Home Remedies

87 Effective Home Remedies For Treating Headache

ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
87 Effective Home Remedies For Treating Headache July 25, 2018

There are so many things that can cause your head to ache – a bad day at the office, deadlines, a lousy argument, traffic, etc and can make your life difficult.

Whatever the reason may be, once a headache kicks in, you’d rather have a hole drilled into your skull to make it stop. Sadly, for many of us, this excruciating pain is a day-to-day occurrence.

The obvious choice to kill this agonizing pain is medication. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs are the first choices for relief. But when your headaches are persistent, and if medications just aren’t doing their magic, there are many home remedies you can consider that actually do wonders. Read on to know more about them.

What Is A Headache?

A headache is a pain experienced in any region of the head, neck, or scalp. It is generally your body’s response to physical or emotional stress (1). It can occasionally be followed by aggression and violence towards anyone who crosses your path.

What Are The Different Types Of Headaches?

What Are The Different Types Of Headaches Pinit

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Also known as cephalalgia, headaches are of multiple types. To know which remedy will work the best for you, it is also important to know the type of headache you experience. Let us look at the most common types of headaches and their causes.

  1. Tension Headache
  2. Migraine Headache
  3. Cluster Headache
  4. Sinus Headache

1) Tension Headache

This is one of the most common types of headache. The person experiences a squeezing on both the sides of the head, like a tight band is pressing around it. The muscles in the shoulder, neck, and/or jaw become tight and may feel sore.

Causes: This type of headache can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, head injury, dehydration or holding the head and neck in an abnormal position.

Note: Tension headache also occurs when the supportive tissue in your head is exposed to really cold air, for example, when the cold air from an air conditioner directly hits your forehead or neck (2).

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2) Migraine Headache

A migraine is usually only on one side of the head, and it occurs with one or more of the following symptoms – nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. It is characterized by a throbbing or pulsating pain.

Causes: It can occur due to perfumes or strong odors, change in sleep patterns or in hormonal levels, caffeine withdrawal, physical stress, drinking alcohol, stress, anxiety, and loud noises.

Note: Apart from these, certain food items are also known to trigger them like baked goods, chocolate, dairy products, monosodium glutamate, peanuts, etc. (3).

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3) Cluster Headache

This type of headache is experienced in clusters, which gives it its name. Sharp and very painful headaches occur several times a day, and usually last less than an hour. These headaches develop again around the same time every day over a period of few months.

Causes: They might be triggered by high altitudes, smoking, drinking alcohol, physical exertion, heat, and bright light (4).

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4) Sinus Headache

Here, pain is experienced in front of the head and face. This type of headache is caused by swelling of any one of the sinus cavities that are present behind the cheeks, nose, and eyes.

Causes: This headache can occur due to cold, flu or fever, infection in the sinus passages or allergies (5).

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Did You Know? – Interesting Facts About Headaches

Interesting Facts About Headaches Pinit

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Here are some interesting facts about headaches that can amaze you.

  • Migraines are hereditary in nature. Surveys say that a child is most likely to fall prey to a migraine if both or even one of the parents is suffering from a migraine. The chances can be as high as 75% in cases where both parents are affected.
  • Although they might be annoying, headaches are mostly harmless. They can be easily be tamed with over-the-counter medications and a little sleep.
  • Those who are fasting can experience headaches because of a sudden dip in the blood sugar levels.
  • Hormonal changes also lead to migraines. You may experience headaches just before the onset of periods due to hormonal fluctuations.
  • It is interesting to note that the brain has nothing to do with the onset of a headache. The main reason lies in the interaction between the blood vessels and activated nerves surrounding the skull and the head muscles.
  • Ice cream headaches are no myth. This icy treat leads to blood vessel spasms, paving the way for a headache.
  • Even kids below the age of 10 can experience a headache. This occurrence is more common in boys than in girls.
  • About 50% of people who are a victim of migraines don’t realize they have them.
  • Tension headaches are fairly common, and over 78% of the adult population worldwide is a victim of this type. The other set of 30% is made up of the chronic migraine type.
  • Women are more likely to get headaches as compared to men.

Home Remedies For Headache

Here is a list of the effective ways to tackle a headache. Read on!

I. Essential Oils

Essential Oils Pinit

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Essential oils are your best bet to beat a nagging headache, be it a sinus headache or a tension headache. These oils help to expand and contract the vessels, which increases blood flow and quickly reduces the pain from a headache. They also possess soothing and calming effects (6).

You should get instant relief from the pain with essential oils.

1. Peppermint Oil

This essential oil is widely known for its soothing and calming effects on the skin due to the presence of menthol, making it a good choice for treating headaches. When applied directly on the forehead, it helps stimulate blood flow to the brain and inhibits muscle contractions.

Headache Type – Trust peppermint oil to treat headaches caused by tension (7). It is also highly effective for sinus headache relief.

What You Need
  • 1 to 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
What You Need To Do

Mix the two oils and massage your forehead in circular motions with the mixture. Repeat the process after a couple of hours if the pain resurfaces.

Tip: You can drop a few drops of peppermint oil on your pillow before you go to bed for a tension-free sleep.

2. Lavender Oil

This sweet and soothing essential oil is known to relieve anxiety, depression, stress, and nerve related insomnia, thus effectively curing anxiety and stress-related headaches.

