One of the most common complaints
I hear from patients is headaches. Headaches vary in kind and intensity
from the “daily” tension headaches to severe migraines.
Tension-type headaches are usually due to
muscles: tight neck muscles, locked up shoulders, tightness in the
jaw. The pain is usually a dull ache on both sides of the head and has
been described as feeling like a tight band across the head.
Migraine-type headaches are characterized
by moderate to severe pounding or throbbing pain, often on one side of
the head. Many migraine sufferers often have nausea, vomiting, dizziness
and sensitivity to light and/or sounds.
Sinus headaches are related to infections
in the sinus area. One common symptom of sinus headaches is a terrible
toothache that really originates in the sinuses, not the teeth.
Another, less common headache is the cluster
headache which occurs daily for a few weeks or months and then disappears,
randomly appearing months later. They are characterized by excruciating,
sharp-as-knife pain around one eye.
One of the most common causes of headaches
is bad reactions to foods. One of the most common triggers
is too much caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate). Abruptly stopping
caffeine can also cause headaches. Other food triggers include alcohol,
cheeses, MSG, aspartame (NutraSweet), and pickled foods. The best
way to determine if any of these foods are related to your headaches is
to keep a detailed food diary with annotations of when you get your headaches;
look for and experiment with eliminating the foods that you ate within
the few hours preceding your headache.
If your headaches often occur in the eyes
or at the base of the skull, be sure to have your eye prescription checked.
What to do?
Ice packs on the neck give a lot of relief
to many people. Putting pressure on the temples (from each side)
or the forehead (pressing down towards the back of the head while the person
lies on their back) often helps.
A tip I learned from the Mother Earth News
years ago almost always works. Take your “handed” hand (your right
hand if you're right handed, left if left handed) and place it at the base
of the skull of the person you're trying to help. Gently rest your
other hand on their forehead. Just hold your hands there for 5-10
minutes. It's often a miracle!
Some great acupuncture points: massage
the web between the thumb and forefinger. Massage the bottom of the
great toe. Find the tenderest points along the base of the skull
and rub them.
Of course, if you have regular headaches,
check with your doctor to rule out more serious problems.
Yoga Therapy: Elephant
As a last resort, here's an (not very pleasant
but very effective!) idea from Yoga. Elephants do it, you can too.
If your headache is the digestive upset type
(too much food, the wrong kind of food) you need to get rid of it.
Drink a full quart of lukewarm water. Bend over the toilet and stick
your finger down your throat to induce vomiting. (If you can't get
that to work, take a dose of Ipecac—it will also induce you to vomit.)
Like I said, not too pleasant, but it often
works when nothing else will.
Herbs and Nutrition for
When you burn a plant and analyze the ash,
there are twelve major building blocks. Similarly in humans we have
the same twelve building blocks and they are known as tissue salts or cell
salts. These are inorganic minerals that make up the structural material
that builds our cells.
When we have an imbalance or deficiency of
these cell salts, then we have symptoms and disease. Try the following
cell salts for the different kinds of headaches described.
Natrum Sulphate (Sodium Sulphate) Used
for chronic headaches and “sick” headaches with biliousness (gastric distress
caused by a disorder of the liver or gallbladder). Nat. Sulph. is
also used for headaches accompanied by nausea and/or a bitter taste in
the mouth. This is the main remedy to try for migraine headaches.
Ferrum Phosphate. (Phosphate of Iron)
Ferr. Phos. is used for hammering type headaches and the kind that cause
throbbing in the temples or over the eyes. Headaches that occur with
the menstrual period often respond to Ferr. Phos. Also known
as the pre-eminent first aid remedy, Ferr. Phos. is also good to take at
the first sign of a cold or flu.
Magnesium Phosphate is the remedy of
choice for headaches with sharp, shooting pains.
Calcium Sulphate is used with headaches accompanied
by vertigo (dizziness) and nausea. It's the one to try when you have
pain around your whole head.
Natrum Phosphate (Sodium Phosphate)
When you have a headache on the crown of the head or a headache with digestive
upset (especially after taking wine or milk) try Nat. Phos.
Cell salts are delivered on tiny sugar of
milk pills. Generally take 3-5 tablets and dissolve them in your
mouth twice a day for chronic conditions. If you are having a headache
you can try to get relief by taking the same dose every 30-60 minutes and
every three hours after the headache reduces or subsides.
For children under 10 years, take 2 tablets
dissolved in small amount of water every 2 hours.
Ideally, do not take cell salts within 10
minutes of eating (before of after food). Do not drink caffeine,
colas, alcohol or mint products while taking the remedies as they may interfere
with the healing process.
Remember that cell salts are the basic building
blocks of your body. They are, in essence, food supplements and are
very safe to take. As with all herbs and natural remedies, use cell
salts with common sense.
Herbs and Nutrition for
Bonus Herbal Tip
Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)
Known since the time of the ancient Greeks,
feverfew has been used for fevers, arthritis, inflammations, and for menstrual
pains. Feverfew’s modern day claim to fame is as a headache remedy.
It is the most frequently used herb for the long-term treatment and prevention
Numerous studies have shown that continuous
use of feverfew leads to a reduction in the severity, duration, and frequency
of migraine headaches.
"Feverfew leaf extracts with at least 0.2%
parthenolide content are generally used. Herbal extracts in capsules or
tablets providing at least 250 mcg. of parthenolide per day or 0.5-lml
of tincture three times per day are taken. It may take four to six weeks
before benefits are noticed." (The Natural Pharmacy (Prima Health,
1998) by Skye Lininger, DC, Jonathan V. Wright, MD, Steve Austin, ND, Donald
J. Brown, ND, and Alan R. Gaby, MD)
There are very few side effects when taking
feverfew. Traditionally, people with headaches often ate feverfew leaves
right out of the garden. However, with stronger extracts, some people
may experience upset stomachs or nervousness. (Don't take feverfew
if you're pregnant or nursing.)
If you experience headaches, especially migraines,
ask about the MetaBotanica product Feverfew Plus that we recommend.
In addition to high quality feverfew there is a proprietary blend of Bitter
Orange fruit (Citrus Aurantium), Scute root (Scutellaria Baicalensis) and
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale). By adding these extra herbs the formula
often has quicker results.
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