In the UK, it is estimated that 6 million people suffer from migraine headaches. If you’re among them, you’ll understand just how debilitating the condition can be. There’s no cure or quick fix, however, certain steps can be taken to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Here at To Better Days, we’re strong advocates of managing pain naturally, and fortunately, there are various home remedies for migraines, which feature familiar herbs, spices, vitamins and minerals. Here are our top six.
Magnesium is an important and abundant mineral within the human body. Most notably, it helps with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system.
Evidence suggests that migraine sufferers experience lowered levels of ionised magnesium during attacks and, on top of this, may also have a magnesium deficiency. As part of one study, migraine patients received either an oral magnesium supplement or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Towards the end of this period, the attack frequency was reduced by 41.6% in the magnesium group, compared to 15.8% in the placebo group.
While dietary supplements and multivitamins can provide an essential boost, it’s also a good idea to incorporate magnesium into your diet with magnesium-rich foods. Spinach, pumpkin or squash seeds, lima beans, tuna and brown rice are just a few examples.
If you’re thinking of how to get rid of a migraine naturally, ginger could be the answer. Bursting with antioxidants, this well-known spice has infinite health benefits, from relieving indigestion and fighting bacterial infections to easing arthritis pain.
Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory. Some people find it beneficial in preventing migraines and alleviating the common symptoms, particularly nausea. The National Headache Foundation (NHF) cites an anecdote of a woman who took 500 to 600 milligrams of powdered ginger in water at the first sign of a migraine, and relief came within just 30 minutes. After a few days, she began eating raw ginger and went on to report fewer and less intense migraine attacks.
Ginger is a safe, accessible and inexpensive home remedy that can be utilised in many different ways. You can eat it raw; use it as a tasty, versatile cooking ingredient in a host of recipes; drink it as a juice, smoothie, tea or ginger ale; apply it to your forehead and temples as an essential oil or even whip up a natural ginger root face mask.
Another soothing herbal remedy to explore is chamomile, which can be found within tea or as an essential oil. Renowned for its calming properties, it has been used for centuries to support many facets of our mental and physical health. Not only does chamomile work to reduce inflammation, but it is also widely believed to lower stress and anxiety, which as we know, are contributing factors to migraine headaches.
While there’s not a huge amount of research linking chamomile to migraine treatment, it is 100% natural, with no unpleasant side effects. If you find that migraines are disrupting your sleep, this remedy could be the one for you. Chamomile tea is rich in an antioxidant called apigenin, which has a sedative effect, helping us drift off into a peaceful, steady slumber!
You need riboflavin, also known as vitamin b2, to remain healthy. It functions by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and plays an essential role in keeping energy production running smoothly. The vitamin naturally occurs in some foods – mostly grains, plants and dairy products – and is also available as a dietary supplement.
It appears that vitamin b2 can work to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, but you need much more than what you’d typically get from your diet – 400 milligrams per day, to be precise, according to one study. So far, there have only been a few clinical trials, and, as is the case with all of our natural home remedies for migraines, further research is required.
Some of the top sources of vitamin b2 include lean meats, liver, eggs, milk, cheese, almonds and mushrooms. The list is extensive. It’s important to note that because the vitamin is water-soluble, cooking the foods can cause it to be lost.
Another compound with similar preventative properties is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). It can be found in oily fish, such as tuna and salmon, liver and whole grains, as well as nutritional supplements.
Emerging research suggests that vitamin D, which is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, is beneficial to some migraine sufferers – especially those with a vitamin D deficiency – in helping to reduce the frequency of headaches.
So, why is it called the sunshine vitamin? Well, vitamin D is produced in the skin when you’re exposed to the sun. Once synthesised, it is converted into an active hormone, which circulates through the bloodstream and binds to vitamin D receptors in the brain. This is thought to regulate the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities help to protect your brain from oxidative stress, which, according to some experts, prevents migraines.
If you suffer from tiredness, vague aches and pains, and muscle weakness, you may have a vitamin D deficiency. Once diagnosed, your doctor will likely recommend supplements. Thankfully, vitamin D is a key ingredient in To Better Days active patches, an all-natural, targeted solution that alleviates pain in as little as 30 minutes.
We’re all familiar with the beautiful, fragrant purple perennial herb that is lavender, but what is lavender oil? Well, lavender oil is a type of essential oil, and essential oils are found in the bark, stem, flowers, rind and resin of plants. They work as alternative medicines to support health and wellbeing and are generally used aromatically – by just smelling the aroma.
Several recent studies concluded that the inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment for the acute management of migraine headaches. As well as boasting anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, lavender oil is believed to promote relaxation, which could be especially helpful if your migraines are triggered by stress.
So, now you know some of our favourite home and herbal remedies for migraines, you can begin to incorporate them into your lifestyle. These alternative treatments can be tried independently or in conjunction with your migraine medication and other therapies. Who knows – magnesium, feverfew, ginger, vitamin b2 or lavender oil could be the natural game-changer you’ve been looking for to prevent and manage your migraines!
Do you have any of your own natural home remedies for migraines? If you’d like to share them or have any other insights on the topic, please get in touch via our Facebook community page Together For Better Days.