Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I've received inquiries from various sources recently wanting some natural remedies for migraines. When that happens, I know it's a burning question and it's time to post about it. If that many people in my circle of friends are questioning, then chances are it's an issue for our readers as well.

I don't want to focus as much on what a migraine is in this post. Those of you who suffer from these terrible headaches are well versed in what they are. I want to focus more on possible causes and holistic ways to treat them to hopefully avoid pharmaceuticals. I know the side effects of some of the prescribed pharmaceuticals are terrible. Just as a matter of definition though, migraine headaches are severe, throbbing headaches that may or may not be accompanied by nausea, visual disturbances, and other symptoms.

Possible Trigger for Migraines

  • Certain food or beverage allergies such as cheese, chocolate, hot dogs, bacon, processed meats that contain nitrites, food containing MSG, fermented foods such as beer, yogurt, sauerkraut, yeast, brewer's yeast, aspartame, or lack of caffeine.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) between meals. Low blood sugar causes inadequate glucose (sugar) transfer to the brain. The brain needs an almost constant supply of glucose as the brain uses glucose for energy.
  • Hormonal disturbances

  • Constipation

  • Stress and emotional changes

  • Liver malfunction

  • Too much or too little sleep

  • Sun glare or flashing lights

  • Lack of exercise
  • Change in barometric pressure

Natural Healing Therapies

Carefully review the list of triggers and see if anything can be modified. Have you tried avoiding the common food allergy items? A big issue is hypoglycemia. Are you eating frequent, small meals to keep your blood sugar at a good level for brain function? Have you thought about doing a liver detox program?

Herbal and Nutritional Therapies

  • Sometimes as crazy as it sounds an external application of cabbage leaves can relieve a migraine headache.
  • Infusion or decocotion of chamomile, cayenne, fumitory, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, valerian, willow bark, black cohosh, or wormwood.

  • 2 teaspoons of honey (get more bang for your buck and have two teaspoons of honey in your tea! See the list above.)

  • Eating fish, consuming fish oils, or taking primrose oil: The omega or essential fatty acids are fantastic brain food.

  • Cordyceps is a Chinese Herb that may, through its ability to reduce anxiety and stress and promote sound sleep, help people who suffer from migraines.

  • Include almonds, almond milk, watercress, parsley, fennel, garlic, cherries, and fresh pineapple in your diet.

  • Women whose migraines occur as a result of their menstrual cycle may benefit from the use of a natural progesterone cream.

Bach Flower remedies for headaches: Bach flowers remedies focus on treating the mental and emotional factors that cause disease. I have found that they produce amazing results.

  • for tension: Agrimony

  • for problems with concentration: Clematis

  • for feelings of stress and overwork and fear of failure: Elm

  • for nervousness or impatience: Impatiens

  • for grimness and stress-related tension: Oak

  • for guilt feelings: Pine

  • for excessive activity: Vervain

  • when we are thinking too strenuously: White Chestnut

Homeopathics: although much more complex, these are basically natural, herbal remedies for everyday ailments. Once again, I have had awesome results using homeopathics. The key is to find the right one.

  • Aconitum Nappellus: Characterized by a sudden, violent hadache all around the head like a band, or in the forehead like a bursting pain. The person is restless, fearful, and thirsty. The symptoms are worse in the evening or night, in a warm room, and on getting up from bed, and better in the open air.

  • Belladonna: For the headache that comes on suddenly and violently, like the Aconite headache, but in addition is characterized by throbbing, pounding pain, restlessness, a hot head, and a red, flushed face.

  • Bryonia: One of the most commonly indicated remedies for acute headache. The pain is stitching or tearing and is most apt to be right-sided. The person feels worse from motion, even moving the eyes or raising the head. There may be a bursting sensation on stooping or on coughing. Constipation often accompanies this headache.

  • Gelsemium: May be needed by the person who has a vague but distressing headache beginning in the neck and extending up over the head, settling in a band around the head. It may develop into a bursting sensation in the eyes and forehead, and the scalp feels tender. It sometimes comes on after exposure to too much sun or from mental stress, bad news, or apprehension. It is worse from lying down. The Gelsemium person is languid, chilly, and without thirst and wishes most to be left alone.

  • Iris Versicolor: Often needed when a migraine-like headache begins with blurring of vision. The scalp may feel tight and there is profuse flow of saliva with burning of the tongue, throat, and stomach. The person may lose his or her appetite and there may be nausea and vomiting. Iris headaches are usually worse in the evening and at night, and better from continued motion.

  • Kali Bichromicum: Matches the symptoms often referred to as "sinus headache": pain is in the "mask" area, either over, under, or behind the eyes, or at the root of the nose in a small spot that can be pointed to with one finger. Motion aggravates the pain, as does stooping or bending forward. The person feels worse from warmth, better in the open air.

  • Nux Vomica: Has a well-deserved reputation as "the hangover headache" remedy. It is a splitting headache all over the head, with nausea and an out-of-sorts feeling. The person is irritable, oversensitive to everything.

  • Sanguinaria canadensis: Very often fits the typical "sick headache." It begins in the morning, increases during the day, and lasts until evening. Pain is bursting, beginning in the back of the head, spreading upward and settling over the right eye; it is accompanied by nausea and often by vomiting and dizziness.

Natural Therapies

  • Reflexology Treatment where the practitioner concentrates on the points for the head, solar plexus, spine, neck, sinuses, eyes, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, ovaries, digestive system and liver.

  • Acupressure and Acupuncture

  • Massage Therapy

Sources: Advanced Bach Flower Therapy, The Reflexology Manual, Acupressure Techniques, Homeopathic Medicine at Home, Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition, and Prescription for Nutritional Healing.


Kristen's Raw said...

Hi Shan,
You may remember that I was a BIG sufferer of migraines back in the day.

Once I went vegan they improved a LOT, and then when I went Raw or High Raw... WOW - I rarely get them anymore.

So, now I'm not taking ANY pain meds... not even tylenol. I've come a long way and I'm so happy to share my testimonial of how powerful food has been for helping heal me from, and prevent, migraines!

Healthy regards,

Dana Herbert said...

I get migraines once a month.

I find that progesterone cream helps a lot, especially if I can get to the cream before the migraine becomes severe. I rub some on my belly and on my forehead.

I never had migraines until I had my mercury fillings drilled out without precautions and breathed in a ton of dust and vapor. I know those vapors are estrogenic.

Living A Whole Life said...

I am a huge fan of natural progesterone cream for many female issues including migraines. We are so inundated in our daily lives with xenoestrogens, pesticides, chemical cleaners, and etc, that most could use a healthy balance of progesterone.

Thanks for visiting and commenting!


PrissyGreen said...
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