If your migraines are frequent and severe enough, your doctor may prescribe medication to stop attacks. However, if you prefer a more natural approach, you may be reluctant to take prescription meds — for good reason. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause harmful side effects. Thankfully, there are safer ways to treat migraine pain. So, the next time a migraine sneaks up on you, don’t reach for a pill, reach for a glass, instead.
1. Ginger tea
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat nausea and even migraines. Since nausea and vomiting often accompany migraines, ginger may be helpful for stomach upset. In 2014, a study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research explored ginger for migraine relief. Researchers found that ginger was just as effective as Sumatriptan, a medication used to treat migraines and cluster headaches.
Ginger is safe when used in reasonable amounts, and is definitely worth a try as an inexpensive and simple remedy for migraine pain. To make ginger tea, take a piece of whole, unpeeled ginger root and grate one heaping teaspoon full. Stir the ginger into a cup of hot water, and allow it to steep for two minutes. Add one teaspoon of raw honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste.
In large amounts, caffeine can be the culprit behind a migraine. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine in small amounts can actually relieve migraine pain in the early stages. It can also enhance the pain-reducing effects of acetaminophen and aspirin. Just be careful not to overdo it on caffeine, because too much can lead to withdrawal headaches later on.
3. Feverfew tea
Native to southeastern Europe, feverfew is widespread throughout Europe, North America and Australia. It’s a short perennial that blooms between July and October, and has been used to treat headaches for centuries. The active ingredient in feverfew is parthenolide, which has anti-inflammatory and vessel-widening effects. Parthenolide helps relieve muscle spasms and prevent blood vessels in the brain from constricting.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, feverfew was popularized in the 1980s as a treatment for migraines. A survey of 270 people with migraines in Great Britain found that more than 70 percent of them felt better after taking fresh feverfew leaves daily. For migraine relief, purchase dried feverfew leaves. Steep one tablespoon or two to three dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey if desired.
4. Cayenne pepper in warm water
Cayenne has powerful pain-relieving properties, thanks to the compound in cayenne that makes it spicy. Research suggests that cayenne reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. Less substance P means pain messages no longer reach the brain. According to research in the New York Times, an early study out of the University of Chicago found that capsaicin seemed to work better than placebos for headaches occurring in clusters, especially when applied topically. However, drinking cayenne may also help. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon in hot water the next time you feel a migraine sneaking up on you.
5. Water, lemon and Himalayan salt
This may seem like an odd combination, but some migraine sufferers swear by this remedy. Water is the key to staying hydrated, and it’s especially important when suffering from a migraine. When you aren’t getting enough water, your body sends messages — like headaches — to let you know it’s time to replenish your body.
Adding pink Himalayan salt to your water boosts electrolytes, minerals and other elements such as calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, iodine and iron. These minerals and electrolytes support hydration, improve circulation and work to eliminate toxins. The lemon juice provides palatability and vitamin C, which also helps eliminate toxins. So the next time you feel a migraine or a headache coming on, try this simple remedy.
- 2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup water
- Add sea salt and lemon juice to water.
- Mix well and drink.
6. Peppermint tea
Peppermint, another ancient remedy, has been long used to soothe an upset or nauseous stomach by relaxing nerves and muscle spasm in the gut. An upset stomach is common during a migraine attack, and the gut and brain are intimately connected. According to Migraine.com, the calming and numbing effect of peppermint is thought to be helpful for people who suffer from migraines. Some studies suggest that applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples serves as a natural medication for a migraine. Soothing the stomach with peppermint tea may also help relieve symptoms of a migraine.
7. Pure raw grape juice
Drinking grape juice in its raw form — without water or any added sugar — is thought to be one of the most effective ways to treat migraines. If you have a good quality juicer then go ahead and juice your own organic grapes to retain nutrients, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Juicing your own grape juice also assures that you’re treating your migraine without preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings, not to mention, additives and other toxic chemicals.
What causes migraines?
There is no known cause for a migraine, although most people who are susceptible to migraines are genetically predisposed to them. If you suffer from migraines, there are certain warning signs that commonly occur. They include an intense pulsing or throbbing sensation behind the eye or somewhere else around the head. It’s often accompanied by symptoms of dizziness, nausea, vomiting and high sensitivity to light and sound. Sometimes they can last for days, and are occasionally preceded by sensations like flashes of light or tingling in the limbs.
One of the best migraine prevention diets is one that is filled with whole, fresh, organic and unprocessed foods. Incorporating a natural diet is the foundation for eliminating many of the toxic chemicals that trigger migraines.
— Katherine Marko