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10 Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches

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10 Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches
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An ideal remedy for migraine headaches should be infallible in its efficacy, and have no side effects. Yet most pharmaceutical options merely mask the pain and come with a long list of negatives, from exhaustion and trouble breathing, to epilepsy and addiction. But the good news is that there are natural alternatives. Find out which one is most effective for you and tackle your migraines naturally.

Nutrition for Migraine Headaches

1. Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is effective in treating migraines . A study by the European Journal of Neurology reported that when 400mg of Vitamin B2 were given to migraine patients every day, they experienced a 50% reduction in headache frequency, leading researchers to conclude that riboflavin is a safe and well-tolerated alternative for treating migraines. A word of warning: high dosage Vitamin B2 can cause diarrhea.

2. Magnesium

Research indicates that people suffering from migraines a have low levels of magnesium in the brain at the time of a migraine attack, and that they may be deficient in magnesium overall. Magnesium may also be responsible for causing menstrual migraine headaches. In a study aimed at observing the effects of magnesium on migraine headaches, scientists found that patients who were given 600mg of magnesium a day had 41.6% fewer migraine attacks. Magnesium-rich foods include nuts, whole grains, cocoa, tea, and leafy green vegetables. The study observed some side effects of administering high doses of magnesium: diarrhoea and gastric irritation.

Herbs for Migraine Headaches

3. Ginger

Using Ginger for relief from Migraine HeadachesGinger root is a natural pain killer and has anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in Phytotherapy Journal found that 250mg of ginger is as effective as Sumatriptan in relieving migraine pain. Another study conducted in 2016 found that the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is responsible for triggering migraines, and that ginger inhibits its release. What’s more, migraine patients tend to have high levels of oxidative stress, which is one of the triggers of migraines. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and helps fight oxidative stress.
Chew a piece of ginger or sip some ginger tea. Ginger is also available in capsule form.

4. Lavender and Peppermint Oil

Inhaling lavender oil is effective in healing migraine headache. According to a study by the European Neurology Journal, “Lavender essential oil has been used as an anxiolytic (anxiety inhibiting) drug, a mood stabilizer, a sedative, spasmolytic (able to relieve spasm), antihypertensive, antimicrobial, analgesic agent as well as a wound healing accelerator.” In the study, 75% of migraine patients responded positively to inhaled lavender oil. Like lavender, peppermint also has pain relieving properties. You can inhale these oils (from a diffuser) or rub them on your wrists, forehead and temples. Lie down and relax while you breathe in the soothing, pain-relieving scents. You can also add few drops to your bath tub or on your pillow.

5. Butterbur

According to studies conducted by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society, butterbur is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. However, Neurology Times alerts to safety concerns. Butterbur contains a substance called Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids which can cause liver damage in humans and is mutagenic and carcinogenic in animal studies. So it is recommended that you purchase only butterbur products that are certified as PA-free. PA-free Butterbur products are safe when taken within recommended limits. Nevertheless, butterbur can cause side effects such as trapped wind, headache, itchy eyes, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and drowsiness.

Tip:Butterbur supplement for relief from Migraine Headaches Scientific studies have demonstrated that Petasins, the active constituents in Butterbur, can support healthy blood flow to the brain and promote normal neurological function. Try this butterbur supplement that is free from undesirable Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids.

6. Feverfew

This is a medicinal plant containing a substance called parthenolide, which is effective against muscle spasms, making it effective migraine remedy. Research suggests that administering feverfew orally in the form of leaves (2-3 leaves a day) is effective in relieving migraine pain. You can also take 100–300 mg feverfew extract, standardized to contain 0.2–0.4% parthenolides, up to 4 times daily. Feverfew supplements are also available as capsules, tablets and liquid extracts. Feverfew, whilst natural, does have side effects. It can react with other prescription and over the counter medications. Patients taking blood thinning medication, or those about to have surgery should consult their doctor before taking this herb, as it may react with anesthesia. Pregnant and nursing women and children under 12 years of age should not take feverfew.

