Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches

Are migraine headaches an autoimmune disease?  Are there natural remedies for migraine headaches?

 migraine

Although doctors are not certain that migraine headaches are an autoimmune disease, they do know that migraines are the result of inflammation in the brain.

 migraine symptoms

 They have found that, although migraines are not necessarily an autoimmune disease, migraines do seem to be prevalent in people with many forms of autoimmune disease.

They also know that there are many things that can trigger this inflammation and result in a migraine headache.  Such things as diet, stress, injury, illness and some medications could trigger a migraine.

Environmental allergens can also be a trigger.  Basically, anything that would cause a flare up in any autoimmune disease could also bring on a migraine.

 air polllution

The best solution that most doctors can offer are pharmaceuticals, most of which come with a long list of side effects.  They are even using some chemotherapy drugs for treatment of migraines these days.

 chemical drugs

Doctors themselves cannot even seem to agree on the best way to treat migraines.  Some doctors say the immune system is over active.  Others insist that the immune system is under active.

Is there hope for relief?

YES!  There are dietary changes that can help.  Certain vitamins and supplements offer relief and/or aid in prevention of migraines. Regular exercise helps to relieve stress which is a known trigger.

I will discuss these for you individually.

Diet

Although there is no specific “diet” for migraine prevention, there are a number of foods or food groups that seem to trigger migraines.

Doctors often suggest that patients keep a food diary and record all migraine episodes for a period of time to try to identify foods that trigger their migraines as this can actually differ from one person to another.

 alcohol

These foods include, but are not limited to alcohol, bananas, beans, caffeine, chocolate, cheese, especially aged cheese,  citrus fruits, nuts, MSG and yogurt.

 cheeses

While these have all been reported by patients as the trigger for their migraines, they are not all reported by migraine patients as triggers.

That’s where the elimination diet comes in handy.

Remove all of these foods from the diet for a time, but do this one at a time for a few weeks. Continue to keep your food and headache diary while doing this so you can be sure this food is, in fact, a trigger for you.

Be sure to keep track of other factors such as stress, menstrual cycles, environmental factors and other notable events.

Once you have identified any possible triggers for your migraines you can try to eliminate that food from your diet or, at least, limit the frequency and amounts of that item in your diet.

Environmental Allergens

 

First, there is the obvious environmental allergen – the very air we breathe!

Reactions to pollen, dust and other allergens that we breathe in cause swollen and blocked sinuses.  This, in turn, can result in a migraine headache.

Aside from the usual pollen and dust in the air, some people are allergic to chemical odors such as pesticides, cleaning products, and even perfumes.  In small amounts these may not cause a problem.

perfumes

However, in some environments they can certainly become a trigger – buildings without windows where air continues to be re-circulated without being completely exchanged, odors that linger in your home from certain cleaning products and, as I stated, just being exposed briefly to certain perfumes can trigger a migraine.

There’s not a lot to be done for these triggers other than being mindful of them and trying to avoid them where possible.

 

Exercise

 exercise

Believe it or not, strenuous exercise can actually be a trigger for migraines!  Research is showing, however, that aerobic exercise in moderation can actually benefit migraine sufferers.

Recent research shows that frequent moderate exercise can actually reduce the severity of migraine attacks as well as the frequency.  It is now believed that regular exercise can possibly even prevent migraines.

Start out slowly and build up to at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise three times weekly.  You can do anything you like such as cycling, dancing, jogging, low impact aerobics, swimming or power walking.  Just be sure it’s something you enjoy.

Be sure that you eat properly beforehand so that you don’t get blood sugar drops and hydrate yourself properly before, during and after exercise.

Again, keeping an exercise diary with a log of your migraine events will help you to see how your exercise regime is helping reduce your migraine frequency.

 

Herbs and Supplements/Essential Oils

  • Feverfew – Feverfew has a very long history in herbal medicine. It has been used for fevers, as the name would suggest, but also has long been seen as useful for headaches as well as pain from other conditions. If used, feverfew should be taken in capsule form.  Feverfew should not be used along with blood thinners.

 feverfew

  • Butterbur – Another herb used for pain and fever, neurological studies now show butterbur’s usefulness in treatment of migraines. There are, however, some liver toxins in the raw plant, so a commercially prepared source is best to use.

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  • CoQ10 – A powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 has been found very useful in migraine therapy. The frequency of migraines is reduced with use of CoQ10.  It does take 4 to 5 weeks for effects to be noticeable.

  • Riboflavin – Also known as vitamin B2, this is another powerful antioxidant found to be very helpful in treating migraines. It has been found to greatly reduce the frequency of migraines.

  • Lavender Essential Oil – A little dab massaged into the temples can often bring relief. You can also inhale the steam from a few drops added to a pot of boiling water.  Another way to uselavender lavender essential oil is to take a relaxing lavender milk bath.  Add a few drops of the lavender to a cup of whole milk and then add it to the bath.  The fat in the milk helps to keep the lavender from dissipating.

