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Herbs and Headaches

In the ongoing search for natural remedies to painful headaches herbs are a possibility being explored.  The only negative thing about herbs is that some seem to have side effects.

Feverfew, known as a fever reducer for the last two thousand years, has proven itself to have properties that are useful in diminishing the pain or frequency of migraines. This herb is able to dissolve the bunching of platelets in the blood that may block the proper release of serotonin, the body’s natural pain reliever and a very important player in headache relief.  Feverfew can be grown in your flower garden if you want to use it the old-fashioned way and chew on its leaves for relief. Others simply purchase it in pill form. Sometimes this is taken as a daily preventive measure. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not take this herb. Nor should those using blood thinner.  Its side effects include mouth sores, stomach irritation and exacerbated bleeding.

Chamomile is known to be a good headache helper. It is naturally relaxing and can help with the upset stomach and nausea that migraines can cause. Because it is a mild sedative it can help a person relax during a headache, which often helps to ease the pain. There are different kinds of Chamomile, English and German being the most common; with the German variety being used the most often. It can be taken in pill form or drunk as tea. Chamomile is considered one of the safest herbs we use.

Ginger is another herb that is used to counter the nausea experienced with migraine headaches. Peppermint also helps calm the stomach of a migraine sufferer. Another good herb for headache treatment is cayenne pepper. It is very useful in dealing with cluster headaches. It is used as a nasal spray and seems to up the person’s resistance to pain.  Ginko, used to treat headache pain by improving the blood flow to the brain is one of many herbs that have a controversy surrounding its actual abilities. Some experts claim it does nothing while others swear by its curative powers. This herb is one that should not be taken with lithium or aspirin as it can have side effects.

Passionflower, believed to diminish anxiety, is used as a tea. It is thought that it may act as a pain reliever, relaxant and anti-inflammatory all rolled into one. It is recommended for use with migraine pain. The herb Guarana is used because its seeds contain caffeine. It really is only used because of its caffeine content. White willow bark, a very commonly used herb, acts more like aspirin than an herb. It is both an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.  Just like aspirin, or ibuprofen, it shouldn’t be used long term and you need to be careful if you’re using other medications. Overall any of these herbs may be helpful, at least to some degree, with headache care. Before trying them, make sure you aren’t mixing something that may do you more harm than good.

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Herbs and Headaches