15 Herbs for Headaches


15 Herbs for Headaches

Those that know me know that I have long been a sufferer of headaches. It seems like my body’s reaction to anything wrong is always in the form of a headache.

Through the years, I have discovered certain herbs (okay, one is a spice) that have benefited me with my headache problems.

It is important for headache sufferers to figure out what kind of headache you are having. Different herbs help with different types of headaches. For example, there are migraines, cluster headaches, tension/stress headaches, hormone headaches, food-triggered headaches, and the list goes on.

I have included a list of what I consider the top 15 Herbs for Headaches. Feel free to leave a comment if you think that I missed an important one on the list:

1).  Allspice:

This spice is an analgesic, which means it has a numbing effect on the nerves and gives relief from pains such as headaches and sinus problems. It is also a relaxant, and has a calming effect on the body and mind.

2). Borage:

Borage is known for its soothing properties and it helps the body cope with stress and nervous tension. This is perfect for tension headache problems.

3). Catnip:

This herb is a wonderful sedative and helps relax your body and relieve stress. Even better, it is safe for children. It will help as a pain reliever for your headaches and can even work for migraines, though you will need to take a strong infusion in order to fully relieve a migraine.

4). Chamomile:

Chamomile is a wonderful remedy for stress, nerves, and anxiety. This one is also safe for children. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping with certain types of headaches.

5). Feverfew:

This herb is a famous remedy for migraines and headaches. It also has a calming effect and helps reduce stress. However, it is most famous for reducing the amount of migraines a sufferer has. If you often get bad headaches or migraines, this herb is best used as a preventative. Take it every day, either eat the leaves raw, in a salad, in a piece of bread, in your tea, in tincture form, etc. You will get less migraines by taking feverfew daily.

6). Horseradish:

This herb/root is a wonderful nasal and sinus decongestant, for those that suffer from sinus headaches. The raw leaves are supposedly an analgesic, and if you press the leaves on your forehead, they help numb headache pain. In addition, if you have a sinus headache, take some juice or sauce made with horseradish and watch the sinus problems vanish. I find that just chopping the horseradish helps drip out the clogged sinuses and brings relief.

7). Lavender:

Lavender’s scent promotes relaxation. It eases anxiety and increases calmness, which means that lavender is a big help for stress-related headaches. I find massaging lavender essential oil on my forehead helps my headaches, and sometimes just smelling the essential oil is enough to make my headache ease up.

8). Lemon Balm:

This herb is good for tension and anxiety-type headaches. It promotes a calming and relaxing feeling and is a mild sedative as well, if you are like me and you need to sleep off some of the bigger headaches.

9). Lemon Verbena:

Lemon Verbena is also a calming herb, excellent for relaxing and aiding nerves and anxiety. It is also full of Vitamin C, which is helpful for bad headaches.

10). Passionflower:

Passionflower is a wonderful sedative and helps those that suffer from nervousness or anxiety. It gives a calming effect and is also a mild pain reliever.

11). Rosemary:

This herb is a stimulant to the nerves and also improves circulation. For this reason, it is a good tactic for some headache-types, like cluster headaches. It reminds me of the remedy where you put your feet in as hot of water as you can handle. You do this to help improve your blood circulation, because the blood rushes to your feet, giving you instant headache relief. A rosemary tea/infusion would be excellent in combination with this tactic to help improve circulation and relieve these types of headaches.

12). Sage:

This common culinary herb is wonderful for a few specific types of headaches. It is good for cluster-type headaches, where you need to keep the blood circulating (making it a great combination with Rosemary). It is also good for headaches from eating too heavy of meals (stimulates digestion). It is also good for hormonally caused headaches, especially those from menopause (it also helps with hot flashes). In large doses, it is also great for tension and nerve-related headaches.

13). Skullcap:

This herb is a relaxing nervine and has antispasmodic properties. It is an excellent remedy for anxiety/stress/tension headaches and is a mild sedative as well.

14). Valerian:

Valerian is a strong sedative and also a strong pain-reliever. It helps heal the nervous system and is also an excellent remedy for stress and anxiety. I always include valerian in my teas or as a tincture for my headaches. I find that it is more of a pain reliever than Tylenol-type pills, without the negative side effects. I love that it helps me sleep off my headaches as well.

15). Vervain:

This herb has a restorative effect on the nervous system. It is wonderful for stress and tension headaches for this reason. It also has pain-relieving qualities.


Now that you have a list of herbs for headaches, now what do you do with them?! Here are some ideas:

**Make tinctures with one or more of these herbs and add that tincture to the beverage of your choice when you feel a headache coming on.

**Make a tea or an infusion with one or more of these herbs. Click here for some combination ideas. Or if you have a lot of tension/stress related issues, try this tea or maybe this one.

I hope all of you headache-sufferers find the correct combination to bring you relief from your pain. These herbs (in different combinations depending on my situation) have helped me immensely. I would love to know if these herbs have brought relief to others as well.

