This post was orginally printed in Natural Herbal Living Magazine** October 2013
The deliciously spicy ginger rhizome has so very many uses. Among my favorite ways to use ginger is for effective headache relief, even from migraine headache pain. Ginger relieves the inflammation and relaxes muscles spasms responsible for many headaches. Traditionally used for migraine headaches, recent speculation is that ginger may work to inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase which is a precursor to prostaglandin formation. Prostaglandins are what cause the inflammation and hence pain of headaches including migraine headaches. This action of inhibiting prostaglandin production is similar to the effect of aspirin but without the nasty side effects!1,2 Ginger is a warming, carminative herb that stimulates circulation and sluggish digestion which can help ease headaches resulting from digestive disturbances. Also, ginger is wonderful for nausea and provides relief from nausea and even vomiting during migraine headaches and menstruation.
~ Specific Indications For Using Ginger To Relieve Headaches ~
For delayed menstruation with migraine or tension headache pain. The woman may feel chilled, have cold hands and feet, and may be pale. Will also help ease painful menses.
Migraine headaches that are cold in nature.
Headaches occurring with digestive disturbances particularly sluggish digestion.
During illness such as cold and flu accompanied by headache and feeling of being chilled.
Visit Mountain Rose Herbs** to purchase some helpful ginger!
~ Using Ginger For Headaches ~
Drink ginger tea. It is best if you drink ginger tea when symptoms start. This is a good time to stop, sit down and listen to your body, it is trying to tell you something. Breathe deep and let your body relax.
Apply a ginger compress to your forehead. To make a compress, simply put a cloth in ginger tea (warm or cool), wring it out and apply it to your forehead. Lay down, relax and let the ginger work it’s magic.
Relax with a ginger foot bath. To make, simply put hot ginger tea in a basin or bowl big enough for your feet. And soak for a while. To make a quick ginger foot bath, combine powdered ginger and epsom salt with hot water in a basin for your soak,; a few drops of lavender essential oil makes for a great addition!
Munching crystallized ginger is great if you are out and about when a headache strikes. I keep it in my purse just in case I need some ginger magic in a pinch!
~ My Migraine Remedy ~
When I feel a migraine starting, which for me is usually indicated by visual changes, I have a little protocol I start immediately (before the visual changes stop which usually take about 30 minutes) and it usually stops the migraine or at least diminishes the symptoms drastically. First I drink 2 packages of Alacer’s Emergen-C mixed in water. While I am drinking that I boil water for ginger tea. Because time is of the essence here I make my tea very simply and quickly by mixing powdered ginger with hot water. I mix in quite a bit of ginger, as much as I think I can handle into about 8 ounces of hot water. Then I drink the tea while relaxing and breathing deep. Finally I take some time to stretch and do gentle yoga. I try to think of what I have been doing recently that could have caused the migraine. Usually I find that I have over extended myself in some way either mentally or emotionally and often times I realize my diet and water intake have all suffered too.
Please Note: This wonderful and effective protocol comes from Rosemary Gladstar in her book Herbs For Reducing Stress & Anxiety.
1 Medical Herbalism, Materia Medica and Pharmacy by Paul Bernger
2 Women, Hormones & The Menstrual Cycle by Ruth Trickey
Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar
Herbal Medicine From The Heart of the Earth by Sharol Tilgner, N.D.
Herbs For Reducing Stress & Anxiety by Rosemary Gladstar
Medical Herbalism, Materia Medica and Pharmacy by Paul Bernger
Women, Hormones & The Menstrual Cycle by Ruth Trickey
Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657930
ATVB in Focus: Inflammation, Prostaglandins and Inflammation at http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/31/5/986.full
**Please Note: This post contains affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs and Natural Herbal Living Magazine. Mountain Rose Herbs offers the best quality bulk herbs and supplies online. Natural Herbal Living Magazine is a wonderful educational resource for helping people learn all about herbalism and I am a proud contributor to this wonderful monthly publication!. If you choose to use my affiliate link to purchase from them you will be supporting Mama Rosemary and all I do here. I get will get a small percentage of your purchase however this does not in any way effect your purchase price. Thanks for supporting Mama Rosemary and happy herb crafting!