Lavender essential oil has linalyl acetate and linalool, which get easily absorbed in the system and reduce painful headaches. This oil is safe to be used by both pregnant ladies and young children due to its mild nature (8).

Headache Type – This oil is considered to be the perfect solution for migraines and hormonal type of headaches.

What You Need

1 to 2 drops of lavender essential oil

What You Need To Do

You can utilize this oil in a variety of ways, including diffusion, inhalation, and topical usage. Massage this oil safely on your temples and neck, and sleep well to get relief from the throbbing pain.

Tip: For a stronger effect, you can prepare a steam treatment by adding a couple of drops of the lavender essential oil to a small pot of boiling water. Inhale the steam in deep and slow breaths for 15 minutes.

 3. Basil Oil

This oil relieves the tension in the muscles when used topically. Basil oil treats headaches by relieving the pressure on the head muscles and relaxing them (9).

Headache Type – This oil cures tension headaches and migraines.

What You Need
  • 1 to 2 drops of basil essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of any carrier oil of your choice
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil.
  2. With the help of a cotton ball or your fingers, apply the oil on your forehead and temples. You can also apply the oil on your scalp and the back of the neck.
  3. Leave it on for a few hours for best results.

You should get instant relief from the pain with the essential oil. You can repeat it once again after a couple of hours if the pain resurfaces.

4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Another good essential oil to treat a stubborn headache is eucalyptus essential oil. This oil has expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and pain milling qualities, thus making it an ideal headache remedy (10).

Headache Type – This oil is known to treat sinus and tension headaches.

What You Need
  • 5 to 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • A big bowl of hot water
What You Need To Do
  1. Add the essential oil to a bowl of hot water and let it dissolve completely.
  2. Cover your head, neck, and shoulders with a towel and lean over the bowl.
  3. Inhale the steam for at least five minutes for getting relief from congestion.

You can repeat this if the pain resurfaces. This process will help open clogged sinuses, thus relieving headache.

5. Rosemary Essential Oil

Being naturally analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature enables rosemary essential oil to be a good cure for headaches (11). It is a gentle and soothing essential oil that can alleviate pain in no time.

Headache Type – This oil is well suited for curing sinus as well as hormonal headaches.

What You Need

2 to 3 drops of rosemary essential oil

What You Need To Do
  1. Put a few drops of rosemary essential oil in your palms and cup them gently over your nose and mouth.
  2. Breathe in and out deeply for 30 seconds.

Tip: If you are too worried about coming directly in contact with the essential oil, you can dab the oil on a cotton ball or a handkerchief and hold it in for 30-45 seconds.

6. Lemon Citrus Oil

Owing to its sharp and refreshing aroma, lemon citrus oil has time and again proved to work wonders in curing terrible headaches. This watery and pale greenish-yellow essential oil is good for treating colds, sore throats, stress, depression, loss of energy, and fatigue (12).

Headache Type – You can use lemon citrus oil for treating all types of headaches, including migraines, sinus or tension-type.

What You Need
  • 8 to 10 drops of lemon citrus essential oil
  • A diffuser machine
What You Need To Do

Diffuse this oil for the entire night to get relief from congestion and headaches.

7. Geranium Oil

This sweet essential oil is utilized for calming and relaxing our tensed mind as well as body (13).

Headache Type – This oil is good for treating hormonal and tension-type headaches.

What You Need

8 to 10 drops of geranium essential oil

What You Need To Do

You can go for a bath made with geranium essential oil for quick relief from headaches, stress, and tension. Just add 8 -10 drops of this essential oil to your bath and enjoy the soothing experience.

Tip: You can even diffuse this oil overnight to tame raging headaches.

8. Helichrysum Essential Oil

Another effective headache remedy is to use helichrysum essential oil. This oil carries excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it effective to soothe tensed muscles and nerves (14).

Headache Type – Use helichrysum essential oil to cure tension-type headaches.

What You Need
  • A washcloth
  • 2-3 drops of helichrysum essential oil
  • A cup of cold water
What You Need To Do
  1. Begin the process by adding a few drops of the essential oil to a cup of cold water.
  2. Dip the washcloth into the cup and use it as a cold compress on your forehead and neck for good results.

Note: Avoid getting this water in your eyes as it may sting. If it goes in by mistake, it is better to use cream or milk. Washing your eyes in this situation will worsen the condition.

9. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman chamomile essential oil is an excellent remedy to get rid of stress-related headaches because of its effectiveness in reducing neuralgic pain (15).

Headache Type – Works best for tension-type headaches.

What You Need
  • 1 to 2 drops of Roman chamomile oil
  • 8-10 drops of a base oil like jojoba oil or olive oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Add the essential oil to the base oil and gently massage your temples, neck, shoulders, chest, and belly with it, preferably before bathing.
  2. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.

Tip: You can also inhale the essential oil directly or by using a handkerchief.

10. Flaxseed Oil

This variety of essential oil is good for headaches caused by inflammation. Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory in nature and reduce that throbbing pain (16).

Headache Type – This oil is good for migraine headaches.

What You Need
  • 1 to 2 drops of flaxseed essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil
What You Need To Do

Massage your body and temples gently with this mix for quick relief. Wash the oil off after 20 minutes.

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II. Herbal Teas

II. Herbal Teas Pinit

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Switching your cola with herbal teas can also help in curing headaches.

11. Rosemary Tea With Thyme Or Sage

Beginning your day with a cup of rosemary tea is definitely a good option to beat that throbbing pain.

