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Herbs for Migraines: Can Ginger Ease Migraine Pain?

Herbs for Migraines: Can Ginger Ease Migraine Pain?

Unlike ordinary headaches, migraine attacks can incapacitate a person to the point where they cannot perform their daily activities. What makes migraines even more complicated is that they may last for 4 to 72 hours. Moreover, taking pain relievers for too long may result in adverse effects, such as rebound headaches, ulcers, and even gastrointestinal bleeding1. For this reason, many people look into potential herbs for migraines.

Ginger

If you’re looking for herbs for migraines, look no further than your kitchen.

One study concluded that the effect of ginger is comparable to that of sumatriptan, a common migraine medication. Furthermore, the researchers said ginger has fewer side effects than sumatriptan2.

You can take fresh or dried ginger root or brew some tea. Alternatively, you can talk to your doctor about commercially available ginger supplements.

Lavender

For acute management of migraine attacks, consider inhaling lavender oil.

A team of researchers invited 42 participants with a definite migraine diagnosis. One group inhaled liquid paraffin while the other inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes. Results showed that lavender oil may be a safe and effective treatment modality for acute attacks3.

As the participants did in the study, you can also consider inhaling lavender essential oil. Alternatively, you can also apply some undiluted oil to your temples. Using undiluted essential oil may irritate your skin.

Valerian

Although it’s not a common plant in the Philippines, we will still include valerian as one of the herbs for migraines.

Valerian is a popular herb for people with insomnia, but one report noted that this herb also reduces the duration, frequency, and intensity of migraine headaches. The report even deemed it “a potential alternative to common migraine medications4.

Because valerian is not a native to the country, the easiest way to obtain it is through supplements or teas. Please note that supplements and teas containing valerian often come with other ingredients that help with insomnia.

More importantly, valerian may not be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It may also interact with triptans, a class of prescription medications used in treating migraines.

Peppermint

We need further information on the link between peppermint and migraine attacks. For now, though, we’ll consider peppermint as one of the herbs for migraines because of menthol, its active component.

Research involving 35 patients and more than 100 migraine attacks noted that the topical application of 10% menthol to the temples and forehead helps relieve migraine pain and nausea5.

There are peppermint teas available in the market, but since the study involves topical application, you might want to consider using peppermint essential oils instead.

Reminders on Herbs for Migraines

These herbs for migraines may be safe for the general public, seeing that they are available as essential oils or over-the-counter supplements. Still, it’s advisable to check in with your doctor first before using them.

Consultation is a must if you have an underlying health condition or are taking other medicines. Remember that herbs may also have side effects and interact with medicines.

Other Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief

While it’s tempting to rely on herbs for migraines, don’t forget that there are other natural remedies worth trying. They include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Regular exercise
  • Consistent sleeping and eating habits

Alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, meditation, and yoga might also help with migraine pain and prevention.

Finally, be mindful of triggers. If you’re aware that some things increase your risk of migraine attacks, it’s best to steer clear of them.

Key Takeaways

Due to their possible adverse reactions, some people refrain from taking pain relievers. Instead, they look into herbs for migraines, like ginger, lavender, valerian, and peppermint.

Before using herbal medicines for migraines, however, please check in with your doctor first, especially if you have an underlying condition or are taking medicines.

Learn more about Headaches and Migraines here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Migraine, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20360207, October 18, 2021

2 Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23657930/, October 18, 2021

3 Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22517298/, October 18, 2021

4 Effect of valerian capsules in patients with migraine attacks treated with sodium valproate: a randomized clinical trial, http://journal.skums.ac.ir/article-1-1775-en.html, October 18, 2021

5 Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an abortive treatment of migraine without aura: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossed-over study, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20456191/, October 18, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Oct 19
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran