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Topical remedies for Daily Headache

There are several forms in which herbs can be applied to the outside of your body. This is known as topical application. You need to remember a little bit about skin to understand how herbs reach their target when used in this way.

The skin as absorbing surface - Cure of Daily Headache

Skin has several layers designed to keep water in (you suffer dehydration quickly if large areas of skin are broken) but allow moisture out when required to cool the body down by evaporation. It is covered with a cornified layer (dead cells) and wax.

Blood vessels are very close to the surface, and they dilate when we are hot to allow heat out by convection. They also dilate when we are emotionally stressed, so we flush with anger, embarrassment or affection. These blood vessels can constrict to conserve heat, and sometimes when we are very angry or upset we become paler than our usual color.

Fat underneath the skin keeps heat in by insulation and protects some areas from pressure (famously the bum!). Muscle is found underneath linings below the fatty layer. If you want to reach muscles, your topical applications must somehow get through the wax, cornified layer, fat and muscle linings first. Oily preparations do penetrate through these layers to some extent.

One way of increasing penetration is to soak the skin in water for a while. This can be done in the bath, in a steam room, or on small areas with a poultice or plaster. Belladonna plasters for back pain could still be bought from the chemist's until a few years ago. Most people have heard of anti-smoking and hormone patches. These use the same principle. Back to Old Dame Dob and her vinegar on brown paper!

Four ways of increasing absorption through the skin:
. bath
. steam
. poultice
. plaster

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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