In ayurveda, treatments for headaches are given based on the cause of headaches. The remedies are administered as single drug therapy, herbo-mineral combinations, local applications, decoctions, nasal instillations, medicated oils and animal fat based preparations.
Herbs for Single drug therapy:
A paste prepared by the flowers of Muchukunda is applied to the forehead for relief from headache (pain on one side or pain throughout the head). Muchukunda is believed to reduce vata dosha and balances the tridoshas in the body.
Rauvolfia Serpentina can be powdered, mixed with honey and consumed thrice a day for relief from piercing headaches. This herb is also used for treating high blood pressure.
Herbs for local applications:
A paste prepared by blending the roots of Costus or Kuth with castor oil, can be used for local application which provides relief from different types of headaches and corrects vata imbalance in the body.
The bark of pine, musk root, dried ginger and East Indian Rosebay can be made to a paste and applied locally.
A paste made by blending Long-pepper, nagar motha, aniseed, liquorice, water lily, costus root can be used for local application.
Herbs for Nasal instillations:
Nasal instillations help in clearing blocked nostrils and the increased blood circulation to the head help in relieving headaches. The bark of bay berry can be powdered, mixed with ghee and used as nasal instillation for relief from migraine. Similarly, a combination of extract of kusagrass and milk can be used for relief from an attack of migraine.
Herbal decoction and herbo-mineral preparations:
Decoction of round and long pepper is effective for piercing headaches when taken for three to four days. Similarly a decoction made of chebulic myroblan and few other herbs are useful for piercing headaches.
Ayurvedic Herbo-mineral preparations help in relaxing the blood vessels of the brain that are constricted. However these herbo-mineral preparations are not recommended for patients with kidney problems.
A preparation made of twenty herbs and four minerals (Sirah suladri vajra rasa) is commonly used for all types of headaches.
A preparation made of fifteen herbs and two minerals (Mahalakshmi vilas rasa) is used for headaches caused by common colds or mild headaches.