Headaches: Cause, Effect and Treatment

Headaches: Cause, Effect and Treatment
By Hannah DeLadurantey

Headaches plague many people. They can be debilitating, dull, or extremely painful. In short, headaches are no fun. Headaches can inhibit us from being as successful as we could be. I am blest to not have many headaches, but when I do get them I've found that it's due to not getting enough sleep, being dehydrated, or stressed. I've compiled a few remedies that have helped me and my family over the years; I hope they can help you too!

" Headaches are a reminder of our dependance on God and our frailty as humans." 

Did you know?
The Hebrew word for Head is רֹאשׁ‏‏ ( Rosh )
The Greek word for Head is κεφαλή kephalē )
The Arabic word for Head is رأس ( ra’as )

Primary Causes and Effects of Headaches

Swelling blood vessels around your brain are what cause your head to ache. Your brain's nerves pick up signals, which is what causes the pain in your head. Pain in your head is a signal that something in your body is not right. Your "headache" is a secondary cause, so to really relieve a headache you need to find the primary cause. Your brain does not actually "feel" pain, but it does react to pain in other areas of your body by causing your head to hurt.

Tension and Stress in your body can cause headaches. Many times a headache is referred pain and isn't really coming from the head. Shoulder tension can often cause headaches. When you're stressed it may cause tension in other areas of your body, which in turn can result in a headache. So if you're having a stress headache, see the below on massage. 

Remembering that there are no headaches in heaven may help relieve some of that stress induced headache :)

Hormone fluctuation can cause headaches. This may be due to having underlying health/hormonal imbalances that you may want to consult a doctor about. 

Hydration is vital in staving off headaches. Be sure that you are drinking pure, filtered water throughout the day. When you body is dehydrated, it will let you know- a headache is sometimes your body's emergency signal that you're in need of a little H2O.

Lack of Exercise can sometimes cause  headaches, because the brain is not receiving the amount of oxygen it needs. Be sure to do some deep breathing throughout the day. Sometimes I get so busy or intense while I'm doing something that I forget to really "breathe".

Sleep....we need our rest if we want to function in tip top shape. Some of us don't have a problem sleeping, while others of us think sleeping is for the dead and a waste of time. Obviously there needs to be a balance here ( God created us to need sleep ); sleep is good, but only as much as we need to function well. 8 hours of snoozing should be sufficient for most people. You may not realize it, but your body also needs sleep to make repairs. When you sleep, your body is hard at work repairing and rejuvenating your body for tomorrow's busy schedule.

Hunger can produce a headache. Try to keep your blood sugar even. Keep some nuts and fruit nearby if your are prone to hunger/low blood sugar headaches.

Sinus drainage can produce headaches. This is why when you have a cold, many times it can be accompanied by a headache. Try a steam and or massage below as well as some tea.

Treating Your Headache

Caffeine helps to constrict blood flow to the brain. Sometimes a large amount of blood flow to the brain causes headaches ( this is why not getting your morning cup of joe can give you a banger headache ). Try drinking a cup of coffee next time you feel a headache coming on, it may help you. 

If you're interested in how caffeine works in the brain, *read this great synopsis. Here are some of the *positives of coffee. 

Did you know that Excedrin's main ingredient is caffeine?

Herbs rich in anti inflammatory properties such as: White Willow Bark, Feverfew, Peppermint, Skullcap and Ginger can help with headaches. 
Try drinking a cup of Ginger or Peppermint tea with a little honey. White Willow Bark has many of the same properties as Asprin, try using this in a capsule form.

Steam it away- try a warm steam with essential oils of lavender and chamomile.

Ice and Heat Icing your neck and forehead can sometimes relieve a headache. But sometimes heat can be helpful as well. 

Exercise brings oxygen to the brain, which in turn can help cure as well as prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be triggered when the brain is not receiving enough oxygen; exercise fixes this. Cardio is especially good since it brings your heart rate up, causing more blood circulation.

I find that going for a brisk walk or run helps with headaches. 

