Headaches and migraines are symptoms of underlying problems. Persistent ones may call for a change in lifestyle. Tension headaches are very common in today's society and may be due to stress, eye strain, a pinched nerve, excess caffeine, or sitting too long in a cramped position. Thank goodness tension headaches respond to a variety of calming herbs.
Infusions, teas, and tinctures of lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, passion flower, St. John's wort, valerian, wild lettuce, ginkgo biloba, or bee balm can help relax and soothe both body and mind. One tried and true headache treatment requires turning down the lights, sipping an herbal tea, and taking deep breaths while sniffing lavender essential oil. Rub some lavender essential oil on the temples and back of the neck, too. It should bring relief within 10 minutes.
Aromatherapy is especially suited for treating tension headaches. Massages, warm baths, and even just a few drops of lavender essential oil applied to the temples can bring quick results.
Headaches due to excess mucus or sinus problems are eased by using herbs with decongestant properties, by breathing fresh clean air, and by limiting or removing dairy products from the diet. Peppermint, eucalyptus, horseradish, lavender, ginger, and rosemary can all help a sinus headache. Add extra apples, fresh pineapples, cranberry juice, green salads, brown rice, cider vinegar, and honey to the diet. These essential oils and foods help thin mucus.
Migraine headaches can be caused by food intolerances and pollutants. In theses cases liver cleansing and removal of toxins can really help. Agrimony and dandelion tea should be taken regularly. Avoid smoke and other air pollutants like mold and exhaust fumes.
Cluster headaches are described as two or more sudden attaches a day, usually with severe pain localized over the eyes or a spot on the forehead. Cluster headaches indicate a brain imbalance and sometimes occur after eating a food that one craves. This is the “trigger” food. Avoid common trigger foods like smoked salmon, pickled fish, aged cheese, nitrates, red wine, avocados, caffeine, chocolate, yogurt, and artificial sweeteners. Drink a vegetable blend containing celery and carrot juice, recline in a comfortable position, and apply a cold compress containing lavender essential oil over the forehead at the first sign of a cluster headache.
Black cohosh, catnip, and sage are very useful during these times. Exercise can also help ward off migraine headache.
Mild headaches can be quickly eased with herbal pain relievers like white willow bark. White willow bark contains the same ingredient as aspirin but doesn't cause stomach irritation. White oak bark also works like aspirin. Remember white oak bark and white willow bark by thinking of aspirin. Aspirin tablets are also white!
Try to eat something high in magnesium when suffering with a headache. Greens, sea food, nuts, whole grains, and molasses are examples. Vitamin C can also help. Avoid all MSG, soft drinks, liquor, and red meat.
Feverfew is also a herbal remedy for headache but should be taken regularly to ward off the headache or migraine. It stops headaches from starting in the first place but doesn't help once the pain starts.
* Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy. Do not take ginkgo biloba with aspirin or lithium. Do not take willow with other pain killers. Seek medical attention if you have a sudden headache with high fever, double vision, confusion, numbness, or possible head injury.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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