There are four kinds of primary headaches:
Tension. Three out of four are this kind
and are characterized by a steady ache rather than a throbbing one,
and usually involve tight muscles in the lower back, neck area, and
Migraine, and migraine with aura. People
who suffer from migraines experience throbbing pain on one side of the
head, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and, sometimes, an aura
of bright lights. According to Parade and Natural Health magazines, between 18-28 million Americans suffer from migraines.
Cluster. This form of headache usually strikes
men who smoke and drink and will recur over several weeks, with pain generally
centering in one eye.
Instead of taking painkillers to alleviate a headache,
we recommend that you try to find the underlying cause/s of them instead.
All headaches stem from either chemical, emotional, or structural problems,
as you will discover as you read the causes in this section. Painkillers
just mask the symptom, and, if taken in excess over long periods of
time, can result in serious health conditions, including internal bleeding
and end-stage kidney disease, among others.
As part of this process of discovery, keep a diary of what
you did and ate or drank prior to getting the headaches. Over time
this will help you pinpoint the headache trigger.
- One of the causes of headaches is bruxism,
or grinding your teeth at night.
You may be clenching your jaw during the day and this puts strain on
certain bones and muscles in your jaw resulting in headaches. Calcium
and magnesium, taken before bedtime, should alleviate the problem. See
below for recommendations. Your dentist may recommend a plastic mouthpiece
to help reduce the clenching and grinding.
- A related dental problem is called TMD or temporomandibular disorder, which is a cycle of pain, muscle spasms, and joint imbalance where the jaw meets the skull. The lower jaw meets the skull at the temporomandibular joint, known as TMJ.
- The joint between the jaw and the skull has a cushion of cartilage,
and when the balance of the bones, cartilage and muscles is interrupted
it can cause headaches. If you hear a clicking or popping noise when
you open your mouth or have a dull ache around your ear, this is probably
the cause of your headache. Have a dentist evaluate your situation.
- Chemical sensitivities are one
of the major triggers of headaches, especially migraines, and
they are covered below in several headings.
- A Swedish study, published in the Environmental Science
and Technology Review, found that chemicals from computer
screens can cause allergies and other problems, including
headaches. The chemical compound that can trigger these problems is
triphenyl phosphate, a flame retardant widely used in the plastic
of video monitors and computers. If you use computers in a confined
space, make sure you have adequate ventilation.
- Caffeine, found in sodas,
coffee, tea, chocolate, NoDoz, some OTC analgesics and antihistamines,
and pain remedies such as Anacin, Emperin, Midol and Excedrin, is
a major cause of headaches. The headache pain remedies can cause a
"rebound" effect - you take it to get rid of the headache, which goes
away but then comes back worse than ever. Try to eliminate all sources
of caffeine from your diet. Although you may experience withdrawal
symptoms for a few days, including headaches, it will be worth
the temporary suffering.
- A deficiency in magnesium can
cause regular headaches, cluster headaches,
and migraines. Magnesium helps the muscles surrounding
the veins and arteries relax, thereby increasing the bloodflow. The
following factors cause depletion of magnesium: mental stress, coffee,
sugar, a high sodium diet, alcohol, cola-type sodas, tobacco, high
perspiration, drugs of all types, low thyroid function, diabetes,
chronic pain, diuretics, a high carbohydrate diet, and a high calcium
diet. Research has found that migraine sufferers often have low magnesium
(50% of all sufferers!) and high calcium levels.
Magnesium taurate or glycinate may be preferable to other forms
of magnesium. The deficiency of magnesium may cause chemical changes
in the brain that lead to migraines. A hair analysis will show you
your calcium/magnesium ratio, among other mineral and heavy metal
Have your doctor test your magnesium level. However,
if you have one or more of the following symptoms, it's likely you
have a magnesium deficiency: muscle cramps (especially nighttime leg
cramps), menstrual cramps, fatigue, constipation, heart palpitations,
insomnia, and anxiety.
- Cluster headaches can be eliminated
by taking 400 mg of magnesium 3x a day (make sure one capsule
is taken before bedtime). If you get diarrhea, cut the dosage a little.
In addition, avoid glutamates. For a good overview of glutamates,
and magnesium in general, visit http://coldcure.com/html/dep.html#glutamate.