7. Gingko Biloba

Ginkgolide B, the most potent component of Ginko Biloba leaves, is effective in preventing migraines. When administered with 120mg of terpenic fraction found in Ginkgolide B, patients demonstrated a 60% reduction in neurological symptoms, according to a study by the Journal of Neurological Sciences. Another study confirmed the effectiveness of gingko biloba for reducing the frequency of attacks. Possible side effects of gingko biloba can include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, stomach ache, restlessness, and vomiting.

Physical Treatments for Migraine Headaches

8. Acupressure (Migraine relief pressure points)

Acupressure point for relief from Migraine HeadachesAccording to another study by the Journal of Neurological Sciences, triggering certain acupressure points can be effective in relieving migraine pain. Acupressure modulates your levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps to balance moods, prevent depression, and relieve pain). Acupressure points for migraine are easily accessible and can bring relief with a light pressure or massage over those points.

  • The area between the two eyebrows where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead, also called the third eye point. Apply light pressure with two fingers for about one minute;
  • The highest spot on the web between your thumb and the index finger, also called HE GU (LI4) has been known to be effective in alleviating migraine pain. Also it helps to ease the back and neck muscles. Massage in circular motion on each hand, switch hands and repeat.

9. Cold compress or ice-pack

While you can rest an ice pack on your head, forehead and/or at the base of your skull above the back of your neck. Also placing the ice pack alternately at these places will help to constrict the blood vessels that press the nerves responsible for causing migraine headaches.

Tip: You can use a compression mask like this Pain Relief Mask. Put it in the freezer to provide cool relief without the shock of ice or gel packs.

Which Foods Trigger Migraine headaches?

Research shows that 20% of migraine headaches are triggered by sensitivities to certain foods, like cheese, red wine, beer, chocolate and yogurt, food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, and sodium nitrate, and preservatives. In addition to sensitivities and allergies to certain food and additives, research has found that gastrointestinal abnormalities and blood sugar abnormalities could also be responsible for causing migraine to some patients.

10. Diet to prevent migraine headaches

A food diary, where you list the foods you eat and when you get migraine headaches, will help you to pinpoint whether there are any specific foods that trigger your headaches. Once you’ve identified them, you can eliminate them from your diet. Also focus on keeping your blood sugar balanced and getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, by eating natural, plant-based foods including plenty of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, and drinking plenty of water.
You now know several ways to reduce the frequency of your migraine headaches, and how to go about coping with them naturally. So, next time your headache strikes, give one of these tips a try!

Disclaimer

Finally we strongly recommend that you speak to your doctor before trying herbs, especially if you are taking medication, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

