Note: I am not a doctor, and this article is only for information. You should consult a physician before taking any medicines (herbal or otherwise). In cases of severe headache, you should seek the advice of a doctor immediately.
When I’m living on the mainland, I seem to get tension headaches and migraines more often than when I’m living in Hawai’i (where the barometer doesn’t fluctuate like it does in the greater Phoenix area). Everyone I know understands that I suffer with these headaches at least once or twice a month. On top of dealing with crippling head pain (and the corresponding dizziness and nausea), I can’t stand the “fixes” provided by Western medicine. I’m not a fan of chemicals and pills or the greedy pharmaceutical companies that produce them.
When my headaches hit, I have a couple of methods that I keep handy. For a “normal” tension headache (when I feel the tell-tale signs in my shoulders and neck), I usually turn to half-dropper of Kava elixir. Kava (aka Kava Kava) is derived from the root of a Polynesian pepper plant. It comes in many forms including liquid elixir, powder for mixing with liquid and gel caps. Too much kava, and you’ll simply want to sleep (which is also something I use it for). On those rare nights when I’m feeling a bit like an insomniac, I will take a full dropper or even two. It sends me into a very restful sleep without that residual “hangover” feeling you can get from over-the-counter sleep-aids.
Ashwagandha (or Withania somnifera root) is used to induce relaxation as well. It is a natural stress-reducer and has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. In the past, the chemical drug “Soma” was the only thing that could help with my awful migraines (the headaches that will often blind me in one eye and cause a great deal of nausea). I finally found a natural fix in Ashwagandha. When I feel one of those migraines coming on, I will often take a few gel caps of Ashwagandha and sit in a cool, dark room with Nag Champa incense burning in the background. Usually, within an hour or so, the evil headache will begin to recede.
Finally, the “Om” always seems to help as well. Often it begins (with me anyway) with a groan. I groan in pain, but soon realize the groooooooaaaan turns into “Oooooooooooooohm”, and I will often begin to feel better. Om is “The Breath of God”, and as such, has it’s own healing qualities in our physical realm.
I realize these remedies may not work as quickly as a chemically-processed pharmaceutical, but I think that, in the end, my body responds to natural methods of healing just, well, more naturally.
I believe, most importantly, that these remedies are simple assistance to rid us of the symptoms of stress. Ultimately, stress should be reduced through proper diet and exercise where the energies of our bodies can work they way they are supposed to. Our modern lifestyle, with lots of sitting (at the desk and in front of the tv), and our diets of convenience contribute to many maladies; stress being the most prominent. Reducing stress through diet and exercise should be as important as going to work to earn a paycheck. The beauty of our ancestors was they would work in the fields, or through hunting, for their food; thus, working FOR their food was also working for their bodies in more ways than one. When nothing else helps though, nature is a bounty of health and healing.