  • Peppermint Essential Oil – A good oil to inhale for migraine relief, it opens up the sinuses and can actually help blood vessels

  • peppermint

  • dilate. You can use peppermint oil to massage the temples if you add a few drops to some oil such as coconut oil, almond, or vitamin E oil – use about a tablespoon of the oil – this is because peppermint oil is not suitable to use directly on the skin.

One last note.  Stress can be a factor in migraine triggers.  Massage therapy or other stress-relieving activities can be a great addition to your routine.

I hope that this has given you some useful tools and insights into how to deal with and, possibly prevent, migraine headaches.

I would be very interested to hear how this information on natural remedies for migraine headaches has helped.

Please be sure to leave your comments and questions for me.

Also, click on any of the icons below to share this post socially.

Blessings,

Debby

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Lucas says:

    Hi there,

    Lately I have been getting headaches in what feels like the area behind my eyes. I am wondering if you’ve ever heard of this before. I eat very healthy and make sure I eat a wide variety of foods. I also exercise extremely often and am generally very healthy.

    Thanks!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for the comment and the question Lucas. There are many reasons for headaches and, if you don’t know the reason for yours, you should get it checked out by your health care professional. These could be coming from sinusitis or, just as easily, from vision problems or a number of other factors. Best to be safe and get it checked. Let me know what you find out.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  2. NemiraB says:

    Hello, thanks for explaining what kind of triggers are for migraine.
    I heard that a lot people, especially women complain about headaches. I think that your mentioned triggers as stress, environment pollution, drugs and bad habits such as drinking or smoking can cause this condition.
    I think that to clean at first our bodies from toxins would be a good way to start. There so many ways how to perform enemas or just use vegetables for a few days.
    When digestive system functions well, we can start with good habits, such drinking water instead soda, eating well. I mean nor so fancy food, but organic. Getting minerals and nutrients can help improve our immune system.
    Usage of your mentioned herbs will help too.
    It is just my opinion.
    All the best, Nemira.

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for your comments Nemira. I agree with you completely that what we put into our bodies plays a very large role in the health of our bodies. This is why I recommend a whole foods diet to everyone, especially anyone suffering from any condition related to the autoimmune system. I believe that most of what is wrong with us relates directly to what we ingest. Please come back again and visit.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  3. Dwayne says:

    As a sufferer of migraines I have figured out that garlic tends to be my trigger. I haven’t really thought about the environmental side but now will pay more attention to that and thanks for the tip on peppermint; I have some growing in my backyard and will definitely take advantage next time i have an attack.

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for sharing Dwayne. I truly hope that you will find some help and relief through some of my suggestions. I would have a very hard time if garlic triggered migraines for me as I use it in almost everything I cook, except desserts, lol. Keeping a diary to document foods/environmental issues/etc along with episodes of headaches really does help narrow it down. I will be interested to hear back from you whether you were able to find relief through some of this information. Please let me know.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  4. Travis Smithers says:

    Love reading about using natural remedies and your article has covered in detail about the problem of getting a migraine headaches.

    You talk about the problem and mention possible triggers and best of all instead of just saying about taking different forms of drugs you give advice for natural methods to deal with the problem.

    Great Post!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for your comment Travis. It’s important, not just to know about the triggers, but also to know what to do to identify them and, as you say, how to deal with the problem.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  5. netp says:

    Hi there, thank you for all that info, it’s been very interesting to read actually. I used to have some horrendous migraines – so bad, I literally could not move, I had to stay in bed in the dark until it went away, (often a couple of days). However, I also was having some digestive issues and I have various allergies. I actually gave up gluten as a key group of foods and I haven’t had a migraine since, (around two years or more ago). I didn’t see gluten or wheat on your list, do you think that could have caused it? Although I don’t get migraines, I do sometimes get very bad hangovers after just a couple of glasses of wine – maybe I could try out some herbal suggestions. Thanks!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, it could be the gluten (especially since removing gluten seems to have helped) or it could have been that you were not eating whole grains. It could even have been yeast. There are so many factors to consider. Wine is a fermented fruit so that might be an issue for you.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  6. Kevin says:

    Great website with very helpful information! I’m going to save your site under my favorites tab. Sometimes I get migraines in the afternoon that I can’t stand. I’m going to take advantage of the tips mentioned on your page. Thank you so much for creating this page! I’m going to watch my diet and try to start a regular exercise regiment. We will see what happens!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for sharing Kevin. Be sure to come back and let me know if you are able to identify what might be causing your migraines. I would be interested to hear about that.

      Blessings,

      Debby

  7. Heather Grace says:

    In my teens is suffered terribly from migraines. I don’t know what would trigger then but you have some very interesting possible sources. Margarines are just debilitating. There is no functioning for me when I get one. I rarely get them now as an adult but on the occasion that I do I am useless for basically the rest of the day. I have not heard of some of the herb you listed and will have to look into some. Anything I can do to help ease the pain! On the positive you gave me a great excuse not to workout too hard lol!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      LoL – thanks for the comment Heather. Regular exercise is important but too much at one time can trigger a response in the body that can be very unpleasant. Migraine headaches are a horrendous example of just that. Be sure to come back and let me know how you’re doing.

      Blessings,

      Debby

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