- High calcium levels are generally
associated with headaches, including migraines. Not
surprisingly, most chronic headaches are associated with low magnesium
and high calcium levels.
- A common cold may have
a headache as a symptom. Zinc has been found to help
lessen the duration of a cold, and it may also be helpful in eliminating
the headache. Zinc may be taken in capsule or lozenge form.
- A potentially serious bacterial disease called ehrlichiosis, caused by the lone star tick, has headaches as a symptom. If you also have fever, fatigue, muscle
aches, chills, nausea, and diarrhea, you probably have this disease.
See your doctor for proper treatment. Since antibodies don't show
up sometimes for a month, blood tests won't detect ehrlichiosis until
after you have started treatment.
- Studies have shown that sodium increases before and during headache periods. Make note in your diary of any foods or drinks you may have had shortly before an attack to
see if you have ingested too much sodium.
- Heavy metal toxicity, especially mercury and lead, have headaches
as a primary symptom. We feel the preferred method of testing for
heavy metal toxicity is a hair analysis (this will also test for important
mineral ratios), but a specific blood test may also reveal levels
of these metals. You will probably have to have a blood test for each
metal, however, and this can be more expensive.
- Mold and mildew,
two toxins found in damp areas, can trigger headaches. Getting rid
of mold and mildew can be tricky, and people often use bleach, which
in itself can cause headaches. Heat and air movement work quite well.
Since mold can have very adverse effects on your health, we suggest
you do extensive research into removal methods.
- Scented candles and other
products that have chemically derived scents, such
as air fresheners, can also trigger headaches.
- If you have been out in the sun or in very hot
conditions inside and are experiencing a headache and have other
symptoms of heat stroke, such as: nausea, disorientation
and heavy sweating, you should seek immediate medical help.
Try to cool off by using a fan, air conditioning, or lukewarm water
(NOT cold water!), and drink water or a sports drink to rehydrate
- Muscle tension in the neck
and upper body often causes headaches. Try to eliminate the cause
of the tension which may be stress-related or due to unnatural ways
you hold your head in the workplace, driving, reading in bed or recreational
activity. The strain cuts off the blood supply to the brain, thereby
inducing the headache. For immediate relief of muscle tension have
someone give you a deep massage of the neck and upper body. This will
relieve the muscle tension and get the blood flowing again. One form
of massage we recommend is to find the pressure points at the end
of the tense muscles, hold your finger on this point for 10-15 seconds,
release, and repeat several times.
- A skeletal misalignment between your skull and
first vertebra may cause headaches. Go to a chiropractor and have
him/her check your alignment, including the jaw and top two vertebrae,
two other areas that may cause headaches. Cluster
headaches seem to respond well to chiropractic adjustment. Many times
causes for a health condition don't seem related, so it becomes a
process of elimination to see what the true cause is. This misalignment
may be due to having forceps used during your birth, an accident or
fall, a sports injury, or poor posture or some of the reasons
mentioned under muscle tension above. Research has shown that 77%
of subjects with a history of chronic headaches showed a marked reduction
or reversal of the normal cervical curvature.
- Stress and anxiety lead
to tension that will cause headaches. In addition to things that we
traditionally think cause stress, such as personal relationships,
kids, the job, a sick relative, school, etc., many of the life-choices
we make lead to stress. We often make the wrong choices, such as drinking,
eating the wrong foods or binge eating, drinking caffeinated sodas,
and taking painkillers that mask the underlying cause of our headaches
and often cause rebound headaches. Take stock of what you do on a
daily basis and try to eliminate those things that are adding stress
to your life. The results may surprise you!
- Bright lights trigger headaches in some people because
they cause them to squint, straining the eyes and facial muscles and
creating tension in the neck. A bright computer screen, fluorescent
lighting or high wattage task lights are several possible culprits.
The old-style fluorescent lights with flat cover panels are the worst.
Have you ever been in an office and felt you wished you had a baseball
cap on to shield your eyes? The lighting was the problem! By switching
these covers to ones with 1" open grids you will eliminate much of
the glare. An even better solution is to use full spectrum lights
(Ott lights) that simulate natural light. They are a lot less harsh
on the eyes. Also, cutting down the number of fixtures in a room or
the number of bulbs in the fixture will be a great help. For
some reason lighting gurus have specified too many "foot candles"
for office lighting and have created a major source of headaches for
- Bad sleeping habits, especially
using too many pillows or too large a pillow, will throw the neck
alignment off which will result in neck strain. Too little or too much
sleep can also cause headaches.
