People with migraine know the pain and helplessness they feel during the attacks. It’s more than a mere headache since it is more severe in intensity and affects a person’s ability to do even routine daily jobs. A lot of people rely on common prescription drugs for migraine but a growing percentage of people are trying out herbal remedies which are giving results. Although, there has been limited research in the area, there are some herbs whose benefits have been backed by science.
Listed below are some herbs that have been shown to alleviate migraine headaches in some researches:
1 . Feverfew
Indigenous to Eastern Europe where it has been used since ancient times, feverfew plant is known to cure inflammation, aches and fever. Research has proved its effectiveness in treating migraine but there are some side-effects involved and drug interactions that need to be taken care of before administering it.The freeze dried capsules are generally recommended because the teas and fresh leaves have a bitter taste and may irritate your mouth.The plant is dried and sold in the form of supplements available across the world.
2 . Butterbur
Butterbur is another plant that has been used to treat various symptoms since historical times in Europe, Asia and North America where it grows as a perennial plant. The plant contains petasin and isopetasin which have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties that help in relieving migraine pain. It is not recommended for pregnant women, people taking blood thinning medicines or people with liver/heart conditions.
3 . Turmeric
Thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and inhibit platelet clumping and affect blood flow to the brain. Make sure you do not take it with any other blood thinning herbs and medications without your doctor’s approval.
4 . Ginkgo Biloba
This herb is thought to inhibit platelet clumping and affect blood flow to the brain. Some studies indicate that it may also have ant-inflammatory properties.It may affect insulin and blood sugar levels so should not be taken if you are diabetic, without your doctor’s approval.Like feverfew, it should not be taken with other blood thinning herbs and medications, without your doctor’s approval.
5 . Peppermint
Peppermint oil has been known for its use in dental hygiene, digestion, and spasms. Studies have found that external use of peppermint oil by rubbing it on the forehead and temples reduce migraine pain. This is mainly due to the presence of menthol which has anti-spasmodic and numbing properties.
6 . White Willow Bark
Research has shown that salicin which is found in willow bark can reduce pain, inflammation and reduce migraine headache. In fact, the extract from willow bark has been used to make aspirin. Centuries earlier, people in Asia and North America used to chew the bark to reduce pain, fever and inflammation. It is also known to reduce lower back pain, tendonitis, menstrual cramps and fever.
7 . Ginger
Ginger, a common spice in Asian and Arabic culture, has been used to treat nausea, pain, cold and flu, arthritis and other symptoms since long. Studies have confirmed that ginger’s effect in alleviating migraine symptoms is as good as common migraine prescription drugs. Fresh ginger, ginger powder or ginger extract supplements can be taken.
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There is a word of caution here for those planning to try out these herbal remedies for migraine. There have been evidences of side-effects and certain drug interactions of these herbs especially with blood thinning drugs. Pregnant and lactating women are advised to exercise special caution. Always consult your migraine specialist before trying these out.Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!