Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Goodbye to Headaches

I've suffered from headaches all of my adult life. They're ranged from daily morning headaches that seemed to come from the sinus area, to sharp, knee-buckling migraines that could only be assuaged by sleep. I remember lying on my pillow in a darkened room while Dale tried to keep the little ones quiet downstairs... the noise of my head rubbing against the pillow fabric was torture.

Driving often precipitated a headache, and of course loud television sound tracks were guaranteed to get me going. But most of all, I woke every morning (or in the middle of the night) with throbbing headaches that wouldn't go away.

After suffering for years, and after dealing with my family's more severe health issues that always took the forefront (MS, childhood development issues, teen rebellion issues, etc.) I finally saw a headache specialist.

He prescribed a very strong medicine that had pretty scary side effects. (heart related risks) But I was desperate, so I tried it. I remember him saying it would "get worse before it got better" each time you took it. Driving to work one sunny morning, I took a dose when a headache hit. The head pain grew almost intolerable, then backed off a little. The headache didn't go away completely, and I got very sick to my stomach.

I tried it a few more times, then got so fed up I went to the market and bought and over the counter solution. Advil, blue liquid capsules. I figured if it was over the counter, it couldn't be too bad for you, right? After all, it was just a liquid, too, which should pass through my stomach easily and not cause ulcers or anything. Right? Hmm. Read on.

The Advil helped immediately! Pain was gone and I was thrilled. I started taking it automatically every morning (2 pills) and sometimes two at noon and two at night. I'd take it in the middle of the night to resolve the headaches that woke me up, and it worked. By golly, it worked! It was cheap, and it worked!

Then I saw my doctor for something totally unrelated - a badly strained back. I'd never mentioned the Advil to him, since it was "over the counter" and it was already helping the headaches. Why bother? But this time he recommended an ibuprofen type drug to help the swelling. I told him I'd already increased my Advil to help the pain, but it hadn't helped much. I was taking six Advil a day.

He looked at me with those gentle eyes of his that suddenly grew wary. "How long have you been taking it?"

"Ten years. But not this much. Usually I just take two in the morning and sometimes during the day."

"Every single day?"

"Pretty much."

It was then that reality hit, square between the eyes. He said I was at high risk for developing bleeding ulcers, and that he'd sent many people to the ER who almost died from such because of taking too much aspirin or Advil. He told me I was probably having "rebound" headaches from the Advil, and that my body reacted with headaches when I didn't take it.

Frankly, I didn't believe the rebound bit, but he scared the heck out of me with the stomach ulcer warning. So I stopped. Cold turkey. And I had two weeks of solid head pain.

Eventually, the daily headaches lessened. Some days I didn't have any. But they still showed up and I had to simply tough it out. He was right about the rebound, but the Tylenol he suggested as a solution didn't cut the pain in the least.

So I suffered. Until last spring, when I was waiting to get my hair cut at Lisa Marie's Hair Salon in Livonia, NY. In the middle of reading a newspaper article, I sat straight up in my seat. A scent had wafted over to me from Lisa's station - something so powerful and pleasant and uplifting that I couldn't stay put. I wandered over to her (how bold was that?!?) and asked her what it was. On her table she had a collection of little brown bottles with colorful labels on them. She lifted one to me and let me sniff. Then she put a little on my hand and rubbed it in. I think it was the Thieves blend of essential oils (cloves, cinammon, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus radiata), or maybe the Christmas Spirit blend (cloves, orange, spruce). I can't remember now. All I remember is that I was attracted to this stuff like a character in a cartoon. It was as if I lifted off the ground and floated toward it, then inhaled it like an aphrodisiac or a drug! While she cut my hair she told me about her personal experiences with the oils, how the Peace and Calming blend had helped her little son focus better in the classroom (verified by his teacher, who didn't know what Lisa had tried), and about her brother who'd been in a horrible accident, and how the oils had helped relieve his pain where no other meds could. And so much more.

I was both intrigued and skeptical. I wanted to learn more, to be sure it wasn't some kind of scam product. I soon learned that these little bottles of oil were supremely legit - used by the Beth Israel hospital to treat patients and by many other fine physicians around the world. They are purely organic and from the earth. Nature's bounty, carefully processed with the highest quality standards and organically produced. I fell in love with the oils, bought a starter kit with nine bottles (Peppermint, Lavender, Lemon, Frankincense, Purification, Thieves, Valor, Panaway, and Peace and Calming) and started to experiment to see what they'd do for me and my family.

