, and I usually combine it with lavender in a carrier oil.
The cooling effect of peppermint acts in seconds, soothingly numbing the skin. It also smells good to relieve the nausea that sometimes comes with the bagging headache.
The natural ways of managing headaches without medications are:
Essential oils: There are different kinds of essential oils for alleviating headaches aside from peppermint. Eucalyptus oil, chamomile, rosemary and frankincense are also great options. You can apply diluted essential oil where it hurts or use it as a massage oil.
Hydrate: Dehydration is one of the culprits of throbbing head pain. The simplest way of treating it is drinking plenty of liquids, especially on hot days.
Cold Pack: Applying an ice pack over the forehead and temple also helps in managing migraines. Do this for no longer than 15 minutes, then take a break. Sometimes, a cold shower also helps a lot by numbing the pain sensations.
Hot Compress: A hot compress works better in tension and sinus headaches. Just place a heating pad or warm towel over the aching area or at the back of your head or neck.
Take Caffeine: It’s undoubtedly one of the most effective remedies, especially for people with caffeine dependency. Forgetting your cup of joe in the morning can cause head pain for the rest of the day. Take a sip of tea, coffee or anything with little caffeine in it but avoid drinking too much.
What Is in a Homemade Headache Relief Salve
Herbs are a good alternative to OTC painkillers. However, it is not the cure-all for all types of head pain. It does not solve all the problems but makes a difference in soothing and managing the pain.
Topicals are the easiest to use. Preparing your own herbal salve gives you a handy pain relief rub anytime you need it.
An herbal salve is not too complicated to make either. You can use a mixture of potent analgesic essential oils and add a scent that you love.
Here are the basic ingredients that make up a powerful headache and other pain-relief salve:
Carrier Oil: Carrier oils like extra virgin olive, jojoba, coconut, sweet almond and argan oils are best for diluting the essential oil. As the name implies, the carrier oil helps carry the medicinal benefit of essential oils into the skin. For this recipe, I used coconut oil because it easily blends with essential oils. It also makes a creamier salve that binds well with the beeswax. But you may use any carrier oil of choice and whatever is available to you.
Castor Oil: Castor oil is a popular ingredient in soap and lotions purposely to make a stable lather and act as a skin moisturizer. Adding it to a pain relief salve enhances the anti-inflammatory properties of the balm. Castor oil is a natural pain reliever that works to alleviate the tight feeling in the head.
Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil is a much-loved essential oil when it comes to immediate pain relief. It is known as one of Mother Nature’s most powerful painkillers against all types of body pain. The cooling sensation that peppermint gives relieves headaches upon application. Peppermint is a topical analgesic widely used in many cooling and pain relief remedies.
Lavender Oil: Lavender oil pairs well with peppermint and enhances the healing property of the salve. It gives it a powerful but comforting scent that promotes deeper balance and calmness. The olfactory benefit that lavender brings relaxes the muscles to reduce the tension and tightness in the head. The floral scent and minty undertone of lavender oil boost the scent of the peppermint as well.
Vitamin E Oil: Vitamin E oil is popular in cosmetic production for its amazing skin benefits in reversing aging. Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory that specifically targets the inflammatory damage after UV exposure. When used in a salve, Vitamin E preserves the oil in the emollient and prevents it from going rancid. You may omit Vitamin E oil if not available. But I highly suggest adding it to the salve to keep it for longer.
Beeswax: Beeswax is an important ingredient in salves. It makes the product more stable and flexible. It binds the mixture together to enable them to hold their shape. The amount of beeswax in salves differs according to your preference. The usual ratio is one part beeswax to three to five parts of the essential oil mixture. However, you can experiment with its consistency. For a harder salve, adding more beeswax is the key.
Peppermint Headache Salve Recipe
This headache pain reliever is great for managing headaches from various causes. However, again, it is not the cure-all for all types of pain. In mild cases, a pain relief salve has the ability to deal with the pain and relieve it on its own. Unfortunately, some headaches with underlying causes need to be addressed to treat the root cause.
You will need:
- ½ oz beeswax (amount can be adjusted)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil (or any carrier oil like extra virgin olive oil, jojoba, etc.)
- 2 tbsp castor oil
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 to 5 drops Vitamin E oil
- Double boiler
- Small mason jar
- Melt beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Or, you can put them together in a mason jar or heat-resistant container and place them over a pan of water. Use very low heat just enough to melt the beeswax and preserve the integrity of the carrier oil.
- Remove from heat and add castor oil, peppermint oil, lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil.
- Mix them well and transfer to an emollient container or any small mason jar.
- Let it sit in a freezer until the salve hardens.
To use: Scoop a small portion of the salve and apply it over the forehead, temples, neck, nape and anywhere that needs the cooling relief.
To store: Keep the lid closed and store in a cool place. The salve can last for up to a year when stored properly.
Expect some changes in the consistency of the salve because it contains coconut oil. Coconut oil will likely solidify in colder temperatures or become creamier when it gets hot. But the texture does not affect the potency of this peppermint headache soother. Enjoy!