- Sleeping with a blanket or sheet pulled
over your head may cause you to wake up with a headache because the
coverings restrict your oxygen intake, thereby causing carbon dioxide
to build up in your blood.
- A serotonin deficit in your
brain can trigger migraines. With a lack of serotonin,
the blood vessels in your brain will swell, creating pressure that
causes pain. Talk to your physician about ways to increase your serotonin
levels if you get migraines more than twice a month.
- Sleep apnea and regular snoring are major causes of headaches.
A study by Ann I. Scher, PhD, as reported in Neurology, found
that 24 percent of people with chronic daily headaches (15 or more
a month) also were habitual snorers. Some theorize, too, that medication
taken for headaches causes sleep disturbances, while, on the other
hand, sleep disturbances cause headaches. This is a vicious circle!
If you snore or have sleep apnea, a serious health condition, we suggest
you deal with the problem and see if your headaches stop.
- Using oral contraceptives can be a cause of migraines.
- Premarin (CEE or conjugated
equine estrogen) used to address menopausal symptoms has headaches
as one of its most common side effects.
- Menstruation, with its
associated fluctuations in hormone levels, is another
possible cause. The drop in estrogen can cause constriction in the
blood vessels in the head, which in turn triggers the headache. Proper
balancing between estrogen and progesterone will help relieve menstruation
headaches. Hopefully your doctor will understand the correlation!
Some of the supplements listed below, or the use of natural progesterone
cream, will help lessen the effects of the estrogenic drop. These
hormonal headaches may also be a symptom of menopause.
To help with hormonal balancing, take a B-complex with at least 50
mg of B-6, calcium, magnesium (both discussed under Supplements below) and
the herb chasteberry (0.5% agnusides) at 375-500 mg twice a day.
Quite possibly some of your favorite foods and drinks are
the source of your headaches. Some of the most common offenders are
chocolate, alcohol, diet drinks (see aspartame below), dried fruits,
dairy foods, citrus fruits, and any foods that are aged, cured, pickled,
soured, yeasty, or fermented. Solution:
For two weeks eliminate any suspected food triggers completely from your diet. Read the entire Causes section so that you know what to eliminate (some of the items may surprise you!). If your headaches go
away, one by one reintroduce the foods that you have eliminated, allowing
a day in between. If your headaches start again, you have found
your trigger. During this time be sure to drink several quarts of
water every day to cleanse your system (see the water discussion
in the TIPS section below) of accumulated toxins.
A food sensitivity test, called IgG, may help pinpoint
the problem. Your physician or allergist will be able to help you
with this test.
Migraine sufferers are especially sensitive to gluten, sulfites in wine,
food additives, cheese, eggs, dairy, soy, corn and nuts.
- Certain food ingredients such
as casein, tryamine, nitrites (wine, processed meats, etc.), MSG,
and aspartame (mentioned below) are headache triggers for many people.
- Artificial sweeteners, such
as aspartame, trigger headaches in some people.
Remove these sweeteners completely from your diet, and, if they are
the cause of your headaches, the headaches should lessen or disappear
completely within two to three weeks. If you are severely poisoned
by the sweeteners, you may need to go through a detoxification program
to remove them from your body.
- Artificial sweeteners are also found in chewing
gum. Check the label for them, including the amino acid phenylalanine,
which is a component of aspartame (NutraSweet). Some researchers link
aspartame to headaches, as mentioned above, due to the disruption
of brain function.
- When you chew you use eight different facial
muscles. Excessive chewing, as in chewing gum,
can create chronic tightness in two of these muscles close to your
temples, and this puts pressure on the nerves that serve this part
of your head. The result can be chronic headaches. We surmise that
this same problem affects those who chew tobacco.
- Going too long between meals can cause metabolic changes that trigger headaches. Eat some sort
of snack, preferably carbohydrates and proteins such as fruit,
cheese, or an energy bar. This will keep your blood sugar from that
roller-coaster effect, too.
