Here are some herbs and remedies to help cure a headache from around the world.
Most people who suffer from migraines tend to opt for medication from the doctor, not realizing that there are quite a few natural remedies that may prove as effective.
The fresh Italian herb is said to have an analgesic effect, helping stimulate the body’s natural processes and relieving pain.
How to use: Add 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves to a cup of boiling water and allow it to simmer. Once simmered, sip the tea slowly. Alternatively you could chew some fresh basil leaves (this also helps freshen breath) or inhale the steam after boiling the basil in a pot.
2. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
First used in ancient Greece in as early as the fifth century B.C., feverfew (or “featherfew”) has been used to treat a variety of ailments. These include fever, swelling, and inflammation. People commonly took the herb to relieve aches and pains such as headaches in the first century.
Used to treat:
- breathing problems
WARNING: Pregnant women, people taking blood thinning medications, and people with allergies to the daisy family should avoid the use of feverfew.
Catnip acts as a mild sedative. A member of the mint family, it’s another alternative natural migraine remedy. The plant acts as a mild sedative and has been employed in traditional herbology for centuries. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce stress and anxiety (which are often the source of migraines).
How to use: The flowering head can be taken in tea form. To make catnip tea, place 1-2 tsp of dried catnip flowers into a cup and pour over hot (not boiling) water. Wait 10-15 minutes and sweeten with a little honey or lemon to mitigate the woody taste.
INTERESTING FACT: Aztec tribes would use fennel to cure headaches, so this root has true ancient backing. It’s also known to help ease digestion.
How to take: Fennel tea can be made with either seeds or fresh stalks. For fresh leaf tea, pour one cup of boiling water over the leaves and allow to steep for 15-20 minutes, once steeped remove the leaves then top up with more hot water.
5. WILLOW BARK
It can be as white, European or purple tree, willow bark is a well known natural substitute for aspirin and can be used to ease pain from headaches to menstrual craps and arthritis to sore muscles. This is because salicin, an active ingredient within the bark, is similar to aspirin and offers similar effects.
How to use: The ancient greeks would chew on the bark to relieve pain, but we advise you save your teeth and make tea instead. To make willow tea, use ground bark, adding two tea spoons for every 230ml of water. Allow to simmer on the stove for around 10 minutes then remove. Let it steep for another 30 minutes, straining the bark from the liquid using a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer.
6. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is a tropical Asian plant. It has commonly been used in herbal medicines in China for over 2,000 years. Secondly, it has also been popular in Indian and Arabic medicines since the ancient times.
Ginger has traditionally been used as a remedy for:
Ginger has been well-documented as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial.
Caffeine is one that is often misinterpreted. Caffeinated teas exploded in popularity in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, after being popular in China previously. Green tea was used in combination with other herbs for migraine pain in traditional Chinese medicine. Coffee initially gained recognition in Arabia. Yerba mate, a less widely known caffeinated tea, originated in South America.
People in many cultures primarily consumed caffeine to help treat:
- high blood pressure
- stomach problems
- sexually transmitted diseases
- circulatory problems
- skin damage
- kidney disease
Caffeine is also found in many over-the-counter pain relievers today.
8. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is native to Europe and Asia. It’s now also commonly found in North America. Use of valerian traces back to ancient Greece and Rome from the time of Hippocrates. It was recognized as a remedy for insomnia a few centuries later. Valerian was known as “all-heal” in the 1500s, as it was used to treat a multitude of ailments. These included:
- heart palpitations
It’s sometimes used in the modern treatment of headaches, but valerian hasn’t been researched enough to determine its usefulness in the treatment of migraine pain.
Please, always remember to seek professional medical advice before taking anything, especially for medication purposes.