6 Ayurvedic Headache Remedies

ayurvedic headache remedies

Headaches are common and are usually not a sign of major health problems. However, they can be extremely disruptive and uncomfortable. Headaches can be caused by a variety of body imbalances, including poor posture, muscle tension, suppression of urges to urinate or pass stool, indigestion, anxiety, anger, nervousness, fatigue, and high blood pressure.

Ayurveda identifies three different types of headaches. Each type of headache is the result of an imbalance in one of the doshas. The causes for each type are different, as are the remedies. As such it is important to use the appropriate remedy for the type of headache you are experiencing. 

Kapha Headache

Headaches of Kapha type are dull and deep-seated, usually starting at the front of the head. They are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and heaviness. These types of headaches are often associated with respiratory disorders and are more likely to occur in the winter or spring.

Vata Headache

Vata governs the nervous system, and Vata headaches are characterized by severe throbbing and pulsating pain at the back of the head. They are accompanied by anxiety, depression, dry skin, and constipation.

Pitta Headache

Headaches of Pitta type are characterized by shooting, burning, or piercing pain and accompanied by light sensitivity, anger, irritability, nausea, and dizziness. These types of headaches start at the temples and spread to the center part of the head.

Ayurvedic Headache Remedies

ayurvedic headache remedies

1) Tulsi (Holy Basil)


Good for treating Vata or Kapha headache.

Basil is one of the most sacred plants of India. It opens the heart and mind and strengthens the immune system. Basil removes excess Kapha from the lungs and nasal passages. It also removes excess Vata from the colon and strengthens nerve tissue.

Basil is often used to reduce fever and to treat headaches. Make a beverage by steeping tulsi leaves in hot water or mixing tulsi leaf powder in water. Add honey if desired. If you prefer a pre-made tea, Organic India makes an excellent Tulsi tea that I really enjoy.

2) Calamus Root


Good for treating Vata or Kapha headache.

Calamus root purifies and revitalizes the brain and nervous system, clearing the subtle channels of toxins. It is a rejuvenative for Vata and, secondarily, for Kapha. Calamus root enhances cerebral circulation and is one of the best herbs for circulation.

There are two forms of topical treatment. A few drops of calamus oil can be combined with jojoba oil. Alternatively, make a paste from calamus powder and water. Apply either treatment to the forehead and gently massage. Calamus root has historically been taken orally in powdered form, but it is currently under FDA restrictions for internal use. Only use externally.

3) Chamomile


Excellent for treating Pitta headaches. It is also balancing for Kapha, but can increase Vata when consumed in excess.

Known for it’s calming properties, chamomile is also a useful remedy for treating headaches. It helps to relieve digestive headaches and relieves congestion of the blood. Chamomile is very balancing emotionally and can reduce stress that contributes to headache. It also helps to calm nerve pain.

Chamomile can be used internally and externally to treat headache. Prepare a tea by steeping chamomile flowers in hot water. Externally, massage a poultice of chamomile over the forehead, or place used tea bags on areas of pain.

4) Mint


Good for treating Pitta or Kapha headache.

Mint is soothing to the nerves and digestion, helping to relax the body and clear the mind. Spearmint is the most relaxing and helps to calm inflammation. The three main types of mint (spearmint, peppermint, and horsemint) help to relieve mental and emotional stress, an action that calms headaches.

Mint is best consumed as a tea. Steep leaves in hot water for 5-10 minutes and consume when sufficiently cooled. Bagged mint tea, though not quite as potent as fresh leaves, is also a good option. Mint has a mild action on the body, and is often combined with other herbs for greatest efficacy. I find chamomile mint tea to be a wonderful combination, and especially balancing for those with a Pitta constitution.

5) Chrysanthemum


Good for treating Pitta or Kapha headache.

The chrysanthemum flower is excellent for cooling Pitta individuals, especially in the summer. It supports liver function and menstruation and relieves headaches. Chrysanthemum also balances strong Pitta emotions like anger and irritability.

To prepare chrysanthemum, steep two teaspoons of the flowers in one cup of water. 

6) Aloe Vera


Good for treating Pitta headache.

Aloe is a balancing tonic for the liver, spleen, blood, and female reproductive system. It is very cooling for Pitta and can aid in digestion. The balancing effect of aloe vera makes it a great remedy for headaches of a variety of Pitta imbalances.

Aloe can be used internally or externally to treat headache. Two teaspoons of aloe gel may be taken with a pinch of turmeric three times per day as a tonic. Mixing the aloe in a glass of water or juice may be more pleasant. To use topically, spread aloe gel or a paste of aloe powder and water on the forehead and over the temples.

Additional Remedies



Rest is one of the most effective treatments for headache, particularly of the Vata variety. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, ideally 8-9 hours. If you start to experience stress or anxiety, take a break to meditate for 10-20 minutes. It can also be helpful to take a short 20 minute nap to help relieve headache caused by stress or sleep deprivation.


Yoga is a wonderful tool for balancing the body and relieving pain. A variety of yoga poses are helpful in relieving pain from headache. The best poses to use depend on the type of headache you are experiencing, so determine which dosha imbalance is responsible for your headache to find the appropriate yoga poses:

Kapha: Head to Knee, Fish, Lion

Pitta: Shoulder Stand, Fish, Sheetali

Vata: Head Stand, Plough, Yoga Mudra


Do you know of any other good headache remedies? Please share them in the comments!

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