Welcome to part 2 of my pain management series! In part 1, I discussed my remedies for pain caused by inflammation, nerve pain, muscle and joint pain, and remedies for contusions and sprains. In this next section, I will be discussing remedies for headaches and migraines, ear infections, UTI/bladder pain, and menstrual pain.
I have had success in using the remedies below to help both myself and clients who needed relief from pain. Enjoy!
Headaches and Migraines
This is one type of pain I have a lot of personal experience with. I mostly suffer from tension headaches, migraines, and headaches from eye strain. Sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what caused the headache (not drinking enough water!) and other times the trigger is unclear. Below are remedies I use to combat pain from headaches and migraines:
Magnesium – Yes, magnesium is not an herb or an essential oil, but it is an important mineral for the body. Many people are deficient in magnesium, and symptoms of deficiency can range from muscle twitches and cramps to fatigue. Research has shown that many who suffer from migraines are also low in magnesium. A magnesium supplement may help tremendously if you are looking for something to help with migraines.
Feverfew – When pain from a headache is caused by blood vessels in the head constricting, feverfew may be just what you need to help dilate them, as well as help neutralize chemicals produced by the body that are responsible for pain and inflammation. These attributes put feverfew at the top of my herbal list for headache relief. I prefer taking it in tincture form. I will take two dropper’s full at the onset of a headache. I may take an additional dropper full (up to three more times) throughout the day to manage the headache. Do not use feverfew if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Lavender – When headaches are caused by tension, lavender may help relax the body and reduce the pain. The scent of lavender essential oil is often recommended by aromatherapists for headache relief. When combined with peppermint, the analgesic effects are doubled.
Peppermint – Peppermint essential oil opens the airways and helps to ease pain associated with tension. Inhalation of peppermint is an ideal way to benefit from its pain-relieving properties. I love to combine it with lavender essential oil for a headache-eliminating duo. I included these oils in a remedy to help knock-out migraines and headaches in my latest book, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Healing: 120 Remedies to Restore Mind, Body, and Spirit. This recipe is detailed below:
Migraine Defense Inhalation Blend:
Add two drops of peppermint essential oil and one drop of lavender essential oil to the cotton wick of an aromatherapy inhaler. Close the cap tightly and take three to five deep breaths of this blend at the first sign of a headache or migraine. Take a fifteen minute break from inhalation and repeat this as needed until the pain subsides.
Above: for more healing remedies, preorder my latest book, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Healing: 120 Remedies to Restore Mind, Body, and Spirit here: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Healing: 120 Remedies to Restore Mind, Body and Spirit
White Willow Bark – White willow bark has long been used as a natural pain reliever due to its salicin content. When the body encounters salicin, it converts it into salicylic acid, a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent. This is how the popular pain reliever Aspirin was created. Rather than take this, I opt to make my own tincture from the bark of the white willow tree. I take three to five drops when I feel a headache coming on.
I have had to deal with my share of ear infections. Both of my boys had them repeatedly (until we discovered that chiropractic care works miracles). I used the remedies below to help manage the pain and kill the infection:
Mullein Flower and Garlic Oil – The little yellow flowers on top of mullein stalks are a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic remedy for ear pain. Harvest them in the summer from stalks you know haven’t been sprayed with pesticides, etc. Let them wilt or dry before infusing them in olive oil. To create this remedy, fill a small glass jar with the mullein flowers you collect. Try to get at least two tablespoons of flowers. Next, add two tablespoons of fresh, minced garlic to the jar. Cover the material completely with olive oil. Don’t put the lid on the jar. Cover it with a cloth and a rubber band to secure it. Set the jar inside a shallow hot water bath (on the stovetop on the lowest heat setting) and let this infuse for at least three hours. Strain everything out and bottle the infused oil. Store this in the refrigerator between uses. When you need to use it, warm it up under a stream of warm water until it is comfortable enough to drop into the ear canal. Add three to four drops of the oil as needed for pain and inflammation.
Above: Mullein flowers are an effective remedy for the pain and inflammation caused by ear infections.