- Wine, especially red wine, has
certain compounds in it that trigger headaches or migraines in some people. Researchers believe it is the nitrites used as preservatives
that cause the headaches. Even a glass or two can cause serious problems
to those who are affected by it.
- Dehydration is a major cause
of headaches. Generally, people do not drink enough water, so the
body becomes dehydrated causing blood vessels to constrict in an effort
to conserve body fluids. Blood vessels may also go into spasm, resulting
in a reduced flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Alcohol consumption is a major
contributor to dehydration and the resulting problems mentioned above. To
help remedy this, drink water while you are consuming alcohol and
before bedtime. In addition, impurities in alcohol can exacerbate
a headache. Some forms of alcohol have more impurities than others.
See the wine entry above for a further explanation.
- Smoking can cause headaches because the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette
smoke affect the blood vessels. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels.
Secondhand smoke causes headaches in some people, perhaps
due to a reaction to chemicals either in the cigarette paper or tobacco.
- Wheat and gluten sensitivity is a major cause of headaches, especially migraines. Ten percent of the population is sensitive to wheat/gluten and this
problem may result in a wide variety of diseases, not just digestive
ones that come to mind first. Go completely off wheat
products for 30 days and see how you feel. If your headaches lessen
in frequency or do not occur, then you have found your trigger.
- If you are undergoing detoxification headaches are a positive sign that toxins are being flushed out of
your body. Bear with it for a few days and know that you are achieving
- Changes in barometric pressure due
to an oncoming storm or change in altitude can trigger headaches.
- VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a major contributing
factor to ozone, an air pollutant, and are a leading cause of headaches. VOCs
are two to five times higher in indoor air than outdoor air, due in
part to the air tightness of today's houses and offices and the
prevalence of VOC-producing products. Major sources of VOCs include
drinking water, deodorants, nearly anything that is sprayed, cleaning
fluids, nail polish remover, pest repellents, carpeting,
paints and painting products, such as thinner, dry
cleaned clothing, moth repellents, and air fresheners
- both spray and the hanging kind. So, don't forget to eliminate air
fresheners in your car! Dry cleaned clothes are especially nasty because
they are treated with perchloroethylene, better known as "perc," a
solvent, which is known to attack the central nervous system. Put
your dry cleaning in your trunk instead of inside your car, then let
it air out when you get home before you put it in your closet.
Do you have headaches and a new car?
Well, that "sweet smell of success" could be the cause of
your headaches, as the glues, paints, upholstery and plastics used
in new car manufacturing produce VOCs.
Other sources of VOCs emit formaldehyde, a very potent
neurotoxin. Some examples are synthetic fabrics and leather, waterproofed
clothes, and fabrics treated with fire retardants (especially
children's clothing!). Watch for "no-iron," "easy care," or "permanent
press" on the label. Others products that emit formaldehyde include particle
board, paneling, plywood, drapes, upholstery
and carpeting, among others. In addition to headaches,
formaldehyde-emitting products may give you watery or irritated eyes,
rashes, or chronic respiratory problems. Eliminate these sources and
see if your headaches go away.
- Another source of formaldehyde
that you might not think of is found in older houses that have been insulated with sprayed-in foam. The only solution
in this case is to move.
found in plumbing pipes and furniture, among other items, emits VOCs,
and is another common source of headaches.
These compounds can cause eye and respiratory problems,
dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, visual disorders and memory impairment.
If you have any of these other symptoms as well as headaches, VOCs
may be the answer.
- Fumes from copy machines and laser printers can cause headaches.
- Electromagnetic fields (EMF)
cause headaches for many people. All electrically active devices produce
EMF. Due to our own personal chemical and electrical makeup, some
people are more sensitive to EMF than others. This condition is known
as electrosensitivity. For some reason women are more prone to electrosensitivity
than men. Such commonly used devices as cell phones, microwave ovens, computers, electric
stoves, and electric blankets, to name a few,
may the culprit. If you believe one of these devices is causing your
headaches, change your usage pattern and see if that helps. Your workplace
may have other sources of EMF, too, so it will pay to investigate.
- A Teflon-coated pan, heated
to 500 degrees (cooking bacon, for instance), may give off ultrafine
particles, and at 680 degrees the pan will emit toxic gas that results
in flu-like symptoms, including headaches.
