One of the biggest factors that can put damper over any of your day is a headache. They make it cumbersome to concentrate or enjoy normal life, and they usually sneak up on you without any prior notice and may stick around for anywhere from just few hours to couple of days.
As many as one in five American experiences chronic migraines, meaning they are a regular part of their lives. They cannot work on their migraine days, and have little motivation left to do much else. All in all, even a simple headache can make it difficult to lead a normal life and can even fuel other health issues in the long run.
Most people may recommend a painkiller and work it out, but that doesn’t appear to be a best option to me. Instead, I prefer herbal remedies to treat and prevent headaches. Herbal teas and herbs have been used since thousands of years across the world and are still effective in dealing with various aches and pains. Some herbs can help in minimizing symptoms of severe migraine headaches like vomiting and nausea, making it easy to treat headaches using home remedies.
Common Causes of Headaches
There can be so many reasons as to why you get a headache. It might be related to tiredness, stress, poor posture, missing a meal, dehydration, drinking too much alcohol, and sometimes even an ear infection. Some people may have it in their genes and so they are more prone to headaches than others. It might be reason why you or someone you know frequently gets migraines whereas others never have them.
Regardless of why you’ve a headache, it may usually fall in two categories: a primary headache, or a secondary headache. Primary headaches result from some chemical activity in the brain, muscles in your neck and head, the nerves of blood vessels in the head, or a combination of these factors. They are never a symptom of some existing health condition. The common examples of primary headaches are:
They can be very painful, and can be identified with throbbing or pulsing sensation somewhere around your head or behind your eyes. It’s often accompanied by symptoms like nausea, dizziness, high sensitivity to sound and light and vomiting. Sometimes it can last for days, and may be preceded by sensations like tingling of limbs or flashes of light.
They are definitely one of the most painful headaches and may occur in “clusters” or patterns. They can even happen at night when you sleep, often causing sufferer to wake up with throbbing pain around the side of the head or around the eye.
This is actually a primary headache, and least severe one. Typically, you’ll feel as if there is some pressure against your head.
Mostly, primary headaches can be triggered by:
- Processed food
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Poor posture
- Lack of sleep
- Missing meals
Secondary headaches often have symptoms associated with some other health condition. The associated conditions can activate pain-sensitive nerves in the head, and some of its triggers are:
- Blood clots in the brain
- Ear infection
- Ice Cream headaches (also known as brain freeze)
- Panic Attack
Regardless of the headache you’re suffering from, it’s possible to treat it with a herbal home remedy. There are many herbal teas and herbs that can relieve pain and some associated symptoms by easing inflammation, relaxing blood vessels, thus helping you to relax. If you make these teas a regular part of your day, you may even be able to prevent most of the headaches even before they start.
Easy-to-prepare herbal teas that can treat your headaches:
Skullcap works best for stress headaches, as it has good relaxing effect. Besides making you more relaxed, it will also relax body’s blood vessels and allow liberal blood flow, thus removing all pressures caused by headache. The active ingredients found in skullcap are flavonoids that posses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is a mild sedative, so try not to drink it if need to be sharp or you’re on the job! Prepare skullcap tea by adding one tablespoon of skullcap in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Keep in mind that skullcap might make you feel a little drowsy, like you’re under the influence, for about the first 15 to 30 minutes after taking it.
Feverfew is native to Asia and Europe and has been widely used to treat headaches for hundreds of years. The active ingredient parthenolid of this plant has anti-inflammatory and vessel-widening effects. Parthenolide helps relieve muscle spasms and also prevents blood vessels in the brain from constricting.
There is firm evidence that feverfew works best as a reliable preventive measure but won’t stop migraine once it has started, so if you experience migraines it’s worthwhile to make it a part of your daily routine. You can buy it in health food stores in the form of dried leaves or in capsule form. The dry leaves can be used to prepare tea. This tea will have bitter flavor and might irritate your mouth in the beginning. Once you get used to it, there won’t be much problem. About 55-100 mg per day is sufficient, or just one or two cups of tea per day. The tea will show its effect within few weeks, and should always be taken with food.
Chamomile tea is very helpful in relieving migraine symptoms. It is a mild sedative with good relaxing properties. Like many other herbal teas, it acts as a good anti-inflammatory herb and works to reduce muscle spasms. Chamomile tea can also depress the nervous system, allowing for mild drowsy effect that should be considered if you’ve to operate machinery or do something at full attention. The best way to enjoy this tea is to make sure you’re in relaxed and comfortable environment. Steep chamomile leaves or a tea bag for just 15 minutes.
This is a powerful herb that can treat your headache. A 2011 study, for example, showed that ginger powder treatment was comparable to the common migraine prescription drug sumatriptan, but comes with fewer side effects. Ginger offers relief in few ways. First, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce swelling and pain. It can also help with immediate symptoms of migraine, such as vomiting and nausea.
Peppermint tea can help with nausea bought on by many headaches, as well as possibly reduce all spasms in gastrointestinal tract that can stimulate some headache symptoms.
Sichuan lovage is actually traditional Chinese remedy for migraines and headaches and is easily available online, in the offices of Chinese herbalists, and in health food stores. Two to three cups of the tea per day can provide good headache relief or prevention.
Before including any herbal tea in your daily regimen, it’s best to check with your doctor. Although you’re unlikely to get sick of these teas, they may have some negative interactions or side-effects with certain medications. If you’re on blood thinners, for instance, you might want to avoid herbal teas. For added benefit, take some magnesium supplement with tea-magnesium also helps in reducing headaches.
Herbal Tea Recipes
These teas can also be combined with many other ingredients for easy headache relief. Here are some interesting recipes which I’ve tried and are worth a shot.
Ginger Lemon Herbal Tea
2-slices of lemon (optional)
1-inch piece of properly peeled and sliced ginger
2 teaspoons of Lemon Raspberry or Lemon Natural Calm (it’s a magnesium supplement available in the pharmacy, health food stores, and on the Internet)
2-cups of water
Combine ginger, water, and lemon slices in a small saucepan and bring it to boil on high heat. Once the mixture comes to boil, reduce the flame and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Put Natural Calm in a large mug and then pour your tea. Strain the piece of lemon and ginger.
3.5 cup of water
1 tablespoon of green tea
5 dried plums (prunes)
2 tablespoons of mint
Boil green tea, prunes, and mint in 3 cups of water for about 10 minutes. Drink at least two cups a day when you have a headache.
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of feverfew (two to three dried leaves)
This simple but highly effective remedy can be ready in just 20-30 minutes. If you want to add some flavor, include a small teaspoon of chamomile, lavender, and lemon.
Passion Flower Power
3 teaspoons of lemon balm
4 teaspoons of chamomile flowers
2 teaspoons of feverfew
1 teaspoons of passion flower
1 teaspoon of skullcap
1/3 teaspoons of ginger root
Combine all these ingredients in a tea pot or tea infuser and brew for 10-15 minutes. If you want, you can also use “parts” method- as long as you’re consistent in serving the precise size-to make a big batch. You can store this tea blend in any cool, dark place for up to 10 months.