An Apple A Day Keeps Your Headache Away

There are never enough hours in a day, days in a week, or weeks in a month to get everything done. Whether it’s classes, internships or work that consumes our 9-5, to do lists continue to grow and stress begins to creep.  Add boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, and children into our dramatic daily lives and that’s when it hits: that piercing pain in the middle of your brain.  Lights, sounds, even standing up can suddenly become unbearable.  This pain is not a fluke, it comes back and stays for longer than the last time. Migraines (just the word is painful) are a chronic type of a headache that may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light.  For many people, the throbbing pain is only on one side of their head.

Migraines can be set off by anything and people have a variety of ways of dealing with them.  Hot tea, sitting in the dark, self-medication, simply waiting it out (or my personal favorite: taking NyQuil and passing out), all help with the pain. Unfortunately, not everyone can take hours out of their day to sit around and be in pain, and that’s where our awesome research find comes in this week.  Doctor Alan Hirsch is the founder and neurological director of The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.  He specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of smell and taste-related disorders and has completed over 200 studies on sensory functions.

Dr. Hirsch is the guru for sense and taste, having conducted a variety of studies on smell and weight loss, aromas and male sexual response, and odor and kissing.  In one of his recent studies, Dr. Hirsch focused on the reduction of migraine pains by inhaling a green apple scent.  In a previous study by researchers Blau and Solomon, 50 migraine patients were interviewed and reported that certain odors trigger their migraines.  Dr. Hirsch, being the smelly guy he is, theorized that maybe certain smells could reduce migraine symptoms. Using the green apple as his control fragrance since previous studies concluded that it reduces anxiety, Dr. Hirsch designed an in-study use inhaler filled with a green apple odor.  The volunteers would record three migraine attacks and would rate the severity on a given scale.  During the second attack, volunteers would use the inhaler and record the severity of their migraine.

This study found that those who liked the green apple fragrance recorded that the severity of a headache decreased.  For those who did not like the fragrance, there was no significant improvement in the severity of their migraine.  So what does this all mean?  Odors can possibly help reduce migraines if the scent is pleasurable to the migraine sufferer.  For people on the go and who can’t afford to spend their day in a dark room recovering, green apples might be a home-made remedy for curing that aching head pain.  And lucky for us, October is here and so are plenty of apple picking fests and farms.  If you can’t make it out to the boondocks, you can go to your local grocer and pick up some Granny Smith apples for your migraine.  Not to mention, apples are delicious and super nutritious!  Just make sure you like the scent of green apples, otherwise, your migraine won’t go away and you’ll be pissed you read this!  Enjoy, and let us know if it worked for you.

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