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Headache Relief with Natural Herbs

written by: BStone • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 6/26/2011

While over-the-counter medications can effectively treat pain, there are negative side effects of long-term use. Try using natural herbs for headaches to safely bring soothing relief.

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    Treating Headaches

    headache relief Treating headaches is difficult because there are so many different types. Some headaches are minor and transient, while others are a sign of a greater health issue. Chronic headaches, especially severe episodes such as migraine headaches, are definitely a sign that a visit to your doctor is necessary. Minor headaches caused by tension, sinus pressure, PMS, caffeine, and alcohol consumption can be treated by using natural herbs for headaches.

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    Types of Headaches

    Tension headaches, which are the most frequently experienced type with adults, respond well to herbal remedies. These headaches can be triggered by stress, loud noises, depression, anger, shallow-breathing, and more emotional and psychological pressure than the body can handle. They can last for hours and even days, and can increase in severity over time. They manifest as incessant pain in either one area or the entire head, along with tightness in the shoulder and back, and possibly dizziness.

    Sinus headaches are characterized by a nagging pain around the nose and front of the head. They tend to get worse throughout the day. They are caused by allergies, clogged sinus ducts, and sinus infections.

    Menstrual headaches are caused by fluctuations in hormone levels. They feel like a migraine, and occur before, during, or after menstruation, or even at ovulation.

    A hangover headache is also intense, with a throbbing like pain, usually accompanied by nausea. The problem in this case is dehydration and dilated blood vessels. Caffeine headaches are similar, also rooted in dilated blood vessels.

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    Helpful Herbs for Natural Relief

    Natural herbs can be used to bring relief to common headache pain. They work in a variety of ways, some easing tension, others promoting blood flow, and others simply relieving pain.

    • Kava kava eases tension
    • Skullcap relaxes and acts as an anti-spasmodic, relieving painnatural herbs for headaches 
    • Valerian root is a mild sedative
    • Ginkgo biloba improves cerebral circulation
    • Jamaican dogwood relieves pain, and is ideal for sinus headaches
    • Periwinkle is a mild sedative, it increases blood flow, and is a beneficial herb for balancing menstrual flow
    • Ginger improves circulation
    • Lavender is great for tension and PMS-related headaches
    • Chamomile will offer gentle relief, relaxing the body
    • Peppermint, with a high volatile oil content can bring relief through relaxing and improving circulation

    To use these herbs, drink one to three cups daily of an herbal infusion. Make a tea by infusing one to two teaspoons of dried herbs in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Herbal tinctures are also very helpful; take a dropperful in a glass of juice one to two times a day. While natural herbs for headaches are an ideal remedy for relief, be sure to contact your doctor about your condition, especially if the cause is unknown.

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    References

    "Tension Headaches." (Medicine Net) <http://www.medicinenet.com/tension_headache/article.htm>

    Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).

    Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).

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    Photo Credit

    photo by Sarah G (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/3651344537/>

    photo by PSD (CC/flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/8237797/>

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.