How to relieve the dull pounding with peppermint

  • Discover a few more odd health facts that I’ve collected
  • Could a deep throbbing headache be a sign of genius?
  • Remedies that work for migraines and muscle spasms

As you know by now, possibly to your utter despair, I’m addicted to collecting odd facts.

I don’t know whether it’s the delight at seeing my friends and family slapping their foreheads as soon as I open my mouth and say, “Did you know…?”

Or whether it’s some kind of preparation for a great event in my future…one where the world’s fate will depend upon whether I can list 10 weird uses for vinegar, or explain the nutritional benefit of plankton.

Anyway, today’s no different.

Recently I have received a number of emails asking about migraine relief, could this be a symptom of lockdown?

Anyway I did some digging…


…that migraines are a sign of genius?

History’s biggest migraine sufferers were also some of the greatest leaders and artists.

They include Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte and Thomas Jefferson. The painter Vincent Van Gogh suffered from severe migraines. Some say that his strokes of pure colour were inspired by the visual disturbances caused by migraines.

Lewis Carroll’s stories about Alice in Wonderland are thought to have been inspired by the hallucinations and ‘aurus’ caused by migraines.

Also on the migraine list… Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Elvis Presley, and Princess Margaret.

So if you suffer migraines, you’re in noble company. That includes one of your fellow Good Lifers, V.H, who emailed me a few years ago with a great migraine tip:

“I used to be a terrible sufferer of migraine and thought I would pass on how I coped and if one should occur now I do as follows…

“Sitting comfortably at your basin in the bathroom you run the hot water tap into the basin. Continuously apply a hot flannel to the forehead, over the eye area all the way round the neck and head area.

“As you begin to feel better. Sniff essential oil of peppermint into both nostrils deeply. You will find this very relaxing and continue to just sit and apply the flannels. Apply one drop of essential oil of peppermint onto your tongue and with a warm glass of water slowly sip the water allowing the peppermint oil to slowly go down the throat.

Please note: The last time I mentioned peppermint oil I had a few emails advising me that care needs to be taken, for example one reader said that if the oil was to be rubbed into the temples to help ease headaches that: “This should only be done if the peppermint oil has been diluted with a base oil or the skin could burn or react badly to the oil.”

So, please take care.

As well as peppermint, there are a few more natural remedies you can try….

6 great migraine remedies

  • Feverfew is a herb that acts as an anti-inflammatory by slowing the release of substances that contribute to inflammation. Feverfew also stops your blood platelets releasing serotonin, which is believed to trigger the chain of events that lead to a migraine.
  • Magnesium is thought to stop blood vessel spasms and keep your muscles and nerves healthy. There’s plenty of it to be found in soybeans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fish.
  • Essential fatty acids in fish oils can reduce the production of inflammatory prostaglandins which contribute to that terrible migraine pain.
  • American researchers have found that a combination of magnesium taurate and fish oil can help prevent migraine headaches. Both can reduce blood vessel spasms.
  • Butterbur is a herb that was used by the ancient Greeks as a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, pain-killing agent. In recent studies it has been shown to reduce the number of migraine days by 62% over a six-month period.
  • Also try cayenne pepper, goldenseal and ginger, but avoid St John’s Wort – it can make migraines a lot worse.

While on the subject…

These remedies can also help muscle spasms

I got an email from another Good Lifer who had their own story to tell;

“I had an accident 7 years ago and it has left me with bad headaches that are caused by the muscles in the back of my neck going into spasm which causes pressure on the base of the brain and causes bad headaches.

“I have been on amitriptyline for 6 years now to try and stop the muscles going into spasm but I still suffer from bad headaches I know and understand that you are not a doctor but I would be very grateful if you could suggest something I could try to stop these headaches or even relieve them.”

If this also affects you then some of the above advice about migraines will also apply. But you should also try these remedies.

  • Calcium. A calcium deficiency can contribute to muscle spasms.. Good sources of calcium include yoghurt, milk and cheese. Always check with your doctor before adding a calcium supplement.
  • Potassium. Another nutritional deficiency linked to muscle spasms is a lack of potassium. So eat plenty of potatoes, bananas and other foods high in potassium.
  • Acidic foods. Limit your intake of acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar if you suffer from recurrent muscle spasms. These acids can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

For more information about migraines, you should check out the Migraine Trust, a UK-based organisation: Migraine Trust

I’ll move onto another reader email that deals with a similar topic…

A herbal cure for leg cramps

A Good Lifer wrote to me to ask:

“Have you ever come across anything that would help relieve cramp? I have woken a few times this last week in agony with cramp in both legs. Tried massage which helped a bit but would prefer something a bit longer lasting.”

Again, all the tips in today’s letter should help this problem. But I’ll give you few more.

I’ll start with a weird tip I found on the internet… and you’ll have to let me know if this works or not…

Apparently, if you have leg cramps, you should put a bar of soap in your bed overnight, while you sleep. Not anything special. Just plain soap!

Sounds like a bit of an old wives tale to me, but I’ve seen many websites where people say it works.

For something with a bit more science and history behind it, try valerian root. This plant was first named in the 9th or 10th century!

It’s so powerful they named ‘Valium’ after it!

Amongst other things, valerian root works as a muscle relaxant. All you do is soak a pad in the tincture and apply it to your muscles to ease the cramps.

Lastly, my own preferred remedy to leg cramps at night is to use a magnesium rich lotion that I rub onto my legs before bed.

I also love a nice long soak in a bath with [magnesium flakes] in if I have been out in the garden or have enjoyed a good long walk with the dog.

I hope all this helps.