Adventures of a Kitchen Apothecary

Three Kind Tisane

This is partially a follow-up to my previous post on gingko.

Seattle has experienced a dramatic change in atmospheric pressure over the past couple of days – from warm and sunny to foggy and overcast. These changes often result in bad multiple-day-long sinus headaches for me and I have been experiencing quite a bit of discomfort. Ibuprofen and aspirin had been completely ineffectual at relieving the symptoms. I drank both yerba mate and some Chinese white tea yesterday, neither of which had any effect on the sinus pain. This morning, after waking up with the same pain I went to sleep with, I took more Extra Strength Excedrin, which did not ameliorate the symptoms. At that point I could not wisely take any specifically sinus-related medications like Sudafed for a couple of hours, so I decided to make a tisane with ingredients that I thought likely to help. After I got to work I brewed a pot of gingko (which is known to open up blood vessels in the head), spearmint (which is a known decongestent) and clove (which is a known pain reliever and numbing agent). I drank two cups of this and within the hour my head felt clear and pain-free, which was quite a relief. The brew had the supplemental benefit of tasting and smelling delicious.

I would like to test the efficacy of this tisane on future sinus headaches to see if I can get consistent results. I would also be very interested to hear other people’s experiences with treating headaches with tisanes. The particular ingredients that I used all have well-known medicinal uses, so this was no radical discovery. Even so, it was quite rewarding, after some educated speculation about out what might get rid of pain, to concoct something that worked well and also tasted quite good.

These are the approximate quantities I used:
3-4 tablespoons of large dried gingko leaves
1 tablespoon dried whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried spearmint
16 oz. filtered water

For the gingko leaves I used Tao of Tea’s “100% Organic Gingko Herbal Tea.” For the spearmint and clove I used regular spices from a grocery store. I infused this mixture 3-4 times and both the flavor and feeling of the brew were pretty consistent each time.

One Comment

  1. A better use for your brew would be to place your face in the hot vapor above a simmering pot .
    Also, check out a fruit called luo han gou at the Asian groceries, makes a very good tea for soothing scratchy throats, no known side effects. Fruit is dried and looks like a blotchy brown handball.
    I believe most sinus issues to be fungal which provides a place for opportunistic bacteria.
    Having broken my face and nose a few times during my stupid years I am prone to sinus troubles. Another thing which provides relief is menthol crystals dropped into hot water, be careful the vapor is strong, ease up to it.
    A sudafed in the morning and a bennedryl at night (or with dinner if it leaves you dopey come morning) is my drugstore choice.

    I am not a doctor and I do not even own a Mercedes

    be well