- A survey of 19,000 farmers in North Carolina
and Iowa found that their use of agricultural insecticides had headaches as one of their resulting health conditions. If you
use insecticides, such as those with organophosphates or organochlorines,
stop their use and see if your headaches cease. Other recurring health
conditions are: fatigue, insomnia, nausea, hand tremor and numbness.
- Certain insecticide
chemicals, such as DEET, used in mosquito and bug
sprays, may cause headaches if one has extended exposure.
- Constipation is the culmination
of a series of problems: dehydration, digestive problems, toxic overload,
and poor food choices, among others. As you can see from reading this
section, these factors come into play with causing your headaches.
Besides taking into consideration our recommendations for the headache-related
causes mentioned here, please see our constipation section for further suggestions and remedies.
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid)
has headaches, including migraines, as one of
- Wilson's Syndrome, a form of
low thyroid, can cause headaches and migraines.
- Lyme Disease has headaches as
one of the symptoms.
- Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is frequently a
cause of headaches, especially migraines. Research
has shown that blood sugar levels are low during a migraine attack,
and the lower the blood sugar level the more severe the headache.
We suggest that you eat several small meals, or healthful snacks in
between regular meals to keep you from having blood sugar swings.
Food Allergies From our research we have discovered that there
may be a possible link between foods that cause migraines
and high blood pressure. Dr. Ellen Grant, a neurologist
in London, observed that when she took patients off foods that triggered
migraines their blood pressure went down. If you have elevated blood
pressure and suffer from migraines, eliminate foods
that trigger the headaches and record what happens to your blood pressure.
Migraines sometimes simulate sinus problems. For instance, weather changes, altitude changes, and allergens are usually
associated with sinus conditions; however, they can also trigger migraines.
Sinus problems and migraines can cause pressure in the forehead and around
the eyes and nose. In addition, such other symptoms as watery eyes and
a runny nose, which are normally associated with allergies or sinus
problems, can also be triggered by migraines. Many doctors misdiagnose
migraines associated with these symptoms, so it is important for you
to understand what is happening to you and what brings on your headache.
If you feel that indoor air pollution is
causing your headaches, using indoor house plants will
eliminate the most common household pollutants, including formaldehyde,
benzene (from cigarette smoke), and acetone (from nail polish remover).
The potted plants purify the air by metabolizing the pollutants their
leaves draw in. Try Boston ferns, azaleas, dragon tree, dumb cane, peace
lilies, dwarf date palm, rubber plants, philodendrons, king of
hearts, lady palm, pot mum, spider plants, and English ivy.
Take a hot shower and run the water on your
lower back and neck. This will help relax the muscles and improve blood
flow to the head. This is an excellent remedy for tension headaches. You can also use a heating pad.
Have someone massage your neck and lower back.
This will have a similar effect as the shower.
Acupressure is a good pain relief technique.
Place one finger on a spot halfway between your eyebrows and another
finger directly above, on the top of your head. Apply gentle pressure
and hold for two minutes. Another pressure point is the soft fleshy
pad on your hand where the bones of your thumb and index finger
meet. Apply pressure for two minutes.
Acupuncture is very effective for relieving
headaches. However, we suggest you try to find the actual trigger for
them so you can avoid them if possible. A report in the British
Medical Journal revealed that subjects who had several
days of severe headaches each week and had up to 12 acupuncture
treatments over the course of three months, had 22 fewer headaches per
year, used 15% less medication, made 25% fewer visits to their regular
physician, and were absent from work 15% less than the control group.
This latter statistic should be very interesting to all businesses!
As mentioned below, breathing is very important
to eliminating headaches. So many people don't breathe deeply enough,
and are thereby cutting off the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Follow the techniques discussed below.
Exercise will help increase your circulation, and
this causes more blood and oxygen to get to your heart and brain.
Exercise gets you breathing more than you do in your normal daily routine,
and should be part of any wellness program. Anything you can do to increase circulation will greatly benefit your headache problem.
Exercise, breathing, and supplements such a arginine, magnesium and
cayenne pepper will aid in boosting your circulation.
