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Monday Migraine? Basil Steam Can Help Reduce a Headache

In much the same way that drinking ginger tea can be used as an herbal remedy to kick-start digestion, boiling a tablespoon of fresh, chopped basil or adding a few drops of basil oil to boiling water is an effective way to quell symptoms of a headache or other pain-inducing sinusitis, according to the Good Health Academy.

The basil plant, also known as Ocimum basilicum, has long been revered as a healing herb– especially in India, where Tulsi (also known as “Holy Basil”) is often prescribed as an herbal remedy for anxiety. Because basil works as a muscle relaxant with known analgesic properties, steam from the plant can be harnessed as a gentle treatment for headaches caused by muscle tension.

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, basil oil is both antimicrobial and antioxidant, which also makes it an ideal healing agent to add to topical salves. Basil oil mixed with another base oil can be massaged into temples or other pain centers at the onset of a headache to help reduce its effects.

Basil steam

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To make a basil steam, simply add hot water and basil to a large pot and cover your head with a towel over it, to create a “tent”. (Make sure the water is hot and steamy, but not freshly-boiled, otherwise the steam could burn your face.) Inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes or until the headache starts to subside.

Basil tea can also be taken internally for a sinus headache– simply steep 3-4 leaves in hot water and add a spoonful of honey. Sip slowly, and enjoy the herb’s capacity to heal and restore on the inside and out.

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