Get Rid of Migraine with Natural Home Remedies
Migraines are sharp headaches often accompanied by vomiting and nausea and in many cases, can happen with sensitivity to light. The sharp pains are caused by reactions to certain changes that take place in the brain cells. The symptoms of migraine can last from some 4 hours to 3 days and in severe cases, longer. According to the National Headache Foundation, around 28 million Americans get migraine attacks with women being more prone than men.
- Symptoms of Migraine
In many cases, headache begins right in childhood and adolescence. Migraine progresses through four stages called prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. One or a couple of days before a headache one may experience subtle symptoms like constipation, extreme mood swings, the stiffness of the neck, increased thirst, increased urination, food cravings and frequent yawning. Some may even experience Aura before or during migraines, which are visual phenomena like light flashes and twisted vision. In particular cases, auras can also be sensory, motor or speech problems. For example, the patient may be fatigued. You may feel whimsical touches. In migraine, auras may build up gradually lasting for 20 to 60 minutes.
- Causes of Migraine
Although the exact causes of migraines are still in research and study, they have been found closely linked to brain changes as well as hereditary factors. A migraine is triggered when overactive nerve cells shoot out signals. This narrow and expands the blood vessels in the brain and causes a pulsating pain sensation. Stress is said to be a common trigger of migraine. A stressed brain releases chemicals which can cause the same effect in the blood vessels, leading to a migraine headache. Certain foods and drinks, like alcohol, aged cheese and food additives like monosodium glutamate and nitrates also trigger migraines and are responsible for 30% of the attacks. Too much caffeine or sudden withdrawal from it can also lead to migraine attacks. When a person is used to caffeine and is deprived of it throughout the day, he may get a migraine attack. Interestingly, in cases of acute migraine attacks, often it is caffeine which helps in alleviating the pain. Some people can get a migraine attack from sudden weather changes resulting from altitude change, barometric pressure, intense winds or storms. Often skipping meals and fatigue are the causes of a migraine. These apart, women can experience headaches during menstruation.
Natural Home Remedies
Here are some natural remedies that can be prepared in home to reduce migraine –
Coriander seed – Coriander seeds have been used for more than 7,000 years and across several cultures in the treatment of various diseases including conditions like a migraine. In ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda, coriander seeds have been actively used in relieving migraine headaches and sinus pressures. The practice is still prevalent for its great healing results. To use this effective home remedy for a headache, take a handful of fresh seeds in a pot and pour hot water over it. Inhale the steam from this coriander infused liquid to feel the difference. In certain migraines, the anti-inflammatory properties of the coriander seeds go a long way in healing the pain. You can also chew the fresh coriander seeds or even consume it in food or teas. Herbal health stores also sell oral extracts of coriander seeds for migraine treatment.
Ice Pack – This is touted by many to be the ultimate home remedy for headaches and perhaps, the simplest. Thanks to the numbing effect that an ice pack causes in alleviating any pain. Take some ice cubes and wrap them in a clean towel. Dab your forehead, your temples and the back of your neck with this cold towel. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes or until you can feel the pain ebbing away. Another excellent method is to alternate hot and cold compresses. Doctors often recommend adding a few drops of essential oils of peppermint and lavender to the ice pack for faster relief.
Cayenne Pepper – The natural painkiller, Capsaicin, contained in the cayenne pepper is the key ingredient which offers relief against a migraine. It stimulates blood circulation and improves the flow of the blood, which is substantially effective in relieving the headaches caused by a migraine. Make your homemade migraine remedy with a teaspoon of the pepper mixed in a cup of warm water. Squeeze in some lemon juice and add some honey and it is ready to drink.
Peppermint – The soothing fragrance of this herb is greatly effective in relieving headaches. In the case of sharp pains like migraines, the peppermint herb helps by soothing the stressed nerves, lending them a calming and an antispasmodic effect. Keep some peppermint essential oil handy for this irreplaceable migraine remedy. You can either use a few drops of this oil in hot or cold compresses for your headache. Or, you can just massage your temples with this oil. The peppermint essential oil tends to work wonders for a migraine when used in combination with lavender oil. This can be done few times throughout the day. Another effective way to kill headaches with peppermint is to drink peppermint tea mixed with some honey.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is loaded with all the goodness of nutrient rich apples and has proven to be highly effective against migraines. Make your homemade remedy for migraine by mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of filtered water. To this, add a tablespoon of honey. Drink this mixture every day to not only treat your migraine but also prevent any further attacks. For those who find the acidic vinegar too bothering, it is an innovative idea to begin slowly by mixing a teaspoon of it and gradually increase as you go. If you feel you are about to get an attack, then make your mixture with a couple or three tablespoons of the vinegar for a more potent and quick acting solution.
Chamomile – Drinking chamomile tea on a regular basis can not only alleviate the symptoms of a migraine but also prevent further attacks. The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of this tea offer a soothing effect when in a migraine. Experts strongly emphasize on using the German chamomile for best results. Make your German chamomile tea by steeping 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dried flowers in a cup of hot water for few minutes. You can add honey and lemon juice for added flavors. Strain and drink this medicinal tea 3 to 4 times a day. Alternately, you can make another herbal tea with chamomile, meadowsweet, and horehound, by steeping equal quantities of the herbs and drinking it in the same way.