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties that will alleviate pain (17). Sage has antibiotic and antioxidant properties, whereas thyme has antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties (18, 19). Not only will you feel refreshed and hydrated, but you will also find the headache has either vanished or greatly reduced.

You Will Need
  • A handful of rosemary leaves
  • A handful of thyme or sage leaves
  • Water
  • Sweetener of your choice
What You Need To Do
  1. Steep the herbs in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
  2. Strain the decoction and add the sweetener. Drink two to three cups of this warm herbal tea in a day for good results.

12. Basil-Honey Tea

Tension headaches can be treated effectively by consuming basil. This herb will relax and soothe your nerves and help you combat a stubborn headache. Lemon and honey take away the pungency of the basil and are relaxing for the body (20).

You Will Need
  • A few basil leaves
  • Hot water
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
What You Need To Do
  1. Add basil leaves to a cup of boiling water and let them soak for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the tea to obtain the decoction.
  3. To this, add the lemon juice and honey.
  4. Sip while the tea is hot. It is advised to have two to three cups in a day.

13. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea contains compounds that help reduce the pain and relax your mind. Bisabolol found in this tea has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (21). This is a wonderful remedy for migraines.

You Will Need
  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • Hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
What You Need To Do
  1. Add the tea bag to a cup of hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Add honey to this and mix well. This step is not mandatory.
  3. Drink the hot tea slowly while resting in a less noisy and quiet spot.

14. Feverfew Tea

Several theories suggest that your head begins to pound as the blood vessels begin to expand and put pressure on the nerves. This potent herb is said to relax the tension in your blood vessels while also constricting them, thus easing the pain and reducing inflammation (22).

You Will Need
  • 1 oz of dried feverfew flowers
  • 1 pint of water
What You Need To Do
  1. Add the dried flowers to the water and boil.
  2. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain and drink it while it is hot.

15. Green Tea

The caffeine present in green tea improves blood flow in the brain, thus giving relief from a headache. It also stimulates the nervous systems and removes free radicals from the body (23).

You Will Need
  • Green tea leaves or a tea bag
  • Hot water
What You Need To Do
  1. Steep the leaves or tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the decoction and sip while it is still hot.
  3. You can add a few drops of lemon juice and some honey for taste. Drink three to four cups of green tea daily for a healthy body and mind.

16. Ginger Root Tea

Ginger helps in reducing migraine headaches. It also helps to overcome the nausea that often follows these agonizing headaches (24). This homemade remedy reduces your headache in about the same time as it would take aspirin to work. Plus, it’s ginger root. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the risk of an overdose.

You Will Need
  • 4 small-sized slices of ginger root
  • 3 cups of water
What You Need To Do
  1. Mildly crush the ginger pieces and add them to simmering water.
  2. Cover the water vessel with a lid and let the ginger steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain the decoction and drink while it’s hot. You can have one to two cups a day. The first cup should give you instant relief from a migraine.

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III. Fruits & Vegetables

If there are food items that can cause headaches, there are also the ones that can help relieve headaches and prevent them from developing in the long run. Here is the list of the good foods for quick relief.

17. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar or ACV is slowly taking over a large section of home remedies because of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal properties. The daily intake of ACV ensures acid-alkaline balance in the body (25).

ACV works wonders for curing headaches too.

What You Need
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • A glass of warm water
What You Need To Do

All you need is to do is have a glass of water with two teaspoons of ACV, at least thrice a day.

 Tip: You can even use the vaporizing method by heating equal quantities of ACV and water in a pan and directly inhaling the vapors.

18. Ginger

Ginger Pinit

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The compounds present in ginger, namely gingerols, shogaols, paradols, and zingerone, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also stimulates muscle contraction. All these factors work together to effectively give fast relief from headaches (26, 27).

 You Will Need
  • 1-2 tablespoons of dry ginger powder
  • Water
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the ginger powder with the water to make a paste.
  2. Apply this paste on your forehead and leave it for 15-20 minutes.

Tip: You can also add ginger powder to hot water and inhale the vapors.

 19. Almonds

Almonds Pinit

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Salicin present in almonds acts as a natural aspirin, the pain relieving medicine. Almonds also contain magnesium, which is usually lacking in migraine patients (28). Just grab some almonds the next time you get a headache for quick relief.

You Will Need

A handful of almonds (raw or roasted)

What You Need To Do

When you feel a headache kicking in, eat a handful of almonds.

This remedy works well if you eat almonds in the initial stages of the headache.

Caution: If you suffer from migraines, make sure almonds are not one of your trigger foods.

 20. Fish Oil

Image: Shutterstock Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that are widely known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The regular consumption of this beneficial oil reduces the severity and frequency of migraines (29).

You Will Need

1000 mg fish oil supplements

What You Need To Do

Take one tablet of the supplement every day.

Continue taking the supplements for a couple of weeks for long term relief from migraines.

Caution: Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and children should only take fish oil supplements after consulting a doctor.

 21. Salt

salt-remedie Pinit

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Himalayan pink salt is the most wholesome of all salts, and is extremely rich minerals and electrolytes. It replenishes the electrolytes in the body and reduces the severity of the headache. It also strengthens the immune system and increases energy levels (30, 31).

 You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt (also called rock salt)
  • 1 lemon
  • A glass of water
What You Need To Do
  1. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and add it to the water.
  2. To this, add the Himalayan salt and mix well. Drink this water.

