Herbal Recipes, Herbalism, Recipe Box

Headache Tea Blend – a helper against migraine pain

Amber Shehan September 14, 2011

Migraines took my life from me, and made me miserable and wrecked by pain on a daily basis. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to find relief without pharmaceuticals.

If you look carefully, you can see a headache in this picture.
(Click here to jump to the recipe)

Plagued by severe headaches, I pushed everyone away so that I could lay still in a dark room and not be bothered.  I was still a student in high school and the pain and visual disturbances from the headaches began to affect my grades and my general attitude towards life. I lived in a little tin box of my own making and was mostly just a sad little person.

We went to see doctors and I was given prescription drugs to try…little tiny red pills that made my dreams even more vivid and darkly surreal than usual but didn’t touch the pain…little yellow pills that made me a sleepy zombie but didn’t touch the headache…others my mom put in her cabinet and refused to let me try after she read the brochure came along with it.  No amount of aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen would budge the throbbing heat that seared my skull along my eyes and eyebrow ridge.

One evening, I was sitting on the couch in the living room and staring at the television, watching as MTV played the video of Live, Lightning Crashes.  My mother began shaking my shoulder and annoyed by her intrusion, I turned to grumble at her.  She handed me a coat and said, “Come on, we are going to the hospital. I’ve been trying to get your attention for five minutes.”  She’d been waving her hands in front of my face, calling my name, and I was so far out there in the haze of pain that I had no idea.

We were at the hospital emergency room for hours that night. The fear that I was “losing it” and of being in the hospital gave me a surge of adrenalin shook the headache’s pounding control over my brain and I felt a little better.  The doctor called us back into a room and began the now-familiar routine of poke, prod, question. Light, cuff, pulse, release. All I remember of him is the view from the knees down as I sullenly participated in the check up…a white doctor coat falling to mid-shin over green doctor pants and orange, high top Chuck Taylors.  After going over the battery of prescriptions that I had been given over the past year to control the headaches, this young doctor sighed and suggested to my mother that we stop the pills. He said that we should go home and brew a pot of strong coffee and that I should wash down four ibuprofen with a cup of it.

I was thirteen or fourteen at the time and enjoyed an occasional coffee – mostly fancy latte drinks from a kiosk at the mall. My mom and I looked at each other, unsure about the doctor’s advice. We tried it when we got home at midnight. I remember sitting in the living room and drinking a cup of cream and sugar with coffee in it and feeling the waters of pain recede slowly like an ebbing tide…the first release in years.  Coffee, or more accurately, the caffeine from the coffee working in tandem with the Ibuprofen was like magic, and even still, I drink coffee every day, just in case.

Kitty Snuggling Helps a Lot

Every year or so, those headaches return to remind me of the places I have been and moved through, the dark months of pain and pressure and surreality.  Last Sunday night I realized that I was a bit snappy and moody and ran a self-scan.  My awareness was drawn to a pulsing pain over my right eyebrow that only occasionally stabbed through my thoughts like a bolt of lightning, and accompanying light sensitivity.  My depth perception was not functioning well, to boot, and these familiar symptoms made me run for my kitchen to see what I could do to nip this pain in the bud.

Headache Tea Blend

  • 1 part Passionflower
  • 1 part Feverfew
  • 1/2 part Lemon Balm
  • 1/4 part Rose Hips
  • 1/8 part Dried Orange Peel (but I wanted lemon)

Use one tablespoon of tea per cup of tea.

It is important to let this tea steep for at least 15 minutes, and it is best if you make it in a jar or a teapot with a lid. 

Feverfew is a bitter herb but the addition of lemon juice and honey makes it more palatable.

The passionflower helps to encourage bedtime and snuggles, feverfew increases body temperature and can make you sweat while sleeping like a rock.  The lemon balm (sweet melissa) offers sedative properties and is known to soothe headaches and nervous conditions.  The rose hips and orange peel are there to be sweet, sour, bitter and provide a good dose of vitamin C.