Ginger – Ginger alleviates the symptoms of migraine by blocking prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are responsible for muscle contractions, impact the hormones and cause inflammation in the brain’s blood vessels. Simmer ginger slices in water for 10 minutes and drink the tea mixed with honey and lemon. This tea can be drunk several times throughout the day, and preferably at the onset of a migraine.
Feverfew – This herbal remedy gained prominence in the 1980s when a groundbreaking study in Great Britain revealed that a record 70 percent of the patients who have been taking the herbal medicine were healing fast. Since then, the herb has been consistently used in treating patients with a migraine and preventing further attacks. Feverfew contains Parthenolide, a compound that actively relieves spasms in the smooth muscles tissues. It also prevents inflammations. The compound works by neutralizing the prostaglandins which are responsible for pain signals. This is how it alleviates the pain associated with a migraine. Feverfew is sometimes also administered by health practitioners in combination with white willow. The latter is known to have properties similar to that of aspirin. This combination is said to offer a greater relief in treating migraine pain. To use this home remedy, steep a teaspoon of dried Feverfew and peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Let the herbs steep in for a good 30 minutes. Stain and drink this herbal tea several times throughout the day as you like. The tea can be taken until all the pain symptoms have gone. Alternately, you can 50 to 100 mg of feverfew capsules daily. If you can get your hands onto fresh feverfew, eat two to three of its leaves every day to keep a migraine at bay.
Linden – Also known as Tilia or lime tree, the blossoms of this tree have been in medicinal use since the ancient times in Native American and European cultures. The blossoms have sedative properties which are useful in offering a calming relief from headaches and stressed mind while inducing sleep. Plus, the blossoms are also helpful in lowering high blood pressure which is often related to migraines. The blossoms are used to calm the stressed nerves and provide relief from tension and anxiety associated with a migraine. The blossoms are available in herbal health stores, sold in liquid extracts, tinctures and even, capsules. You can also drink Linden tea as a form of alternative healing for treating migraine headaches.
Potato – Raw potato cuttings have an ancient history in European folk medicine for the effective treatment of a migraine. To use this easy home remedy, cut thick slices of raw potato and cloak them in a clean cloth. The cloth can then either be wrapped around the head or rubbed onto the temples. This method eases any tension and alleviates migraine pain.
Butterbur – Butterbur has been actively used in treating migraine since the ancient times in North America, Asia, and Europe. More commonly, the herb is sold in the form of pills in the treatment of migraine headaches. The tablets contain the root extract of butterbur called Petasites. Take 50 to 75-milligram pills of butterbur twice every day to get cured of migraine pains.
Dong Quai – Dong Quai has long been used in ancient Asian medicine in the treatment of headaches related to the menstrual cycle. Many women are reported to experience migraine headaches when they approach ovulation. This mainly occurs due to the fluctuation of hormones in the body. The phytoestrogenic properties of this herb are significantly useful in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. Moreover, it is also very effective in reducing the pain and decreasing the duration.
Massage – Massage is one of the most efficient methods of easing migraine pains. Rubbing the head blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain, offering gradual relief in alleviating the headache. The same has been revealed by a scientific study that was published in 2006 by Annals of Behavioral Medicine. To go about it, begin by gently massaging your head with your fingertips in a round, circular motion. Keep in mind the pressure points like the corners of the eyes, the base of the skull and the area between the eyebrows. Press these areas gently with the tip of your fingers several times while massaging. When done correctly, this procedure can significantly lessen the pain. Massage for relieving migraine can be made more efficient by adding oils and herbal ingredients. One such method is to rub your head with a combination of two tablespoons of sesame oil and half a teaspoon each of cardamom and cinnamon powder. This mixture can be allowed to sit on your forehead for a few hours even after the massage before being finally cleaned off.
Approaching a Different Lifestyle
Research shows that diet plays an active role in the treatment of a migraine. For example, by adopting a diet plan and lifestyle changes one can control the frequency, duration, and intensity of these attacks. Health practitioners recommend a low-fat diet to migraine patients. Moreover, patients are advised against the consumption of foods that trigger the production of IgG antibodies.
A special diet targeting to treat a migraine often includes foods that improve the flora content in the gut. Patients are advised to eat smaller portions and consistently in an attempt to bring down low blood sugar. And although herbal medications are considered safe, the fact is not to be ignored that they can cause side effects in interaction with other medicines. Some may prove to be life-threatening if misused. This makes it a good enough reason for patients to consult health experts to discuss all the treatments in details before proceeding.
Furthermore, it is always a good idea to maintain a migraine journal or download a similar app. It is vital to keep track of the symptoms, the pain triggers, the intensity of a headache and the duration for which the attacks last. Keeping these records helps you to discuss with your health advisor which treatment is best suited for you.