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Headache: Does peppermint oil help if the head is pounding or pressing?

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Peppermint oil is said to relieve headaches – is that true?

Anyone who has ever had a headache knows how uncomfortable blows, presses or blows to the head can be.

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Hardly anyone is spared a headache. In addition to fresh air or an abundance of fluids, peppermint oil is also a popular home remedy when the head hurts. We explain what essential oil can do.

Throbbing, hammering, roaring, or pressing: Nearly 40 percent of adult Germans suffer from headaches several times a month. Experts also distinguish over 200 different types of headaches. Not everyone wants to take a pain reliever immediately when their head hurts again. Home remedies like a wet forehead towel or peppermint oil also promise relief. But does essential oil really help with headaches?

Peppermint oil is obtained from the leaves of the peppermint plant by steam distillation. The essential oil consists mainly of menthol and menton. Menthol gives peppermint its typical smell. The green plant is used as a home remedy for various diseases. The essential oil can also relieve the pain of tension headaches. This is the most common form of headache. They are characterized by a dull, oppressive pain. They occur on both sides, mainly on the forehead or on the back of the head. The headache can go away in half an hour or even last up to a week.

Peppermint oil is effective in relieving headaches

Pain researcher Hartmut Göbel studied the effect of peppermint oil on tension headaches as early as the mid-1990s. He found that a 10% alcohol and peppermint solution was as effective in relieving pain as 1,000 milligrams of conventional pain relievers. In the study, peppermint oil was spread over a large area of ​​the forehead and temples. Test subjects received peppermint oil twice, 15 minutes apart. After just 15 minutes, the essential oil relieved the headache.

If peppermint oil is applied to the skin, it can relieve headaches because the ingredients are believed to stimulate the skin’s cold-sensitive nerves and thereby activate the cooling effect, informs the European Medicines Agency. If you want to use peppermint oil for headaches, you should never apply it undiluted to the skin, otherwise it can cause skin irritation. The diluted oil can be applied directly to painful areas, neck, temples and forehead. Warning: it must not get into the eyes! Also, peppermint oil should not be used on infants and young children, as the menthol it contains can cause shortness of breath if it gets close to the mouth or nose.

If headaches occur frequently or the pain is very intense, the problems should be clarified with a doctor. Headaches can have many causes, such as irregular sleep, stress, lack of fluids, or hormonal fluctuations in the female cycle. They can also be a symptom of viral illnesses such as the flu or cold.

Sources: 1996 Study, European Medicines Agency, Statesman, Essen University Hospital, Apotheken Umschau, Techniker Krankenkasse

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