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Garden Journal

Lady Lavender can provide headache relief

By Paul Barbano | Jun 13, 2012
Lady Lavender is an evergreen perennial with slight blue-green leaves and purple flowers with a deep fragrance.

“If a man sits down to think, he is immediately asked if has a headache,” observed Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Headaches and gardening sometimes go hand in hand.  Luckily the headache cure grows right in the garden.

Lavender (Lavender angustifolia) isn’t just another pretty face.  Its rich essential oils not only scent rooms and baths, but also are able to calm nerves and relieve stress.

My favorite is Lady Lavender which grows and blooms from seed in just under three months. This is an All-American Selection winner with a more consistent growth habit, so it forms perfect hedges and borders.  For headache relief, use fresh lavender flowers in teas and even baked goods like cookies and cakes.  Lavender is also a common ingredient in barbecue rubs.  Lady Lavender is an evergreen perennial with slight blue-green leaves and purple flowers with a deep fragrance. Plant Lady Lavender seeds in bright sun in well-drained soil.  For longer blooming time, cut off dead flowers as they die.  

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a time-honored herb often found in traditional herb gardens.  An English medical survey recommends using feverfew leaves in a tea or added to sandwiches every day to lessen the number and seriousness of migraine headaches.  One of its enjoyable side effects is that feverfew tea gives you a sense of well-being as it removes tension, and even offers relief from arthritis. Feverfew grows into bushy plants covered in daisy-like flowers. The citrus-scented leaves are ornamental in their own right.

Plant feverfew in full sun.  Harvest or cut the entire plant to the ground in autumn. Feverfew spreads rapidly, and can become a weed, often causing the headaches it cures.

The common herb sage (Salvia officinalis) is great for digestive headaches as well as hormonally based headaches, especially headaches with hot flashes. Historically, sage warded off evil spirits, treated snakebites and even increased women's fertility, none of which, seem to work.  Sage does help headaches, though. Steep sage leaves in hot water to make a nice comforting tea to chase away your headache.

Sage grows into a shrubby evergreen perennial with lots of side branches. Plant sage from seed in a well-drained spot in full sun. Sage prefers to be too dry rather too wet, so it does well in droughts, or where it might be neglected a bit.  Sage grows well on a windowsill or in pots because it can take direct sunlight and infrequent watering. Even though sage is a perennial herb, it will become woody with few leaves after a few years, so it should be replanted every few years.  You can easily take cuttings and root them for new plants.

Lavender, feverfew and sage will not interact with more common drugs such as aspirin.  As with all health-related matters, see a doctor if your headaches are severe or frequent.

Finally, while many a gardener has treated a headache with herbs, you may want to avoid loud people and heed the advice on the aspirin bottle and "Keep away from children."

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