Headache tree is a pain in the brain

Bay laurel swells cranial blood vessels

2:35pm, November 3, 2011

One whiff of a plant known as the headache tree can spur intense, excruciating pain — and now scientists know why.  An ingredient in the tree sets off a chain of events that eventually amps up blood flow to the brain’s outer membrane.

Other headache triggers, such as chlorine, cigarette smoke and formaldehyde, interact with some of the same cellular machinery, suggesting they all work via the same pain-inducing mechanism.

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