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Work and worry. Lack of sleep. Summer sun and cocktails. It's enough to give anyone a headache! As it turns out, nearly all adults—and half of all children—do suffer from
frequent headache pain. Luckily, natural therapies can help. Read more

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Ahhh... Lavender, Peppermint & Rose Relief!

Headaches come in all shapes and sizes; and they affect most of us. According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of all American men and more than 80% of women suffer from frequent headaches. Half of all children do, too. And chronic daily headaches plague 1 in 20 of us.
The most common headaches are stress & tension, migraine, hunger, hangover and hormone (menstrual or menopausal). Over-the-counter remedies abound—everything from ibuprofen to acetaminophen, cold and sinus tablets, even liquid relief formulas. But all these “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” can have serious side effects. More than 16,500 Americans die annually from their over-use. Another 103,000 are hospitalized due to complications from products they probably bought at the grocery store, complications that include high blood pressure to intestinal bleeding, ulcers, liver problems and even kidney failure.
Luckily, there are alternative natural solutions that work well and avoid risk. Ginger tea has been popular for years. Researchers suspect it works by reducing swelling, activating natural pain relief opiates in the brain, and diminishing prostaglandins that cause inflammation. Herb-filled pouches and tinctures (especially those made from rosemary, linden, ginkgo and feverfew) have also proved helpful for some.
Easiest of all to use, natural essential oils can offer powerful headache relief, whether they’re inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Although eucalyptus, chamomile and wintergreen work well for many, the three essential oils that have proved most effective are lavender, peppermint and rose. For those with mild or infrequent problems, they can constitute a complete relief regimen. For those who suffer from more serious or frequent pain, they can at least complement prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Here are a few tips on how to use them…
• Use a lavender pillow. Lavender is ideal for headaches linked to insomnia, sunstroke, menstrual period or menopause, sinus, allergies or depression. These headaches often center in the eye sockets, with additional pain in the forehead, temples and/or neck. Lie down and relax as best you can, placing the pillow right over the areas that hurt. Many naturopathic pharmacies sell lavender pillows. For some, pillows or masks that combine lavender with chamomile work even better. The combination produces a milder scent and the two essences complement one another’s medicinal value.
• Massage rose oil into your temples. Use rose oil to relieve harsh dieting and hangover headaches. It’s also well-suited to headaches brought on by shock or emotional upset. All these events dehydrate the body and weaken its ability to circulate oxygen-rich blood up to the brain. To help dilate capillaries and boost blood flow, drink extra water and put just 1-2 drops of pure rose oil on your fingertips, massaging it gently into your forehead and temples. Alternatively, you take a warm rose water bath. Mix 5 drops of rose oil into a tablespoon of raw honey and add it to the bath as you fill it.
• Make a warm peppermint oil compress. For dull nagging headaches brought on by stress and tension, physical overexertion, hormonal changes or even for the infamous migraine—moist heat and peppermint are in order. Also, peppermint’s cooling qualities aid in fever reduction; so it’s ideal for cold and flu headaches. Just add a few drops of peppermint oil to warm water to produce an excellent compress solution. For migraines, run a warm bath and add a few drops of the oil to the water as it fills the tub. Studies reported on by American Family Physician have found that essential oil of peppermint can be as effective in relieving headache pain as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, with no adverse reactions.

Two Amazing-Health Tips: 1. Not all essential oils are of equal quality and only better oils will provide medicinal benefit. Online suppliers can be affordable and convenient, but before purchasing, know what to look for and what to avoid. Check out “How to Buy Essential Oils” at http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/howtobuyessentialoils.asp  
2. To curb headaches, start to keep a journal of the foods you eat, your water consumption, how much sleep you get and your stress level. Then look back at the notes you made a few days before a headache occurs. In time, you’ll probably start to notice trigger patterns.




The Recipe Box

A Summer Favorite!

■ 2 ripe avocados

■ 1 small tomato, chopped fine, seeds & pulp removed

■ 1 small chili pepper, minced, stems and seeds removed

■ 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine

■ 2 tbsp salsa (hot or medium-hot)

■ 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
■ Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cut and pit avocados. Scoop out and mash the flesh, leaving lots of chucks. 

  2. Add cilantro, salsa, tomato and lime juice.

  3. Add minced chili just a bit at a time, as hotness varies.

  4. Store by placing the pit in the guacamole and refrigerating until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with corn chips.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer dip. Feel daring? Add a teaspoon of orange juice for a fun new twist on this great party dish.

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