Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Migraines

Breathe Into a Brown Paper Bag

7 User Reviews
5 star (7) 

Posted by Homebaked (United Kingdom) on 04/29/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Had a migraine that was escalating and a search for remedies brought up breathing into a paper bag. I was sceptical but willing to give it a shot. I added a drop of peppermint essential oil to the bag and did 20 mins of breathing. And it worked! Didn't cure it, but there was an 80% improvement in pain & other symptoms. Definitely worth trying.

Breathe Into a Brown Paper Bag
Posted by Brett (Ca) on 09/03/2018
5 out of 5 stars

My doctor showed me an article in the NJOM years ago about bag breathing for migraines. This has changed my life and made me functional when otherwise I might be a mess.

Breathe Into a Brown Paper Bag
Posted by Myrtle (Fayetteville) on 02/06/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I get migraines on stressful days. I had one last week that lasted for 2 days and I tried so many natural remedies and couldn't shake it. I checked to see what I hadn't tried yet at Earth Clinic. "Breathe into a Brown Paper Bag."

That seemed rather a long shot. Way too simple. But I was desperate.

I got a brown paper bag and breathed into it (sealing it up around my mouth.) I did this for maybe 10-15 minutes. I also used an ice pack on my neck.

My migraine began to lift. The next day it tried to return and I used the brown paper bag for 15 minutes a couple of times a day. I dropped one drop of basil essential oil into the bag to breathe since that may help a migraine.

The next day my head was completely clear with no "it may start any minute feeling."

I am taking feverfew now to see if I can prevent them.

I wonder if I am hyperventilating, mildly, when stressed and this is bringing on the migraines, which is why the paper bag is helping to get my CO2 levels back to normal.

Breathe Into a Brown Paper Bag
Posted by Russ (Los Angeles, California, USA) on 01/10/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I myself do not suffer from migraine headaches, but I heard a lady on the radio who does. She said this method works every time for her. As soon as you feel a migraine coming on, take a brown paper bag and breathe into it (hold it against your face so that very little outside air gets in). Keep the bag in place for 10, 15 or even 20 minutes. If a paper bag is not available, you can use a plastic bag, but since it doesn't "breathe," you'll need to take a few breaths outside the bag periodically. She said it will seem like nothing is happening, but the migraine will not develop. By the way, her husband is an emergency room doctor and she learned this method from him.

Replied by Makayla
(Knoxville, Tn)

This works! When I feel a migraine coming on, I do a variation where I lay down and breathe through my bed sheets. It increases the CO2 in your bloodstream, which in turn dilates your blood vessels.

I've read, and confirmed, that it only works when you do it during your aura. If you do it when the actual headache pain hits, it can make it worse.

Replied by Brett
(Los Angeles, Ca)
5 out of 5 stars

I have done this now for a few Months ever since my Doctor explain why it work. Migraines are a swelling of the brain. CO2 make the blood vesels constrict causing the flow of blood to slow down. It works almost every time if I do it soon enough.

Replied by Carrie
(California, US)
5 out of 5 stars

It works! My 12 year old daughter just tried this and shockingly IT WORKED! 10 minutes in and the pain was subsiding. 15 minutes in and the pain is nearly gone!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Ani (ontario, canada) on 07/14/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I was reading your migrane section today because i just got over my first real migrane and wanted to educate myself on home remedies in case i ever get another one. In any case I ready the butterbur cure and remember a customer of mine telling me that she had suffered from weekly migranes until her doctor told her about Butterbur. She said it relieved her migranes significantly and she now leads a normal mostly migrane free life. Thought i'd pass it on."

Francoise from Los Angeles, CA sent us this remedy for migraines which she found on the internet. Like us, you've probably never heard of this product!

Here it is: "Don't like the thought of taking strong prescription medications for migraine headaches? Consider trying butterbur (Petasites hybridus). This herb is native to Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia, and has been used for centuries as an effective remedy for headaches, back pain and asthma. Recent studies suggest migraine sufferers may benefit from butterbur's actions - reducing inflammation and spasms in blood-vessel walls - without experiencing the side effects associated with prescription medications (except some burping). A study published in Neurology, Dec. 28, 2004, reported that after four months, people taking 75 mg of butterbur daily for migraines had 48 percent fewer migraine attacks per month - similar to the effects of prescription migraine drugs. Be very careful about the butterbur you purchase - only use butterbur extracts that are guaranteed to be free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The adult dosage ranges from 50-100 mg twice daily, and should be taken with meals.


9 User Reviews
5 star (8) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by C. (Charlotte) on 03/13/2015
4 out of 5 stars

Note: I got my first migraine at age 31, after

I get migraines less often since I've modified my diet. However, I can't control exposure to odors, changes in weather, etc. :( Slight headache noticed yesterday upon waking.

The headache progressed to full blown migraine several hours later, with nausea, upset stomach, sensitivity to light and sound. I tried ACV in water, baking soda in water (for the nausea), homeopathic remedies, peppermint tea. Nothing helped.

