Headaches can range from minor annoyances to debilitating migraines that prevent you from getting anything done. Tension headaches cause a sensation of pressure and pain that can feel like someone is crushing your skull. Sinus headaches may come along with cold and flu symptoms and keep you from tackling the day ahead.
If you suffer from headaches, you're not alone. Millions of Americans report rebound migraines or consistent tension headaches—the ones that can stop you right in your tracks.
Fortunately, drinking tea can help alleviate the symptoms of headaches from minor aches to full-blown migraines. This list of the best tea for headache will help reduce the intensity and offer much-needed pain relief. Need tea to target a nasty headache fast? Check out our collection of the best teas for headaches right here.
Ginger tea can be made using the fresh or dried root of the ginger plant. You can also use crushed ginger powder to brew this tea that helps to reduce headache symptoms. Studies show that ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to decrease tension and reduce inflammation-caused pain. Ginger also boats antioxidant properties that help to eliminate free radicals and toxins that may cause recurrent headaches (1).
The anti-inflammatory properties work to reduce inflammation in the same way over-the-counter pain relievers do. By decreasing inflammation, the compounds in ginger work to open up blood vessels and increase circulation. The decrease in inflammation results in a diminished feeling of throbbing and pounding headaches.
A second study published in Phytotherapy Research showed that ginger may be as effective in treating common migraines as sumatriptan—a common prescription medication for migraine pain. The study was a double-blind, randomized clinical trial on 100 patients with acute migraines with aura. Results showed that patients demonstrated significantly fewer migraine symptoms after two hours of ginger or sumatriptan consumption (2).
Chamomile tea is well known for its calming and soothing effects. Studies show that drinking chamomile tea may help to improve sleep quality by increasing the time spent in deep sleep cycles. Chamomile also offers a natural sedative effect that reduces inflammation and increases relaxation (3).
A study published in Neurological Sciences examined the effects of chamomile oil on migraine without aura. The results showed that topical application of chamomile oil helped to reduce symptoms of pain, nausea, and photosensitivity after 30 minutes (4).
Chamomile tea may offer the same benefits as the oil. You can drink the tea to soothe inflammation and help relax or you can apply a few chamomile tea bags directly to pain pressure points.
Peppermint tea offers a host of health benefits including soothing upset stomach. It can also be used as a headache treatment. A German study found that a 10 percent concentration of peppermint oil was as effective in treating tension headaches as paracetamol—a common pain reliever (5).
Additional research shows that peppermint tea boasts active ingredients including phenols and flavonoids that work to decrease inflammation and treat headache pain (6). This research largely consists of animal studies and laboratory trials and human research is needed to confirm these health benefits. Peppermint tea also shows fewer side effects compared to the oil so drinking this tea may help reduce pain and discomfort without harmful effects.
Feverfew leaves have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat aches and pains. Feverfew offers a strong flavor that is considered bitter by most. To drink tea with feverfew leaves, we recommend using a blend with other herbs such as lemongrass or adding honey and milk to balance out the flavor. It's also important to note that feverfew can cause oral irritation in large amounts. Stick to one cup of tea every now and then to minimize side effects.
A review of the health benefits of feverfew found it helped alleviate pain associated with headaches, arthritis, and stomach aches. The review found dozens of studies that showed the efficacy of feverfew in treating migraines and preventing their onset. Research shows the feverfew works on a chemical level to inhibit the release of serotonin and other compounds that can trigger headaches (7).
Cloves are famous for their pain-fighting properties. In fact, studies show that cloves are just as effective as benzocaine in oral procedures (8). Drinking clove tea may also help relieve migraines thanks to the same pain properties. Ingredients in cloves work to prevent the sensation of pain on a chemical level.
Cloves also help to decrease inflammation and improve blood circulation. As a result, drinking clove tea may interact with certain blood thinner medications. Check with your healthcare provider before drinking clove tea if you take medications.
True teas such as green tea and black tea are known to offer a wide range of health benefits so it's only natural people would reach for one of these tasty elixirs when trying to treat headache pain. The reality of results may be different for some individuals. That's because true teas contain caffeine, which can cause headache symptoms to worsen. Drinking these caffeinated teas can worsen symptoms or even trigger migraine symptoms.
If you're someone who suffers from headaches triggered by caffeine, stick to herbal teas, which are naturally caffeine-free. If you find that the teas offer headache relief without worsening symptoms, feel free to drink true teas. Remember, white tea and green tea have the lowest caffeine content of true teas since they are not oxidized. Oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and black tea contain higher amounts of caffeine due to their production process.
One of the best ways migraine sufferers can help relieve pain and prevent headaches is to drink enough water and stay hydrated. The next time you feel a minor headache or migraine coming on, reach for a piping hot cup of tea.
This natural remedy doesn't just help soothe the pain associated with headaches and migraine attacks, it also tastes great. Choose a tingling and effervescent peppermint tea or go for calming and floral with chamomile. Steep a few fresh cloves in boiling water or add three feverfew leaves to hot water and reduce the pain of migraine headaches and other headaches. Whatever soothing tea you choose, you're sure to feel better fast and love the flavor.