 22. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper Pinit

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Cayenne pepper can help treat both inflammation and pain. Capsaicin, an ingredient in cayenne, is said to inhibit pain perception (32).

 You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz of warm water
  • Cotton swab
What You Need To Do
  1. Dilute the cayenne pepper in water.
  2. Soak a cotton swab in it and gently apply it to the insides of the nostril.
  3. It will burn, but when the burning sensation subsides, your headache will be gone.

 23. Lemon

Lemon Pinit

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Lemon is not only refreshing and energizing, but it also has vital anti-inflammatory properties (33). This makes it an excellent remedy to get rid of headaches.

You Will Need
  • Lemon crusts
  • Water
What You Need To Do
  1. Pound the lemon crusts and mix with water to make a paste.
  2. Apply this paste on the forehead and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.

You can also cut a fresh lemon in half and rub it on your forehead and temples. Another alternative would be to squeeze the juice from half a lemon into your cup of herbal tea and drink it.

24. Betel Leaves

Betel Leaves Pinit

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The components of betel leaves have cooling, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties (34). Camphor is a common component of pain-relieving ointments. It is an analgesic and is also extremely soothing for the mind (35).

You Will Need
  • 4-5 betel leaves
  • A few drops of camphor essential oil
  • Water
What You Need To Do
  1. Gently grind the betel leaves with the water and add the camphor oil to this mixture.
  2. Apply this extract to your temples and forehead, and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.

You can also directly place the betel leaves on your temples.

25. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants, and this enables it to work well against all types of headaches (36). These antioxidants are able to protect our cells and body from the damage caused by a flavonoid called rutin, a phytochemical that is known to be the reason for migraines. Buckwheat is anti-inflammatory and analgesic in nature as well.

It is generally advised to have buckwheat regularly to treat even the most stubborn migraines.

 26. Baked Potato

Consuming baked potato can tame alcohol-related headaches.

Alcohol, being a diuretic, causes a huge loss of water as well as essential electrolytes like potassium in the body. This is the sole reason for getting a huge headache the morning after.

You can get rid of this throbbing pain by taking a potassium -rich diet. Baked potato is a very good source of potassium (721 mg per 100 g), making it a top option for hangover headaches (37).

27. Watermelon

Dehydration is one of the main causes of a bad headache. This can be cured by consuming water-rich foods like watermelon (38).

This light and tasty fruit is 80% water and is a good source of essential minerals like magnesium, which helps in relieving headaches.

You can consume this fruit in a variety of ways – a cool watermelon smoothie or a salad. Adding a dash of ginger enhances the wonderful effects of watermelon, reducing nausea caused by the headache (39).

28. Coffee

Having a cup of coffee can help in treating a bad headache.

Caffeine present in the coffee is a vasoconstrictor, i.e., it reduces the size of the blood vessels (40). This, in a way, helps alleviate the pain.

Note: Don’t go overboard with this beverage as coffee is also a diuretic and its overconsumption can lead to dehydration.

29. Whole Grain Toast

A low-carb diet can also cause headaches.

Our body needs a balanced amount of glycogen to work well. A low-carb diet leads to a decrease in the glycogen levels in the body, which drains our energy and causes headaches.

Having a whole grain toast will surely help in treating a headache, without adding extra flab. It boosts your energy levels and relieves you from the excruciating pain (41).

30. Yogurt

30. Yogurt Pinit

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Having a cup of good and fat-free yogurt is a good way to deal with any type of headache. This superfood is rich in calcium and probiotics, which are required for the proper functioning of the brain (42).

Make sure you don’t add extra sugar to the yogurt.

31. Sesame Seeds

These seeds are rich in vitamin E and magnesium that are very helpful in stabilizing the estrogen levels in the body, making them effective for hormonal headaches. Sesame seeds also ensure better blood circulation in the brain and the body, warding off chances of any muscle tension (43).

Just sprinkle them on your soups and salad

to keep headaches at bay.

32. Spinach

This leafy goodness is known to decrease the blood pressure levels in the body, taming hangover and tension headaches. It is also rich in vitamin B2 (44).

Make your own version of spinach salad and get quick relief from the most terrible of headaches.

33. Bananas

Considered to be quite effective in treating horrible headaches, bananas are full of essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium (45).

Magnesium soothes our tensed muscles and potassium ensures electrolyte balance in our body, easing our pain. Having a banana is a good option to cure hangovers. It is very effective in the treatment of nausea and muscle fatigue caused by headaches (46).

34. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which is essential for making cellular energy (47). A diet that is high in vitamin B2 can provide relief from headaches. The riboflavin content in mushroom matches that in broccoli and spinach, making it one of the top choices for treating headaches.

35. Salmon

35. Salmon Pinit

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It has been noticed that diets high in healthy fats can cure chronic headaches. Salmon is one of the major sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can ease the inflammation and reduce the headache (48).

They have nerve-protecting and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing the frequency and pain of migraines. Include salmon in your diet today to get rid of the pain.

36. Cucumber

Cucumbers are great water vegetables that ensure rehydration in the body within no time. Hence, they can tame headaches caused by dehydration (49). This vegetable is also used to cure hangovers.

You can have cucumbers in any form – either salads or smoothies.

37. Liver

Beef liver is another food that can help in curing headaches. It is highly rich in vitamin B3 (niacin), whose deficiency is known to cause migraines (50).

