tips and tricks

Migraine Mania: Natural Remedies to Hinder Your Headaches!

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With midterms on the brain, “Hallo-weekend” part two fast approaching, and all the hard work you’ve been putting in this semester finally catching up to you, it’s easy to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and frankly, burnout. And with this stress and exhaustion, headaches are more likely have found a “fun” new place in your life,  becoming more frequent and more severe.

While it’s tempting to reach for that Aleve bottle in your backpack and pop a couple pills, new studies have shown that ibuprofen’s like Advil and Aleve and other pain relievers might be doing your body more harm than good.

Did you know that regular use of pain relievers can actually cause more headaches? One dose may have initially been enough to rid your head pain, but soon it may take two, maybe even three times the suggested dosage to get the same relief that one used to provide you relief. Just like caffeine or alcohol, it is easy to build a  tolerance towards these common pain-relievers. This is dangerous because of the adverse effects seen in regular to heavy use of pain relievers, due to their chemical ingredients.

Advil, for example is an Ibuprofen, also known as an anti-inflammatory drug. Regular, long-term use of it can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney problems, and cause ulcers and/or gastrointestinal bleeding. On the other hand, Tylenol is an Acetaminophen, also known as an analgesic (pain and fever reducer). This drug can cause damage to the liver, especially if used with alcohol. Both drugs can cause small increases in blood pressure.

Reducing your use of these common headache-commbatters can only be beneficial towards your health. Below are some common, natural headache remedies that can be found in most kitchens that can hinder your awful headaches!

Ginger

Ginger is an Asian spice that has been used since the 1500’s as a natural remedy for head pain. Some of it’s uses are for treatment of:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea

Headaches often occur alongside nausea or upset stomaches.  In severe cases, these are called migraines. Because ginger is anti-inflammatory and soothes the stomach, it is a perfect natural remedy for a headache or migraine. I recommend brewing a hot cup of ginger tea in bed to fight an incoming headache.

Caffeine (Black or Green Tea)

Caffeine is a controversial subject when it comes headaches; some people find it helps treat headaches, while others find it to be a trigger. When consumed in small amounts (less than 200mg, or a 12oz cup of coffee), caffeine can actually relieve headaches by reducing inflammation in the brain. When consumed on a daily basis or in amounts >200mg, however, caffeine can lead to withdrawal symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, and of course headaches.

The science behind this is that when a headache comes on, our blood vessels begin to enlarge. Caffeine constricts your blood vessels; therefore in small amounts (in order to avoid withdrawal headaches) caffeine can reverse an oncoming headache or migraine.

Green and black teas are a good choice instead of coffee, since they have small amounts of caffeine while being full of antioxidants. They also help  boost your metabolism and are beneficial towards your cardiovascular system!

Peppermint

Peppermint leaves contain essential oils that can be beneficial medicinally. One of these oils is menthol, which a study from 2010 shows  is a migraine-fighter when applied in a solution to the forehead and temples. In addition to headaches, peppermint can help treat:

  • Toothaches
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal upset

If you have any of these symptoms in addition to your headache, a cup of peppermint tea is the perfect  healthy qne natural cure.

Preventing Headaches

If you are interested in preventing future headaches, here are some common triggers of headaches and migraines. Reducing your exposure to these products may prevent future headaches:

  1. Alcohol (red wine)
  2. Caffeinated beverages (in excess)
  3. Aged cheeses (Gorgonzola, Camembert, cheddar, etc.)
  4. Cured/processed meats (hot dogs, sausages, lunch meats, etc.)
  5. MSG (common in processed foods)
  6. Aspartame (an artificial sweetener common in chewing gum and other candies)

Lastly, here are some general tips to reduce your risk of headache:

  1. Maintain a sleep schedule
  2. Eat at regular intervals each day
  3. Stay hydrated
  4. Avoid hangover situations
  5. Avoid strong fragrances
  6. Avoid bright lights when possible. Turn your phone and computer brightness down!
  7. Set aside time for yourself to relax, stress-free

Next time you go to grab some Advil or Tylenol, think twice! Some of these natural remedies may supply the same effects without harming your health. It’s a win-win!

By: Allie Urso

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DIY · Feel Great · tips and tricks

Pumpkin: The Must Have Addition to Your SkinCare Routine

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The semester is halfway over, and I know that I am not the only one with homework up to my ears. Blinded by my endless to-do lists and textbook pages, I’ve barely realized that fall has arrived to our beautiful campus here in Syracuse; there’s a crisp breeze in the air, with blankets of leaves covering the grass, and everyone is  starting to bundle in sweaters and scarves. It’s time to take a breather from the books, embrace the season and relax… what better way to do so than to have  a fall-themed spa night?

The welcoming of fall also brings fall vegetables, many of which are  a great in homemade beauty products that are amazing for your skin – brussels sprouts, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, squashes; the list goes on. They do wonders for your body, both on the inside and outside. They provide so many benefits when used directly on your skin in the form of a skin treatment.

The most quintessential fall vegetable is pumpkin, of course! Pumpkin packs vitamin A and vitamin C that together soothe, hydrate, and repair damaged skin. Pumpkin also fights acne due to high levels of vitamins E and T. Along with these beneficial vitamins, pumpkin also promotes new cell production, fights inflammation, and controls oil production by your skin. It’s also very inexpensive (a can of organic pumpkin at Trader Joe’s is just $1.99!), making it accessible for college students on a budget.

Pumpkin is the perfect ingredient to use as a skin product base that will leave you with acne-free and hydrated skin. Here I’ve put together two homemade pumpkin beauty recipes, a face mask and a face scrub, that use simple, cruelty-free ingredients that any college student can get their hands on (or may already have on hand). Neither recipe requires animal products like yogurt or eggs that are common in many face mask recipes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Face Mask

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional, but recommended)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, gently apply a thin coat to face (with fingers or a brush). Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water to reveal your glowing complexion!

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Pumpkin Face Scrub (for exfoliation!)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)

Directions: Combine brown sugar and spices until well mixed. Next, mix in the pumpkin and honey/agave nectar. Store away or apply to the face/body to revitalize your skin. Rinse with warm water once finished.

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These treatments are perfect for a weekend spa night with your friends, and will stay fresh for several days if refrigerated. So whip up these face treatments and spend the night in watching movies and eating Ben and Jerry’s with your gal pals! We all deserve some down time, and now is the perfect time to treat both yourself and your skin! Enjoy!

By: Allie Urso