Relax! Although this seems obvious, tension is one of the major causes of headaches. Practice relaxation techniques
such as deep breathing to help calm your inner self. Lie down where
it is quiet and inhale for the count of eight; exhale slowly; do this
several times until you feel yourself relaxing. Draw your breaths deep
into your belly.
Another way to help relieve tension headaches
is to sit in a chair; tense all your muscles; hold for a second
or two, then release; take three slow, deep breaths; close your eyes
and imagine yourself completely at ease, calm, and serene; keep still
for ten minutes.
If you have throbbing temples, try using an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on your neck. If you don't have anything
frozen, use a cold towel. Ice therapy is a good remedy for migraine relief. Place an ice pack behind your neck, on your forehead or temples and
lie down for five or ten minutes. The ice will numb the pain and reduce
the inflammation, thereby allowing more blood to flow.
As mentioned above in the discussion about dehydration, a
lack of water is a primary cause of headaches. In addition
to aiding expansion of blood vessels, water will help cleanse the colon and kidneys of any accumulated toxins, thereby helping
them to function better. Another organ, the liver (and gallbladder),
should be cleansed as well, as, over time, it gets an accumulation
of toxins and cholesterol. Once your organs are functioning at their
best, many times headaches and other ailment cease. At some point we
will have protocols for cleansing your organs, but in the meantime do
a search on the Internet.
essential amino acid, l-arginine is required by the body to synthesize
nitric oxide. Headaches are often caused by constriction or
spasms of your blood vessels. Nitric oxide enables the arterial
system to maintain its elasticity by relaxing the arteries, thereby
allowing the arteries to expand and contract more easily. This allows
blood and oxygen to flow more freely throughout your body, thus relieving
the headaches. The suggested dose of l-arginine is 4,500 mg three
times a day.
also known as vitamin P, these are naturally-occurring
phytochemicals powerful antioxidants that fight free- radicals.
They are found in the pithy layer of skin found in some citrus fruits
and vegetables, such as onions and apples, as well as in kale, green
beans, broccoli, endive, celery, cranberries and black tea. Another
group of flavonoids gives the deep red or blue color to blueberries,
blackberries, cherries, hawthorn berries and grapes. One of the flavonoids,
quercetin, fights inflammation and improves circulation. Bioflavonoids
promote the absorption of vitamin C and reinforce the walls of small
blood vessels. To get the best effect, however, it is important
to take the complete vitamin C complex, not just some of its individual
components. The best way to get them is by taking rutin, in combination
with vitamins C (natural only!) and A. Foods rich in potassium also
are good sources of the complete vitamin C complex.
help prevent headaches. Take a B-complex of 50 mg or higher potency,
B-2 (riboflavin) has been shown to reduce
the frequency and severity of tension and migraine headaches. The journal Headache reported that 25 mg
daily provided significant relief for chronic migraine sufferers. Try a
product called MigreLief which contains a combination of B-2, feverfew
Calcium will help relax the muscles. We suggest taking a calcium supplement
that also has magnesium. Take 800-1,000 mg of calcium
CoQ10 has recently been shown to reduce
the number of migraines by half in those who have chronic
migraines. People in the study took 300 mg of CoQ10 daily, and it works
as a preventive treatment, not after a migraine has begun. Brain chemistry
is very complex and not fully understood, but it seems that CoQ10 increases
energy stores in the brain and may have a role in other brain chemical
In research done at the University of Cincinnati College
of Medicine, nine out of 15 patients who suffered from severe migraines got dramatic relief by taking 4,500 mg of EPA (fish oil)
daily, in 1,500 mg doses with meals. We recommend taking it in capsules,
not tablets, as the study did. Magnesium relaxes
the arterial walls, thereby allowing the blood and oxygen to flow more
freely. Take 400 mg 2 times a day. If this causes diarrhea, reduce to
1x daily. If you are not getting relief, take another capsule daily,
unless it causes loose stools. Be patient - it may take a while to correct
a magnesium deficiency. Studies have shown magnesium to be
helpful in the reduction of migraines as well as other
headaches. Try a product called MigreLief which contains a combination
of B-2, feverfew and magnesium. Magnesium taurate or glycinate are
the preferred forms of magnesium.
Ammonia Put 5 drops of ammonia in 1/2 glass of water
and inhale the fumes.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) It has been found that
a person with a headache has slightly elevated urine alkalinity, so
taking some ACV will assist in bringing the body's pH back into sync.
