If you've ever experienced a migraine before, you'll know that it's a pain–both literally and figuratively. Whether the pain is pulsating, splitting, or downright all-encompassing, migraines can wreak havoc on your life, especially since they're often accompanied by debilitating symptoms including vomiting, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity. Worse still, a migraine can seem like a headache on steroids. Migraines can last for as long as 72 hours to a week (1)! Imagine the pain. Is it any wonder why migraine sufferers are always on a quest for migraine relief?
Unfortunately, while many over-the-counter (OTC) medications–such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen (Tylenol)–can be used to treat a migraine once it occurs, the regular, long-term use of these drugs can cause what’s known as medication overuse headache (2). This is commonly defined as a secondary headache (i.e. the worsening of the primary migraine condition) owing to the overuse of pain-relieving medications (3). The irony! So–what can you do for some sweet relief? Thankfully, homeopathic remedies (aka drug-free treatment options) for migraines are available. Continue reading to find out the 6 natural foods that can get rid of your migraine naturally.
What are Migraines?
A migraine is a neurological condition frequently characterized by intense, debilitating headaches. It has been widely described as intense, pulsing, or throbbing pain in the head. As mentioned earlier, the condition typically causes multiple symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines often run in families and can affect all ages. They also tend to fluctuate in frequency and severity throughout a person’s life.
What Causes Migraines?
While researchers still haven’t identified a definitive cause for migraines, they have proposed several contributing factors that can trigger the condition (4, 5, 6). This includes changes in neurotransmitters (like serotonin) and the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve. To put it simply, migraine experts believe that the condition is related to neurological abnormalities.
Stages of Migraine
Interestingly enough, it appears that a migraine has four distinct stages (7). The prodrome stage occurs a few days before the onset of the headache and can include yawning, constipation, food cravings, and neck stiffness. There is also the aura stage, which typically lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. It is associated with physical sensations like numbness in the face or one side of the body, seeing bright spots or flashes of lights, and difficulty speaking and uncontrollable jerking.
Next comes the attack stage, which can last from 4 to 72 hours. The attack stage is usually marked by pain, sensitivity to light, touch, smell and sound, and nausea and vomiting. Finally, the migraine concludes with the post-drome stage, which can leave you feeling tired and confused for the day. That said, note that not everyone experiences all four of these phases. You might get one, all, or a combination of the stages, and the combination of phases can vary from attack to attack.
Homeopathic Remedies for Migraines
If reading about migraines' stages has put some terrible flashbacks of your last migraine in your mind, don't worry. The following section outlines how to get rid of a migraine naturally, so you know what to do the next time the all-too-familiar pounding creeps up on you.
#1 – Feverfew Tea
By now, you must know that drinking tea is good for your health. Many studies show that tea contains health-promoting substances (i.e. polyphenols) linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (8, 9, 10). And if you needed more reason to add tea into your lifestyle, here it is. It appears that drinking a warm cup of tea may provide relief from the incessant throbbing pain in your head.
To be more specific, the herbal tea you should choose is called feverfew tea, which has been shown to be the best tea for pain-relief from migraines. Many studies highlight feverfew–an herb used for medicinal purposes around the globe–as an effective treatment for migraines (11). It's crucial to note that pregnant women should avoid feverfew; the herb may induce premature labor.
#2 – Ginger
Ginger is not only a fragrant, tasty addition to your dishes but is also a natural remedy for migraines. That’s because this spicy, aromatic root contains chemical compounds–such as gingerols and shogaols–that exert anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects (12, 13). These compounds have also been shown to help relieve nausea, arguably the most uncomfortable symptom (right after pain) associated with migraine attacks (14). Ginger can also stabilize serotonin levels: the neurotransmitter thought to cause migraines.
Impressively, a 2014 study found that the consumption of 250 mg of ginger powder supplement decreased migraine symptoms just as well as the prescription drug, Sumatriptan (15). If you're not a big fan of chewing ginger whole, ginger tea is also a viable natural remedy for migraines.
#3 – Turmeric
Turmeric–the deep golden spice which gives curry its yellow color–has been shown to be a viable adjunct therapy for the treatment of migraines. And it’s all because of an active component found within: curcumin. According to a 2019 study, migraine sufferers who took a combination of curcumin and coenzyme Q10 supplements reported a reduction in headache frequency, severity, and duration (16).
Similarly, a study conducted in 2018 found that individuals who supplement with curcumin experienced fewer and less severe migraine attacks over two months than they usually did (17). The beneficial effects of turmeric on migraines can be traced back to curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
#4 – Apple cider vinegar
If you’ve been keeping up with health articles, apple cider vinegar's various healthful properties, including its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, will be no surprise to you. However, what might be a surprise is that apple cider vinegar can be a treatment option for migraines. That's because research shows it can help regulate blood sugar spikes, which is known to be a common trigger for migraines (18). This do-it-all also has plenty of potassium, which could potentially help prevent migraines. So–you know what to reach out for the next time you’re dealing with a pesky migraine!
#5 – Grape juice
Grape juice might just be the tastiest homeopathy for migraines. Now, you might be wondering… Why is grape juice so effective for migraines? Well, it can all be traced back to the healthful compounds found in grapes–vitamins C, A, B2, as well as other antioxidants–which have been found to play a role in preventing the onset of migraines (19, 20). Just note that you shouldn’t buy regular grape juice from the supermarket as it’s processed and likely stripped of its beneficial compounds. It's probably also high in added sugar. To harness grape juice’s benefits, make sure you purchase organic 100% grape juice or make your own from grapes.
#6 – Medicinal Cannabis
Even though research on the use of cannabidiol (CBD)–derived from any of the cannabis types, Indica or Sativa–for migraines is in its early stages, several studies have already suggested that it may help all forms of chronic and acute pain. That includes migraine (21). While the mechanisms of CBD on the body aren’t fully understood, researchers believe that CBD works by preventing the body from metabolizing anandamide, which is associated with pain regulation. In other words, CBD can reduce your feelings of pain.
Overall, research indicates that the side effects of CBD and CBD oil are minimal. Still, you may experience fatigue, drowsiness, and an upset stomach. As there still aren't any formal guidelines for proper dosing of CBD for migraines, consider working with a medical doctor to determine what's suitable for you.
Be Careful When Trying Homeopathy for Migraines
Google "homeopathic remedies for migraines" and you'll undoubtedly run into a long list of supposed au naturale treatments for your splitting headache. While many of them do work and are backed up with scientific evidence, keep in mind that many don't as well.
Worse still, these remedies could harm your health–and one example would be the lemon juice and salt ‘remedy’ for migraine. It’s been claimed to work as salt supposedly reverses dehydration, which is a known migraine trigger. Sadly, though, consuming salt without drinking sufficient fluids can cause an unhealthy buildup of sodium, which can ironically dehydrate you instead (22, 23). Worse still, lemon juice can cause damage to dental enamel if it isn't appropriately diluted (24). Hopefully, you should now understand why you should be extra careful when trying out natural remedies for migraines.
Still struggling with frequent migraines despite the above homeopathy for migraines? You may need to pay extra attention to your migraine triggers–and avoid them. Things to look out for include changes in sleep-wake patterns, alcohol, food additives, hormonal changes, sensory stimuli, and even stress. However, if you're in doubt about your migraine triggers, a visit to the doctor may be necessary. A medical expert can talk to you about your personal health history to not only see if there's anything to be worried about, but also to figure out your migraine triggers.