Irregular and sometimes prolonged periods of pain occur in various parts of the head or in the sinuses.

What is a Headache?

From Modern Western Medicine

A mild to severe pain localized in the head, most headaches are the body’s reaction to various forms of internal and external disturbances, including physical tension, emotional upset, hunger, sleeplessness, hangover, travel, excessive sleep, stress, toxic food substances, weather, noise, air pollution, irritating chemicals, and odors. Many illnesses, such as the common cold and flu, causes headaches, as do toothaches, ear infection, head injury, and sinusitis. Tension headaches, the most common form of headache, are caused when muscles in the face, neck, scalp, and back contract, causing pressure on the nerves and reducing circulation to cells and tissues. Most headaches clear up in a matter of hours and have no lasting side effects. If headaches are persistent and do not respond to self-help treatment, medical advice should be sought.

From Traditional Medicine

Headaches must be understood as a form of communication by the body alerting us to the fact that there is an imbalance in our lives that is having an adverse affect on the body. Chronic headaches mean that the imbalance is prolonged and is being ignored. In this case, it is likely that more severe symptoms will emerge, since the cause is left unresolved. Therefore, the first step in treating headache is to recognize that it is a symptom rather than a primary problem. Second step is finding the true cause of the pain and then treating that disturbance.

The most common causes of headaches are imbalances in the liver or the intestines, poor circulation, stress, muscle tension (especially in the pelvis and lower back), menstrual disorders, and hypoglycemia (see the section on Hypoglycemia). The key to treating all these problems is to improve circulation of blood, lymph, and electromagnetic energy, or qi, within the organs themselves and the body in general. That is accomplished by eliminating the extremes that are most often the source of physical tension and stagnation. Excess work must be balanced by exercise and play; physical and muscular tension must be balanced by massage, walking (preferably in nature), relaxing music, soft lighting; hard and contracting foods must be balanced by soft grains, vegetables, and fruit; isolation must be balanced by social activities and intimacy with others and oneself; fear must be balanced by faith.

See also the section on Migraines.


Foods to Eat

  • Hot water and lemon (for liver congestion)
  • Grapefruit juice (for liver congestion)
  • Apple juice, warmed
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Tomato in small amounts relieves liver heat resulting in headache
  • Lots of leafy greens, such collard, kale, and mustard greens
  • Small amounts of salad, especially in the spring time


Foods to Avoid

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Additives, preservatives, and all chemicalized foods
  • Fats
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs


Herbs to Treat Headaches

Take either of the following herbs for a headache. Both contain salicin, an aspirin-like compound. A common dosage is ½ tsp. of tincture, three to four times daily:

  • White willow bark
  • Meadowsweet
  • Feverfew (especially effective against migraines)
  • Milk thistle (for liver congestion)
  • Dandelion (to move energy out of liver to heart)


Milk thistle and dandelion can be combined in tea, infusions, and tinctures. Mix together equal parts of the following:




Make as an infusion and drink warm. Drink 1 cup whenever needed. Use any of the following herbs to help reduce the nervous tension that frequently contributes to headaches. A common dosage is ½ to 1 tsp. of tincture, 1 cup of tea, or 2 capsules three or four times daily.

  • Valerian
  • Passionflower
  • Spearmint
  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile
  • Skullcap



  • Bryonia: for acute frontal headache that may be accompanied by constipation
  • Nux vomica: for hangovers
  • Belladonna: for throbbing heads accompanied by dilated pupils


Chinese Medicine

  • Acupuncture to restore the balance to the liver and spleen qi
  • Acupuncture to remove tension from muscle and restore qi to blocked areas of the body



  • Ice compress to base of head while lying in a darkened room
  • Ice to forehead with simultaneous hot footbath to abort headache
  • Make a hot footbath with a tbsp of mustard in it to draw the blood from the head area. Drink one of the teas in the section on Herbal Treatments while taking the footbath.



  • Vitamin B complex

Thiamine: 1.5 mg per day

Riboflavin: 1.8 mg per day

Vitamin B6: 2 – 10 mg per day

Vitamin B12: 2 – 10 mg per day

Niacin: 20 mg per day

  • Vitamin C: 100 – 500 mg per day
  • Calcium: 500 – 1000 mg per day (amount should be under 1000 mg if leafy greens are eaten daily)
  • Magnesium: 400 mg per day
  • Vitamin E: 100 – 400 IU per day


Essential Oils

  • Massage or apply compress of any of the following to the forehead, temple, neck, and shoulders:
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint



  • Daily mild stretching exercises (see the section on Exercise in Part III)
  • Yoga



  • Part of establishing balance in one’s life is to spend time letting go of daily struggle and reestablish a conscious link with the true inner self where peace and tranquility reside. This is accomplished through prayer, meditation, chanting, contemplation, religious ritual, and affirmations.
  • Therapeutic massage