From our list of herbs and spices, the following are recommended for Migraine Headaches:
- Barberry Root
- Bay Leaf
- Brazilian Guarana
- Dong Quai
- Evening Primrose
- Ginger Root
- Green Tea
- Griffonia Seed
- Hawthorn Leaf
- Kola Nut
- Lemon Balm
- Passion Flower
- Peppermint Leaf
- Valerian Root
- White Willow Bark
- Wood Betony
Natural Cures and Remedies for Migraine Headaches
The exact cause of migraine headaches is uncertain. One theory is that migraine develops because the nervous system is vulnerable to sudden changes either within the body or in the environment; according to this reasoning, migraine sufferers have inherited a more sensitive nervous system response to such changes than people who are not prone to getting migraine headaches. During a migraine attack, changes in brain activity produce an inflammation of the blood vessels and nerves in and around the brain. Migraine medication may produce relief by quieting sensitive nerve pathways and reducing their inflammatory reactions.
Recent Serotonin research has led to the development of medications that are selectively designed to activate Serotonin’s activity (known as Serotonin agonists) or to block Serotonin’s action (known as Serotonin antagonists). The Serotonin receptors are numbered to label them according to their reaction to Serotonin stimulation. The Serotonin-!receptor, a specific receptor that is thought to be involved in migraine headaches, is found primarily in the cranial blood vessels and nerves. During a migraine attack, it is thought that the Serotonin level decreases, allowing blood vessels to dilate. This sequence causes surrounding tissues to swell, including the nerve endings that transmit impulses to the brain, which results in the throbbing pain of migraine. As migraine symptoms worsen, Serotonin levels decrease. Intracranial blood vessels dilate, resulting in a decrease in blood flow. Left alone, symptoms improve and the attack stops by the return of Serotonin synthesis.
Barberry Root, Bay Leaf, Brazilian Guarana, Butterbur, Catnip, Cayenne, Chamomile, Dong Quai, Evening Primrose, Feverfew, Ginger Root, Green Tea, Griffonia Seed, Hawthorn Leaf, Honeysuckle, Kola Nut, L-Arginine, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower, Peppermint Leaf, Valerian Root, White Willow Bark, Wintergreen, Wood Betony
If the pattern of migraine attacks suggests a sensitivity to stimuli or to triggers that can be easily avoided, modification of one’s lifestyle may be the best treatment. Steps that can be taken to increase resistance to migraine headaches include regular sleep patterns, a healthful diet and regularly scheduled mealtimes, regular exercise, smoking cessation, relaxation, and meditation. Supplemental 5-HTP can be beneficial in helping to establish good sleep habits, since it is also a precursor to melatonin and is thought to have even stronger sleep inducing characteristics than tryptophan has. If a change in eating habits also requires a reduction in food intake, 5-HTP supplements can help to reduce hunger. In the case of giving up smoking, 5-HTP may help reduce the withdrawal symptoms of anxiety, depression, and irritability.
The herb feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) was used in ancient Greece to treat headaches and, as the name indicates, fevers. It is currently approved as an over-the-counter product in Canada for the specific treatment of migraine headaches. Like other herbs, it is sold in the United States and other countries without a specific therapeutic claim.
Environmental triggers of migraine headaches include weather or temperature changes, glaring sunlight or the irritation of fluorescent lights, computer screens, strong odors, loud noises, vivid colors or other intense stimulation, and high altitude.
In Hippocrates’ day, the culprit that supposedly caused migraine headaches was considered to be an excess of yellow or black bile. Today, the evidence implicates Serotonin, changes in the size of blood vessels, and the activity of nerve fibers that relay sensory signals. Serotonin, as we’ve seen, has a broad spectrum of actions. It influences the tissues in which it is synthesized and stimulates and interacts with various types of receptors on individual target tissues.