Holistic Health

8 Holistic Remedies for Headaches That Really Work

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I'm a environmental toxins lawyer turned clean living coach who is obsessed with morning sunshine, Ningxia Red and all things holistic living (but for real life).  Catch me over on Insta and come say hi.


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With the news focused on the link between Tylenol use in pregnant women and autism, more and more people, especially women, are seeking out safe, holistic alternatives to over the counter pain relievers. Here are 8 natural remedies for headaches that really work.


Before I share the holistic remedies for headaches, let me first share that I was a migraine sufferer for 20 years. They started when I was 18 and long before I was in to holistic health, I took Excedrin Migraine regularly and was on so many different prescription medications over those 20 years that I can’t even remember them all. It took me 20 years to finally discover that I was sensitive to synthetic fragrance and THAT is what triggered my migraines for so long.

To this day, if I go to a friend’s home who uses air fresheners or perfume or walk down the cleaning section of a Target, I get triggered immediately with a headache. Sensitivity to toxins and synthetic fragrance is a common trigger for migraine sufferers. Eliminating synthetic fragrance and toxins from your home is a great place to start. Not sure where to start? You’ll find all my favorite toxin free products here.

Other common triggers are sensitivities to light, food, additives, mold and pesticides. Try and remove these common triggers when possible. Do you only get headaches around your cycle? Like when you ovulate or right before you period? That’s not normal, it means you have a hormone imbalance and are likely suffering from estrogen dominance. Check out this blog post: 8 Ways to Reverse Estrogen Dominance, Holistically.


The vast majority of headaches are caused by lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood sugar, caffeine crashes, high stress and eye strain from too much time in front of phones and computer screens. The best remedy for headaches is always prevention. Get 8 hours of quality sleep at night, eat healthy and regularly, don’t skip breakfast, avoid screens when possible, stay hydrated, don’t over due caffeine and manage your stress. Piece of cake, right?? *insert sarcasm.

Let’s be honest, in our demanding lives, these things can feel like out of reach luxuries. Do your best and try to remember that an ounce of remedy is worth of pound of cure. If you need some help managing stress, check out this blogpost for 7 Simple Ways to Regulate your Nervous System. For those times when prevention fails, keep reading for my tried and true remedies.



Inadequate hydration and chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines. Thankfully, drinking water has been shown to relieve headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. Drinking water is important, but equally as important is replenishing electrolytes intake, especially pregnant.

Electrolytes are minerals in our body – sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium – and low levels cause headaches, fatigue, nausea and muscle cramps. Adrenal Cocktails are a great way to keep your electrolyte levels steady all day. They are most commonly used to help with mineral and electrolyte uptake in women with thyroid or adrenal issues, but they work great for everyone, even kids.

All you need is 4 ounces of orange juice, 1/4 tsp or cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of sea salt. Doesn’t sound appetizing? You can find my favorite adrenal cocktail recipes here.


Magnesium has also been shown to be a safe, effective remedy for headaches. Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraine headaches, compared to those who don’t. My favorite Magnesium Bicarbonate supplement can be found here. For those who have a sensitive stomach, topical magnesium is a great alternative, as well as a nice warm bath with magnesium flakes.


PRANA is a Turmeric, Ginger and Black Pepper tincture that has anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely helpful with headaches and migraines. Leafy Organics only sources turmeric and ginger roots from organic, non-GMO growers in the USA. PRANA doesn’t contain any chemicals, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. The tincture has a honey taste and even kids love it.


Essential are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants. They have many therapeutic benefits and there are thousands of published studies showing that certain essential oils can significantly relieve head tension and stress.

  • Lavender – People often use lavender to improve sleep and reduce stress, but it’s also known to help with headaches. This study showed that of 129 headache attacks in cases, 92 responded entirely or partially to lavender. Diffusing lavender or inhaling it was most effective and the study concluded that lavender can be a safe and effective treatment to manage migraine headaches. More recent research also supports this finding.

  • Peppermint has been used

  • as medicine for thousands of years. It is one of the most popular essential oils for treating headaches. The active ingredient in peppermint is menthol and is known for it’s cooling and pain relieving properties.

  • Deep Relief Blends like Deep Relief are specially formulated to not just include peppermint, but also oils like wintergreen, clove, helichrysum, balsam fir and other anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxing and pain relieving oils. I keep this blend, which comes in a roller, in my purse at all times just in case. This is great for those whose migraines come from shoulder and neck strain.

  • M-Grain Blend – M-grain is a popular go to when head tension gets really bad. Simply massage the oil on your temples or in the location of the pain. It is a blend that includes lavender, helichrysum, basil and roman chamomile. I find this blend works best when inhaled and when I know I have to be at my computer for work for long periods of time, I have this diffusing in my office.

Buyer beware though, often times store or Amazon bought oils contain synthetic scents that can make headaches worse or even trigger them. The essential oils market is not regulated. Make sure you are purchasing a pure, high quality essential oil if you want it to work. I use Young Living and you can purchase all of these options here.

Note: If you are nursing while pregnant, avoid the use of peppermint as it may decrease your milk supply. Take care not to get essential oils in you eyes. If you do, rinse your eyes with milk or coconut oil or olive oil. Do not rinse with water, it will make it worse.


These mats are absolutely worth the hype. The Kanjo mat is my mat of choice. Acupressure massage mats offer a simple yet effective at-home solution for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches & migraine relief. They work by improving blood circulation throughout the body and relieves tension. I use my mat daily after work and it works wonders for shoulder, neck and back tension that eventually can trigger tension headaches. It is also really good for reducing stress levels in the body.


Hyland’s Migraine is a homeopathic remedy that temporarily relieves symptoms of migraine headaches including throbbing headache, pounding pain, dull headache, frontal headache, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, dizziness, nausea and blurred vision. Make sure you allow the tablets to dissolve on their own.


Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, B12 and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce headache symptoms. B-complex vitamins contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally treat headache symptoms. B vitamins are considered safe to take on a regular basis, as they are water soluble and any excess will be flushed out through the urine.

Super B is my B vitamin of choice because it’s a comprehensive supplement that provides all eight B vitamins, a natural folate source derived from lemon peels, and methylcobalamin, a source of B12 that’s easy for your body to absorb. What makes it a powerhouse though is that it is combined with nutmeg essential oil and bioavailable minerals such as magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. It’s one of the best supplements available if you suffer from thyroid or adrenal issues and makes an excellent supplement for headaches.


This has been a mom’s tried and true remedy for eons. Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain. In one study and many more it’s been found that applying a cold to the head significantly reduced migraine pain.

You can use just basic ice in a bag with a towel wrapped around it, but I love the Headache Hat. It can be frozen over and over and wraps around your head with Velcro. As far as ice on your head goes, it’s about as comfortable as it gets and allows you to still move around.

You have options! These natural remedies for headaches work wonders.

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