That's when Peppermint Oil became a major part of my life. I learned that in addition to its many other properties (see list below), it was known to relieve headache pain. I applied a couple of drops to the nape of my neck, to my temples, and across my forehead - but not too close to my eyes, as this stuff is VERY concentrated and can make your eyes water. One drop of peppermint oil is a s strong as TWENTY cups of peppermint tea.

In less than ten minutes, my headache simply vanished. The relief lasted a few hours. I reapplied, and the same thing happened. I started to get all nervous because I was afraid to get too excited about something that affected such a huge problem. How could this work? Why would it work? I researched like mad, and found the whole essential oils story to be steeped in history - from ancient Egyptian practices to those mentioned in the Bible. Eastern cultures have used them for years, taking the goodness from plants, trees, and shrubs and using them to treat all sorts of conditions. I wore my peppermint into a Thai restaurant, and one of the servers, of Chinese heritage, said it smelled just like the "Chinese medicine" (oil) her family uses to rub on the forehead for headaches!

So it wasn't new. It just wasn't widely embraced *yet* but our Western world.

I don't go anywhere without my peppermint anymore. I just ordered two more 15ml bottles to be sure I don't run out. I keep it by my bedside, in the kitchen, in my car, and in my pocket. One bottle does last a long time, but now that I've found such a super solution I want it available all the time.

I've tried it on my cousin - her headache went away. My mom wanted to try it on her sciatica. I was skeptical that it would help, but now she sleeps every night pain free. She figured that one out on her own and just bought another bottle of it! She also says a dab of it on her forehead keeps the gnats away when she's gardening. She lives near a swamp and has TONS of those pesky things. I've met other oil lovers now (at expos and conventions) who have similar stories, accounts of peppermint (and the other oils) working wonders in their lives. My life has changed dramatically now, and everywhere I go, I suggest a different oil or combination to my friends. I guess you could say I'm newly obsessed, but in a good way.

And yes. I'm going to write a book about it!


I'm not a doctor. I don't claim that peppermint will work for everyone's headaches. But it's worth a try. If you're interested in getting a kit or a single bottle, here's my website:

(note: there's no "www" in the address!)

P.S. If you're interested, I recommend you sign up as a "distributor." I did. There's no pressure or obligation, you just get your future oil purchases at 24% off retail if you do. And then, if you fall for them like I did, you can share them with your friends at the same discount. (you also make a little money yourself for selling them, it's a legitimate business that many people actually make a very good living on!) Sort of like Avon products, but for your health and home. :o)


Here's a list of ways folks have used peppermint in the past:

o PEPPERMINT - (Mentha piperita) is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing digestion. Jean Valnet, M.D., studied peppermint's effect on the liver and respiratory systems. Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati studied peppermint's ability to improve concentration and mental accuracy. Alan Hirsch, M.D., studied peppermint's ability to directly affect the brain's satiety center, which triggers a sense of fullness after meals. Peppermint is grown and distilled at the Young Living Farms.

· Put a drop of Peppermint on your tongue and/or one under your nose to increase alertness and concentration-very helpful if you're starting to feel tired when driving!

· Rub 4-6 drops over your stomach and around your navel to relieve indigestion.

· Add a drop of Peppermint oil to water or herbal tea to relieve heartburn or nausea.

· Massage several drops of Peppermint oil on an area of joint or muscle injury to reduce inflammation (around, but not directly on, an open wound).

· Rub several drops of Peppermint oil on the bottoms of your feet to reduce fever.

· Apply a drop of Peppermint oil topically on unbroken skin to stop itching.

· Inhale Peppermint oil before and during a workout to boost your mood and reduce fatigue.

· To relieve a headache rub a drop of Peppermint oil on your temples, forehead, over the sinuses (stay away from the eyes) and/or on the back of your neck.

· Diffuse Peppermint oil in the room while studying to improve concentration and accuracy; then inhale Peppermint oil while taking a test to improve recall.

· Place a drop of Peppermint oil on your tongue, or put a drop in your palm or on a tissue and simply inhale the aroma to relieve congestion from a cold or sinus problem.

· Add Peppermint oil to food as a flavoring and a preservative.

· To deter rats, mice, ants or cockroaches, smear a few drops of Peppermint oil along their path or point of entry to deter them.

· To kill aphids add 4-5 drops of Peppermint oil to 4 ounces of water and spray the plants.

· Drink a drop of Peppermint oil mixed in a glass of cold water to cool off on a hot day.

· Place a drop of Peppermint oil on the tongue to stop bad breath.

· Inhale the fragrance of Peppermint oil to curb the appetite and lessen the impulse to overeat.

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