You can get a headache for many different reasons. So the best treatment is to find the root of the problem, says Kristine L. Gedroic, MD, founder of the Gedroic Center for Integrative Medicine in Morristown, NJ. Your doctor can help.
Natural remedies include:
White willow bark. “White willow is nature’s aspirin,” Selhub says. It has salicin, which tames inflammation. It’s good for headaches and may ease low back pain.
You can take it as tea or as a capsule. For tea, boil 1-2 teaspoons of dried bark in 8 ounces of water. Drink it three to four times a day. As a capsule, take 120-240 milligrams per day.
Avoid high doses if you have a sensitive stomach.
Boswellia comes from the boswellia tree. It’s also known as Indian frankincense. In one study, people who often get cluster headaches had milder, less frequent headaches when they took boswellia. You can take it as a capsule or tablet, up to 900 milligrams per day.
Caffeine. Combining acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other pain relievers with caffeine may work better than taking them alone. But it could also give you a headache when the effects wear off.
Feverfew and butterbur. These herbs may help prevent and treat migraine pain. There is some research that shows they might work, but more studies are needed.
What Else Helps
Omega-3 fatty acids. These “good fats” lower inflammation. That can help with joint pain and stiffness, back pain, and pain from menstrual cramps.
Experts recommend foods high in omega-3 fatty acids: fatty fish, canola oil, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and foods with added omega-3s like eggs. Or you can take up to 3 grams of fish oil per day as supplements.
Probiotics. These bacteria live in your gut and help keep you healthy. Probiotics may lessen inflammation. It may also help with irritable bowel syndrome, especially pain and bloating.
Try foods high in probiotics, like some yogurts (look for “live active cultures” on the label), kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut. You can also take a probiotic supplement. An average adult dosage is 10 billion CFUs per day.