Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology

herbs against migraine

Migraines are not just the usual headache. Sometimes the extremely strong, throbbing pain is accompanied by the so-called "aura" - in these cases we are talking about "classic migraine".

The aura is a visual disturbance in the form of growing spots with colored edges, sometimes a creeping tingling sensation in а limb (often the hand) and impaired speech or inability to speak. Nausea and vomiting, intolerance to light and sounds may also be added to these symptoms.

In this article, we will consider which are the medicinal plants that can alleviate the symptoms of migraines:

  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
  • Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
  • Mint (Mentha spicata)
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

treatment of migraine

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) - the Balkan migraine remedy

Feverfew is a herb that originates from the Balkan mountans, but today it is distributed in many other places around the world.

It is traditionally used to alleviate fever, as an analgesic agent, for headaches, as an anti-inflammatory agent, against edema.

The herb is usually used after drying the leaves, flowers and stems of the plant.

According to a number of studies, the feverfew relieves migraine attacks. [ref.1]

bachelorette doorga migraine

The herb is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation, children under 2 years, diabetes, alcoholism, liver problems, when taking anticoagulants (drugs against blood clotting) and in patients who are allergic to plants of the Asteraceae family.

 

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) and it's role in stopping migraine attacks

For many centuries, the herb has been used to reduce pain, against fever and cramps. Today, the butterbur is used mainly for the prevention of migraines, but also for common headaches and asthma.

But the plant contains toxic for the liver substances, such as pyrolysidine alkaloids and potential carcinogens, which are removed by special patented treatment and the herb is safe and available under the name Petadolex®. Without this treatment, the intake of any part of the plant can be dangerous. The herb is prohibited for sale in Germany and the UK for this reason. [ref.2]

 

Mint (Mentha spicata) might be effective against pain and nausea

A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice [ref.3] found that menthol is effective in stopping migraine pain without aura and relieving nausea when applied to the forehead and temples in the form of a 10% solution.

anti-migraine mint

Good old Ginkgo biloba

There is evidence that Ginkgo biloba extract (Ginkgolide B) may relieve migraine symptoms. This is confirmed by a study involving students suffering from migraine attacks. Positive effects were observed after taking a complex of ginkgolide B, coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and magnesium for 3 months. [ref.4]

 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) - a safe and effective remedy

According to some studies and clinical trials, ginger is a safe and effective remedy for relieving pain, nausea and vomiting in migraine attacks. A 2020 review confirms these figures [ref.5].

ginger prtiv migraine

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender essential oil is used as a sedative, mood stabilizer, antispasmodic, against high blood pressure, antimicrobial, analgesic agent, for anxiety and insomnia, as well as for faster wound healing.

In 2012, a clinical study was conducted on the effect of lavender oil on migraines. The results show that inhaling lavender essential oil can be an effective and safe treatment for acute migraine headaches. [ref.6]

 

References:

  1. Scientific articles and studies on the effects of feverfew on headaches
  2. Supplements and herbs, The Migraine Trust
  3. Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an abortive treatment of migraine without aura: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossed-over study, 2010, Int J Clin Pract
  4. Ginkgolide B complex efficacy for brief prophylaxis of migraine in school-aged children: an open-label study, 2011, Neurological Sciences
  5. The efficacy of ginger for the treatment of migraine: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies, 2020, American Journal of Emergency Medicine
  6. Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial, 2012, Eur Neurol

 

The author:

👩 🔬 Rositsa Tashkova-Kacharova has a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology and Microbiological Control. She completed her Master's thesis at the University of Nantes, France. At that time she painted a Christmas tree of bacteria and inspired the announcement of the first competition for drawing with microorganisms Agar Art. For 3 years she was the editor of the journal Bulgarian Science and continues to write about science and medicine.