In the wee hours of this morning I had two separate episodes of vomiting, throwing up at least three times during each episode. I also had several good bowel movements (maybe brought on by the baking soda/water mixture). I felt a little better after the bowel movements and vomiting but my stomach still felt queasy. Finally tried to sleep around 4 a.m. I couldn't get comfortable enough for a deep sleep but dozed for approximately 10.5 hours. My headache lingered and eventually came back full force behind my left eye.

So I decided to try the cayenne pepper. I mixed about 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of warm water with a little honey (not enough to really sweeten). That was a few hours ago. My headache has dulled to a 2 from "off the charts". I'm warming more water and will drink a second dose as soon as the water is warm enough.

What I would like to mention, as we Earth Clinic "regulars" already know, everything doesn't work for everyone.

And what I have found with my migraines is that the same remedies don't seem to work for me each time.

Thankfully, the cayenne worked for me this time. I hope this information is useful to someone else. Be blessed!

Posted by Tiffany (Philly, US) on 02/03/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I would like people to know of the miracle of cayenne pepper. My chronic headache which would spike into migraine has been eliminated by taking 2 capsules of cayenne pepper after breakfast. The results are immediate and lasting. I also take magnesium at night which has helped greatly. The cayenne, however, not only stops pain but gives you such a boost that the need for coffee is gone. I tried the pepper mixed in water but it made me nauseous. The capsules are convenient and easier to get down. PLEASE try this simple remedy if you have suffered from lifelong headaches. You may be really pleased and surprised.

Replied by Fenix
(Vancouver, Bc)

I'm curious how immediate is "immediate" with cayenne capsules? I'd imagine that having to digest and break down the capsule barrier would slow it down considerably compared to taking cayenne directly, but is it not much of a difference or a very noticeable delay? This may seem like a silly question, as if I'd never taken a capsule before in my life! However I don't generally tend to observe the exact timing required for capsules to take effect, nor do I have experience with taking cayenne capsules myself, so have no idea if different herbs or supplements tend to have different variables involved... such as if cayenne is so "hot and active" that it can "eat through" a capsule faster than, say, another herb, when in the warm, internal environment of the body (I realize I could be over-thinking this and grasping at straws that have no real, logical basis as I ponder the possibilities with this issue).

I ask about the speed of ingestion/absorption into the bloodstream for a very different reason actually, as I'm a bit concerned that I may possibly be a candidate for heart issues, or possibly even stroke. And though I don't believe I'm in serious danger, it's been at the back of my mind to keep an emergency dose of cayenne on hand with me at all times (or whenever possible) and tell those who're close to me about its ability to stop a heart attack or stroke in its tracks. I make jewellery, so I've been considering making a pendant to wear on a necklace... along the lines of a slim stainless steel, waterproof, pill container that I can pour cayenne pepper sauce into, as it seems the easiest to administer in the event of an emergency, whether I have the capability to self-administer it myself, or whether it be someone else helping me (if anything should ever happen then hopefully I won't be alone! ). I've also considered using a glass vial type of pendant, but they tend to hold less liquid while the stainless steel seems more durable and functional, with a larger capacity.

However seeing your comment makes me wonder if cayenne in capsule form might be more practical for this purpose, since keeping liquid in a vial and periodically having to replace it to keep it fresh seems like messy, fussy business for something that's only meant to be an insurance measure of sorts. Capsule-form seems rather handy, but if it doesn't act fast enough to stop any attack in progress then it'd defeat the purpose. Any feedback or advice on this matter would be great (including if this seems like a ridiculous idea... though I'm not sure I'd be easily deterred as I see no harm in wearing a pendant that could potentially safe my life or someone else's... especially since I wear chunky jewelry anyways and can even make it look nice! )

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Felix,

Our experience is that cayenne pepper or other herbs in capsules (when I make my own using NOW brand empty capsules) is that you begin to taste the herb in under ten minutes. Maybe even faster. (Taste, as in you taste it if you burp.)

If you are using cayenne as a rescue remedy for a heart issue (while waiting for further help) you want the cayenne to get into the blood stream as fast as possible and may not have minutes to wait while the capsule dissolves. If you have with you cayenne capsules, you could always empty them into water and drink it down. Not pleasant but, as my mother in law would say, "It beats the alternative! " Also, Herbalist Dr. Christopher recommended an entire teaspoon in the event of a heart attack/stroke. That would be 4-5 capsules.

Hope this helps!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Fenix
(Vancouver, Bc)

Mama, thank you for your insight!

Posted by Elaine (Paso Robles, California) on 01/23/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I've had migraines for years. Usually ibuprofen and sleeping helps. This time it lasted over 4 days and nothing worked. I tried ACV: no results, I went on a 3 mile brisk walk: no results. On the fifth day I tried the cayenne... It's a miracle cure, the migraine subsided within minutes! A couple of hours later, I thought it was coming back so I made a cocktail of 1 cup hot water, a squeeze of lemon, a few drops of honey and a tsp of cayenne, and again it worked instantly. THANK YOU!