Apart from this, beef liver is also a good source of vitamins B6, B12, A, E, K, and folate. So, adding beef liver to your diet can help relieve chronic migraines (51).

38. Quinoa

Quinoa is highly rich in proteins and essential minerals like magnesium, making it an effective remedy in curing hormonal and tension-type headaches (52).

Make it a point to use this food daily in a variety of ways like in salads or boiled meals to get over that annoying headache.

39. Pineapples

Pineapple is another water-based fruit that can help you get rid of a headache quickly. They contain a compound called bromelain that has anti-inflammatory properties (53). This makes pineapples very useful to cure headaches.

Be it in the form of a smoothie, juice or a salad, having pineapples daily can surely benefit you.

Note: Check for allergies before consuming pineapples. There are many people who can be allergic to this tropical fruit.

40. Apples

40. Apples Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

An apple a day can keep a headache away!

This tasty and healthy fruit is very useful in reducing the pain associated with migraines due to the presence of magnesium (54). This mineral is known to relax the blood vessels in the body, thus ensuring proper blood circulation.

41. Avocados

These buttery fruits are also high in magnesium, thus making them a possible remedy for a headache (55).

42. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe can be a good option to treatment excruciating hangover headaches as it is highly rich in water and several other essential nutrients (56). This helps in keeping our body hydrated and healthy.

43. Broccoli

Apart from being magnesium-rich, broccoli is also rich in a compound called CoQ10 that is essential for proper brain functioning (57).

44. Carrot

This superfood is known to tame chronic headaches by detoxifying our body. It flushes toxins out of our system, keeping us healthy and pain-free.

Have carrots daily to get relief from headaches (58).

45. Lettuce

45. Lettuce Pinit

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Including lettuce in your diet can help replenish the lost nutrients, which can be a reason for those awful migraines (59). Grab your bag of leafy goodness today!

46. Cloves

The pain relieving and cooling qualities of clove enable it to be a secret weapon for the treatment of tension-related headaches (60, 61). You can try any of the following three ways to get rid of a headache quickly and effectively.

  1. Crush two to three cloves and transfer them to a clean handkerchief. Sniff the aroma of these crushed cloves whenever you feel a headache coming up.
  2. Mix two drops of clove oil and one tablespoon of carrier oil. Massage your temple and forehead very gently with the mixture.
  3. Another option is to mix two teaspoons of coconut oil, one teaspoon of sea salt, and two drops of clove oil and rub the mixture on your forehead.

47. Cherries

You can chomp on a few cherries or sip some cherry juice to deal with a bad headache. Cherries contain an active compound called quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is a very powerful antioxidant (62).

48. Warm Milk

Consuming warm cow milk with cinnamon or cloves is a good way to beat that annoying headache. Having milk encourages sleep, which is essential to cure a throbbing headache (63). Including homemade ghee in your diet is also a good option.

Note: If you are lactose intolerant, I suggest you skip this remedy altogether.

49. Honey

Honey is a trusted option to relieve headaches since it is abundant in potassium and magnesium. These minerals help in relaxing tensed arteries and increasing the blood supply to the brain (64).

This sweet food item can be utilized in a number of ways to treat headaches. You can consume two tablespoons of honey before every meal for the maximum effect. You can also go for a steam made out of two tablespoons each of honey and apple cider vinegar for a quick relief.

Note: Make it a point to have one tablespoon of honey with warm water every morning if you constantly suffer from headaches.

50. Garlic Juice

Having one teaspoon of fresh garlic juice is an effective remedy for headache. Garlic is a painkiller, which permeates quickly to the affected regions, thus helping in the treatment of headaches (65).

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IV. Herbs For Headaches

51. Henna

51. Henna Pinit

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The cooling properties of henna make it beneficial in treating headaches caused by heat, fever, or the sun. Crush a handful of henna leaves and make a paste using a tablespoon of vinegar. Apply this mixture on your forehead and let it dry well. Henna has significant anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic, and antipyretic properties, which make it very effective against headaches (66).

52. Passionflower

As the name suggests, this calming herb helps people who get worked up easily. Passionflower is used to pacify conditions like anxiety and insomnia that lead to tension-type headaches (67).

53. Black Cohosh

This North American herb has a history of being used to cure rheumatism. But, did you know it can also be utilized to treat depression-related headaches (68)?

Note: As black cohosh exhibits similar effects like estrogen, mostly women benefit out of it. Men should take it in small quantities for a limited period.

54. White Willow Bark

White willow bark has analgesic properties, making it effective to relieve headaches (69). But this herb only masks the pain, and does nothing to address the underlying cause of the headache. So, it is better to take white willow bark with another set of herbs like lettuce to cure the pain.

55. Butterbur

An active member of the daisy family, Butterbur has been used as an herbal remedy for headache since time immemorial. Some Butterbur species have chemicals that lower the inflammatory effects and work as beta blockers, ensuring proper blood flow to the brain (70). This, in turn, helps in controlling the spasmodic capillary action, which is the true cause of migraines. The roots of the butterbur plant are known to contain the highest content of these chemicals.

Note: Even though the ideal dosage of butterbur for an adult is 50-100 milligrams twice a day, I suggest you consult your doctor before consuming it. Also, go for a brand that is PA-free, which ensures safety when it comes to processing of this herb.

