Have you ever felt like the only person in your family or group of friends that gets headaches? I have. Surprisingly, it is a lot more common than you would think. An estimated 15% of the population of America actually gets headaches once a week – that’s 40 million Americans!
There two main types of headaches- tension headaches and migraines. An estimated 90% of headaches are tension headaches (begin in the back of the neck or head and spread outward, with a dull non-throbbing pain). The other the other 10% are of the horrible kind – migraines, cluster headaches and caffeine withdrawal hadaches. These 10% are a direct result of the opening and closing of blood vessels in the head that set off pain.
So how does one naturally reduce headaches? Easy, through diet! Below are the top ten natural ways to reduce headaches.
1) Bay Leaves
Bay contains a compound known as parthenolides that are extremely useful in preventing migraines. Basically the parthenolides in the bay leaves inhibit serotonin release from blood cells. So next time when you make a soup, just throw a few bay leaves in it.
It’s been more than 10 years now since feverfew helped me with migraines. When reflecting on the medical literature, feverfew seems to work for about two-thirds of those who use it consistently. Furthermore, studies in the British Medical Journal agree that taking feverfew regularly prevents migraine attacks.
3) Willow Bark
This miracle tree was also previously discussed in Eco-Savy’s article on Natural Pain Relief Supplements. It basically contains an active ingredient called “salicin” which was originally used to make aspirin (of course today Aspirin is 100% synthesized- surprise, surprise).
Will Bark is so effective, that in Germany the government endorses willow bark as an effective pain reliever for headaches. Specifically the German Commission E recommends getting between 60-120 mg of salicin to treat a headache which is equivalent to 1 tsp. of the high-salicin bark or 1-1.5 tea spoons of white willow bark. Even more crazy is that 86% of the salicin in willow bark is absorbed by the digestive extract, providing a good blood level of the chemical for several hours.
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4) Evening Primrose
This is one of the best sources of the pain-relieving compound called phenylalnine. For those with chronic headaches, nutritionists often recommend a daily dos e of six to eight capsules of primrose oil (use at your own discretion). Also note that sunflower seeds are well-endowed with phenylalanine, with 4.5% on a dry-weight basis.
Ever since I was a young girl, my parents told me of this ancient tree we had on our property growing up called the “Ginkgo” tree. If you aren’t familiar with this tree, the leafs are soft and strong..almost shaped like clovers. Turns out this tree has great benefits for getting rid of those nasty headaches.
In a medical study, Ginkgo was found to often clear up headaches naturally by increasing cerebral blood flow. That is what ginkgo does- improve blood flow to the brain.
Mother nature really has provided us with the cure for almost anything.
So the next time you get a headache, why not try one of these natural solutions to relieve your pain? 🙂
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