Headaches are a common problem. Around 12% of the population suffers with migraines. If you add in tension, cluster, and sinus headaches, it could be close to 100%. Although prescription and over-the-counter headache remedies are often effective, some people find side effects and expense to be more problematic.
You can avoid these problems by using any of the many herbal and mineral supplements. These are some of the options you might consider. They are listed alphabetically. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor. Some of these are not recommended for children under two years old, pregnant or nursing mothers or children younger than two years.
Consult a doctor before taking Coumadin or any other blood thinners. Consult a doctor before taking them if you have kidney issues.
- Butterbur. It is sold under the brand Petadolex and should be taken as a preventative.
- Cayenne. Cayenne dilates blood vessels, improving circulation, and it is also natural analgesic. Cayenne capsules can be purchased and taken as a preventative. Or, you can take cayenne as needed. If you have cayenne (red bell pepper) in your spice cabinet, it will work. You can add it to a glass of water or to a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You’ll need to experiment to find the right amount. Start with 1/8 teaspoon, and increase your dose as you go. A whole teaspoon may be enough for you, but you might find relief from a smaller amount.
- Celery seeds. These can be purchased at your local grocery store. You can soak the seeds in hot water and strain them to make tea.
- Chamomile. Chamomile tea is soothing and calming, and it can be found at most grocery stores.
- Cinnamon can reduce stress, loosen tight muscles, and lower blood pressure. This all helps to ease headaches.
- Co-Enzyme Q10 is responsible for energy production in the mitochondria of the cells.
- Eucalyptus oil. This essential oil is an essential oil. You can use a few drops to make a carrier oil (vegetable or olive). Massage the oil into your forehead to relieve tension headaches. You can also try putting a few drops of the oil on a handkerchief and smelling it.
- Feverfew, ginkgo and other herbs can reduce migraines and vascular problems by reducing blood vessel dilations and spasms. They are also anti-inflammatory and ginkgo relieves headache-related dizziness. Although they are bitter, you can chew feverfew leaves or take capsules or a tincture. This is a great remedy for cluster headaches or migraines. Feverfew seems to be more effective at preventing migraines than treating them. You may want to use it on a regular basis. Both can be purchased at health food stores.
- Ginger reduces swelling in brain blood vessels and relaxes pain. It activates natural opioids in the brain. You can take it in tea or tablets at health food stores. Fresh ginger can also be used in cooking, crystallized ginger can be eaten, and fresh-grated ginger can be added to a drink. Ginger is helpful for migraines and other headaches. It also helps with nausea.
- Honey is a natural sugar that bees have pre-digested. It has been used in Bible times. It is rich in potassium and magnesium that will relax the arteries and allow blood to flow more freely to the brain. If you feel a migraine coming on, take a few teaspoons. It can also be used to treat a hangover. Inhale the steam from boiling equal amounts of honey and apple cider vinegar.
- Lavender can reduce pain and relax. You can massage or smell the oil with eucalyptus oil.
- Cluster headache sufferers can benefit from lithium, a salt that can be used to treat bipolar disorder. It can be purchased at your local health food store.
- Marjoram relieves muscle tension. Tension headaches can be relieved by using Menthol preparations. Massage the oil into your temples.
- Magnesium. Sometimes, headache sufferers may have an underlying magnesium deficiency. Follow the label and take the recommended dose with meals. Do not consume dairy products as magnesium interferes with calcium absorption.
- Many clinical trials have shown that milk thistle, similar to feverfew has proven its effectiveness. It is often recommended to counteract the adverse effects of alcohol and other drugs that can harm the liver. Silymarin, an anti-oxidant powerful, is responsible for the medicinal benefits of this herb.
- Mustard. You can soak your feet in a hot footbath for between 10-20 minutes. To this, add 2 teaspoons of powdered mayonnaise. You can ease your headache with the heat and mustard. Mustard powder is also available at your local grocery store.
- Passiflora incognita, a tropical herb that has been used for nervous conditions since the 19th Century, is a good choice. Clinical trials have shown Passiflora’s relaxing and calming properties. It is often recommended to reduce anxiety and tension.
- Peppermint relieves tension and pain. Use the oil to massage or smell. Keep the peppermint oil out of your eyes! This oil may be helpful for tension headaches. Peppermint tea is available at your local grocery store.
- Like CoQ10, Riboflavin (vitamin B-2), acts on the energy production in the mitochondria. See the package for the recommended dose.
- Rosemary. Rosemary oil is good for dilation of blood vessels. Rub a few drops into your temples. Make a rosemary tea by adding one teaspoon of rosemary to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain the tea. Valerian is a natural pain reliever and tension reducer. It is available in capsules at your local health food store.
- White willow bark can be used to achieve similar results to aspirin but is gentler on the stomach. This is the natural ingredient that makes aspirin. You can find tinctures or capsules in health food stores.
These are great options for people who don’t want to spend the money and take the risks that traditional medication can bring. It won’t hurt for most headache sufferers.