56. Feverfew

56. Feverfew Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

This herb is known worldwide to be an herbal cure for migraines. Feverfew contains parthenolide that works as a pain reliever, relaxing the tensed nerves and blood vessels, and reducing the painful pressure in them (71).

What You Need
  • 30 grams dried feverfew flowers
  • ½ liter boiling water
What You Need To Do
  1. Add dried feverfew flowers to water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain and drink half a cup twice daily to get relief from headache.

Caution: Feverfew can cause minor side effects like canker sores, nausea, and bloating. Discontinuing this drink can lead to insomnia, pain, or even headaches. Pregnant women, people taking blood thinning medications, and those allergic to the daisy family should totally avoid using feverfew.

57. Blue Vervain

This herb is considered to be perfect for stress and tension-type headaches as it has a restorative effect on the nervous system (72). It also has pain relieving qualities.

58. Skullcap

Skullcap has antispasmodic properties and is known to relax tensed nerves, making it a perfect cure for tension-type headaches (73). This herb also acts as a mild sedative.

59. Sage

This popular culinary herb can also be used to alleviate cluster type headaches, those caused by having very heavy meals, and hormonal type headaches. It ensures proper blood flow to the brain and reduces pain (74).

Note: If taken in a huge dosage, sage can help easing tension-type headaches.

60. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is well known for its calming and soothing properties (75). These makes this herb an ideal remedy for tension and anxiety-type headaches. It also works as a mild sedative.

61. Borage

61. Borage Pinit

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Borage is considered to be one of the best herbs to relieve stress and nervous tension. Its soothing property makes it perfect to treat tension-type headaches (76).

62. Catnip

This highly safe herb is an amazing sedative and helps in quick relief from stress and tension-type headaches (77). Catnip can also help tackle migraines when taken in strong doses. This herb is safe for kids and has no side effects.

63. Horseradish

Horseradish roots, a good nasal and sinus decongestant, work well in dealing with sinus type headaches (78). Drink horseradish juice daily to get relief from a sinus headache.

The raw leaves of this plant are considered to be a good analgesic, so just press them on your forehead to numb the pain (79).

64. Lemon Verbena

Another herb of the calming variety, lemon verbena is also used to cure tension-type headaches (80). This herb also contains vitamin C in abundance, giving it the upper hand in curing really bad headaches in no time (81).

65. Valerian

Known to be a strong sedative and even stronger pain reliever, Valerian helps heal our nervous system and soothes stress and anxiety (82). Include valerian in your tea or drinks to get rid of the annoying tension-type headaches.

66. Coriander Seeds

A very popular spice and herb, coriander seeds have been an important part Ayurveda for ages. These practices state that coriander seeds are good to relieve sinus type headaches since they are decongestants (83). Pour some hot water over fresh coriander seeds and inhale the steam to open clogged sinuses.

67. Dong Quai

A popular Asian herb, Dong Quai has been a part of Japanese, Korean and Chinese households as a spice and tonic since ages. This root belongs to the same family as that of carrots and parsley and is known to be an effective remedy for tension and hormonal types of headaches (84).

68. Honeysuckle

68. Honeysuckle Pinit

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It has been found that honeysuckle’s leaves, stems, and flowers carry anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective painkiller for migraines and other types of headaches (85). It is said to provide pain relief similar to aspirin, without any side effects.

69. Mullein

This herb has been popular in Europe and Asia for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties and quick action against spasms and migraines (86, 87). You can reduce the leaves and flowers of this plant into capsules and dried preparations for relief from severe migraines. The tinctures of the plant are used in homeopathic remedies for migraines.

70. Yarrow

Yarrow is known to possess anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antimicrobial properties, which may provide relief to migraine patients (88). It can be used in a variety of ways, including dosages, capsules, and tinctures.

71. Teaberry

Also known as wintergreen, this North American herb has been long used as a folk medicine for migraines (89). It has also been used as a stimulant to ward off fatigue. Use teaberry in teas, massage oils, and tinctures to treat the most stubborn headache.

72. Betony

The mildly sedative nature of betony is used to cure migraines, tension, and hormonal type headaches effectively (90). When used with lime flowers and comfrey, betony also helps to alleviate sinus headaches and congestion within no time.

73. Evodia

This Chinese origin herb is popular for the treatment of pains, blood pressure, and headaches since first century A.D. Evodia has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that may help to ease migraine pain (91).

Back To TOC

V. The Usage Of Supplements

74. Vitamins For Migraine

74. Vitamins For Migraine Pinit

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Many medical practitioners suggest the intake of vitamin supplements to keep a migraine in control. Take a look at the popular types and their dosage requirements.

Vitamin B Complex – The regular intake of the prescribed quantities of vitamin B complex reduces the frequency of migraines. This supplement fulfills all the vitamin B requirements in the body, be it vitamin B2, or B3, or B12.

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is one of the essentials in the treatment of migraines. Our body needs about 400 milligrams of riboflavin a day to prevent migraine attacks, which can easily be provided by having vitamin B complex (92).

Vitamin B3 (niacin), on the other hand, helps in calming vascular headaches by relaxing the blood vessels and increasing the blood flow to the brain (93).

Vitamin B12 helps by increasing energy production in the nerve cells, which boosts the blood supply (94).

Vitamin D – Even though the correlation between migraine and vitamin D is still under study, it is a known fact that the deficiency of vitamin D can magnify a headache (95). Doctors advise a dosage of 2,000 milligrams of vitamin D for headaches.

