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What is HeadOn? Does HeadOn Really Work?

The scoop on an over-the-counter headache remedy

By Rachel Kelley

Updated January 27, 2009

(LifeWire) -- HeadOn is an over-the-counter (OTC) alternative remedy for headaches. It comes in a roll-on applicator that looks like an oversized tube of lip balm and is applied to the forehead. Ingredients include blue flag, golden seal, extracts of the climbing vine white bryony, and minute amounts of potassium dichromate (an oxidizing agent that has varied industrial uses, including textile manufacturing, photography and photoengraving). The product is wax-based. Television commercials for HeadOn, which have inspired many spoofs, have an announcer repeating the catchphrase, "HeadOn: Apply directly to the forehead," several times while a woman uses the product.

Types of HeadOn Products

There are three types of HeadOn headache remedies:

1.       HeadOn Migraine
2.       HeadOn Extra Strength
3.       HeadOn Sinus Headache

Homeopathy and HeadOn

HeadOn is a homeopathic remedy. This term is derived from the Greek words homeo (similar) and pathos (suffering or disease).  Homeopathic treatments are based on the so-called Law of Similars, which states that "like cures like." Such treatments feature preparations of substances that would cause classic symptoms of an illness if given in larger doses to healthy people.

Proponents of homeopathic medicine believe that these treatments assist the body in its healing process. Homeopathic remedies, like the HeadOn products, are prepared by means of a series of meticulous dilutions. According to the Miralus Healthcare website, the company that manufactures HeadOn, these dilutions act to initiate the release of the active ingredient or ingredients within the product.

The active ingredients in HeadOn are diluted even more than the standards set by the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States, further assuring safety, according to company literature. The company's website maintains that "HeadOn can be used by anyone and as often as needed."

Does HeadOn Help Headaches?

While there are plenty of anecdotal claims, there are no rigorous, published studies to confirm that HeadOn works.  In fact, given the lack of scientific evidence, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus requested in March 2006 that the company refrain from claiming that HeadOn alleviates headaches. More recently, Consumer Reports concluded that positive benefits associated with HeadOn are most likely due to the placebo effect. They also noted that proven OTC remedies, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen) would be would be better choices for headache relief.

Miralus Healthcare no longer claims that HeadOn is effective in treating headaches.

Related Articles:

  • Natural Remedies for Tension Headaches
  • Migraines and Headaches: An Acupuncturist's Perspective

    Sources:

    Redfearn, Suz. "Head Rub." WashingtonPost.com. 26 Sept. 2006. The Washington Post. 3 Mar 2008.

    "Headache Drug Lacks Evidence." ConsumerReports.org. Sept 2007. 3 Mar 2008.

    "Questions and Answers About Homeopathy." National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. April 2003. National Institutes of Health. 11 Mar 2008

    2007. Miralus Healthcare. 11 Mar 2008. http://miralus.com.

    LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Rachel Kelley has been an editor and writer for 8 years. She has degrees in nursing, psychology, and education.
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