After I wrote the entry on headaches, I started to get one. What’s with that? I haven’t had a headache in at least three or four years! Anyways, it was an annoying and painful experience, since I had it for seven days. Maybe it was because I needed to write more about headaches…
This headache was dull, located in the temples down into the face for six days. The fixed pain was so mild I didn’t realize it was there most for most of the day but made itself apparent when I laid down at night. I was under a lot of emotional stress, especially the last day when the pain was the worst.
The seventh day it was located in the same place, but became progressively stronger as the day wore on. By the time I went to bed it was unbearable, keeping me up for hours. The pain was mediated when I rubbed my whole head, neck and shoulders, but I as soon as I stopped it would assuredly return. The headache had no relation to eating.
Pain in the temples can indicate heat in excess or deficiency or stagnant Liver Qi. The Gallbladder meridian was very tender, painful even, to the touch. Pressing the points on my face and neck felt wonderful, as if it was releasing pressure.
Since pressure made the headache feel better (albeit temporary) a deficient condition is indicated here. The fact that the pain increased at night is due to Deficient Blood, as does the fact that the worst part of the headache occurred at the end of the period.
Deficient Blood and Stagnant Liver Qi describe more than just a headache pattern, it also fits in with my general constitution. Blood Deficiency is aided by nourishing herbs like equal parts of dang qui, cooked rehmannia, lycii, ligusticum, white peony, jujube with a half part of licorice with blackstrap molasses. For the latter, Tierra recommends two capsules each of turmeric and cumin taken with fennel tea and five drops of lobelia tincture.
Unfortunately, my herb supply is low so couldn’t try any of Tierra’s suggestions. The only thing I had to work with is a tincture of black cohosh, blue cohosh, skullcap, kava and lobelia. I took three teaspoon doses of this on the last night when the pain was the worst. A mug of miso soup helped sooth the nauseousness caused by the lobelia, and in thirty minuets I fell into a headache-free sleep.
The origin of this headache can be traced to a sub-par diet, muscular tension and emotional stress. My work situation has caused much worry and placed me in a definite funk, and the lack of funds has impeded on purchasing fresh food. Because of the below zero weather with 30 below wind-chill, I have not taken my regular hikes. I have no real excuse for not practicing yoga, though, unless you count the uninspired funk.
The tincture I used is actually quite indicated when the causes of my headache are taken in consideration. A response to the intense stress was to gather tension in the neck and upper back, which I feel caused the muscles of my head to get out of whack. The lack of exercise combined with the bitter cold further tensed my whole body, and stagnated the liver because of decreased circulation. Of course lack of nourishing food further slowed the liver and depleted the blood.
Skullcap alleviated the pain and relaxed the mind from its constant stewing. Kava had a similar action, with more of a sedative, anodyne and sleep-promoting action. In the future I will try kava for tension headaches more often. Blue cohosh invigorated the blood and acted on spasmodic muscles, as did black cohosh especially on my tight neck and spine. This was the first time I used lobelia, but I could feel its presence in both my nerves and muscles as soon as it touched my lips.
Reference: Tierra, Lesley. Healing with the Herbs of Life.