(NaturalNews) Headaches. They are day-killers. You can't concentrate at work and you can't get anything done at home. All you can do is suffer until it goes away.
More than 30 million Americans suffer from migraines - or one person in some 25 percent of U.S. households - and three out of four of them are women. But if you're not into ibuprofen, Tylenol, Bayer or any of the other multitudes of over-the-counter remedies for keeping headaches and migraines at bay - because you care about what you put into your body - don't sweat it. Here are four natural remedies you can use to alleviate your suffering and get on with your day:
Use a cold or hot compress. Experts aren't sure why this works but, says Dr. Brian Grosberg, assistant professor of neurology and director of Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Headache Center in Bronx, N.Y., but many people say they don't need to try anything else.
"It's hard to study something like that," Grosberg told Fox News. "It can have a placebo effect, or it can have a distracting effect on the patient. But a lot of patients swear by it.
Lots of people rely on the herb feverfew. This herb, known as Tanacetum parthenium, has been utilized for centuries as a sort of folk remedy for headaches and migraines, as well as pain and fever. "It became especially popular in England in the 1980s as an alternative to conventional drugs for migraines," writes Cathy Wong, an alternative medicine contributor at About.com.
Notes Eric Yarnell at DiscoveryHealth.com, "English herbalist John Gerard declared in 1633 that feverfew is 'very good for them that are giddie in the head.' A century later, herbalist John Hill noted that 'in the worst headache, this herb exceeds whatever else is known.'"
Experts say feverfew contains certain compounds known as parthenolides, "which appear to control expansion and contraction of blood vessels in the head," writes Yarnell. "When you begin to get a migraine, your brain releases the neurotransmitter serotonin, and your blood vessels contract."
Feverfew; however, seems to counteract your brain's function by causing dilatation of blood vessels.
No one really knows why feverfew does this, but it's an effective natural remedy for an achy head.
Various oils have been found to be useful. Lavender oil not only smells great but it's been found to be a useful compound in treating headaches and migraines. "Lavender oil can be either inhaled or applied topically. Two to four drops for every two to three cups of boiling water are recommended when inhaling lavender-oil vapors as a headache treatment," writes Sara Calabro, in a medically-reviewed piece for EverydayHealth.com.
Grosberg of the Montefiore Headache Center says there is little supporting hard evidence for using fish oil, which supposedly works by dilating blood vessels in your temples, or for the use of peppermint oil, in which you rub on the part that hurts, but nonetheless, "people say it works," he said.
A selection of daily minerals - for anti-headache defense. Grosberg notes that actual studies have been done regarding the ingestion of 400-600 milligrams of magnesium daily, and it's been found to be effective at reducing menstrual-associated migraines and migraines associated with auras.
Also, in doses of about 400 milligrams per day, vitamin B2 can also act as a preventative measure against headaches.
Finally, 300 milligrams of CoEnzymeQ10 has proven to be effective at reducing headache pain, but this can get to be a bit expensive.
Some additional tips: Drink lots of water, because dehydration can cause or trigger headaches, eat ginger or take ginger capsules, and drink caffeine - in moderation - because it can also restrict blood vessels and lessen pain.
As always, though, check with your doctor before you use a natural remedy, especially if you're already taking medication for other conditions.
One other note: Beware of painkillers, because new research has shown that they are responsible for millions of headaches.