**Read about How to Make a Headache Salve here.

**Check out these 5 headache remedy ideas from MIX Wellness for some more natural remedy ideas!

**Learn more about how to manage migraines from Mary Vance.


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15 Herbs for Headaches


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Comments (32)

Great post! I love herbs and use them daily. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks! I use these 15 herbs often, and they really do make a difference in my life. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

Hey Cris,
I was intrigued by this post because through the years I have done a lot with herbs but have never had success treating headaches with them. I would love to know how you have successfully treated tension headaches (coming from the base of the back of the neck up to behind the eyes), and food-triggered headaches (msg). I rarely have msg headaches anymore because I avoid it like the plague, but occasionally eating someone else’s food I get one that reminds me of the old days of terrible msg headaches.

Thanks so much for sharing this info and your experiences with us.

Rose Petal

Rose Petal,
For tension headaches, I usually have an herbal tea with skullcap, valerian, passionflower, and then either lemon balm, lavender, and/or chamomile. The first three ingredients go in pretty much all of my headache herbal teas, and the other three are for flavoring and additional (albeit more mild) relaxing qualities. I don’t mind the taste of the herbal tea with all six ingredients, but I feel like taste-preferences could change which of the three (lemon balm, lavender, chamomile) you also use.

I sip the tea, and then immediately go in the bathroom and put HOT water in the tub. I sit on the edge of the tub and put only my feet in the hot water. For more serious tension headaches, I also put something cold on my neck while my feet are in the hot water. I often add epsom salt to the water for additional relaxation purposes. The moment my feet hit the hot water, my headache immediately eases up.

Take some deep breaths, and after 10-ish minutes in the hot water, I go lay down in a dark room with a cold compress on my eyes. After an hour, I get up and sip more of my tea (I usually make enough for 3-4 cups of tea originally). I almost always lose my tension headache with this setup of using water, rest, and relaxing/sedative herbal tea. If it still remains, then I get my migraine-miracle herb out: my tincture made from feverfew. I will add a heaping spoonful of the feverfew tincture to my herbal tea, and then it goes away for sure. I only use my feverfew tincture for the bad headaches because I do not care for the taste. I have, however, found a recipe somewhere in google-land that added lemon balm to the feverfew for a tincture, and that is what I will try in the future.

For MSG headaches, I find that broth-based soup with only veggies in it is the solution as well as herbal tea with at least skullcap, passionflower, and valerian in it. My theory is that I need to purge the MSG from my body, with broth, organic veggies, and some pain-reducing herbal tea and plenty of water, my MSG headaches go away after a few hours.

If you get pretty nasty headaches and you have tried herbs for them in the past with limited success, I would strongly recommend making a tincture with them, since that will boost the medicinal qualities of the herbs. And I also highly recommend growing your own feverfew and valerian. They were pretty easy for me to grow (zone 5), very little work, and I found the valerian I grew was much stronger medicinally than the valerian I bought online.

Herbs have taken care of my headaches in a way that pills never have. I truly hope that you have success with them as well. I would love to hear from you after you try them out! Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂

This is so helpful. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try these ideas (although I’d rather not have to). 🙂 When it happens I’ll let you know how it goes.

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You forgot my favorite, white willow bark. Although it needs to be mixed with peppermint or something tasty 🙂

You are right, I have been researching white willow bark and I should add it the list soon! Thanks Jeanie!

Very intresting I realy wana try some of it coz I hve realy bad headaches since I’m on treatmnt for anxiety

Appreciation information about taking feverfew tincture for migraines:

Dosage (daily and at onset of migraine)
Use (daily? just with headache?)
How slowly to phase off feverfew (I’ve read abrupt discontinuation can result in significant symptoms).


If you click on my feverfew link, it will give you more info about it. I use my feverfew tincture when I begin a migraine. I add a tbsp. of the tincture to some juice or tea (esp. made with these other herbs for headaches). I drink the tea once an hour until the migraine subsides. It usually subsides for me after 1 or 2 hours. As far as I know, you don’t have to ‘phase off’ of feverfew like you would with pills. However, if you have a credible source about this specifically with herbs, I would love to read it!

Mainly because of stress but I have a lot of headaches lately. This post is perfect for me know, I’m definitely going to give these a try. Thanks!

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Great info! Have suffered with ba headaches/ migraines most of my life and past it down to my daughter who is now 17! I will be sharing this article with her!

Thanks! I hope it goes well for you both! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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I have serious headaches when i am coming onand off mymensrtual cycle what herbs do you reccomend for it.

are the herbs safe to take during pregnancy?

I am not very knowledgeable about pregnancy health. I highly recommend talking to a holistic doctor or midwife about medicinal herbs and pregnancy.

In pregnancy, most midwives consider valerian, skullcap, lemon balm, chamomile, peppermint to be safe. Feverfew is not considered to be safe during pregnancy.
Also, many (although certainly not all) women find peppermint will decrease breast milk supply, so use with caution when breastfeeding.

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Please I want to no more about herbs. It’s my dream to become a herbalist please help me.I am Kwame Anokye from Ghana

I would start with some good quality books on herbal remedies. I personally love ‘Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health’ by Rosemary Gladstar.

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