Migraines
Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Migraines

| Modified on Jan 10, 2024
Apple Cider Vinegar

Migraines are more than just headaches; they can be debilitating, affecting daily life. Understanding and using natural remedies for migraines is crucial for those seeking relief without relying solely on medications. This guide covers a range of natural treatments, including lesser-known herbs and supplements, to alleviate and prevent migraines.

Understanding Migraine Symptoms

Migraines typically manifest as intense head pain, often on one side, and can include neck pain, throbbing sensations, and sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. Visual disturbances, known as migraine aura, nausea, vomiting, and weakness, are also common.

Immediate Migraine Relief Methods

  • Hydration and Electrolytes: Drinking water with sea salt, cayenne pepper, or coconut water can restore hydration and electrolytes, which are crucial for migraine relief.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix two teaspoons in water for its alkalizing effect, which can alleviate migraine pain.
  • Essential Oils: Lavender and peppermint oils applied to temples and neck can provide immediate relief. Basil oil, inhaled from a cotton ball, is also effective.
  • Epsom Salt Bath: A warm bath with Epsom salt helps the body absorb magnesium, reducing migraine symptoms.
  • Rest: Resting in a dark, quiet room can lessen migraine severity.
  • Ice Pack: Applying an ice pack to the back of the neck can reduce pain.
  • Controlled Breathing: Breathing into a brown paper bag helps balance gas exchange in the body, which can benefit certain types of migraines.

Natural Preventative Strategies

Herbal Remedies:

  • Butterbur: Known for its efficacy in migraine prevention.
  • Feverfew: A daily dose can prevent migraines for many sufferers.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Its blood vessel dilation properties make it useful in both treating and preventing migraines.
  • Mullein: Known for its mild pain-relieving and relaxing properties.
  • Nettle Leaf: Highly nutritive and a blood purifier, it can benefit migraines linked to chronic conditions or poor health.

Dietary Management:

Identifying and avoiding migraine triggers in the diet, such as MSG, aspartame, aged cheese, and certain additives, is vital.

Supplements and Vitamins:

  • Magnesium: Often used to prevent migraines, especially for those with a deficiency.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Shown to reduce migraine frequency and severity.
  • Coenzyme Q10: This supplement can help reduce the frequency of migraines.

Lifestyle Adjustments:

  • Regular Sleep Patterns: Ensuring consistent and adequate sleep can prevent migraines.
  • Stress Management: Techniques like yoga, meditation, and regular exercise can reduce the frequency of stress-induced migraines.
  • Hydration: Regular consumption of water and herbal teas helps prevent dehydration-related migraines.

Understanding Migraine Triggers

Identifying personal triggers is crucial. Common triggers include certain foods, dehydration, hormonal fluctuations, environmental factors, and stress. Keeping a migraine diary can be a helpful tool in recognizing patterns.

Conclusion

While not all migraines can be prevented, combining these natural remedies and lifestyle changes can reduce their frequency and severity significantly. Individuals need to tailor these approaches to their specific needs and consult healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment regimen, especially when dealing with chronic conditions like migraines.

Related Links:

Effective Natural Headache Remedies: Holistic Relief
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Headaches or Migraines
Natural Treatments for Cluster Headaches




5-HTP

5 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  40%
1 star (3) 
  60%

Posted by Evelyn (Rhode Island) on 10/06/2016
★☆☆☆☆

I tried 5-HTP and I can't really say it worked for migraines. I did find that it caused a bit of sexual dysfunction (and this is a noted side effect). Since it didn't really seem to work, I stopped it.


5-HTP
Posted by Melissa (Phoenix, Az) on 09/16/2014
★☆☆☆☆

WARNING!

I was super excited about taking 5-htp, as I use Imitrex and from what I read 5-htp seemed pretty much like a natural Imitrex. Imitrex imitates serotonin and basically alters the body's pain reception for migraines. (or something to that effect).

5-htp is a precursor to serotonin, which means your body will take 5-htp, convert it to serotonin and it in theory will act like Imitrex. Though that's where the awesomeness ended for me.

I have a few major warnings for anyone interested in 5-htp:

1) You cannot use it if you are pregnant

2) You cannot use it with many anti-depressants

3) You cannot use it within about 24 hours before or after you use Imitrex. Both anti-depressants that increase serotonin and Imitrex that imitates serotonin used with 5-htp that creates even more serotonin can cause a serotonin overdose and can be fatal.

