Natural headache remedies


There are as many natural headache remedies in folk medicine as there are types of headaches. Folk medicine recipes called for the preparation of herbal teas, compresses, pills, powders and elixirs for headache relief.

Some of the old time remedies are unpleasant. The country doctor attributed most headaches to digestive problems, so the remedies were intended to make the headache sufferer vomit as quickly as possible to clear out the stomach. These remedies were called "emetics" and they are discussed under Bilious/sick headache.

As uncomfortable as this may sound, most migraine sufferers end up vomiting anyway. The old time remedies just hastened the inevitable so that the person could feel better faster.

Many other types of headaches were classified and discussed in the old texts:

  • Bilious or sick headache now referred to as migraine headache.

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    Nervous headache

    Natural Headache Remedies

    Apply hot wet pack to forehead, lie down in dark quiet room, take 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water every 3-4 hours.

    Add drop of tincture of Valerian to glass of water, drink every 3-4 hrs.

    Catarrhal, or sinus, headache

    It is necessary to flush out the accumulation of mucus from the sinus passages to alleviate sinus headaches and prevent them from recurring. Dr. Chase recommends a few ways to accomplish this:

    Folk Remedies for Sinus Headache

    Snuff powdered Colts Root up the nostrils. The root should be cleaned, dried, finely powdered, and sifted before use if prepared from the raw root.

    Nasal Flush

    Dissolve boracic acid, 1 ounce, into 1 qt water. Fill up a plastic syringe with mixture and flush out nostrils completely. Spit out. Can substitute any antiseptic for the boracic acid.

    Snuff salt water up the nostrils, holding the head back. Spit out from the mouth. Or, mix a little castile soap with water, snuff it up the nostrils and spit out.

    Nasal Spray with Atomizer

    Prepare an atomizer for inhalation into sinus passages:

    Menthol ............. 5-10 grains
    Oil of Eucalyptus .... 10 drops
    Oil of Wintergreen ... 2 drops
    Liquid Alboline ...... 1 ounce

    Mix together and use in atomizer every morning and evening. Inhale making sure the vapor from the atomizer reaches nasal passages and throat.

    Learn more about the healing properties of Wintergreen and Eucalyptus essential oil.

    Another Nasal Spray with Atomizer

    Camphor gum ............30 grains
    Menthol ................10 grains
    Liquid Alboline ....... 10 ounces

    Rapid strong headache

    For headaches which come on suddenly, with a sudden rush of blood to the face and head.

    Apply mustard plasters to soles of feet; drink Ginger tea. You can also add 10-15 drops tincture of Gelsemium to tea.

    Neuralgic headache

    Fill quart bottle nearly full with water, add one ounce each of spirits of hartshorn and spirits of camphor, 1 tablespoon salt. Shake well and apply to head with compress. If the headache is also caused by sour stomach take a little baking soda in water.

    Brain disease or tumor

    Make a headache powder consisting of one-hald drachm of Acetanilid.
    Divide into 6 portions of powder, take one portion every 3-4 hrs until pain relieved.

    Bilious or sick headache

    Sick headache was also called "bilious headache" in the old days and was thought to arise from indigestion, eyestrain, mental strain, insufficient sleep, or poor diet.

    Today sick headache is known as "migraine," a very painful, throbbing headache which may actually feel as though someone is hitting you in the head with a baseball bat or squeezing your head in a vise. It is accompanied by bouts of weakness, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and often severe bouts of nausea. A migraine attack may last several hours to a day or more and then leave the sufferer feeling weak and shaky for another day or two following the episode.

    Drs. Chase and Gunn contributed these recipes for headache relief:

    To prevent recurring sick headaches, use the following formula for periodic headaches which occur on a certain frequency, i.e., once a month, once every three weeks, etc:

    Senna leaf .......1 oz
    Jalap ...........1/2 oz
    Butternut, the inner bark of the dried root, bruised
    ................. 2 oz
    Peppermint leaf...1/2 oz
    Fennel seed ......1/2 oz
    Alcohol ..........1/2 pt
    Water ......... 1-1/2 pt
    Sugar ........... 2 lbs.

    Add all ingredients except sugar to a bottle, let mixture stand for two weeks, strain, press out the dregs, and then add sugar and dissolve (not heated). Take 1 tbl. every day up to the time of the next anticipated headache, and you should not have it.

    Acetanilid .......... 1 oz
    Citrate caffeine .... 15 grains
    Bicarbonate soda .... 1 drachm
    Sulphate strychnine.. 1/4 grain
    Cocoa - undefined amount, for flavoring

    Mix and take 5-10 grains every 2 hours until relieved.

    Dr. Chase also suggested a remedy which today would be very unpopular: he advised against drinking coffee and tea, and if this were too difficult, he recommended drinking only very weak coffee and tea.

    Acetanilid .......... 60 grains
    Citrate caffeine .... 30 grains
    Monobromate camphor . 30 grains

    Mix and divide into 30 separate powders. Take one powder every half hour until relieved.

    Herbal Tea for Sick Headache

    Drink Boneset tea until it causes vomiting, to flush out the stomach. Or drink warm water until vomiting occurs.

    Headache Prevention

    Take 2 grains Cubebs and 1 grain Mandrake Root. Mix in water and take at bedtime every night, until bowels move thoroughly. Once this is achieved, take 1/2 ounce of inner bark of willow and steep in 1/2 pint water. Take one tablespoon three times a day before meals.

    Ely's Magic Headache Remedy

    This concoction was for rubbing on the forehead, or inhaling only:

    Alcohol ......... 8 ounces
    Ammonia water ... 2 ounces
    Oil of Lavender . 1 drachm
    Camphor gum ..... 1/2 ounce
    Chloroform ...... 1 ounce
    Sulphuric ether . 1/2 ounce

    Learn more about the healing properties of Valerian Essential Oil.

    Learn more about the healing properties of Peppermint Essential Oil.

    Learn how essential aromatherapy oils can help relieve headaches.

    Other common ingredients used for natural headache remedies

    Tincture of nux vomica
    Tincture of Indian hemp
    Tincture of Valerian
    Valerianate of ammonia

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