Migraines refer to the condition characterized by severe headache on some specific parts of the head. Sometimes, migraine attacks also cause other symptoms, such as nausea, body pain and fever.
Though the medical world is yet to discover a complete cure for migraines, there are some powerful herbs that have been found to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of migraines to a great extent.
Best Herbs For Migraines
Isopetasin and petasin are the two most active components in butterbur. Both these components help in dilating blood vessels. The combined anti-inflammatory effect of petasin and isopetasin can be very effective in not only treating migraines but also in preventing such attacks. However, home-brewed extracts of butterbur should not be used because the plant also contains a toxic element called pyrrolizidine, which can be harmful.
The butterbur extracts sold in herbal food stores are filtered and do not contain pyrrolizidine. The general dosage recommendation is 75 mg of butterbur pill two times daily just after your regular meals on a full stomach.
Besides having anti-vomiting and anti-nausea properties, ginger is also an anti-inflammatory and has been found to be very useful in treating migraine. You can take 500-600 mg of ginger capsules as soon as you feel that a migraine attack is about to begin. It will provide you great relief within just half-an-hour. In fact, regular use of it also reduces the frequency of migraine attacks to a great extent. The best thing about ginger is that it is completely safe. Even children and pregnant women can use this herbal remedy. If you do not want to take ginger capsules, you can drink ginger tea (by steeping ginger root in one cup of boiling water for 20 minutes).
The main active component in willow bark is salicin, which carries similar properties as do the ingredients (mainly acetylsalicylic acid) used in aspirin. Willow bark has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. So, it does not just treat headache but also relieves body pain and fever that migraine attacks sometimes accompany.
Though the herb does not work as fast as ginger, its effects last longer. The dosage may vary from just 60 mg to 240 mg depending upon the severity of migraines and other related health factors. The use of standardized willow bark (easily available in most herbal stores) is safer and more effective. Those who are suffering from asthma, ulcers, gout and diabetes should avoid this herb, as it can cause gastrointestinal side effects to them.
Also known as bachelors button, feverfew contains parthenolide that has been found to be very effective in reducing inflammation. It also targets proteins in your body and acts on blood vessels, which eventually helps in relieving headaches and other discomforts caused by migraines. The general dosage recommendation is 50-80 mg once everyday. Feverfew, however, is not safe for nursing or pregnant women. Those who are taking anticoagulants should also avoid this herb.
Medically termed as Vinca Minor, periwinkle contains anti-inflammatory properties that keep the diameter of blood vessels within a healthy range. In addition to that, it also enhances the circulation of oxygen in your body, making sure that more and more oxygen reaches the brain.
To keep migraines attack away, it is important for the brain to get at least 10% of the total oxygen supply in your body. The dosage varies depending upon various factors.
Except ginger, all other herbs for migraines mentioned-above may carry some side effects, and therefore, must be taken only after consulting your doctor.