4) I did more research on it and it turns out that 5-htp is a chemical by-product of L-tryptophan, which is responsible for making serotonin in our bodies. They used to sell tryptophan supplements but after many people started developing eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, an incurable muscle and blood disease, from these supplements, as they were tainted, they banned the sale of tryptophan supplements in the US. (This happened mainly due to one large manufacturer going cheap, but who's to say this won't happen again with 5-htp??)

There have already been a few cases of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome being caused by 5-htp supplements to date and that got me thinking: "Is taking this 5-htp to hopefully have a cheaper more 'natural' form of Imitrex worth it?" I decided it wasn't worth it.

I just want to warn those who are thinking about taking 5-htp that just because it's natural doesn't make it safer, and just because they sell it doesn't mean it's guaranteed safe. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA and only get any attention once a lot of people get sick from it. Use the information we are given to make the best decision for you. I ended up finding that Mint essential oil works really well for me and with no serious side effects. (or any at all for me)

I hope this helps someone, it would have been nice to have this all written for me when I was researching it. :)

Replied by Bee
(New York, US)
09/17/2014

Melissa.. About 5HTP

I am also leary of 5 htp after doing research on it.. Actually the last doctor who I didn't like said I should take it for anxiety.. she also gave me a supplement with L lysine, 5 htp and folate and L tyrosine in it.. the 5htp is 150 miligrams.. I am a bit scared to take it as I have read good and not so good things with 5 htp.... I also meditate and use essential oils.. maybe just stick to that.. I also try and get sun and take vit.D..

Replied by Timh
(KY)
09/18/2014
2064 posts

Thanks for the post Melissa. Two items that need clarifying. One, like most all supplements or drugs there is a dose dependent factor which must always be considered. Generaly speaking, natural supplements are much, much more safer at even large doses than their counterpart pharmaceutical drugs at small doses. Way too many folks have left this world as a consequence of overdose of drugs.

Second, supplements are regulated by the FDA by the same standards as foodstuffs. Hospitals report any problems w/ bad food or supplements from sick patients the same as drug interaction or overdoses, and these reports are monitored for public safety. Also many or most supplement manufacturers are standardized and inspected by oversight companies like GMP which is overseen by the FDA as well as WHO. So yes, nutritional supplements ARE regulated for safety.

Replied by Ingrid
(Il)
02/20/2018

I take amino acids to treat my gene mutation, enzyme deficiencies in Fibromyalgia. Migraines are a common symptom of Fibro. But I would NEVER recommend an amino acid or a hormone (like 5-HTP or melatonin) unless it muscle tested well for that person. The only way to tell if the product is right for you, or is any good or even tainted, is through Applied Kinesiology/ muscle testing. I believe everyone should learn how to detect if one's body's BP spikes when stimulated by something. AK enables a person to do this. I Say...Learn AK!


5-HTP
Posted by Wendi (San Clemente, Ca) on 09/20/2012
★★★★★

I came across 5-HTP on my doctor's vitamin website. The description said that it was for Depression, Mood Swings, Sleeplessness, Headaches, etc. Since I have all those things, I decided to give it a try! Much to my delight, I found that my 25 year struggle with Gluten and Casein related migraines was suddenly over!! After suffering through years of debilitating migraines, that effectively put a damper on my Junior High, High School, College, and Marriage life. When I was 27ish, I finally figured out that if I removed gluten and cow-related dairy products from my diet, I no longer had migraines. This was great! Except, that gluten and casein are in EVERYTHING! This food allergy (food intolerance) discovery was a blessing in disguise, because now I eat fresh organic fruit and veggies and organic/grass-fed meat. No packaged meals or fastfood ever! But eating out or over at friends' houses was still causing me to lose days due to the migraines. 5-HTP literally changed my life! I started taking 100mg/day in the morning and noticed after a month that I could have little cheats in my diet and get away with them!

Currently I take 200 mg/day and can have a sandwich for lunch and cheesecake! (it's SO wrong, I know! ) I still try very hard to keep the gluten and casein out of my diet. Even though I can cheat and not have a migraine attack, I still can tell that my body feels wrong or icky when I have those foods. But it's SO nice to go from 10 migraines a month, down to 1, maybe 2 per month. I plan to cut back to 100mg/day because I know that there is differing opinions about how much is too much. Plus being able to eat whatever I want makes it very hard to stay gluten/casein free. I hope this post helps other people to realize that they may have food allergies/intolerances that they are unaware of yet.