Massage can help abate headaches by relieving pressure on muscles that may be causing the headache. Many times a headache is referred pain and isn't really coming from the head. Shoulder tension can often cause headaches. Try having a family member/friend massage your shoulders; trapezius/sternocliedomastoid and occipital muscles.

In a cool dark room, try the below massage oil for your next headache.

Headache Massage Oil
Opt. Carrier Oil (almond, olive or jojoba) 
Essential Oils of: Wintergreen/Peppermint, MGrain from Young Living and Frankincense. You can use only one of these oils, but we've found that this combination is very powerful. 

Put 1 tsp. of oil in a small bowl and then add 3 drops each of 2 essential oils. Dip your fingers in the oils and slowly massage in circular motion around the hair line and into the neck. Concentrating on the temples. Repeat and then cup your hands around your mouth and breath. Close your eyes. 

Want to know more about relieving pain with massage? Purchase this book: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook : Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain-  it's well worth it!

*Visit this link to find out what foods are good for headache prevention and treatment!

*Note that I do not necessarily agree with everything on the sites I've linked in this post. 

Warning: Headaches can be a sign of serious medical urgency and may need to be treated and discussed with a doctor.

Gluten & Sugar Free Truffles

We all like dessert....don't we? In my family, we're partial to chocolate desserts. I'm always looking for new chocolate dessert recipes that are good for your health-not just your taste buds. This past week I experimented a little and came up with this recipe. 

Bon Appetit!

Photo credit: Esther DeLadurantey

Gluten & Sugar Free Truffles
Makes 7-10 truffles

9 dates
1 T. hot water
1 1/2 T. coconut oil
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. cocoa powder
2 T. coconut flour
2 T. quinoa flour

Chocolate Glaze:
2 T. butter
1/4 c. chocolate chips

Or: 2T. Coconut Oil, 2T. cocoa power and 2t. maple syrup. ( coconut oil liquefies at 70 F so be prepared to eat them right after you've taken them out of the freezer )

Blend dates, hot water, coconut oil and maple syrup in a blender until it turns into a smooth paste. Mix in the remaining ingredients until combined. Add more hot water if it is too dry. If they're not sweet enough for your liking, add more maple syrup!

Roll the truffle mixture into 1 inch diameter balls. Dip balls into melted chocolate and then refrigerate until they're hardened.

Did you know?
Quinoa is high in antioxidants, fiber, calcium and protein. 
Coconut Flour is high in fiber, trace minerals, protein and low in carbohydrates.
Coconut Oil is good for weight loss, digestion, immunity and candida.
Cocoa Power is high in minerals and flavinoids/antioxidants.

Bones: Taking Care of Your Foundation

Bones: Taking Care of Your Foundation
By Hannah DeLadurantey

No bones about it, your bones are what keep you together. Without this amazing framework of bodily construction, you would literally fall apart. Just like the house built on the rock ( Matt. 7:24-27), your body has bones for its firm and stable foundation. 

1You have 206 bones in your body and all of them have at least several of the below functions: 

  •  To serve as a firm foundation for the entire body.
  •  To protect such delicate structures as the brain and the spinal cord.
  •  To work as levers with attached muscles to produce movement.
  •  To store calcium salts, which may be reabsorbed into the blood if calcium is needed.
  • To produce blood cells ( in red marrow ).

There are two types of bones in your body (a.k.a. osseous tissue): compact bones (which are hard and dense) and spongy/cancellous bones  (has more spaces than compact bones). 

1Your skeleton is divided into two main groups:
Axial: consists of 80 bones and includes the bony framework of the head and the trunk. 
Appendicular: consists of 126 bones and forms the framework for the extremities (limbs) and for the shoulders and hips.

Babies, Children and Bones
Did you know that a baby in the womb starts out as cartilage, and slowly though the process of ossification it's cartilage turns into bone? This happens during the 2nd. and 3rd. trimester.

The vertebral column (your back bone) starts out as 33-34 individual bones, but because of the fusions that happen during early childhood these bones usually decrease into only 26 separate bones. God had a purpose in this. The increased flexibility in the vertebral column allows the baby to more easily get through the birth canal as well as stay curled up in it's mother womb. 

