James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy, offers five options for you to consider.
- Feverfew and ginger: Research suggests that regularly taking feverfew reduces migraine frequency, while ginger may soothe symptoms.
- Willow: The herb contains salicin, an aspirin-like substance. White willow (S. alba) is rather low in this pain-relieving stuff, so if you want more headache relief per cup of tea, look for species that are more potent, like S. daphnoides or S. fragilis.
- Red pepper: Studies show that its heat-giving ingredient, capsaicin, may help prevent cluster headaches. (Here's why you should add the food to an egg-white omelet.)
- Thyme: Thyme can be used in a compress to ease achy muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back that contribute to tension headaches. You can also drink thyme tea. (Check out how this herb can healthy-up a salad, too.)
Remember, just like pharmaceutical drugs, herbs can cause side effects or interact with medications. So before running to the health-food store, clear your plans with your doctor, and ask about the appropriate dose.