Let’s learn a lesson or two from the British. During times of stress, aches and even injury, the British usually put the kettle on, bring the teabags out, and enjoy the healing effects of a cup of tea.
The British fascination – many will call it obsession – with afternoon tea has now gained scientific support. Tea has regenerative properties that bring back the energetic kick into a stressful day especially in the afternoon when the mind and body becomes drained from the frenetic morning.
Research has revealed that tea and coffee, both of which contain caffeine, can relieve the aches and pains in headache sufferers. The efficacy of caffeine was compared with that of standard painkilling medication and – surprise, surprise – tea and coffee relieved pain as quickly as painkillers.
Drinking a cup of tea or coffee is, indeed, a good method of soothing headaches caused by stress, tension and anxiety. It must be said, however, that not everybody should drink tea or coffee during a headache since these beverages can actually worsen the symptoms. Think of it as each to his own considering that headache symptoms including their frequency, duration and intensity are also unique for each individual.
A few studies have even linked the increased risk for headaches among individuals who regularly drink large amounts of tea and coffee. As such, the rule of thumb should be: if you are suffering from more headaches with tea or coffee consumption, then you should probably stop lest your headache take over your life.
In the study conducted by the researchers of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, the results of which were published in the Current Pain and Headache Reports, hundreds of people who have chronic tension headaches were divided into two groups – half were provided with ibuprofen either alone or in combination with tea or coffee while the other half received a placebo pill or caffeine.
The results: Caffeine boosted the efficacy of ibuprofen – 71% taking the combo reported complete pain relief while only 58% taking ibuprofen alone reported the same. But the more surprising discover was that the participants who only had caffeine reported complete pain relief just as well as those who only had ibuprofen.
Of the caffeine-only group, over half of the participants (58%) reported complete pain relief with their positive results achieved at least 30 minutes earlier than those who took ibuprofen. Fewer than half of the participants on the placebo group reported pain relief.
The bottom line: Caffeine alone provides for a low yet real efficacy in the treatment of tension headaches.
There are no best practices in using tea or coffee as a natural pain reliever against headaches. Even a store-bought tea steeped in hot water will suffice for the purpose for as long as the tea itself is hot enough to soothe your senses from deeply breathing in the fragrant steam to savoring the warm liquid coursing through your throat.
Just relax into your tea-drinking ritual, leave your worries behind, and enjoy as your tension washes away with every sip of your delicious tea.