75. Magnesium For Headache

It has been noted that people who are victims of serious headaches generally have low levels of magnesium in the body (96, 97). Magnesium is known to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by blocking the pain-inducing chemicals in the brain.

Practitioners generally prescribe a dosage of 200-600 milligrams of magnesium a day to prevent migraines and headaches (98).

Magnesium supplements are widely available at low costs in both oral and intravenous varieties. They can also be used by pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mothers.

Back To TOC

VI. Home Treatments For Headaches

76. Stay Hydrated

76. Stay Hydrated Pinit

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Dehydration is a major cause of headaches (99). Add to it stress and coffee consumption, and you encounter pounding headaches that refuse to abate. As soon as you sense the signs of an oncoming headache, drink a large glass of water and keep sipping water throughout the day. Trust me, your headache will gradually decrease and finally be gone.

77. Detox Bath

A detox bath will rid your body of various toxins and relax your muscles.

What You Need
  • One cup baking soda/ Two cups of apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • Hot bath water
  • 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil
What You Need To Do

Adding baking soda to your bath water will kill bacteria and leave your skin clean and smooth (100). This handy and inexpensive product doesn’t irritate your skin, which makes it a safe yet effective option.

ACV will draw excess uric acid from the body, relieving your headache (101). Mixing essential oils, especially those that have calming and soothing properties, will work best in relaxing your tensed muscles and curing headaches.

78. Foot Soak

Foot Soak Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Soaking your extremities in warm water will draw blood to them, and this will ease up the blood vessels in the head (102). The mustard in the soak will help eliminate toxins from the feet and hands (103).

You Will Need
  • Hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • A tub
What You Need To Do
  1. Add the mustard powder to the water and soak your hands and feet in it for 20-30 minutes.
  2. You could add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for an even more soothing effect.

You can also put an ice pack on the back of your neck while you soak your hands and feet.

79. Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercises Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Our stressful lifestyle tenses up the muscles in our body, especially in the head and neck regions. This often leads to a painful and throbbing headache. The extra tension that has built up can be released easily by practicing basic breathing exercises from yoga, or by just calming the nerves through meditation.

What You Need To Do

Practice breathing exercises on a regular basis to prevent headaches.

When Do You Have To Do This

A daily routine is recommended for long-lasting effects.

80. Hot Or Cold Therapy

Headaches are caused when the muscles and blood vessels in your head begin to contract. By applying an ice pack, these muscles and blood vessels cool down and relax. This slows the blood flow, reduces inflammation, and alleviates the pain (104). When heat is applied, the blood flow increases, and this helps reduce the pain (105).

You Will Need

Ice pack or heat compress

What You Need To Do
  1. Place the ice pack or hot compress on your forehead or the back of your head for 15 minutes, or until the pain subsides.
  2. If you do not have an ice pack, you can wrap a few ice cubes in a cloth and apply on the area that is paining.
  3. Similarly, if you do not have a hot compress, you can use a small towel dipped in hot water.

81. Yoga

Doing yoga is a healthy practice to keep your body free from any type of tension and relieve tension-type headaches. It teaches you how to clear your mind and keep yourself away from the built-up stress that can reduce work efficiency (106).

Yoga loosens tensed muscles, improves respiration, and increases muscle strength, providing a healthy circulatory system (107). Many poses, such as Downward Facing Dog Pose or Child’s Pose, are best to get rid of that annoying headache.

82. Meditation

Indulging in mind-body practices like meditation is considered to be one of the most effective measures against headaches. It also helps alleviate the most chronic pains within a few days.

Doing regular meditation may lead to an increase in the functioning of the part of the brain responsible for relaxing the blood vessels. This reduces the stress levels, which in turn helps in easing tension-type headaches.

Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises supply the body with plenty of oxygen and relieve the tense muscles. This reduces the intensity of the headache and also lessens its frequency (108).

83. Stretching And Moving

Sitting in front of the system for a long time can lead to an increase in body tension, paving the way for a tension-type headache. Take a break every hour and do some simple stretches. Simply moving from one place to other is also an effective option. Move your head and wrists in a circular motion to relieve developing tension in the body.

Back To TOC

VII. Other Treatments To Relieve Headaches

84. Acupuncture

This age-old process involves the insertion of needles in some specific points on the body, which is followed by their manual or electrical stimulation. Acupuncture ensures proper blood flow in the tissues. This activity is generally performed on the lower body to avoid dilating the blood vessels of the head.

Acupuncture effectively cures almost all types of headaches, including migraine, tension, cluster, post-traumatic, and sinus types (109). It lowers high blood pressure and relieves insomnia as well.

85. Acupressure

Acupressure Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Acupressure and reflexology have been tried and tested solutions for centuries for a myriad of problems, especially for pain management. To get rid of a headache, there are a few main pressure points that you need to know.

  • Between the eyebrows – This is located in between your eyebrows, just where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead.
  • Under the eyebrows – These are a pair of points located just below the inner corner of your eyebrows.
  • Hand point – This point lies in the region on the back of your hand, in the web present in between your thumb and index finger.
  • Feet point – The area on the foot just below the point between the big toe and second toe.
What You Need To Do

Massage one or two of the pressure points mentioned in gentle circular motions for a couple of minutes.

Applying pressure on these points promotes the circulation of blood and releases muscular tension. This, in turn, gives you relief from the headache, be it a tension headache or a migraine (110, 111).