Replied by Sandra
(Los Angeles, Ca)
01/21/2013

It sounds like you might have tyramine-triggered migraines, rather than simply a gluten/casein sensitivity. Check out the list of foods that contain tyramine. Glad the 5-HTP is working. I'm looking for something to help my aunt, who suffers from migraines probably due to tyramine.


5-HTP
Posted by Claus (Osaka) on 12/24/2010
★★★★★

I have had migraine problems for over 15 years. After I took 5-HTP once a day, not even 1 migraine. Of course there are many causes for migraines. But this might help someone.

Replied by Beth
(London, England)
08/02/2016
★☆☆☆☆

Gave it a fair trial. It did nothing

Replied by Dave
(Fountain Inn, Sc)
08/03/2016

Hello Beth,

Have you tried niacin (B-3) or the herb Feverfew? I have a video up on Earth Clinic that discusses migraines if you care to watch.

Beth
(London, England)
07/24/2020

Thank you, yes. I've tried both. Feverfew grows in my garden and I took it every day for years but the migraines only increased in frequency.


Acupressure

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Marie (Hawley, Pa) on 12/14/2018
★★★★★

I'm 68 in good health but still get migraines. I've had prescription medication for 20 years but sometimes it doesn't work. I tried the ice packs on the back of my neck for 2 hours and that helped. Then I pressed real hard on the top of my neck, both sides and my migraine was almost completely gone!


Acupressure, Garlic, Peppermint Tea

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Claudette (Houston, Tx) on 03/06/2008
★★★★★

For the lady who thinks she will quit having migraines when she gets 50.You can quit dreaming. I am 64 and have had migraines for years. I take Imitrex and sometimes when it is not available and I get one, I pinch my hand between the thumb and index finger. And garlic does help, I also drink peppermint tea with honey. Dairy products cause me to have migraines because of the thick mucus it causes at night.

Replied by Cat
(Spain)
02/18/2018

My mom's chronic hormonal migraines vanished definitively at menopause.

Replied by Marthe
(San Diego)
03/15/2018

I am 67 years old and started getting migraines about 5 years ago. My migraines are severe. Along with vomiting, I get diarrhea which actually helps relieve my headache. I also use cold compresses on my neck and apply pressure to my lower neck.

Replied by Mary
(Arcadia, Ca)
03/19/2018

Dear Marthe,

What your feeling maybe something bad your sickness reminds me when I had bad headaches. I would get just like you with the vomiting and diahrrea. One day I felt a huge bang in my head it was a BRAIN ANEURYSM. Then it burst and that is when I found out I had a BA. Please go check yourself with your doctor. Better to be safe than sorry!


Air Purifier

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Mary (Regina, Saskatchewan) on 04/17/2009
★★★★★

I bought my daughter a very good air purifier with multiple filtration system and it cut her migraines back to next to none from almost constant.


Alka Seltzer

6 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
  83%
3 star (1) 
  17%

Posted by Anitha (Dublin, Oh, Usa) on 06/11/2011
★★★★★

I have been a regular reader of this site and find the remedies very helpful. Thought I would add my remedy I stumbled upon by accident for migraine. Alka Seltzer, when taken before a full-blown migraine if you are someone that gets nausea during migraine helps relieve it. I have been suffereing from migraine for many years now and getting hold of ACV, baking soda etc is not always convenient. Trying to see if AC Gold without aspirin would have the same effect.

Replied by Sarah
(Dallas, Texas)
06/20/2012
★★★★★

Anitha, thank you. You are the only person I have known to confirm my experience. The very first migraine I ever had was unbearable. I couldn't sleep, and was throwing up. My husband came home, and brought me an Alka Seltzer original, in a glass of water. It gave me total and complete relief. No headache, no upset stomach, and I could sleep. My migraines have lessened in severity, over time, however. So my other favorite remedies for migraine are 1) a glass of whole milk with a chocolate bar, and 2) a pinch of cayenne pepper on the tip of my tongue for 30 seconds, followed by a glass of water.

Replied by Tiffany
(Texas)
05/03/2014
★★★★★

Alka Seltzer works for me if I catch the migraine early.

Replied by Misty
(San Antonio)
02/23/2017
★★★☆☆

Alka Seltzer reduced the headache only slightly but made the nausea worse.

Replied by LMF
(New York, USA)
08/15/2022
★★★★★

I too, use Alka-seltzer. I get the “Gold” one. It doesn't contain any aspirin and is potassium bicarbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate. It works well on migraine with nausea and ones that have an intense pounding feeling.

