About the Illness

Most headaches are minor problems that are easily managed.
They are usually caused by lack of sleep, depression, stress, hunger and anxiety.
However, headache is also a common symptom of illnesses like malaria, flu, or typhoid so it is always important to establish the underlying cause of any headache so that you can treat yourself properly.


Common Symptoms

Dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head is probably a headache caused by tension.


Children's Issues

Children seldom experience headaches.
If they do it is generally a sign of a more serious medical condition.
If your child suffers from persistent headaches, seek professional help.


Important Information

Although most headaches are not serious, some can be and you should seek medical help immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe headache accompanied by vomiting, limb weakness, double vision, slurred speech, or difficulty in swallowing may indicate a cerebral haemorrhage or aneurysm.
  • A headache you've never had before, occurs first thing in the morning, is persistent, brings on vomiting, and abates during the day could be a sign of high blood pressure or malaria.
  • High fever, light hurting your eyes, severe pain accompanied by nausea and a stiff neck may be signs of meningitis, in which case you need immediate medical attention.
  • If, having suffered a head injury, you are drowsy, experience dizziness, vertigo, nausea or vomiting, you may have concussion.

Herbal Therapy

If the relaxing techniques in the other column do not help relieve your headache, try one of these herbal remedies:
Avocado Leaf Tea Boil a handful of leaves in 1 ltr water for 15-20 minutes. Drink 1 glass 2-3x daily.(6-10 yrs: 1/2 glass 2-3x daily;2-6 yrs: 1/4 glass 2-3x daily; up to 2 yrs: 2 tbsp 2-3x daily.)   This is particularly good for tension headaches.     



Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All
Lantana trifolia Compress Crush leaves and wrap them in a banana leaf. Heat the parcel over the fire. Unwrap the banana leaf and hold the warm lantana leaves against your forehead until the pain goes.


Compress
 
This is an external dressing that can be used on wounds.  
In the case of an abscess or inflammation, the plant or plant extract is applied directly onto the skin and held there with a bandage, string or fibre.  
We recommend that you never apply fresh or unboiled leaves to open wounds or burns as leaves may have germs on their surface which could infect the wound.  
Individual recipes will tell you whether to use hot or cold compresses.


[Compress]
Good for:All
Microglossa pyrifolia Leaves Crush leaves and put 1 drop in each nostril 2x daily for 3 days. Dosage for children is same as for adults.    


Good for:All

Food and Nutrition Advice

N/A


Body Work and General Advice

To prevent headaches you should:

  • Take regular physical exercise.  This helps relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Get enough rest and sleep.
  • Eat regular meals and make sure you eat enough.

If you do experience a headache, first try to relax and rest and reduce your tension and stress levels by:
  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Resting in a dark room.
  • Bathing in warm water.
  • Resting with a cold, damp cloth on your forehead.
  • Soaking your feet in warm water.

Or, try one of these relaxing therapies:
Tai Chi Sit or lie in a comfortable position where you can relax. Close your eyes and place hands on back of neck for 1 minute. Shake hands out, then return to neck for another minute, repeat and return to neck for another minute. Then move hands to temple and repeat 3x. Continue, moving along the sinus/lymph points.

  • Coconut & Pumpkin (Matango) Oil Prepare Tui by grating coconut meat, mixing with water and straining. Place 3 pieces of pumpkin in the Tui and heat until the mixture becomes oil. Allow to cool. Tie a cloth around the head/temples with a stick on either side to allow you to tighten the cloth. Pour the oil on the crown of the head,rest and leave it until the pain subsides.
  • Massage the head using sesame, coconut or clove oils.