My experience with this blend:

I had two cups of tea, laid down with a cold pack on my head, and I slept. Even though I had to wake in the night and clean up kitty yarf off of our blanket, I fell back to sleep with no problem and woke in the morning rested and ready.

The following day or two were more emotional than usual for me, which may be due to my history with this particular brand of pain. There was an errant pulse of irritation and pain here and there, but the headache monster was sated.

Another crisis averted…and a new tea made.

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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. Carolina Gonzalez on September 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Caffeine is my remedy for headaches too! I suffered from migraines too many years, with very similar symptons as the one you describe – light sensitivity, blurry vision… I went through many medications too until I discovered it was a cervical problem, and not a true headache. I just got a harder, slimmer pillow and the migraines disappeared completely. I was just breaking my neck nerves!

  2. Amber on September 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    That’s a good point, Carolina! I am due for a chiropractor visit, and that will likely help with any pinched nerves or tightness. I need a new bed and a new pillow! 🙂

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  4. Nancie on October 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I am just starting out working with essential oils and herbs so I need some help, if you don’t mind. I often see folks post recipes for various remedies, yet amounts of ingredients are not given. I suffered a sleepless night last night because I opted to take the commercial medicine (Excedrin) for my migraine instead of going to bed early, nauseated and wanting to cry (which would just make the headache worse). The Excedrin works great – if I don’t need to also sleep. I really want to try something natural that won’t affect my sleep, but I have no idea how much of each ingredient I’m supposed to use to make this tea. Thanks for any help you can give.

    • Amber Shehan on October 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks for your reply, Nancie! Welcome to the wide world of herbs. 🙂 I sure do understand…the Excedrin with caffeine does a good job for some people, but definitely isn’t good for sleeping.

      Firstly, I want to direct you to this post, where I link to some free (and some paid) courses for learning more about how to use herbs and gain confidence in doing so! Maybe some of the basic classes might help you as you begin walking with herbs and essential oils: http://www.pixiespocket.com/2014/03/ask-a-pixie-how-do-i-learn-about-herbs.html

      Now, as to your specific question…I am a granny measurer (a pinch here, a scoop there), but here’s a place to start. In the recipe above, I was only making enough for one serving. I have a small teapot that makes only about a mug and a half at a time. In my rough guesses at measurements, I used about two or three dried passionflowers, a teaspoon of dried feverfew, a tablespoon of dried lemon balm, a pinch of dried, broken up rosehips, and a slice of dried orange peel.

      My favorite sweetener is honey, and just a tiny bit of it. Feverfew is a little bitter, so it might take some getting used to, but it is a potent helper for many people’s migraines!

      I encourage you to try each herb as a tea on its own if you can, and do some research into each one as you go. Experience is my favorite teacher when combined with good resources!

      I hope that helps, and best of luck to you!

  5. Amy @ Tenth Acre Farm on October 27, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thanks for sharing your story of headaches, as I experienced a similar one growing up. The intense pain and vomiting…it’s hard for others to understand how this affects the psyche.

    At age 36 I finally became free of migraines by following a paleo (grain-free) diet. It wasn’t my purpose for following the diet, but it has been a much appreciated secondary effect.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful tea recipe. For the occasional flare-up, this will be fantastic. I’m only missing the passionflower!

    • Amber Shehan on October 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Amy, I’m so glad that you are pain free these days! I was lucky that my migraines did not include the nausea that so many other people report…but I sure didn’t eat much. I didn’t drink much water then, either. Those were probably both contributing factors, to be honest!

      I nearly failed a class or two that year for the first time ever…my GPA never quite recovered!

      I hope this tea helps you if you need it, but I hope that you don’t need it. 🙂

  6. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps on February 24, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I rarely get headaches but when I do I can barely function. My husband however, gets slight headaches all the time. I’ll definitely be making some of this tea for him!. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

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  8. April Holman on August 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Wow. This resonated so much with me. I share a very similar experience with you. Thank you for sharing. What a bitch headaches are!! I will be trying this tea remedy for sure. I usually have to drink coffee everyday and that helps but I make my own tea mix too. I use lemon balm, nettles, chamomile and lavender. Thank you so much!

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