Your bones stop growing in length during your teens and early twenties. Before bone growth ends, bones contain more cartilage and are therefore more flexible. This is the reason why children recover more quickly from bone breaks. 

Aging and Bones
As one ages, there is usually a great loss in calcium salts as well as decreased amounts of proteins formed in bone tissues. This results in a reduction of collagen in the bones, which results in stiffness (e.g. arthritis) and bone breakage. 
Most elderly people need to take supplements to help with bone density, due to the natural decline in vitamins and minerals in their bodies.

Feeding Your Bones: 

Calcium and Phosphorus help with bone density:  
Photo by Hannah DeLadurantey
  • Eat raw dairy products ( cheese, milk, yogurt etc.), fish, beans, leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens etc.), sesame seeds, almonds. 
See our recipe here to know how to make your own yogurt!
Note that calcium and magnesium must be taken together for nutritional absorption. 

Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen synthesis: 
  •  Eat citrus fruits, guava, papaya, strawberries.

Vitamin D helps the digestive system absorb calcium into the bloodstream, making it available to the bone: 
  • Eat fish, eggs.

Vitamin K  insufficiency can cause osteoporosis and osteopenia:
  •  Eat leafy vegetables, egg yolks, yogurt, sauerkraut. 

Photo by Esther DeLadurantey
Magnesium deficiency cause fragile and brittle bones leading to fractures:
  • Eat brown rice, leafy greens, almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans.

Omega 3's for bone health
  •  Eat Cod liver oil, fish, walnuts, flax seeds and oil. 

Bone Broth is high in gelatin, which helps with degenerative joint disease. It is also high in  glucosamine and chondroiton as well as calcium and magnesium, all of which are vital to bone health.

Cautiousness and Bones: Alcohol, refined sugar, prescription drugs, smoking and excess caffeine. These attribute in bone density lose since they can deplete your body's bones of calcium and phosphorus. 
It's been said that putting cream in your coffee is better than drinking your coffee black. This is due to the fact that cream is high in calcium, and therefore helps to counteract the acidic/caffeine depleting that coffee brings.
A sedentary life styles can also attribute to bone density lose, and phytates (found in some grains) can interfere with calcium absorption. 

Get Your Bones Moving!
Photo by Esther DeLadurantey
Without activity, your muscle and bones atrophy no matter how excellent your diet or how many supplements you take. Physical activity, in healthy moderation, helps keep bones in prime shape. Do some research on how to incorporate stretching, strength training and cardio to your weekly schedule (more coming on this in another post)!

Please note that I do not necessarily agree with everything on the sites I've linked in this post.

1 Memmler’s Structure and Function of the Human Body 9th. Edition

Hair: Caring for Her Glory

Hair: Caring for Her Glory
By Hannah DeLadurantey

The Lord says that a woman's hair is a glory to her.
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 
1 Corinthians 11:15
In the Greek, the word glory ( doxa ) means; glorious, honor, praise.
What a wonderful blessing for us ladies! We have a special gift from the Lord that men do not have. A young man's glory is his strength and an old mans honor is his gray hair ( Proverbs 20:29 ), but our glory is our hair ( gray or colored:). I've compiled a post that will hopefully be helpful to you in caring for this "glory" the Lord has given you!
hair chemistry and structure

What's in a Hair?
1 " The word "hair" often refers to two distinct structures:
  1. the part beneath the skin, called the hair follicle or when pulled from the skin, called the bulb. This organ is located in the dermis and maintains stem cells which not only re-grow the hair after it falls out, but also are recruited to regrow skin after a wound;
  2. the shaft, which is the hard filamentous part that extends above the skin surface. A cross section of the hair shaft may be divided roughly into three zones.
  3. the hair bid, which is the actual physical hair root that may come in various thickness and colors. Often "hair biddles" are branched off the main hair root. This is better known as "split ends".
Hair fibers have a structure consisting of several layers, starting from the outside:
  1. the cuticle, which consists of several layers of flat, thin cells laid out overlapping one another as roof shingles,
  2. the cortex, which contains the keratin bundles in cell structures that remain roughly rod-like.
  3. the medulla, a disorganized and open area at the fiber's center."

