There are so many reasons for a headache, from the self-inflicted ghastliness of a hangover to the genuinely fearsome migraine (for which you may not have an answer), and these will be looked at under the relevant headings. There are early-morning headaches which can be caused by low blood suger level and are eased by taking a spoonful of honey and there are those headaches which many adults suffer from and which are only cured with an infection of capital, but the majority have their cause in other physical contitions such as colds, catarrh, constipation, cystitis, poor digestion, fatigue, allergic reaction (particularly to food and smell), semotional dramas, period problems, aches and pains, a fall or concussion, high or low blood pressure, strain and tension, wisdom teeth and specific illnesses.
The remedies found under those headings will hopefully relieve the condition and thus the headache. If you suddenly begin to suffer from persistent head aches which have no understandable cause – eye strain, using a V.D.U. without an anti – glare shield, too much sun – take professional advice without hesitation. If you feel headachy and ‘out of sorts’ cut out the obvious nasties: smoking, tea, coffee, chocolate, cheese, milk, red wine, brandy, Drink instead lots of good, clear water, especially carbonated mineral water.
In countries where too much sun is an ever-present problem a snake band around the head or worn as a hat band is still considered to have a function beyond the sartorial in keeping sun stroke and headaches at bay. If the cause of a headache is eye strain obviously one’s eyes should be tested but sore eyes can also be the cause so bathe them morning and night with either eyebright or cold boiled water. The smell of certain flowers can cause headaches, especially lilac, Madonna lilies, heliotrope and gardenia, and many of those perfumes which are pre dominantly musk or gardenia-based have the same effect.
Folklore tells us we should never smell poppies or sleep under the cypress for to do so will give us a pain in the head and lead to madness! However to wear a good bunch of lavender beneath our hats would certainly have ensured immunity, probably as a result of all those lovely antiseptic oils warming up and guarding us against infection. It would undoubtedly have looked and smelled better than the favourite cure for a headache which was the standard wrapping of vinegar and brown paper or the more esoteric combination of goat’s dung and squill (vinegar of ammonia), Poultices were also mentioned frequently: slices of cucumber or raw potatoes laid on brow and temples to remedy sunstroke and headaches caused by sultry weather, houseleek leaves crushed and applied to hot and aching heads and a marvelous compress made of elder leaves crushed with salt which brings immediate relief but unfortunately smells vilely foetid. Herbal teas which will relieve the pain of an aching head but any which will relieve tension will help.
Home Remedies for Headache and other Cures
- Scented leaves Any deliciously scented leaf when rubbed between the fingers and inhaled deeply will clear the head and make you feel more alive. This is one of the reasons, I am sure, that cottage dwellers grew their most scented plants beside the kitchen door. The most effective are lemon verbena, lemon balm, dill, sage peppermint, spearmint, rose, lavender and violet. The smell of hops will soothe whilst cloves of the peel of oranges and lemons invigorate and an infusion of mint, sage or fennel or two tablespoons each of hop tea and vinegar can be inhaled or used on a cool compress.
- A headache pillo from America Mix together 50 g (2 oz) each of lavender, marjoram, rose petals, betony and rose leaf and 15g (½ oz) of cloves. Sew them into a cotton case and keep it neneath your pillow.
- Lavender vinegar Herbal vinegars were considered disinfectant and those that were most frequently used in the sick room were rue and rosemary. Lavender vinegar will refresh and clear a thick head as well as being strongly antiseptic.