Back in the day: there are some practical ways to remedy headaches

Most of us have found a persistent headache at one time or another. Many resort to over-the-counter (OTC) remedies such as Excedrin, Advil, Aleve, Bayer, aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin or Benadryl. Although I have dealt with painkillers in an earlier column, today I focus strictly on headaches.

I began my search for this column, consulting with some people who were a little older than me. I wanted to ask about the things to which they were exposed, when dealing with headaches, because I knew that most of the OTC today were not available at that time. As most of them remembered, sleeping with a cold or hot compress on the forehead was the typical way to deal with a headache. Deciding whether the compress should be cold or hot depended on what worked for them. In fact, the type of headache often determines whether one uses a cold or hot compress. I remember that some people indicated that they experimented with the temperature of the compress. I understand that there is no research to suggest which approach is most beneficial.

Some of you will remember using the hot or cold compress to relieve the headache; In fact, I have no doubt that some of you still resort to this technique today. My parents ordered me to use the compress to relieve my headache, but I also remember that they gave me the most unpleasant medicine known to the boy or girl, back then. While I don't know any relationship between what my parents gave me, whether it was a cut finger, a cold or a headache, they gave me a table spoon, not a teaspoon, of castor oil. I imagine some of you can still remember the taste of castor oil. I started crying when my father poured it into a spoon. There was also Hadacol, similar to castor oil, which was given to many of us as another remedy for headaches. In fact, all the stories I have read about this supposed medication had no effect on any disease. Perhaps, its enormous popularity came from those who drank, since Hadacol had an alcohol content of 12%, but there was no relief for headache, in the past.

When writing this column, I came across an online article by Chris Stokel-Walker, titled "5 Strange and Scary Historic Headache Cures," which was published on September 13, 2013. Check out some of the recommendations on which he reported; Recommendations that are obviously from before my time. How about shaving the hair and burning the scalp superficially to the muscles? This article even suggested an incision or perforation of the head bone. Does it sound dangerous? Yes. Another approach to solving a headache was to tie a dead mole to the head. Note that this was not in recent times, but in the 10th century. In addition, what was highlighted in the article by Chris Stokel-Walker was a 12th century remedy.

People with headaches were advised to immerse themselves in a warm water bath sweetened with honey; This acted to extract the vapors that cause headaches.

It is unlikely that any of you have received patented medications from the past, although some boasted of being a safe cure for headaches. These ancient medicines contained everything from arsenic to opium, and promised instant relief. Some of these so-called headache remedies were created by people without medical degrees. In fact, many "cooked" their own medicines and sold them by horse-drawn medical carts that went from town to town. These people were often labeled as charlatans. Because many had no medical history, they were finally banned. Therefore, some resorted to quick home remedies available to cure headaches. Water is a way to treat and avoid headaches. It is a natural remedy since dehydration can be one of the main causes of contracting and treating a headache.

Amelia Scott, in an online article dated December 27, 2016 entitled "How to get rid of a headache instantly," suggested consuming ginger as a panacea to cure headaches quickly. Why? She points out that ginger reduces inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, providing relief. In addition to consuming ginger, experts point out that rubbing ginger powder on the head will also relieve pain. Amelia Scott also identified cinnamon as an effective treatment for headaches. Like ginger, cinnamon can be effective if consumed, but also by applying a thick paste of cinnamon powder on the forehead. Scott also identifies teeth, reduced to dust and placed in a breathing bag as another effective headache remedy. It is claimed to calm the senses. Has anyone tried this approach?

Other headache remedies that he identifies are yoga poses as part of the daily routine, neck stretches, an ice pack on his forehead and eating apples to balance the combination of acid and alkali in the body. A glass of warm water with honey and lemon juice to drink up to two or three times a day can be even more effective. Basil herb with its strong aroma can also be a great remedy for the treatment of headache. If you have a headache, try one of these approaches and you may have instant relief.

If you can go back to ‘50 or earlier, you can remember the slogan "Fall back with Stanback". In case this didn't register with you, it was one of the headache dusts of the past. These "production powders," as they were called jobs, were easier for pharmacists to prepare. Headache powder medications provided quick relief to workers who had headaches from working in hot and noisy environments. Some of you are old enough to remember when BC Powder hit the market. For many of us, along with Goody’s Headache Powder, these were the main over-the-counter headache medications that many of us use.

If you don't remember any of these powdered headache medications, you can remember this slogan, "The shortest distance between you and headache relief." This slogan was referring to the tablet, Nebs. If these headache remedies are unfamiliar, then you may remember and have used Bufferin. These were medications to alleviate the headache possibly found in your parents' kits in the past.

Hopefully, you won't have a headache. However, it is likely to do so. Therefore, it may be a good omen for you to store this column somewhere. When a headache comes, you will have several options, some practices and others perhaps impractical. But, at least, you will have options with some utility today, just as those who suffered with headaches did in the past.

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