Use 1 tbsp of Apple cider vinegar in 500 ml of water in your hair. leave it for a 2-3 minutes, then rinse, it;s like conditioner :)
Visit this link if you'd like to know more about the chemistry of your hair

foods for healthy hair growth- not to worried about the hair growth thing, but nice to have a chart with a breakdown of the nutrients from each veggie/fruit

Vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12; Biotin, Omega 3's, Zinc, Selenium, Sulfur, Iron, Copper.

Did you know that hair is 88-97% protein?

Essential Oils for Healthy Hair
Essential Oils for Normal Hair
Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon, Geranium, Cedarwood, Thyme, Clary Sage
The best base or carrier oils to use are jojoba, almond or borage.

Essential Oils for Dry Hair
Lavender, Rosemary,Sandalwood, Geranium
The top base or carrier oils to use are almond, sesame, jojoba, borage, cocoa butter or avocado.

Essential Oils for Oily Hair
Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon, Peppermint, Cypress
The top base or carrier oils are sesame, jojoba and borage.

Essential Oils for Dandruff
Rosemary, Lemon, Lavender, Cedarwood, Thyme, Basil, Cypress, Sage, Melrose Blend
Did you know that normal hair loss is about 20-100 strands per day
Essential Oils Hair Loss:
Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon, Roman Chamomile, Thyme, Cypress, Clary Sage, Sage

Essential Oils that promote growth are:
Rosemary, Lavender, Geranium, Cedarwood, Thyme, Cypress, Western Red Cedar, Sage, Ylang Ylang, Grapefruit
Base or carrier oils/products: Avocado, jojoba, borage or aloe vera.

Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy Hair

Cleaning your Hair: Most shampoos are made with strong cleansers called sulfates that strip the natural oils from your hair and cause it to get frizzy and frayed. Do choose a shampoo made with cleansing herbs and oils instead. Here are a few shampoo's I've tried and have been pleased with: Avalon Lavender, Herbal Shampoo Bar, Nature's Gate Tea Tree.

Try a coconut oil treatment for shiny, hydrated hair!
Here is a recipe for a natural hair gel ( this works best for thick curly hair )

Here are some interesting looking hair tonics.

Herbs and Hair: Chamomile is a great conditioner for damaged and dry hair. When used for rinsing after shampoo it will help restore shine and bring out the natural highlights for blondes. It also helps to strengthen the hair to prevent breakage, tangling and split ends.
Horsetail : This herb is effective for curing problems of oily hair. It is a rich source of silica. It makes your hair strong, sleek, shiny and manageable. It also stimulates hair growth as it enhances scalp circulation.
Here is a link for more information on Herbs for your Hair

Here is a link on the Best oils for Hair

Caring for your Hair:
Photo by Esther DeLadurantey
  • Don't brush your hair when it's wet, as it will result in more breakage.
  • Be gentle with your hair, and don't rip out knots; gently tease them out.
  • Brush your hair with a wide tooth comb instead of a brush.
  • Don't put your hair in a tight ponytail all the time as it will pull at the roots and maybe result in more breakage.
  • Avoid styling products with hard to pronounce names. This is hard to do if you have wavy/curly hair; I know from experience! I've tried a few healthier hair products that work like mousse but haven't been successful on finding one with good results. Please leave a comment if you know of any good ones that actually work.
  • Avoid drying your hair on the heat setting as much as possible ( creates dry/dull hair ). If you must dry it, use the cool setting. 
  • Avoid curling irons and hair straighteners on a consistent basis. These cause dry, dull hair and results in breakage and split ends.
  • Avoid Peroxide and Bleaches these dry out your hair and cause split ends and breakage. If you are looking for highlights, try Hennas or herbs such as Chamomile.
  • Bobby pins are more gentle on your hair than rubber/hair bands.
  • Don't wash your hair more then 3-4 times per week. The more you wash the drier and more dull your hair will be. 

Please note that I do not necessarily agree with everything on the sites I've linked in this post.

1 Wikipedia
1 Strong's  Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible copyright 2010