A temperature drop in the winter can result in cold, dry air outside, and heated air inside. The combination of these can dry out your sinuses, resulting in thickening mucus and congestion. This can also result in pain and pressure in the sinuses.
Trying to sleep while suffering a sinus headache (or any type of headache for that matter) can be close to impossible. But instead of reaching for the bottle of pills, consider using aromatherapy instead.
Aromatherapy has been used historically to treat the pain, pressure, and tension associated with headaches, and now there is some limited research into its effectiveness.
The main problem with aromatherapy research is that it doesn’t have a huge amount of high-quality, conclusive data: many literature reviews found it difficult to compare studies due to a wide diversity in methodologies. However, subgroup analysis, anecdotal evidence, and questionnaire-based studies show a clear benefit to many people suffering from headaches, including sinus headaches.
What is a Sinus Headache?
Sinus headaches occur when there is an infection or irritant in the sinus region. Irritants can include allergens or a build-up of mucus or other fluid in any part of the sinuses.
Some symptoms include pain in your cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of your nose, as well as a runny nose, fever, blocked ears, or swelling around your face.
When it comes to a sinus headache, aromatherapy is quite effective, but it is recommended to also ingest something for the swelling and fever, and something like Woody Betony (Stachys officinalis) tea or tincture can assist with this, at the same time as treating the sinus headache.
Combination Aromatherapy for Sinus Headaches
When it comes to using aromatherapy to relieve the pain associated with a sinus headache, one of the more successful combinations is eucalyptus and peppermint. The oil found in the fresh leaves of these two plants is highly volatile, which makes them perfect for aromatherapy, especially since some people find the essential oil from these two plants a little too over-powering on the nose.
Eucalyptus leaves contain eucalyptol which is a strong anti-inflammatory. It also helps to regulate mucus secretions.
Peppermint contains a variety of compounds that help relieve different types of headaches, including sinus headaches.
METHOD AND USAGE: Simply rip or crush a handful of fresh leaves and place in a small pouch or gauze bag to place in your pillowcase each night before bed. You can also place 2 – 3 drops of peppermint and/or eucalyptus essential oil on a small cloth for a stronger treatment.
Single Aromatherapy for Sinus Headaches
For those who prefer a less intense aroma, lavender is one of the best choices. Most studies use lavender essential oil since the fresh or dried flowers only provide a small amount of relief in comparison.
Interestingly, some studies have found that the effects of lavender essential oil on headaches treatments were stronger when used alone, and not mixed with other essential oils.
Lavender is known to reduce the frequency and severity of different types of headaches. Its aroma can also have a calming effect which can help you get to sleep. Lavender essential oil aromatherapy before bed produced a moderate improvement in sleep quality; including decreasing the time it took to fall asleep as well as reducing sleep disturbances.
METHOD AND USAGE: Put 2 – 8 drops of lavender essential oil on a small cloth and place this in your pillowcase before bedtime each night. Otherwise, rip up a handful of fresh (or dried, but fresh will be more effective) lavender flowers and leaves and place in a small gauze bag to put in your pillow slip.
Whether you are using a fresh, dried, or essential oil, you will find an aroma and intensity that suits your needs and preferences.
For a softer approach, try using either fresh peppermint and/or eucalyptus leaves, or fresh lavender flowers and leaves, whereas for something more intense, use their essential oil instead.
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