References
References I
  1. Shaik, Munvar Miya, and Siew Hua Gan. “Vitamin Supplementation as Possible Prophylactic Treatment against Migraine with Aura and Menstrual Migraine.” BioMed Research International 2015 (2015): 469529. PMC. Web. 5 Aug. 2017.
  2. Boehnke C1, Reuter U, Flach U, Schuh-Hofer S, Einhäupl KM, Arnold G, “High-dose riboflavin treatment is efficacious in migraine prophylaxis: an open study in a tertiary care centre”, Eur J Neurol. 2004 Jul;11(7):475-7. Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M., “Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial”,Neurology. 1998;50(2):466–70
  3. Ramadan NM, Halvorson H, Vande-Linde A. Low brain magnesium in migraine. Headache. 1989;29:590–593; Mauskop A, Altura BM. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine. Clin Neurosci. 1998; 5:24–27.
  4. Mauskop A, Altura BT, Altura BM. Serum ionized magnesium in serum ionized calcium/ionized magnesium ratios in women with menstrual migraine. Headache. 2001;42:242–248
  5. Piekert A, Wilimzig C, Kohne-Volland R., “Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double blind randomized study. Cephalgia 1996;16:257-263
  6. Maghbooli M1, Golipour F, Moghimi Esfandabadi A, Yousefi M, “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine”, Phytother Res. 2014 Mar;28(3):412-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4996. Epub 2013 May 9.
  7. Slavin M1, Bourguignon J2, Jackson K3, Orciga MA4, “Impact of Food Components on in vitro Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Secretion-A Potential Mechanism for Dietary Influence on Migraine”, Nutrients. 2016 Jul 1;8(7). pii: E406. doi: 10.3390/nu8070406.
  8. Bernecker C1, Ragginer C, Fauler G, Horejsi R, Möller R, Zelzer S, Lechner A, Wallner-Blazek M, Weiss S, Fazekas F, Bahadori B, Truschnig-Wilders M, Gruber HJ, “Oxidative stress is associated with migraine and migraine-related metabolic risk in females”, Eur J Neurol. 2011 Oct;18(10):1233-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03414.x. Epub 2011 Apr 23.
  9. Borkum, J. M. (2016), Migraine Triggers and Oxidative Stress: A Narrative Review and Synthesis. Headache, 56: 12–35. doi:10.1111/head.12725
References II
  1. Sasannejad P1, Saeedi M, Shoeibi A, Gorji A, Abbasi M, Foroughipour M,” Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial”, Eur Neurol. 2012;67(5):288-91. doi: 10.1159/000335249. Epub 2012 Apr 17.
  2. Kligler B, Chaudhary S. Peppermint oil. Am Fam Physician. (2007); Göbel H, Schmidt G, Soyka D. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia. (1994)
  3. Holland S, Silberstein SD, Freitag F, et al. Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults. Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Neurology. 2012;78(17):1346-1353.
  4. By Thomas P. Bravo, MD and Bert B. Vargas, MD “Migraine Preventative Butterbur Has Safety Concerns”, Neurology Times News | January 28, 2015
  5. Ibid
  6. Anil Pareek, Manish Suthar,1 Garvendra S. Rathore,1 and Vijay Bansal, “Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review”, Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 103–110, available online at : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/; University of Maryland Medical Centre, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Feverfew”, available online at : http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/feverfew
  7. Anil Pareek, Manish Suthar,1 Garvendra S. Rathore,1 and Vijay Bansal, “Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review”, Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 103–110, available online at : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/; University of Maryland Medical Centre, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Feverfew”, available online at : http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/feverfew
  8. Gianni A., Giovanni D’A., Maurizio M., Chiara B., “The efficacy of ginkgolide B in the acute treatment of migraine aura: an open preliminary trial”, Neurological Sciences May 2013, Volume 34, Supplement 1, pp 161–163
References III
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  2. Sprott H, Franke S, Kluge H, Hein G., “Pain treatment of fibromyalgia by acupuncture”, Rheumatol Int 1998;18:35-36’ Boivie J, Brattsberg G. Are there long-lasting effects on migraine headache after one series of acupuncture treatments? Am J Chin Med1987;15:69-75.
  3. Schiapparelli P, Allais G, et al. ” Acupuncture in primary headache treatment”, Neurol Sci. 2011 May; 32 Suppl 1:S15-8.
  4. Food triggers of migraine. Mayo Clinic Health Letter 1997;15:7
  5. Littlewood JT, Gibb C, Glover V, et al. Red wine as a cause of migraine. Lancet 1988;1:558-559.
  6. Mylek D. Migraine as one of the symptoms of food allergy. Pol Tyg Lek 1992; 47:89-91.
  7. Gasbarrini A, De Luca A, Fiore G, et al.Beneficial effects of Helicobacter pylori eradication on migraine. Hepatogastroenterology 1998;45:765-770.
  8. Dexter JD, Roberts J, Byer JA. The five hour glucose tolerance test and effect of low sucrose diet in migraine. Headache 1978;18:91-94.

 

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