Natural migraine remedies? When you've lived through that kind of pain, the idea of herbal relief can seem too good to be true.
But it is true. Now more than ever, naturopathic specialists are recommending everything from herbs to essential oils to treat migraine pain. And they're working!READ MORE
How common is migraine headache?
An estimated 38 million Americans get migraines. That’s over 10% of the nation. And 3 out of every 4 of those people are women.
Children get migraines, too. However, among youngsters, migraine is more common in boys than girls. It’s during adolescence (when female estrogen kicks in) that girls start to overtake boys in living with the condition. At that point, migraine in women continues to increase until around age 40. Then it begins to decrease.
In addition to diagnosed migraine sufferers, most people who complain about having frequent sinus headaches are actually having migraines. Researchers at The Headache Center found that over 97% of self-reported sinus headaches were, in fact, migraines!
Most adults and kids who get migraines suffer once or twice a month. But about 14 million of them experience a migraine every single day!
What causes migraines?
Unfortunately, doctors don’t know exactly what causes migraines. Most do agree, however, that something “triggers” the attacks.
Common triggers include lack of sleep, bright light, loud noise, strong odors, stress and anxiety, alcohol, caffeine, MSG, nitrates (found in processed meats like hotdogs) and aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal). So eliminating or reducing these triggers may prove helpful.
Hard as it is to believe, less than one-third of all sufferers use any treatment for their migraine pain. That may be due to the fact that over-the-counter pain relievers don’t usually work. And prescription drugs tend to cause side effects like drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, constipation, disrupted sleep and even liver problems.
Can natural migraine remedies really work?
Absolutely! In fact, a 2012 study jumpstarted worldwide interest in a variety of herbal remedies, especially lavender oil.
Researchers took 47 migraine sufferers and divided them into 2 groups. Those in the first group were told to apply 2-3 drops of essential lavender oil onto their upper lip during migraine attacks, inhale for 15-minutes, and then score their pain level every 30 minutes for the next two hours. Control subjects received similar instructions but they were given a placebo (fake drug) to inhale.
Out of the 129 reported headaches experienced by subjects using lavender oil, nearly 72% responded entirely or partially to the therapy. (In the control group, fewer than half responded to the placebo.)
To put this data in a good perspective, consider this… the Migraine Treatment Group reports that Tylenol helps migraines about 50% of the time. Ibuprofen works 57% of the time. And Imitrex, a drug often prescribed by doctors for migraine relief, is effective only 59% of the time.
And 4 Other Natural Migraine Remedies
Headache ReLeaf Roll-On makes an all-natural approach easy. This pocket-size remedy blends purified water, menthol, and 3 essential oils (lavender, rose and peppermint). Just glide the roll-on applicator over areas that hurt (forehead, temples, eyebrows, scalp, or upper neck). Easy enough for children to use. Works fast. Apply as needed.
Consider trying a 5-HTP dietary supplement. In one study, participants took 100 mg, 3 times daily. After 8 weeks their number of migraine days had decreased by nearly 40%. You can find 5-HTP supplements in pharmacies and health food stores. Look for “pure 5-HTP” on the label. Never take the supplement for longer than 12 weeks. Always check with your doctor before starting this regimen because 5-HTP can be dangerous if taken in too high a dose or for too long.
Butterbur may help, too. Studies show that this herbal extract can cut the frequency of migraine headache in half for some test subjects. Scientists think it works by reducing inflammation and relaxing swollen blood vessels. The recommended dose is 50-100 mg taken twice daily with meals.
Feverfew is also good. In one study, participants on a combination of feverfew, magnesium and vitamin B2 experienced only half as many migraines after treatment. Dosage: 100-300 mg, up to 4 times daily.