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Headache is a common disorder due to various factors (excluding important pathologies) such as tiredness, incorrect posture, lack of night rest, etc. But when it is associated with a cold (even sinusitis) the headache can become unbearable and persistent and prevent us from carrying out our daily activities. 

Nature always offers us its help even in this case. In all ages and in all cultures of the world, medicinal plants have been the essential foundation of therapy. 

The natural remedies

Headache is pain that affects the cranial region, including the scalp and face. In this sense, an important help comes from taking herbal teas. 
Infuse a liter of boiling water for ten minutes with a teaspoon and a half of jasmine flower soup (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Strain and drink a hot cup before going to sleep.   

Another herbal tea that can relieve headaches is lavender flower tea. Infuse 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers (Lavandula officinalis) in a cup with boiling water. Leave to infuse for ten minutes then filter and drink. Even if it is bitter, it is preferable to drink it plain or sweeten it with honey or stevia. 

It also helps a lot to make fumigation with essential oils (lavender, mint, eucalyptus) in the absence of various allergies. It is important to always stay hydrated and to have a constant temperature at home. 

Chromotherapy comes to our aid with its green color, a color that calms and relaxes and helps eliminate headaches, decreases blood pressure and is an excellent antiseptic and relieves pain. You can wear a green wool or cotton cap or hat especially when you are outdoors, as long as they are in natural fabric and have a maximum of 20 % of acrylic parts. Otherwise, the benefit of chromotherapy will be reduced. The green color activates the retina in a milder way than the others, reducing eye strain and consequently decreasing migraine. 

As regards the use of Bach flowers, in case of cluster migraine, Elm is an important flower, with a great energizing power that helps to quickly recover organic balance. If the headache is associated with a cold, you can take Crab Apple, a flower of cleanliness and inner order that helps fluidify the mucus. Wild Rose can also be combined with them, a flower particularly rich in vitamin C. For colds they recommend taking 4 drops of Bach flowers 4 times a day. When it comes to a debilitated and tired body (due to a cold) it can also be combined with Olives, which has a preventive action against viruses and bacteria.  

In the forms of migraine and headache, even in their chronic forms, Griffonia (Griffonia Simplicifolia Baill ) is used successfully in combating pain. In the most recent studies, it has been seen that low levels of serotonin can create major headache crises. To enhance its beneficial effect, together with Griffonia, lemon balm, valerian and magnesium can also be associated. Its seeds are found in supplements, but beware of its contraindications especially in pregnancy, breastfeeding or intolerance to its active components. Griffonia extracts interact with some drugs, such as carbidopa, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (also called MAOIs) and serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs).   

A gentle massage using mint or eucalyptus oil or tiger balm is also useful for headaches.  

Headaches that occur in the evening, before going to bed, are also caused by the stress of the day or the worries that occupy our mind and prevent us from falling asleep. To be calmer, drink an infusion of dried linden flowers and leaves (Tilia tomentosa), leaving a teaspoon of dried herbs to infuse in a cup of boiling water for no more than 4 minutes. Combats stress and helps calm the central nervous system. Linden tea helps when we suffer from headaches, tiredness, colds and flu, anxiety.   

A grandmother's remedy consists in applying wet (not very cold) pieces on the forehead especially when you have a stress headache or cold and if you can stay in the dark.  

The food has an important role against headaches, especially foods containing di magnesium and potassium which help to alleviate the typical headaches due to stress, such as potatoes, almonds, dried apricots, brown rice, red rice, legumes, spinach, flax seeds. The latter are contained in Omega 3 and have anti-inflammatory properties that help fight migraines. They can be eaten for breakfast or in salads. 

Ginger is an excellent pain reliever and natural anti-inflammatory, in the case of severe headaches it helps to decrease the intensity of the pain also associated with a cold. It can be used as a rich and tasty herbal tea. A natural pain reliever (also used for toothaches) is fresh chilli, to be used in moderation. 

What foods to avoid with headaches?

As for the foods to avoid when you have a headache or migraine, they are foods with a high histamine release which can be responsible for some headaches, such as tomatoes, bananas. Packaged foods, canned foods, alcohol, milk and dairy products, red meat should be avoided. In particular, avoid alcohol which generates migraine episodes when consumed in high doses. In the case of wines, important consideration must be given to wines containing sulphites, which are preservatives that help keep the product better but can trigger headaches

Credits: Naturopath, Melania M.