Herbs That Halt Headaches?

When your head hurts, a pain pill is an easy way to silence the throbbing. But did you know there are herbs that may help, too?

James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy, offers five options for you to consider.

  • Feverfew and ginger: Research suggests that regularly taking feverfew reduces migraine frequency, while ginger may soothe symptoms.
  • Willow: The herb contains salicin, an aspirin-like substance. White willow (S. alba) is rather low in this pain-relieving stuff, so if you want more headache relief per cup of tea, look for species that are more potent, like S. daphnoides or S. fragilis.
  • Red pepper: Studies show that its heat-giving ingredient, capsaicin, may help prevent cluster headaches. Here's why you should add it to an egg-white omelet.
  • Thyme: Thyme can be used in a compress to ease achy muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back that contribute to tension headaches. You can also drink thyme tea. Check out how this herb can healthy-up a salad, too.

Ask Your Doc
Remember, just like pharmaceutical drugs, herbs can cause side effects or interact with medications. So before running to the health-food store, clear your plans with your doctor, and ask about the appropriate dose.

Is it a migraine or another type of headache? Find out here.