Everyone experiences headaches or migraines from time to time. They can range from a dull ache that makes it hard to get through your day to a debilitating migraine that keeps you from functioning at all. Your headaches and migraines may be tied to an underlying condition or illness, or they may simply be a symptom you experience. Regardless of the type of headache you are facing, a cup of tea may provide relief from the aching, throbbing, and distracting pain in your head. Here we will examine at some of the most effective teas for treating a headache.
Green Tea - But Only for Some
Green tea contains caffeine, which is highly effective in relieving some types of pain and headaches but may have the opposite effect in some cases. If you normally drink caffeine every day, then green tea might be effective for you - especially if you are suffering from a caffeine withdrawal headache. Even in people who do not drink caffeine daily, it can be an effective pain reliever. In fact, the National Headache Foundation has determined that pain relievers with caffeine are up to 40 percent more effective than those without it.
Despite this finding, caffeine has also been found in some cases to actually trigger a headache or migraine. This can be especially true if you have had too much caffeine in a short period. The takeaway with green tea is to only use it if you know how your body will respond. If caffeine is a trigger for you, skip the green tea and try one of the herbal teas listed below for a safer option.
Peppermint tea contains menthol, which gives peppermint a cooling sensation and minty flavor. Menthol also increases blood flow, making it an effective treatment for pain, including headaches and migraines. In a study of participants suffering from headaches, researchers found that peppermint oil applied to the forehead was as effective in reducing pain as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen.
Peppermint offers antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that both the tea and the vapors from hot peppermint tea can help relieve pain and pressure from clogged sinuses due to infections, allergies, or colds. Peppermint tea is a trusted option for headaches relating to sinus pressure.
If your headache is making you feel sluggish or worn down, peppermint tea might be the right choice for you. Peppermint has been found to reduce feelings of fatigue and daytime sleepiness. A 2018 study of healthy young adults found that people experienced less fatigue during performing a series of cognitive tests after they had consumed peppermint.
Many people think of chamomile tea as a bedtime tea, and for good reason. Chamomile is commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety as it has powerful calming and relaxing effects for both the body and mind. These relaxing effects may also help to ease tension headaches. In a study of postpartum women with insomnia, participants who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported better sleep quality, shorter time to fall asleep, and reduced levels of depression, which is often linked to poor sleep. If your headache is keeping you up at night, chamomile might be the most effective option for you.
Chamomile tea has also been found to aid in lowering blood sugar levels and in some cases may help to maintain regular blood sugar levels. A study of people with diabetes found that participants who drank chamomile tea daily for eight weeks had significantly lower average blood sugar levels than their counterparts who drank water. Animal studies have also found that chamomile tea lowers fasting blood sugar levels and prevents spikes in blood sugars after eating. If you are prone to headaches linked with changes in blood sugar levels or your headaches are triggered by eating, chamomile tea may help ease your symptoms.
Like the other teas in this list, chamomile is considered generally safe for most people. However, chamomile is a flower and may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to certain flowers, such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, daisies, or marigolds. If you know you are allergic to these flowers, you may want to choose one of the other options on this list.
Ginger is the perfect option for a headache accompanied by nausea or an upset stomach. Researchers have found that ginger is both safe and highly effective in treating nausea and vomiting for most people, including in chemotherapy patients, pregnant women, and children.
Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory agents which makes it effective in treating pain related to other conditions. A 2009 study found that ginger reduced pain as well as two NSAIDs in women experiencing symptoms of pain during their menstrual cycle.
The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, has been found to lower the risk of infections by inhibiting the growth of different types of bacteria. A 2008 study found that ginger was highly effective against oral bacteria strains linked to gingivitis and periodontitis.
These three benefits - antinausea, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties - make ginger tea an effective choice for people who have a headache or migraine that is linked with another symptom or condition. However, the powerful anti-inflammatory abilities of ginger tea make it an effective option for any headache or migraine.
Willow Bark Tea
Willow bark tea is made from the bark of some varieties of willow trees and is nicknamed “nature’s aspirin.” In fact, the active ingredient, salicin, is so chemically similar to aspirin that doctors warn that you should not drink it if you have taken aspirin. Willow bark tea has been found to reduce pressure in blood vessels and brain capillaries and it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Willow bark is a good choice for people with recurring headaches or especially painful bouts of headaches or migraines.
Clove tea can have a strong flavor and aroma, which some people find very pleasant, and others find too aggressive. Cloves have a special benefit, known at antinociceptive properties. Antinociceptives block the perception of pain in the brain, easing pain and allowing you to regain function.
Like peppermint tea, clove tea is also antibacterial and can be useful in treating headaches related to sinus infections or colds. Drinking clove tea has also been found to reduce fevers in both adults and children, so it should be your first choice if you are experiencing a headache accompanied by a minor rise in body temperature.
More Natural Relief from Headaches and Migraines
Still needing more relief? Aculief offers several products and options for those seeking natural remedies for headaches and migraines. Check out our My Relief Essential Oil Roll-On, which contains peppermint and chamomile, along with spearmint and lavender essential oils. This easy-to-carry and easy-to-use essential oil blend allows you to experience the benefits of some of the plant-based treatments in this list by simply applying the oil to your temples or neck.