The billion dollar business in aspirin and other pain-relieving drugs substantiates the doctor's claim of the universality of headaches and also the failure of orthodox medicine to cope with this most common of all afflictions. This is also a terrible indictment of our health-destroying lifestyle, for primitive people who lead healthy lives are only seldom afflicted with headaches. Headache is a syndrome of our denatured, over-stressed, tension-filled, competition-oriented life. Headache is not a disease in itself, but a sign that there is something more seriously wrong with the body. It is a symptom of derangement and disharmony in the body's normal functions.
Among the causes are:
Eyestrain, as well as psychological, emotional, and other stresses and tensions, both physical and mental, should be considered, and the appropriate adjustments in one's lifestyle made.
Nutritional deficiencies, low blood sugar, allergies, and pollution are rather subtle and difficult to pinpoint. These four areas can also be related: for example, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause or aggravate hypoglycemia, and environmental toxins can cause allergies.
If the headache sufferer lives in a smog-ridden city, toxic amounts of lead or carbon monoxide may be responsible. One way to eliminate some of the environmental suspects is to make one's environment as pure as possible.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, may manifest itself with dozens of symptoms. These can include not only headaches but severe moodiness, irritability, depression, confusion, extreme hunger between meals, craving for sweets and alcohol, abnormal fatigue and weakness, poor digestion, etc. If one's diet is lop-sided towards refined food, or such supposedly health-oriented regimes as high protein and fruitarian diets, it is possible that low blood sugar is at the bottom of one's headache trouble. A six hour glucose tolerance test should determine this.
If allergy is involved, you should know that the most common allergens, in order of frequency, are: wheat, milk, white potatoes, eggs, and oranges. Dr. Coca's pulse test 1 or a monodiet with gradual addition of each suspected allergen can help locate one's specific food problem.
If the headache persists or returns frequently a biologically oriented doctor should be consulted immediately (for a list of such doctors, send a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope to me, c/o Let's LIVE).
There are times, however, when the correction of the real cause of the headache is a lengthy process, and the immediate relief of pain is desirable. Relief might be obtained from a number of natural sources. Here are some that have been used successfully by biologically oriented doctors.
Vitamin E, niacin (B3), and garlic act as blood vessel dilators or stimulate the circulation. This can help eliminate the vascular constriction leading to tension headaches.
Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 are other well-known pain-relievers.
Certain herbs have been found to be helpful in relieving headaches temporarily: blue violet, chamomile, ginger, sage, thyme, vervain, wood betony, rosemary, and peppermint. 2 Note that while one herb may work for one person, another herb is more specific for another. Try several to find out which is best for you.
Mag. Phos. is a cell salt recommended by some homeopathic physicians for help in combating many kinds of pain. Dr. Alfred Vogel, M.D., of Switzerland, recommends the homeopathic medicine Sanguinaria, especially for migraine headaches. 3
Dr. Vogel also has found two other biological therapies useful in relieving headache pain: one is a warm water shower directed at the stomach, neck, or spine, depending on the source of the trouble; the other consists of placing onion, horseradish, or cabbage leaf poultices on the back of the neck. Another biological measure to draw blood away from the head (especially in high blood pressure) is to immerse the legs up to the calves in hot water for 15-20 minutes. 4
Acupuncture has been well tested and found to be effective for many kinds of pain relief, including headaches, especially migraine. 5
Assuming one's diagnosis of the cause of headache is correct, and the above general health rules are observed, we can treat the specific cause of headache with effective natural therapies. Most of these programs are outlined in detail in the appropriate chapters of How to Get Well. The sections below are highlights for some of the specific types of headaches.
Some researchers report that chlorophyll drops in the nose bring relief. 8
I have found garlic to be the supreme sinus remedy. Herbs which are very helpful are saw palmetto, mullein, golden seal, red clover, and rosehips - all used as herb teas. 9
Vitamins B6 and A are specific for sinusitis. The latter is involved in the health of the mucous membranes and has been used in doses as high as 100,000 units per day - but only in a natural form, such as cod liver oil - for short periods, under a doctor's supervision.
Lots of exercise is extremely important, especially walking which is so effective that it alone has eliminated high blood pressure in many cases. Actually, I don't know of any headache remedy which is more effective than an hour or two of relaxed but brisk walking in fresh, clean air.
The best herbs for hypertension (high blood pressure) are hawthorne berry, mistletoe, valerian root, and wild cherry bark.
The specific supplements are rutin and other bioflavonoids (100-300 mg), vitamin C (1,0003,000 mg.), lecithin, potassium, magnesium (500 mg), and B complex, with B12.
The ideal way of eating is to eat only one kind of food at a meal. Avoid too many combinations; especially, never combine raw fruits and raw vegetables in the same meal. If a salad is eaten with a protein meal, it should be eaten with or after the protein food, not before. This is because protein needs hydrochloric acid for digestion and if a carbohydrate food is eaten first, the stomach will not secrete enough of the acid to digest the protein. The practice of eating a vegetable salad before a protein meal is common only in the United States. It partially explains why so many people suffer from digestive problems.
