Don’t you just hate it when you get a headache? Whether it is a dull ache or a pounding head it really stops you from concentrating properly and detracts from your happiness. It can feel like our brain is screaming out but actually the bones of the skull and the brain itself do not hurt as they do not contain the nerve fibres to sense pain – headaches are felt in the scalp, face and in the tissues which surround the brain.
Most headaches are caused by ‘non-organic’ factors with only 2% of headaches being to result of something serious such as a tumour, high blood pressure or another disease/pathology. It is always worth investigating the cause of your headaches if you experience them on a regular basis or for long periods of time to determine if they are caused by illness/imbalances or not. It is always better to be safe than sorry – I lost my step-dad as he put off the fact that he was experiencing headaches for ages until finally the doctor diagnosed a brain tumour which was beyond trratment!! Most headaches are caused by tiredness, emotional issues, allergies or dehydration. When a headache is caused by muscle spasms it is classed as a tension headache and when it is due to dilation of blood vessels it can be called a vascular headache.
As a herbalist in order to resolve a persons headaches I have to determine the cause of the headache. headaches can be subdivided into the following groups:
Environmental – such as pollution, lighting, noise etc.
Stress – physical, mental or emotional stress in a persons life.
Dietary – some foods or additives can trigger allergic response headaches.
Organic – the 2% of people who experience headaches due to an underlying disease/illness/imbalance.
As a herbalist there are pain-relieving herbs which can be used but this is quite a symptomatic approach. Remember pain releif without resolving the cause is like there being a fire in a house and just opening the window to get rid of the smoke! Therefore by determining the cause of the headache then the appropriate herbs can be given to resolve them for example giving anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic herbs to alleviate the underlying muscles contractions in tension headaches or offering herbs which balance the contraction and dilation of blood vessels in vascular headaches.
I recommend lavender oil for tension headaches – the aromatherapy oil can be purchased and is easy to use – if you find relief from this then you should look at the stress in your life and see if you can reduce any of it. I also recommend rosemary oil – this essential oil should be diluted in a carrier oil (I recommend hemp oil as it is quickly absorbed into the skin). If rosemary oil improves the headaches then you know that the cause is due to cerebral circulation (how the blood moves around the head). If you would like to purchase some from me then just email myself on: email@example.com (I have paypal facilities). Chamomile or peppermint tea are both delicious ways of taking herbs which can help to improve and hopefully resolve headaches. There are several herbs which can act like natural aspirin as they contain salacyclic acid – the key point is that as a whole herb they also tend to be anti-inflammatory and help to stop bleeding (although they do not thin the blood to prevent clots).
If you attend a herbal consultation to discover the cause of your headaches possible triggers would be explored which include: stress, emotions, muscle tension, a change in the weather/seasons.altitude or time zones, changes in your sleeping patterns or meal times, smoking, polluted air or stuffy rooms, blood clotting, caffiene and food. There are multiple foods which can trigger headaches in sensitive people including: nuts, chocolate, vinegar, bananas, anything fermented, citrus fruits etc. Once the cause has been determined then a herbal prescription is designed to suit your unique health issues to help resolve the cause as well as alleviate the symptoms.
There are several home remedies for headaches such as using a warm cabbage leaf as a compress, eating garlic regularily (to reduce blood pressure), making steam inhalations of eucalyptus, rosemary and thyme to resolve sinus headaches, feverfew tea for migraines and a raw potato on the forehead to relieve a headache caused by too much sun!