— Herbs and Aromatherapy
by Diana Badger with Jeanne Rose
for The National Association for Herbs & Aromatherapy
http://www.jeannerose.net/products.html - stress
From the nagging throb of the temples like one's head is in a
vice, to the incapacitating agony of a migraine or stress headace...practically
everyone is familiar with some sort of headache pain, yet most are
not aware of the many natural alternatives to conventional pain
killers for headache relief. Headaches
being far more common than even the common cold, it is not
surprising that in the European Community countries, about 85
percent of over-the-counter analgesics are bought for headache
What too few know is that long-term use of these painkillers
may in itself cause headaches or even lead to liver and kidney
damage. Essential oils and herbs offer a much safer and more
Headaches can be treated by a range of different oils and
herbs, depending on the specific origin of the headache. While many
headaches are related to stress, their cause can sometimes be more
precisely identified as connected to liver disorder (as is often the
case with migraines), sluggish digestion, insomnia, cold & flu,
upper respiratory allergies, caffeine withdrawal, eye strain, or
menstruation, among others. For most effective headache treatment,
it is therefore advisable to determine the headache origin, as the
various oils and herbs recommended work according to different
Widely popular and perky peppermint oil (Mentha
x piperita) is one of the more traditional aromatherapy
remedies: apply it as a
compress or straight, one or two drops to the back of the neck.
Researchers at the neurological clinic of Universitat Christian
recently determined its effectiveness in a double blind,
placebo-controlled randomized crossover trial involving 32 healthy
subjects. A significant reduction in pain was noticed, as well as
positive mood alteration and cognitive performance improvement. This
confirms Peppermint's reputation for being analgesic, uplifting and
Rosemary CT cineol works with Peppermint.
These oils are in our
For a more sensual approach, the honey-rich aroma of Jasmine
flower oil (Jasminum
officinale) can be used to quickly coax away the headache blues
and leave one feeling relaxed and soothed. Application can either be
straight to the temples-- apply a drop to one thumb, press two
thumbs together, then place thumbs on temples for 10-second pressure
point message, and finish by massaging your temple and forehead with
your fingers; or diluted in a massage oil (works well blended with
officinalis] hydrosol). Another 'sweet' remedy is a simple
infusion of Violet flower/leaf (Viola
odorata), particularly if the headache stems from sleep
troubles. Sniffing the absolute is also recommended, but as this oil
is so incredibly pricey, the infusion is much more practical.
This oil is in our
Love & Romance Kit.
A lesser-known remedy for headaches is an herbal infusion
that was used by the Pomo Indians native to the western
United States, that of Yerba Santa leaves (Eriodictyon
californicum). Also called Holy Herb or Mountain Balm, this herb
as long been a popular remedy for colds and asthma as well.
Following are a few other herbal headache remedies, taken
from Herbs & Things: Jeanne Rose's Herbal, that combine several herbs
or oils together, and hence work through the synergistic
combinations of the plants.
Stuff a pillow with 2 oz. each of Lavender flowers, Marjoram leaves,
Betony leaves and Rose petals, and 1/2 oz. Cloves, mixed.
Inhale and your headache will go away. Put a little in a
small leather bag and carry it with you for on-the-spot relief.
Available from 415-564-6785 for $25.
& Sinus Inhaler:
In a small phial put equal amounts of Lavender Oil, Marjoram Oil,
Peppermint Oil, and Rosemary Oil, say 10 drops each and 5 drops
Clove Oil. Carry with you when traveling, seems especially effective
against 'smog headaches'! Inhale whenever necessary. This formula is
available by special order from 415-564-6785 for $25.
For relief of the more severe pain of migraine headaches,
several essential oils derived from familiar culinary oils are
effective through inhalation: Anise seed oil (Pimpinella anisum), Coriander Oil (Coriandrum sativum), Ginger oil (Zingiber officinale), or Marjoram Oil (Origanum majorana). Another
treatment that is more traditional is the ingestion of several fresh
leaves of Feverfew (Tanacetum
parthenium), or the infusion of 3-4 fresh leaves removed from
the top of the plant. Feverfew herb can also be used as a tincture.
The essential oil mixture if available from 415-564-6785 for $25.
Binomials of Essential Oils and Herbs Used for Headaches
Chamaemelum nobile (Roman Chamomile)
Citrus limon (per.)
sativum (Coriander) [migraine]
Jasminum officinale (Jasmine
-- Moroccan is preferred)
Lavandula latifolia (Spike Lavender) [sleep, stress]
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) [stress]
Mentha x piperita (Peppermint)
Ocimum basilicum (European
majorana (Sweet Marjoram) [congestive,
graveolens (Geranium) [congestive]
anisum (Anise) [migraine]
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
Viola odorata (Violet flower and leaf) [sleep]
sclarea (Clary Sage) [stress]
officinale (Ginger) [cold &flu, migraine]
of singles or blends
Chamomile (C. nobile or M .recutita)
Elder flowers (Sambucus nigra)
Eriodictyon californicum (Yerba
Linden flower tea or compress (Lime
blossom) Tilia europaea
Rosemary flower/leaf (Rosmarinus
Skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia)
Stachys officinalis or S.
betonica or Betony officinalis B Betony) [head
Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew)
Viola odorata (Violet flower and
For more information
about the uses of Aromatherapy and Herbs, take one of the wonderful
Seminars and Classes of
Jeanne Rose which are available throughout the United States and
Call 415-564-6785 and request a catalog and a
Calendar of Events and courses.
Aromatherapy: healing with essential oils (from plants) through the
sense of smell by inhalation or through other applications of these
therapeutic volatile substances.
Compress: an application technique using a cloth soaked in a
combination of water, vegetable oil, or a bland lotion to dilute and
spread herbs or essential oils over an area of skin. The size of
compress, number of drops of essential oils, and amount of solvent
used depends on the size of the area treated.
Essential Oils: volatile
materials contained within plant cells and derived by physical
processes from the plant. Some essential oils are not in the living
tissue but are found during its destruction.
Hydrosol: the water from
the distillation process, which contains water-soluble parts of the
plant material and micro-molecules of essential oil,
has strong taste, strong odor and a pH of less than 5.
Infusion: the extraction of the active properties of a plant
substance by steeping or soaking it, usually in water. Use 1-2 tsp
herb material per cup water that is just under boiling point. Steep
for 3-5 minutes. Strain and drink.
Inhalation: a method of
treating mental and physical problems through the breathing in of
the volatile, essential oils of aromatic and medicinal plants rather
than the drinking of the herbal tea or the ingestion of the oils.
Standard methods include inhaling the essential oil undiluted
through a room diffuser, or diluted in bath or massage oil.
Tincture: an alcoholic
solution containing medicinals or aromatics; usually about 50%
alcohol. To make a tincture at home, infuse 1-4 oz. of chopped herbs
or plant materials directly into 1 cup of 150 proof alcohol such as
vodka or brandy. Shake daily for 10 days, strain and use, usually
20-40 drops 3x/day.
Herbal BodyWorks has an
Aromatherapy First-Aid Kit for Travel and
Minor Emergencies for $25. Includes the six basic oils for all home
needs. Call 415/564-6785.
Peter & Kate. Aromatherapy:
Scent and Psyche.
Arts Press. 1996
Portraits in Oils: The
Personality of Aromatherapy Oils and their Link with Human
Daniel Co. 1995.
Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book:
Applications & Inhalations.
Herbs and Things:
Jeanne Rose's Herbal.
Shirley and Len Price. Aromatherapy
for Health Professionals.
Churchill Livingstone. 1995.
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1996, 2004, 2007. No part of this article may
be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.
© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose,