If you’re a migraine sufferer, you know that a migraine can be completely debilitating. It’s more than just a common headache. From revolting nausea to visual disturbances that leave you nearly in a trance, migraines leave sufferers completely unable to work or function for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Prescription medications help for some, but they can also lead to unwanted side effects such as enhanced nausea, stomach ulcers, and, strangely enough, headaches. For centuries, naturopaths and traditional healers have been effectively treating migraines with herbs. Give these natural herbal cures a try for yourself – they may be just what you need to safely abate your migraine symptoms and get on with your life.
Common throughout Europe and Asia, butterbur was used by the Greeks to treat everything from headaches to coughs. Its effectiveness has even been confirmed by modern researchers. One study published in the journal Alternative Medicine Review found that taking butterbur consistently for 12 weeks reduced patients’ frequency of migraines by up to 60 percent. Butterbur root extract is often sold in capsule form. Take 25 mg twice per day to prevent migraines safely and naturally.
Willow Bark Extract
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, willow bark extract is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat headaches and migraines. A 2006 study published in the journal Clinical Drug Investigation found that patients who took 300 mg of the extract twice per day experienced fewer migraines. Their migraines were also less severe and shorter in duration. These effects were even more pronounced when the patients took willow bark extract in combination with feverfew, another herbal remedy derived from a flowering plant native to Eastern Europe. You can also apply a liquid extract of willow bark to your forehead to ease the symptoms of an existing migraine.
If you already have a migraine, applying peppermint oil directly to your forehead and temples can ease your nausea and dull your headache. Purchase peppermint oil at your local health food store, and mix a few drops into a neutral oil, such as canola or coconut oil, before applying it topically. Peppermint oil capsules are also available and can be taken orally at the onset of a migraine to reduce the duration of symptoms.
Commonly used in Indian and Arabic medicine, ginger is another herbal remedy that is effective in relieving existing migraines. One study published in Medical Science Monitor found that it was most effective when combined with feverfew and taken orally at the initial onset of migraine symptoms. A product known as GelStat Migraine, made from feverfew and ginger, is available over-the-counter for migraine relief. You can also make your own remedy by brewing a hot tea with fresh ginger and dried feverfew leaves.
When trying the herbal remedies described above, keep in mind that no one remedy works for everyone. Your individual body chemistry and nature of your symptoms play important roles in determining which herbs are most effective in relieving your migraine. These herbs are safe to combine, so experiment with different combinations of preventative supplements and relief remedies until you find the special mixture that works for you.