Bill
(Philippines)
08/15/2022
★★★★★

Hi LMF... It is incorrect to say that Alka-Seltzer Gold ingredients contains "potassium bicarbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate." The full list of ingredients for Alka-Seltzer Gold is shown below:

Anhydrous citric acid 1000 mg
Potassium bicarbonate 344 mg
Sodium bicarbonate (heat-treated)* 1050 mg

*When sodium bicarbonate is heat-treated it becomes sodium carbonate.

After the acid-base reaction between the citric acid and the bicarbonates when water is added, the drink then essentially contains sodium citrate and potassium citrate -- notably with the sodium citrate in much higher quantity than the potassium citrate.

This drink mixture of sodium citrate and potassium citrate is more or less in exactly the same amounts and proportions as advised in Ted from Bangkok's alkalizing sodium/potassium citrate remedies on EC. Except that his version is made with the bare ingredients, which is perhaps a much cheaper way of doing it than buying Alka-Seltzer Gold.


Almonds

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Sue (Ks) on 11/04/2015
★★★★★

About a month ago, I experienced a migraine that did not respond to my usual treatment (Excedrin Migraine) so I took a second dose even though the package said not to. I was still suffering and getting worried when I remembered having read about eating almonds to stop a migraine. I happened to have some and by the time I had eaten six of them, the migraine was completely gone! Last night, I got another migraine and took the Excedrin, but also ate about a dozen almonds, and the headache stopped within just a few minutes. I don't know what it is about almonds, but it worked for me.


Alternating Hot Cold Showers

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
  50%
1 star (1) 
  50%

Posted by April (Savannah, GA) on 01/14/2008
★☆☆☆☆

I stood in a freezing cold, icey shower for nearly 20 minutes with no relief. My migraines are debilitating, throbbing aches that stop me in my tracks. The cold felt good on my skin, but didn't help my pain.

Replied by David
(Atlanta, Ga)
05/10/2015
★★★★★

You need more than just a cold shower. You need to alternate hot and cold water over the affected areas of your head. I position myself in a way that the water only runs over my head and neck, and not the rest of my body. Too uncomfortable!!

I run the hot for about 1-2 minutes, and then turn the water to the coldest setting for about 30 seconds. Keep doing this, alternating between hot and cold, and eventually the shock will knock the headache out. Sometimes you may have to this up to a 1/2 hr. Other times it may only take a few minutes, depending on the severity of the Migraine.


Amalgam Fillings Removed

1 User Review
1 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Alison (Magherafelt, Northern Ireland) on 08/23/2009
★☆☆☆☆

I was 50 when I had my amalgam fillings removed. I did not see any benefit to having them removed and was later informed that once you have amalgam fillings it is best to keep them as having them removed causes a lot of mercury to be released into the body system. I chose to have them removed on the suggestion of an naturopath who I was attending because I suffered from migraine. Didn't help with migraines.

Replied by Zahid
(Leeds, West Yorkshire, Uk)
06/23/2011

My migraines started about 5 years ago and affected the right side of my head near the temple. At first I would get them several times a year but in the past two years they became a daily event. When my migraines started I was sensitive to light and noise. I would have to draw my curtains and get into bed. I would pass out at some point, waking up several hours later.

I too have amalgam fillings and having done some research on the net I figured I needed to remove my fillings. I was advised by my dentist to take Chlorella for a week prior to having the fillings removed and to continue for another week after removal of the fillings. However, an article I read on the internet suggested taking Chlorella for 3 months before and after removal of the fillings. I came across a free book online called

Superfoods For Optimum Health: Chlorella and Spirulina

by Mike Adams, the Consumer Wellness Research Center (chlorellafactor. Com). Google it!

I started on 2.5g Chlorella powder combined with 5g Spirulina powder (a ratio of 1:2 is advised) for 2 weeks (twice a day) to allow my body to get used to these superfoods. After the initial 2 weeks I increased the amounts to 5g Chlorella and 10g Spirulina and I having been taking that for the past 5 weeks (twice a day). To be completely honest I can't remember exactly when my migraines stopped. What a relief!

I purchased my Chlorella (1kg powder for £55, and Spirulina (1kg powder for £45) from Indigo-Herbs of Glastonbury in the UK.

I still intend to have my amalgams removed, but my priority now is to deal with my eczema (face and back of hands)

The introduction (extract) from the free online book reads as follows:

Some have called this book, "The most courageous voice yet... " on chlorella and spirulina. That's because inside this book, you'll get the astounding truth on how these two superfoods are far more than just "supplements" like vitamins and minerals: they are disease preventing and even reversing foods from nature that can actually help conquer cancer, nerve damage, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, clinical depression, and much more.