Caution: If you are pregnant, do not apply pressure on the hand pressure point mentioned as this can cause contractions in the uterus.

 86. Homeopathy For Migraine

This area of medicine tries to delve into the root of the pain, completely freeing you from the frequent bouts of headaches (112). They give you a long term assurance without any side-effects.

But this practice demands patience. Unlike allopathic painkillers, these medicines work really slow and can even take up to months for a complete cure.

Some of the advised medicines are:

Belladonna – For a throbbing headache.

Glonoine – For a migraine with a congestive headache.

Natrum Mur – For a tension-type headache

Sanguinaria – For a headache that occurs on the right side of the head.

Spigelia – For a migraine that is left-sided.

87. Ayurveda For Migraine

The traditional Hindu medicine practice comes from the preachings given in the Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas. It works on the idea of balancing the body systems by using diet changes, herbal treatments, and yoga exercises.

Ayurveda divides headaches into three different types and practices different treatments for each of them.

Vata Headache – In this type, the pain usually resides on the back of your head. This can occur due to a variety of factors including neck and shoulder tension, toxicity in the colon, dehydration, or anxiety (113).

What You Need To Do

To get rid of a vata headache, boil one teaspoon of powdered haritaki in 250 ml of water and have it just before you go to bed. Another option is to massage your neck with warm calamus root oil. You can also put five drops of warm sesame oil in each nostril while lying down to calm vata.

Pitta Headache – This type can be characterized by a shooting, burning pain that rises in the temples and spreads to the center of the head. Pitta headache occurs due to imbalances in the stomach and intestines, especially indigestion and heartburn (114). In this type, the victim may witness nausea, sudden blackness in front of the eyes, dizziness, and a burning feeling in the eyes.

What You Need To Do

Ayurvedic practitioners advise patients to indulge in a pitta-pacifying diet that includes eating cucumbers, dates, or cilantro. Avoid spicy food.

The medicinal advice includes taking two tablespoons of aloe vera gel at least three times a day, putting three drops of warm ghee into nostrils, followed by rubbing warm coconut oil on the scalp and soles of your feet, preferably at bedtime for a goodnight’s sleep.

Kapha Headache – A seasonal headache that is accompanied by a runny nose and cough can be classified as kapha headache (115). This type gets worse when you bend down, and it usually appears in the morning or in the evening. This dull headache affects the frontal area of the skull, moving down to the forehead and sinuses.

What You Need To Do

The Ayurvedic remedy for Kapha headache is to take half a teaspoon of powdered sitopaladi powder with honey thrice a day. Steam therapy, involving one drop of eucalyptus oil in a pot of hot water, also works effectively in opening sinus congestion.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

  • Are headaches common during early pregnancy?

It is common for pregnant women to experience headaches, especially in the first and third trimesters. These are usually the tension-type of headaches and are caused due to:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep and tiredness
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Caffeine withdrawal

A pregnant woman is likely to have migraines and the other types of headaches mentioned in the article. If you experience anything other than normal, please consult your doctor immediately.

  • What causes a headache in the back of the head?

The episodic type of tension headache is characterized by constant pain, especially in the back of the head. It feels like a tight band is applying pressure against that area and can be mild to moderate pain. This pain lasts anywhere between 30 minutes to 15 days. The tightened muscles in the back of the head may be due to poor posture, inadequate rest, stress, anxiety, fatigue, hunger, low iron levels, or overexertion. In some cases, the cause is unknown.

Try one of our home remedies to get rid of the headache in the back of the head. If the pain still does not subside, please consult your doctor.

  • What foods are bad for headaches?

It works differently for different people. Dairy products may bring in the worst of headaches in a few people, and for others, the problem may lie in spices. To pinpoint what food sets your headache off, maintain a food diary. This will help you track headache patterns and spot a link. Say no to food that you know will cause trouble. Some of the common food items that trigger headaches are chocolate, caffeine, baked goods, monosodium glutamate-containing food items, red wine, aged cheese, avocados, bananas, processed meats, onions, and peanuts.

  • What can cause constant headaches?

Some people may experience chronic daily headaches that last for more than 15 days, and can go up to three months. The pain can be only on one side of the head, but usually, it affects both the sides and is persistent. The causes of these headaches are not really understood, and an expert consultation is recommended. Serious underlying causes can include inflammation of blood vessels, brain infections, increased intracranial pressure, and traumatic brain injury.

  • Does weather affect migraines?

Yes, bright sun, hot or humid weather conditions, and a huge change in the barometric pressure may trigger migraine attacks in a few patients. But, this is not proven to be true in all the migraine cases.

  • Is it possible for one person to have several types of headaches?

It is not rare for an individual to have more than one type of headache. Many researches have been done in this area, and the results say that having a combined migraine and tension-type headache is very common.

A Word Of Caution

Listed below are a few risk factors involved when you use home remedies for headache relief.

  • Always consult your doctor when your headache does not seem normal or continues beyond 15 days. Also, ensure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients before using them to get rid of your headache.
  • Avoid using concentrated essential oils for sensitive areas such as nose and forehead. It is always best to dilute it with a carrier oil. If you are new in using essential oil, do a quick patch test on the underside of your wrist before applying it on a larger scale.

Listed above was a wide array of home remedies to get relief from that nagging headache. These methods are tried and tested, with zero to minimum side effects.

Did we miss out on any of your favorite and tested headache remedies? Let us know in the comments section below.

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