You may add a few tablespoons of ACV to a glass of water to accomplish
this. Use pH test strips to measure your urine's pH.
- Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to a vaporizer or
pan of boiling water and inhale the fumes for five minutes. Lie down
for 15-20 minutes afterward and the headache should be gone. Repeat
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
As reported in Neurology, December 28, 2004, a proprietary
standardized extract of butterbur reduced the occurrence of migraines by 48%. Participants took two 75 mg tablets of the extract per
day for four months. The extract, Petadolex, by Weber & Weber International,
Windmere, FL, is standardized to 15% petasins (the active ingredient).
Cayenne pepper Put 1/2 to one teaspoon of cayenne
pepper in a glass of water and drink slowly. This will dilate your blood
vessels and improve circulation.
Celery seeds Soak the seeds in hot water, strain and
Eucalyptus oil Put a few drops of this essential
oil in a carrier oil and massage your forehead. Also, try sniffing the
oil - put a few drops on a handkerchief and sniff. This may be
beneficial for tension headaches.
Feverfew Chew some feverfew leaves (they are very
bitter!) or get a tincture or capsules at a health food store. Take
two 300-380 mg capsules in divided doses or 60-80 drops of tincture
once a day. This is a good remedy for migraine, pre-menstrual or cluster headaches. Feverfew is very similar to aspirin
in the way it works and it inhibits the release of inflammatory substances
called prostaglandins, which are believed to contribute to the onset
of migraines. It appears that it works on migraines by reducing
the swelling that constricts the blood vessels in the head, pain,
and blood vessel spasms that are a major cause of headaches.
Feverfew appears to be better at prevention than treatment
of migraines, so we suggest that you take it on a regular basis. Recent
research has shown that one of the active ingredients in feverfew, parthenolide,
has clear anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, researchers believe
that parthenolide normalizes the slightly irregular blood cell activity
sometimes seen with migraines. Caution:
It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, and should not
be given to a child under two.
Try a product called MigreLief which contains a combination
of B-2, feverfew and magnesium.
Ginger inhibits a substance called thromboxane
A2 that prevents the release of substances that make blood
vessels dilate. Use fresh or powdered ginger when you cook, eat crystallized
ginger, or put grated fresh ginger in a drink. Ginger is useful for migraines as well as other headaches.
Honey Take two teaspoons of honey with each meal.
Honey contains potassium and magnesium which will help relax the arteries
and allow more blood to flow to the brain. This is very good if you
feel a migraine coming on or have a hangover.
- Boil equal parts of honey and apple cider vinegar
and inhale the steam.
Lavender oil Put a few drops of this essential
oil in a carrier oil or lotion and massage your temples and
neck. Also, try sniffing the oil - put a few drops on a handkerchief
Lithium salts often help those suffering
from cluster headaches.
Menthol preparations can be helpful in relieving tension headaches. Massage the oil into the temples
which will relax the temporal muscles.
Mustard Soak your feet for 10-20 minutes in a hot
footbath to which you have added 2 teaspoons of powdered mustard.
Peppermint oil Place a few drops of
this essential oil in a carrier oil or lotion and rub on your
forehead, temples or neck. Also, try sniffing the oil - put
a few drops on a handkerchief and sniff. This may be beneficial for tension headaches. Warning: Make sure you don't get the peppermint oil too close to your eyes!
- Peppermint tea Drink one or two
cups of tea if you have a headache.
Rosemary oil Rub a few drops of oil of rosemary into
your temples. Rosemary helps keep blood vessels dilated.
- Make a rosemary tea using one teaspoon of rosemary
in a cup of hot water; cover and steep for 10 minutes; strain and sip
a cup three times a day.
Walking If you feel a headache coming on, take a brisk
walk. This will relax you and your circulatory system so that more blood
and oxygen can get to the brain. Your headache should disappear quickly.
Water/hot Soak your feet in a pan of very warm water. Add more
as it cools off. This increases the blood flow to the lower extremities
and away from the head, where increased blood may be the cause of your
White willow bark (Salix spp.) will
give you similar results as aspirin, but is much gentler
on the stomach. Capsules or tincture can be found in health food stores.