MED: Headaches

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

I was given this link earlier today It's a site talking about herbs to take for a headaches. I thought people might find it useful.

Roopville, GA(Zone 7b)

thanks very helpful! i had no idea peppermint is good for headaches.


San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

We find Wood Betony (stachys betonica/officianalis)the most effective herb to take if a headache is already in existence. Many herbs will help prevent headaches if taken in advance, Wood Betony is great if you already have one and need to get rid of it.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

garden_mermaid - That's good to know!

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

WE recently found out all my daughter's migranes were basically caused by all the chocolate she ate. Too much . She cut it out completely and the headaches went away and now she eats it in moderation, We tried everything, almost took her to the doctor. which we're not usually likely to do, but we were getting desperate.

She also had "Monthly " headaches I put her on female+ that has also gotten rid of all the headaches and cramps.

she's like a new person now. Wish I had read that info though long ago. would have checked into some of that stuff.

An elderly lady told me the other day her DH use to take home made tomatoe juice (drink it) for his headaches. she wasnt sure if they were migranes or not. Said it worked everytime. Anybody know what it was that helped th e headaches in the tomoatoe juice?

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

kathy_ann - Raspberry leaf helps with cramps too.

Ellenboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I have a friend who suffers from headaches and she takes ginger for them, says in about 1/2 hour there gone, she even uses ginger snap cookies, I dont know what kind of headaches but I think it's stress.

Paducah, KY

It's feverfew for me!

I make my own tincture from the fresh leaves and flowers. I usually end up with far more than I need, so the excess goes into bug spray (it WORKS). I get pounding, raging, blinding menstrual-related headaches, and even with ibuprofen won't touch it, the feverfew works like a charm. I take five drops every 10 minutes until the pain subsides. It's a little bitter...but not too bad, in a bit of juice. :)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Would love to know how you make your own tincture moonpye. Which feverfew do you grow? I have thegolden feverfew not the white flowering one.

Paducah, KY

I grow the white flowering feverfew. That's the "traditional" feverfew--Tanacetum parthenium. It's been said that the golden feverfew may not provide as much potency as trad. feverfew when it comes to healing, but you could still give it a try.

I like to take the mystery out of tincture making (EDIT: I like to take the math out of tincture making. I obviously revel in the mystery...*rolls eyes*). There are very few things you actually need to know in order to make a tincture, though books always make it seem so complicated. I've been using the "folk" method of tincturing for years now, to great success. ;)

Here's what you need:

-A clean Mason jar with a clean lid (I like to use the size up from the jam jars)
-100 proof drinking alcohol. 100 proof alcohol is the ideal for tincturing because it contains a 50/50 ratio of alcohol to water. When tincturing herbs, you need both alcohol and water to extract the various properties from the plant, because some of them are only water soluble. NEVER EVER EVER use rubbing alcohol for tincturing. EVER. Lots of people use vodka, and others use brandy (because they like the taste). Both of these are fine, as well, but as I said before, I prefer 100 proof grain alcohol for its perfect ratio of water to alcohol. If you use anything OVER 100 proof, you'll need to add a bit of spring water to cut the alcohol content.
-Your herbs! Obviously, it depends on what kind of plant you'll be tincturing whether or not you use the root or the aerial parts (flowers and leaves). For feverfew, you'll be using the flowers and leaves. Harvest your herbs once the plant has put on a full flush of flowers, but not after the flowers have begun to die back. The herb is at its highest potency once it has begun flowering. Harvest in the morning, after the dew has burned off and before the heat of the sun starts sapping the plant of moisture. You'll need to harvest enough leaves and flowers to loosely fill (but not PACK) the jar you have chosen.
-2 glass or ceramic bowls, preferably with a lip that accommodates the pouring of liquids
-A few larger brown or cobalt glass bottles meant specifically for storing bulk herbal preparations (places like Mountain Rose Herbs will sell these)
-A funnel


***Many people look to the moon when it comes to tincturing. It may sound like a big bundle of Harry Potter metaphysics, but a fair few folk herbalists swear by putting up tinctures just after a new moon--when the moon begins to wax. The belief is that the moon's mounting "energy" will charge a tincture as it steeps. I personally ascribe to this method, simply because I like doing gardening things by the moon, and because it makes a handy way of charting how long my tincture has been steeping. I just really like the moon in general. *****

Bring in your harvested herbs (moonlit or not) and rinse them off. Gently shake them or gently pat them dry with a paper towel, but don't worry too much about getting them completely dry because, after all, they're going to get wet again! Now you're ready to make your tincture.

I like to remove as much of the stem material as possible, though I'm never too picky, because in the end, everything is going to be strained out anyway. Sometimes, though, stems can add unwanted bitterness to your tinctures. Before I put my herbs into the jar, I usually place them in a pestle and bruise them gently with the mortar--not enough to juice them onto the pestle, but enough to get the leaves to start releasing some of their valuable stuff. :) If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can accomplish this by simply twisting the plants in your hands until you hear the leaves crackling or breaking. Admittedly, I use my mortar and pestle because it makes me feel mysterious. :p

Once your plant material has been gently bruised, put it into the jar and make sure the material reaches almost to the mouth of the jar. Now, uncork your alcohol of choice and fill the jar, leaving about 1/4" of space at the top. Now screw the lid on tightly, label it with the date and materials used, and give it a shake. Now would be the appropriate time to dance in a widdershins circle, sing a Gershwin tune, or cast the ashes of a twice-burned burrito to the four could just put your NEWLY MADE TINCTURE (congrats!) in a warm-ish, dark place. Shake it daily for the next four to six weeks--the longer it steeps, the more potent it will be, though six weeks is a good maximum to observe. At the end of this time, take a glass or stoneware bowl (NEVER use metal for mixing or preparing herbs) and stretch your cheesecloth over the top. Strain your tincture into the bowl, then gather the plant material into the cheesecloth and give it a good squeezing to extract every last drop. Now, repeat the process with another bowl and a fresh piece of cheesecloth.

It's natural for there to be some sediment in your tincture, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to strain out every last "impurity." Sediment just means you tinctured a fresh plant, and you should be proud to have that lil' bit of earth in your bottle. :) Two times usually does the trick. Now it's time to very carefully transport your fresh tincture into the brown or cobalt holding bottles. Use a funnel for this, and pour slowly!

CONGRATULATIONS! You now have several bottles of potent, home-grown tincture! Label your bottle with the bottling date and the ingredients and store it away from direct sunlight. Alcohol-based tinctures will keep for several years--I'd say three is a good maximum to observe.

I hope you found this helpful and that you attempt your own tincturing in the near future. Growing and preparing your own medicine is an incredibly rewarding way to connect with your garden and your body on yet another level.

This message was edited Aug 10, 2008 10:47 PM

This message was edited Aug 10, 2008 10:52 PM

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Moonpye – You should repost this as MED: How to make tinctures, I bet other people would be interested that aren’t watching this thread.

Thank you for taking the time to write that up!

This message was edited Aug 10, 2008 10:59 PM

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Definitely one of the most readable set of instructions for making herbal tinctures. Too many of them cause yawning. Loved the dancing in the moonlight part. :)

Middleburgh, NY

Moonpye! Love your directions. I have a sign on my garden sign post that says, "Widdershins

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks so much moonpye,

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Moonpye! I've always wanted to make a tincture, and now I just might! Simple and effective -- just what the herbalist ordered.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Moonpye - if you don't want to post it on it's own would you mind if I did it for you?

Paducah, KY

I just now read all the replies! I'm so glad this was helpful, and I'll repost it right now. :) :)

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