Oregano Infused Oil – I will start by cautioning that I do not use oregano essential oil, but rather oregano infused oil. The difference is quite vast. Furthermore, I do not advise ever putting this in the ear, but rather around the ear. Oregano infused oil is much gentler than oregano essential oil because it is not as concentrated. However, being less concentrated means there is less chance it will irritate the skin. Infuse oregano (wilted or dried) into olive oil and massage this infusion around the ear to help fight infection and relieve pain.
When experiencing a urinary tract or bladder infection, the pain can be tremendous. Bladder spasms can result when the infection spreads to the bladder. There may also be pain while urinating. Another painful bladder issue is called Interstitial Cystitis(IC). It is characterized by the feeling of a bladder infection or UTI, but no infection is present when urine is tested. Sometimes nerves are to blame for this condition. Both IC and urinary/bladder infections are painful and uncomfortable. Help calm the spasms and soothe the urinary tract with the remedies below:
Marshmallow Root – Marshmallow root, a mucilage, can help to coat the bladder and urinary tract, bringing relief from the inflammation that causes pain while urinating. It can also help to soothe an irritated bladder. Marshmallow comes in handy for infections, but it is also a great remedy for those with interstitial cystitis. I suggest taking a supplement of marshmallow root in capsule form daily for prevention if you have IC, and taking it as directed at the onset of any infection to manage pain.
Goldenrod – Goldenrod is a diuretic, so it can help to flush out infection in the urinary tract and bladder. Whats more, it is loaded with antioxidants, having significantly more than green tea per serving. It also has proven anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it may help manage pain as well. I love to harvest goldenrod in the fall and dry it on my drying racks to make a powerful tea.
Aloe Vera – Aloe vera is so soothing to the body. Whether it is applied topically on irritated skin or taken internally for pain and inflammation, it can help to provide relief and calm irritation. Like marshmallow root, it helps to coat the urinary tract and bladder, making the chance of spasms from irritation less likely. An added bonus is that aloe vera helps to soothe the digestive tract as well. I purchase food grade aloe vera gel and add an ounce or two to a smoothie each morning.
Juniper – Try diluting juniper berry essential oil and massaging it into the lower abdomen (just over the bladder area) to manage pain from spasms and infection. It is high in antioxidants, antispasmodic action, and can reduce anxiety and tension as well. Pair it with Roman chamomile essential oil for additional antispasmodic relief.
Pain before, during, and after your menstrual period can range from minor to severe. For some women, menstrual pain affects their lives greatly. They have to cancel plans, call in sick to work, etc. The remedies below can help you manage the pain and soothe the uterus naturally:
Clary Sage – Of all the essential oils for women’s issues, clary sage is my favorite. It offers such a wide range of benefits. What makes it a woman’s best friend is that it has been shown to help balance hormones, calm and soothe (this includes uterine spasms), and promote feelings of optimism. What better oil to have on hand during your sacred moon time? Dilute this oil in a carrier oil and massage into the abdomen to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as calm the body and mind.
Red Raspberry Leaf – This common leaf is a great uterine tonic. I feel that the best way to benefit from it is to drink it in a decoction or infusion on a regular basis. It is also great in tea. An added bonus, it is high in beneficial vitamins and minerals as well. It can help to nourish your body as it works to strengthen and tone the uterus. It can both soothe and nourish the body. Combine red or black raspberry leaf (I use black because this grows wild in abundance where I live and has very similar therapeutic properties) with herbs like spearmint or stinging nettle for a nourishing and tasty tea.
Above: A photo of me collecting black raspberry leaves to use in a tea for uterine toning and nourishment.
Cramp Bark – Cramp bark can actually help to relax and calm the uterus if it is contracting too violently. This is great for managing uterine cramping. It can help to soothe the uterine spasms that cause pain and discomfort during the menstrual period, as well as promote healthy uterine tissue. I prefer this in tincture form. Take anywhere from thirty to sixty drops of the tincture each hour for uterine cramping. Of course, start off with the lowest dosage and work your way up if you need to.
I hope you will benefit as I have from the pain relief remedies highlighted in this two part series. Stay tuned next week for my next blog post on immune health.
Many blessings to you and yours,
Amber Robinson, RH(AHG)