Posted by Healyourself (Smyrna, Ga, Usa) on 05/29/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I had been out of commission for several hours with a full blown migraine when I was having my boyfriend read earthclinic looking for something new to try. I decided on drinking cayenne and knew the honey couldn't hurt and would make it eaiser to drink. So I warmed a cup of water 20 secs, then added 1/2 tspn of cayenne and a long squirt of honey. Drank it down all at once with a straw, then several gulps of cold water.... In 15 mins I was 80% better. Did it 5 more times over the next day and a half. Just one may not make it stay away, but it was amazing. Definitely worth trying for a headache or migraine. I will be using this method again, for sure.

Posted by Debbie (Melbourne, Australia) on 06/18/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I had a migraine coming on yesterday.. It was getting a bad enough to need something for it... I could feel the pulsating vein in the side of my head. I decided to try cayenne pepper to see if I could stop it.

Last time I drank the cayenne mixed with hot water and I did feel a bit sick afterward so I decided to try something different.

I grabbed a pinch of cayenne and put it directly under my tongue and left it there. I thought I felt pretty quick relief as the pulsating vein seemed to be less noticeable, but the pain was still there. I added a pinch of cayenne a few more times under my tongue, swallowing the excess cayenne along the way. Doesn't taste too good but better than a whole cup of hot cayenne tea. It is a bit painful and you do salivate a lot. I also put a pinch of cayenne directly on the tip of my tongue and left it there.

Well I can say it got slowly better and then vanished (within 1/2 an hour to an hour). Normally it would just get worse until I take about 3 panadol.

Posted by Dee (Melbourne, Australia) on 12/24/2010
5 out of 5 stars

I woke up a few times during the night with a dull migraine. In the morning it was still there. As I had been reading about Cayenne being good for opening veins for blood flow and being good for the heart (in stopping a heart attack in its' tracks), I figured that it would be good for migraine as well. I took about 1/2 tspsn in hot water as soon as I got out of bed and the migraine vanished practically straight away. It did not return all day. Usually when I wake up with a migraine that I have had all night it stays with me all day. Anyone with heart problems should seriously research cayenne and keep some with them at all times.

Posted by Sam (Noyb, Usa) on 01/02/2010
5 out of 5 stars

It is so wonderful that Cayenne pepper works for migraines, but it isn't just cayenne pepper, many different kinds of hot peppers work. My Dad's a fan of this remedy, he grows all sorts of hot peppers in his garden every year. This has made me do some research into the subject. I came upon some information which was very interesting, and it linked migraines with digestive problems.

It goes like this...

If you are not digesting your food properly, then it will sit in your stomach and rot, in more pleasant terms, it ferments. Needless to say, fermentation is the creation of gas. This gas is then absorbed into the bloodstream and when it reaches your head it expands resulting in a migraine. Now, the fun part is that when one consumes these hot peppers the heat will expel these gasses, and in turn, relieves the migraine. With that in mind, digestive aids, probiotics or simply mindful eating may do the trick to alleviate your problems on a more permanent and effective basis. I hope this information is helpful, I have found alot of helpful information on this site for myself, and simply wanted to give a bit myself.

Posted by Christie (Houston, TX) on 03/20/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I have been using Cayenne pepper to treat my Migraines. I take 2 small caps. and an over the counter pain reliever. I DO NOT take any "Migraine" Medication with Cayenne pepper. But I find that it works great. I also take cayenne pepper the day after a migrain to get rid of the remnants of it.

Posted by Veronica (Lubbock, Texas) on 01/05/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I frequently have headaches and migraines and was complaining at work one day about how nothing works and a coworker suggested that I try cayenne pepper on the tip of my tongue. Her grandfather swore by it and she agreed it worked. Well, today was the moment of truth. I woke up with a headache and reached for a pinch of cayenne to put at the tip of my tongue. Since it is a pepper it does burn a bit, but within minutes my headache was gone. I'm a believer!

Cefaly Neuromodulation Device

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Bethbs (London) on 07/04/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Once migraine becomes chronic the nerves in the head become over sensitised, small triggers become a major cause of pain and the cycle is difficult to break.

I've had a Cefaly neuromodulation device for about 2 years. It was almost unendurable to use at first, probably due to this over sensitisation effect. I used it as recommended, daily, for the first month or two but I admit I slackened off and used it only occasionally thereafter. Gradually it became easier to use and I restarted the daily use this year. Only then did it really work. I've had only one migraine in the last two months (usually average 13 per month).

It's not cheap (about £300) and the electrodes have to be bought regularly (they last longer if you're scrupulous about cleaning your brow before use, and putting them straight back on their plastic sheet afterwards). However, this device has broken a chronic migraine condition that's lasted decades.

I should add, I've been careful never to overuse migraine medicines, though I suspect the bar is set too high, especially for ergotamine-containing meds and some people can probably go into overuse while keeping well within the recommended limits.

Eliminating any source of inflammation, so far as possible, also has a role to play. Gum health is critical and food intolerances should be explored.

I also take a couple of supplements and it's taken a few years to hit on a combo that seems to work for me. Magnesium L-Threonate, a B multi; and Vitamin D in Winter. I do better without the high dose vitamin B2 recommended by headache doctors.