Headaches are an extremely common complaint in our society, and are often treated with “quick fix” pain medication. In fact, over half a billion dollars is spent annually on this type of remedy. What is in these drugs and are they doing us more harm than good? Are there more effective and natural remedies we can use to alleviate headaches?
Ingredients in Conventional Headache Medication
There are two main ingredients in the leading headache medications. These are Acetysalicylic Acid (aspirin) and Acetaminophen (tylenol). Today, an estimated 80,000 tons of these two ingredients are being consumed each year.
The main side effects of Acetysalicylic Acid can include, but are not limited to: gastrointestinal ulcers, stomach bleeding, severe abdominal or stomach cramps/pain/discomfort, heartburn or indigestion, bruising, confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting, buzzing or ringing in ears, tiredness or weakness, loss of hearing, allergic reaction, bleeding, etc. You can view the first-hand clinical research on 50+ adverse effects associated with Acetylsalicylic Acid.
The main side effects of Acetaminophen can include, but are not limited to: nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, sweating, diarrhea, irritability, abdominal pain, yellow eyes or skin, liver failure, kidney failure, heart problems, ulcers, bleeding in the digestive tract, coma, seizures, death, etc. Additionally, you can view the first-hand clinical research both on the adverse effects of Acetaminophen and natural substances which mitigate them.
Please also note that these symptoms do not necessarily have to manifest instantly after taking them. Continuous use of these products can slowly wreck havoc on your system.
Causes of Headaches
In some cases a headache may be a symptom of a more serious underlying disorder, but often headaches are caused by stress, dehydration, tiredness, poor posture, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, food allergy, eyestrain, sinusitis, poor nutrition, or low blood sugar.
Ginger = Traditional Chinese herbal medicine recommends ginger for headaches. Eat a small piece of fresh ginger root or make ginger tea from the fresh root or tea bags.
Coriander Seeds = An Aryuvedic treatment for sinus-related headaches is the steam inhalation of coriander seeds. Put the coriander seeds into a small bowl. Pour on some boiling water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the steam.
Celery = Celery contains phthalide which helps you to relax and be less anxious, which helps with pain. It is also rich in potassium which many headache sufferers are deficient in. Celery seeds can be used in smoothies/juices or soups. Taking 2 oz of celery juice and then laying down for 30 minutes has proven to be a very effective remedy for headaches.
Herbal = Sitting down with a relaxing cup of mild herbal tea is often good for a tension headache. Good choices are peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, rose hip, lemon balm, or valerian root (may induce sleep). Additionally, adding cayenne pepper to your tea can help.
Vitamins and Minerals = Frequent headaches could be a sign that you are low on some important vitamins and minerals. Low levels of niacin and vitamin B6 can cause headaches. For example, all the B vitamins are needed to help combat stress and avoid tension headaches. The minerals calcium and magnesium work together to help prevent headaches, especially those related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Good sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale or broccoli, and beans and peas. Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, cacao, nuts, bananas, wheat germ, full spectrum salts, beans and peas.