In this article, we shall learn what migraines are, the causes of migraines, the best herbal remedies to migraines, and other non-herbal remedies to migraines.
What are migraines?
Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause strong, debilitating headaches and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraines are possibly hereditary. Close to 90% of migraine sufferers concede to having family members who also suffered from these headaches. Migraines affect all ages and can distort work and normal function of the body.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting 12 percent of the population
What causes migraines?
We cannot say that migraines have a unique cause. In fact, every migraine sufferer has a unique set of triggers. What is important is to avoid those triggers as much as they can
Some of the common triggers to migraines include;
- Foods such as chocolate, red wine, and aged cheese
- Nitrates found in processed meats, like hot dogs and salami
- Gluten and dairy products may contribute to migraines
- Caffeine and dehydration can trigger migraines
- Stress can be a trigger in four out of five migraine sufferers
- Sleeping too little, too much, not sleeping at all, or changing sleep routine
- Change in the air pressure especially when we happen to change the altitude
Always track these changes whenever you have migraines. This will help you to understand your triggers and lower the chances of getting a migraine.
Types of migraines
The various types of migraines include;
Migraine without aura
This is a common type of migraine headache. It builds for hours before your migraine peaks and lasts for about 72 hours.
Migraine with aura
Is that which comes with nervous disturbances. Auras can include bright spots in the field of vision, tingling sensations, vision loss, hallucinated odors, and uncontrolled movements.
This is accompanied by vision loss in one eye.
Chronic migraines is that which occur in a debilitating frequency of more than 15 days per month for 3 months or more.
What are the best herbal remedies for migraines?
Long before the introduction of modern medicine, different cultures all over the world used herbal remedies for headaches and other common migraine symptoms. Some of the herbal remedies include;
Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum)
Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. All parts of the coriander plant are edible and both fresh leaves and the dried seeds are used for both medicine and seasoning properties.
Coriander seed’s anti-inflammatory property can treat ailments including allergies, sinus pressure, diabetes, and migraines. To use coriander, pour hot water over the fresh seeds and inhaling the steam. You can also chew or use it in food or teas.
Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis)
Dong Quai comes from the same family as carrots, parsley, and celery. For many years, the Dong Quai root has been used as a spice, tonic, and medicinal cream in Asian countries. The herb is used to treat migraines, fatigue, nerve pain, inflammation, and more.
Lavender oil comes from the flowers of the lavender plant, indigenous to the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. The oil is used to treat migraines, insomnia, stress, and fatigue.
According to a 2012 study, it was established that inhaling lavender oil during a migraine may help relieve symptoms quickly.
All you need to do is to breathe in the oil or apply a diluted solution to the temples. Do not use Lavender oil orally it can be toxic at a certain level.
Rosemary, native to the Mediterranean region, is a woody, perennial herb. It has green, fragrant, needle-like leaves with white, pink, purple, or blue flowers. Rosemary has antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and antioxidant effects.
All these properties are said to be behind the ability to treat Migraines, muscle and joint pain, memory problems, nervous disorders, liver ailments, and more.
Rosemary oil can be applied topically or inhaled for aromatherapeutic purposes. Also, ground rosemary leaves can be used in capsules, teas, tinctures, and liquid extracts.
Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome (ginger root) is used as a spice and folk medicine. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. All these are behind ginger’s ability to treat arthritis, cold and flu symptoms, nausea, migraines, and more
According to a 2014 study published in Phytotherapy Research, it was shown that ginger powder’s benefits were comparable to sumatriptan’s, a common prescription migraine drug, but with fewer side effects.
Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It is native to Europe and the Middle East and is now cultivated in many regions of the world. Peppermint leaves and their essential oils have medicinal and culinary uses.
Peppermint oil has an active ingredient called menthol which is believed to be responsible for the treatment of migraines.
According to a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, it was realized that menthol was effective at stopping migraine pain and easing nausea when applied to the forehead and temples in a 10 percent solution.
Willow (Salix spp.)
Willows are species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
The bark of the willow tree has an anti-inflammatory effect due to the presence of the ingredient salicin and fever-relieving effects. It can treat migraines, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and lower back pain.
Research shows that Willow bark extract (WBE) has antioxidant effects. Willow back extract is also used in the development of over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, a pain reliever, and a fever reducer.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Petasites hybridus is native to Europe and northern Asia. It is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. It got the name “butterbur” because people used the leaves of this plant to wrap and preserve butter in hot weather.
Butterbur root extract is used in pill form to treat headaches and migraines. According to a 2012 study published in Neurology, it was concluded that Petasites is effective for migraine prevention when taken as 50- to 75-milligram doses twice daily.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
Feverfew, known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a flowering plant in the daisy family, Asteraceae. This plant is native to the Balkan Mountains and is traditionally used to prevent migraine headaches.
All you need is to dry the leaves, flowers, and stems. This combination is also used to make supplements and extracts or eat the leaves raw.
Feverfew may have some side effects such as bloating, canker sores, and nausea. Therefore, for those of you taking blood thinners, pregnant women and those allergic to the daisy family should distance from feverfew.
Betony (Stachys officinalis)
Betony is a perennial herb found throughout Europe and Asia. Betony has traditionally been used to relieve migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, stress, and tension.
When used in combination with lime flowers and comfrey, you can treat sinus headaches and congestion. You can also use the leaves as juice, poultice, or ointment.
Linden or lime tree is a tree that belongs to the Tilia genus. Its dried flower, leaves, and wood have long been used in medicinal teas in European and Native American cultures. Linden can help with conditions such as colds, migraine headaches, insomnia, itchy skin, and more.
Evodia (Evodia rutaecarpa)
Evodia is a deciduous tree native to China and for many years, it has been used in Chinese medicine to treat abdominal pain, migraine headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting. All this is due to the anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.
Great mullein or common mullein is a hairy biennial plant that grows to 2 m tall or more with yellow flowers densely grouped on the stem. It is native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia. For many years, mullein has been used to treat inflammatory conditions, spasms, diarrhea, and migraines.
Mullein leaves and flowers can be made into extracts, capsules, poultices, or dried preparations.
Other non-herbal remedies to migraines
Apart from herbal remedies, there are other natural remedies to migraines. these include;
When you massage the muscles in the neck and shoulders, you can relieve tension and alleviate migraine pain.
Look for a licensed acupuncture practitioner to relieve migraine pain. According to a 2012 systematic review on the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating migraines, the authors found that acupuncture is an effective treatment choice for people with migraine headaches.
Yoga or stretching
Yoga improves blood flow, reduces muscle tension, and helps to relieve migraine symptoms. A 2014 study compared yoga to conventional migraine treatments and researchers found that those that used yoga showed greater relief than the group with conventional treatment.
Stress triggers migraines. When you engage in stress-relieving activities such as journaling, exercise, or meditation, may help to prevent future migraines.
Certain foods such as red wine, chocolate, caffeine, and processed foods can trigger migraines. When you focus on changing your diet and desist from such foods, you lower the chances of having migraines.
Acupressure refers to the application of pressure to stimulating specific points of the body to release muscle tension to alleviate pain.
The herbs above can offer significant relief for migraines. However, just like medications, herbs come with side effects on the body more so due to misuse or interaction with other medicines. Always talk to your doctor for appropriate treatment options before use.
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