If you’ve ever had a headache, or suffered from migraines, you are all too familiar with the pain, discomfort, and even debilitating symptoms. Chronic or recurrent headaches can cause fatigue, the inability to think straight, nausea, lack of motivation, and a helplessness that makes everyday tasks feel impossible (like turning on a light or getting out of bed). Unfortunately, while over-the-counter medication may help with pain, it comes with a long list of side effects that many people would rather avoid – especially if you suffer from headaches often.

There are many natural herbal remedies that can ease the pain of headaches, whether you suffer from them rarely or daily. Headaches can stem from a large variety of places; they can be stress-related, diet-related, chronic or sporadic. Here are a few herbal remedies you should have handy to help alleviate migraine pain and other types of headaches:

1. Willow

White willow bark has traditionally been used to treat general pain and works well to relieve headaches. However, willow only masks the pain and does not treat the underlying cause of headaches, so it is advised to pair this herb with another herb to address the root of the headache (and hopefully prevent its return).

2. Butterbur & Feverfew

These two herbs are popular remedies for migraines. Migraines are caused by a rapid change in blood flow to the head, which results not only in a headache, but nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. It is important to distinguish the difference between a migraine and a regular tension headache, as butterbur and feverfew are not as effective in treating regular headaches. There has been clinical proof that butterbur relieved migraine headaches and even helped prevent further migraines from occurring. Feverfew has also been shown to reduce pain, nausea, and sensitivity related to migraines and tension headaches alike, possibly due to its anti-inflammatory properties

3. Lemon Balm

One of the easiest to grow medicinal herbs, lemon balm is known for its ability to relieve the symptoms of migraine headaches. To make a simple at-home migraine tincture, combine 3 parts lemon balm and 2 parts feverfew in a quart-sized jar (4 oz. fresh or 2 oz. dried), and pour 100 proof alcohol until it reaches 1-2 inches above herbs. Place the lid on and shake until combined. Steep for 2-6 weeks in a warm, sunny place, shaking daily. Strain with a cheesecloth and place tincture in dark colored bottles in a cool, dark place.

At the onset of migraine symptoms, take ¼- ½ teaspoon every 30-60 minutes until symptoms subside (adult dosage).

4. Ginger

For tension or other jaw/sinus related headaches, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can offer relief. Ginger can be taken in capsule form or teas.

5. Skullcap

This herb is effective for use against tension headaches (and tension throughout the body as well).

Other herbs that can offer headache relief are passionflower, valerian, and black cohosh. Always speak to your doctor and professional herbalists to ensure the safety and quality of these herbal remedies.