You probably haven't heard that before, and here's why: no company selling chlorella or spirulina is allowed to tell you the truth about it. That's because the FDA would consider such statements to be "medical claims. " So you never hear the real story on how these amazing superfoods can actually reverse serious diseases with no side effects and often without surgery, drugs, or other barbaric treatments like chemotherapy."


Apple Cider Vinegar

39 User Reviews
5 star (32) 
  82%
4 star (2) 
  5%
1 star (5) 
  13%

Posted by Flower's Mom (Pueblo of Acoma, NM) on 08/08/2019
★★★★★

ACV and honey for migraines.

The other day one of my co-workers was sitting at her desk with her head lowered, cupping her forehead in one hand and massaging her head and neck with the other. I asked her if she was all right and she said I have a migraine. So I logged in to see what Earth Clinic has posted for migraines and saw the remedy of 2 Tbsp. of ACV and 2 Tbsp. of raw honey in a glass of water.

I asked if she usually takes something for it and she said she takes Excedrin but that she did not have any with her. So I told her that my #1 resource for natural healing recommends ACV and honey in a glass of water and told her that I had both of them if she would like to try it. She looked up at me and said let's do it. I mixed it up and she drank it. About 20 or 30 minutes later another co-worker asked her how she was feeling and she said she felt a lot better! And for the rest of the day she was her usual bubbly self.

What is particularly interesting about this is that I work for a tribal government and these folks are Native Americans who, for the most part, have lost or forgotten the old ways, replacing them with medical services provided by the federal government through Indian Health Services. But many of them have witnessed my journey and have come to me for help for themselves and for their animals. They are re-discovering that Mother Nature has provided all that we need!

Thank you to all who post on this website, you are changing and saving lives! Flower's Mom


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Barbara (Aiken, South Carolina) on 02/28/2017 23 posts
★★★★★

I normally take four peppermint oil capsules for a headache and add white willow bark if it gets out of hand, but when I woke up yesterday with a migraine, nothing was really working. I took two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with the mother with a spoon by mouth and within about an hour, the pain was reduced. It eventually went away almost completely. I will now use the ACV sooner in the course of a bad headache.

Replied by Barbara
(Aiken, South Carolina)
03/30/2017
23 posts

Update: I awoke with a migraine headache and tried two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar by mouth first. Within about one and a half hours, the severity had been reduced from an 8 on a scale of 10 to about a 2. I must add that I also drank coffee, but I will be using the ACV first from now on.


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Tammy W. (Oakley, Ca, Usa) on 04/16/2013
★★★★★

Apple Cider Vinegar for migraines: A TRUE MIRACLE WORKER... ACV unpastuerized and Raw Honey has been a God sent. About 4 days ago I realized I forgot to get a refill for some anti depressants I have been taking for 2 1/2 yrs now for migraines and headaches. I needed to wait for my Dr. to approve the refill at the pharmacy which would have taken about 2 to 3 days. NOT GOOD. Anyone who is taking anti depressants know that you can not miss a day because the affects are horrific. As I was about to panic, I remembered Earth Clinic. The first day without my pills I was having a terrible migraine which I expected. I drank 2 tbsp ACV unpastuerized, 2 tbsp raw honey and 8 ounces of water (I warmed the water first, before I added the Apple Cider Vinegar and honey) Because my migraines are extemely bad I had to drink this MAGIC POTION 3 times in 2 to 3 hour increments. After the 3rd drink my migraine was gone completely. For the past 3 days I have been drinking this potion 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and before I go to bed. I began to feel a slight headache yesterday because I was feeling soooo good that I thought my migraines were gone for good (silly me) and I was experiencing an increase of energy that I have not felt in years so I did not drink the potion for lunch and I began I feel a slight headache getting worse quickly. I made the potion and I could feel the headache go away within 15 to 30 minutes. I drank the potion this morning and lunch so far no headache. I will be drinking it again before I go to bed. I will be my new drink for many years to come... I say this drink is a true miracle worker.


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Marie (Morrison, Tn) on 12/13/2012
★★★★★

I used apple cider vinegar for my migraine the other day. I had the eye problem first (auras) and then the migraine begins. But about 20 minutes into the aura phenomenon, I came on here and saw the ACV recommendation and did it. My migraine never really had a chance to begin. I felt a little pressure all day, just a little. I drank the ACV (2 tbsp in a glass of water), throughout the day and was just fine!



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