Rubbing Ginger All Over Your Forehead Might Soothe Headaches

Photo: Stocksy/KatieJoe
Sometimes nothing seems to help with headaches. You can chug all the water you want and sniff your entire collection of essential oils—and trust me, I have!—but that throbbing pain lingers. One of the best natural remedies for banishing a day-ruining headache is probably already hanging out in your refrigerator. Using ginger for headaches should come as no surprise—the root has been shown to help fight off bacterial infections, get rid of bad breath, and help cure upset stomachs— but the application is unusual.

"Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can actually be more potent than a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)," says Serena Goldstein, ND, a naturopathic doctor and hormone expert based in New York City. And there's some research that backs this up: A small 2017 study found that powdered ginger worked as effectively as ibuprofen to manage pain and swelling in patients who had been treated for impacted molars. "And just like many migraine medications act by leaving more serotonin—our 'happy hormone'—in our body, ginger does this as well."

To try the remedy at home, Dr. Goldstein recommends rubbing a paste made from fresh ginger root between your eyebrows or on your forehead. You can also get some relief by drinking it, as ginger tea is considered one of the best teas for headaches. "Boil fresh ginger root in hot water to make a tea for faster absorption or put ginger powder in a shot glass with a few ounces of water," says Dr. Goldstein. "Most serotonin is made in the gut. And because ginger can help decrease nausea, gas, and bloating, the healthier your gut is and the more serotonin is available, which can help prevent headaches." Powerful stuff, huh?

Sure, getting rid of headaches is cool—but did you know ginger could also help you combat a cold when you add it into your bath? You can also use ginger oil to help relieve joint pain.

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