One should also supplement the diet with lactic acid foods every day: yogurt and other cultured milks, sauerkraut, pickles, sour bread, etc. These are all helpful in digestion. Using papaya, lime, and chili (cayenne and paprika) also aids digestion. 10 Garlic is an excellent remedy since it neutralizes putrefactive toxins and kills undesirable bacteria.
In persistent and chronic digestive problems, repeated short juice fasts can help by giving the digestive organs time and opportunity to rest and regenerate.
The diet should be a high-residue diet with emphasis on raw fruits, whole cooked and sprouted grains, raw seeds and nuts, and raw and cooked vegetables. Sauerkraut, sesame seeds (and tahini), flax seeds, bran, soaked prunes, dried figs, yogurt, kefir and other soured milk, and honey are specific for this condition. Take 2 tbsp. of cold-pressed vegetable oil (preferably olive or sesame) every day. Brewer's yeast is an excellent food supplement. Take 3-4 tbsp. per day, preferably between meals, along with some sour fruit juice. Whey, in powder or tablet form, is one of the best anti-constipation foods.
Vegetable broth is excellent especially "Excelsior", which is a broth combined with wheat bran and flax seed (see recipe in How to Get Well).
Lack of exercise is one of the main causes of constipation. Walking (with deep breathing) for two or more hours a day is one of the easiest and best ways to remedy this.
Vitamins C (2,000-3,000 mg.) and E (up to 1,600 LU.) are important. Vitamins B6 (50 mg.), B12 (25-50 mcg.), and pantothenic acid (100 mg.) should be taken with a high-potency, natural B-complex. Sea water, one to two tablespoons a day, provides natural sodium and trace minerals. Magnesium (chloride or citrate 500 mg.) and potassium (500 mg.) are the most important minerals. A comprehensive digestive supplement is usually indicated. 13
The best herbs for hypoglycemia are licorice root, Mexican wild yam, golden seal, and Juniper berry (Juniperus Sabina Pinaceae). 9 11
Carbon monoxide is combatted with vitamins A, E, and B15. Vitamins A, B1, C, and D, lecithin, calcium, potassium iodide, algin, and pectin, along with a mineral and legume-rich diet, will offset or prevent lead poisoning.
Vitamins C (up to 5,000 mg. a day) and E (up to 800 I.U.) act as natural antihistamines. B-complex (especially B12 and pantothenic acid - the latter up to 200 mg.) has been found to be helpful. Vitamin A is recommended in doses of 10,000 to 25,000 units per day. Manganese (5 mg. twice a week for 10 weeks) and calcium (up to 1,000 mg.) are the important minerals. A comprehensive digestive supplement taken after meals is usually indicated.
The best herbs to combat allergies are comfrey, rosehips and garlic.
Lemon, pineapple, papaya, garlic, comfrey, and wheat grass juices are beneficial.
Acid-forming foods, such as seeds, nuts, and grains, as well as the regular use of apple cider vinegar (in water with honey), will keep the body from being too alkaline, which may also cause allergies.
Follow my diet, with emphasis on alkaline raw fruits, vegetables, and sprouted seeds. The famous cancer specialist, Dr. Max Gerson, overcame his severe migraine attacks and those of many of his patients with a diet consisting basically of apples. 12 Avoid salt and acid-forming foods such as meat, and too much cereal and bread. Eat small, frequent meals along the lines of the diet for hypoglycemia.
All fresh fruit juices are beneficial.
Rosemary, peppermint, and blue violet are the specific herbs, to be used as herb teas two to three times a day.
In addition to a multi-vitamin-mineral formula, the following supplements are of importance in migraine:
Brewer's yeast - 2 tbsp.
B complex - natural, high-potency with B12
B6 - 50 mg.
Pantothenic acid - 100 mg.
B15 - 100 mg.
B3 - 300 mg. (100 mg. three times a day). In acute condition, 200 mg. three times a day - but a doctor must determine the proper dosage.
Rutin - 200 mg.
C - up to 1,000 mg.
E - up to 1,2001.U.
The following homeopathic supplements have been found to be helpful for migraine headaches: Pulsatilla 10M, Iris 6x, and Sanguinaria. 3 4
Learn to relax - but don't work intensely and then suddenly relax completely, as this will often bring on a migraine attack. Get plenty of rest during the night and possibly a nap every afternoon. Sleep with windows open.
Plenty of exercise, walking, and deep breathing exercises in fresh air are especially important.
Acupuncture has been known to offer permanent relief from migraine headaches after a few treatments.
If you suffer from headaches, some of the natural pain-relievers recommended in this article may be of help to you. But the sensible approach would be to get to the basic causes of your headaches and do everything you can to eliminate them. When the underlying causes are removed, the headache will disappear of its own accord - not because we cured it, but because there would be no more reason for its existence. Health has been restored. And if you then follow a health building diet and a health-conducive lifestyle, there will never be a need to experience another headache! Only the aspirin industry will consider this bad news!
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