Dealing with headaches without pills

We all get headaches and whether it’s a mild nuisance or so debilitating it stops you in your tracks, we’ve got our own way of dealing with them. For most people, this means popping a pill. The only distinction many of us make is whether it’s mild or severe.

By understanding the characteristics and causes of our headaches, we can limit how severe they are and how often they occur – and without taking pills.

Our body type will play a part in the kind of headache we suffer from. The Red, Blue and Green energies that we’re made up of can each cause our head to hurt (and cause-related ailments). Each energy has its own distinct characteristics.  If we know what these are, we can deal with our headache by using the appropriate foods to alleviate and prevent them.

We live in a pill-popping culture

Pain that stems from the base of the head

This is a response to an imbalance in Blue energy and can occur from overexertion of the mind. It’s more common amoung Blue body types in line with their natural behaviours but we will all get this kind of headache from time to time when we’re stressed about something.

In line with Blue energy characteristics, we may also experience anxiety and constipation. ‘Blue body type foods’ will help resolve the root cause and therefore the headache. Since Blue is a cold, drying energy, increase warming foods and spices to balance the body (like ginger tea) and use warming oils like sesame oil or almond oil in our nostrils and to massage the base of your head and neck.


Pain that stems from the forehead

This is caused by the Green bio-energy and so will be more common amoung Green body types (especially sinus related) although we’ll all suffer from this to a degree as it’s the kind you get with the common cold or flu. Since Green energy gives rise to heavy, sticky substances we’re likely to also have a snotty nose, a chesty cold and feel lethargic – the usual cold symptoms!

Not surprisingly then, applying products with menthol on the forehead and chest will help alleviate the problem and, since Green is a cold, damp energy warming spices like ginger, cloves or black pepper will help as will lemon and raw honey. Any ‘Green body type foods’ will help.

Pain that stems from behind the eyes

Anyone who has these kinds of headaches knows they’re not for the faint-hearted. They can cause a lot of pain and they’re caused by an imbalance of Red energy. Red body types are more likely to suffer from migraines.

They’re a reaction to tension and so you have a lot of deadlines looming for example, that might set them off. Like the Red energy characteristics, you may feel hot, more aggressive, short-tempered, and have an increased sensitivity to light.

Since Red is a hot, warming energy, using cooling foods will help limit the severity of these headaches. As you start getting the initial signs of a migraine attack, cool your body down as quickly as you can – coconut water, pomegranate juice or a ‘quick lassi’ (pour 1cm of milk in a tall glass and fill the rest up with cold water) should help.

Given the seat of the headache is behind the eyes, a quick way to address it is via the nose. Sandalwood is very soothing when you’re overheating so inhaling a sandalwood essential oil or applying a sandalwood-based nasal oil can help calm things down quickly.

Life sometimes isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be and we may have a headache that has elements of all three types! Whatever the type of headache, to address it (i.e. balance the energy in question) download the ebook (below) and look at the body type table for full details of the kinds of foods and activities that you need to prioritise. Search the database for a list of the appropriate foods to help. More than that though, knowing the cause of your headaches gives you the means to stop them from happening in the first place!

For further information – or if you’re suffering from habitual headaches of any kind (which could indicate something quite serious such as a space-occupying lesion or an aneurysm) – consult a specialist Ayurvedic practitioner.

This self-care health hack is from Superfied Ayurvedic expert Angela Hope-Murray

To find out more, read our ‘Know your body type’ guide