Headaches refuse to fit into any neat little diagnoses. They are as variable as the
people who suffer from them. They may result from tension, allergies, sinus troubles, stress, elevated blood pressure, vascular
trouble, or as a symptom of other, more serious conditions. Millions of women suffer from them each year.
are two types of headaches (not counting trauma). The Common Headache, also known as a Stress, or Tension Headache is usually
caused by a tightness in the muscles of the neck, and back of the head. This can be brought on by stress, hypertension, allergies,
keeping your head in an awkward, or stressed position for too long a period, such as driving, or sitting in some chairs for
long periods of time. Common headaches respond well to massage, herbs and homeopathic treatments. If they become chronic,
you should see a physician, because it could be indicative of other conditions. The second type is the Migraine Headache.
These are more severe, involving throbbing persistant pain, nausea, flashing lights, hallucinations and other symptoms. They
are the result of vaso-constriction, and vaso-dilation within the blood vessels of the brain.
The common non-prescription method of treatment is to use one or more of the myriad
of over-the-counter pain drugs, acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprophen (Motrin), and their relatives. While they can
provide some limited relief, the downside is that over-using these products may cause rebound headaches, and other health
problems over long-term usage. Acetaminophen is known to cause liver damage. Both ibuprophen and aspirin may cause severe
gastrointestinal troubles. The facts are that around 76,000 people in the U.S. (http://www.worstpills.org/) are hospitalized
annually as a direct result of the use of over-the-counter pain medications. Around
10% of those will not recover.
There are alternatives. One of the most
effective naturopathic remedies for these maladies has been the use of Sweet Basil (not to be confused with Holy Basil, a different plant). It has been a staple in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands
While many people are familiar with basil as a culinary spice, its healing properties
are less well known in this country, even though it is inexpensive and readily available. The essential oil is anti-bacterial. Drops of basil oil may provide relief from
ear infections caused by Staphococcus, Enterococcus and Psuedomonas. Basil can help restore immune functions in people with
suppressed systems. Combined with other herbs, it enhances the absorption of active ingredients, and allows them to more easily
penetrate the skin when used in salves and ointments. As a tea, it may relieve chronic flatulence. Other conditions that respond
well to the use of basil are appetite stimulation, colds, flu, sinusitis, headaches, fever reduction, diarrhea and dysentery,
depression, and bacterial infections. It can draw out poison from insect bites
when used as a poultice, and repels aphids and other insect pests from gardens. As a tea, it helps relieve nausea, morning
and motion sickness and may lower blood sugar levels.
The next time you suffer from a tension headache, try this treatment: Make an infusion
by heating 2 cups of water to boiling (in the microwave or stovetop. Either way works fine). Remove the water from the heat
source and when it stops boiling, add 2 TBSPs of dried basil. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into
a bowl and add 1 TBSP of witch-hazel. Stir until it is well mixed. Soak a clean cloth in the infusion and wring it out back
into the bowl until the cloth is damp, but not dripping wet. Sit in a comfortable chair, or lie down on the bed on your back,
and place the damp cloth on your forehead. Re-soak the rag when necessary. Relax and in 7-10 minutes, your headache should
be gone, and will stay gone for a good while. Sometimes it takes longer, but be patient and relax. Repeat the treatment as
For a Migraine Headache, the basil treatment works sometimes, but not always. Massage,
and acupressure seem to be the most effective methods of treating them. Sometimes, a change in diet, and/or lifestyle proves
beneficial. Be sure the person massaging you is a Licensed Massage Therapist, because massaging near the cervical muscles
on the neck can cause damage if proper care is not exercised.
Do not use basil essential oil when pregnant. This information has not been
evaluated by the FDA. For information purposes only. It is not intended
to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult a physician before beginning any self-treatment
Dr. Joel C. Brothers
Valetudo , quod a gauisus pectus pectoris.
This article contributed by Joel C. Brothers, ND, SHD, LMT.