A migraine is like a headache that was given a triple dose of caffeine and told to go to town on your senses. The worst part? Though they're a relatively common ailment, they're not fully understood. That can make treatment rather difficult—in addition to pounding, throbbing pain, migraines can also cause extreme sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, and a host of other supremely unpleasant symptoms. Read: They can be completely debilitating. While some people find relief from prescriptions and OTC painkillers, when it comes to migraine remedies, once size certainly doesn't fit all. If more traditional methods haven't worked for you, you may want to consider one of these natural solutions. Below, read up on five natural migraine remedies backed by science.
Here's the sitch: The National Institute of Health says people who suffer from migraines can have low levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral our bodies can't make on their own, which means we need to get it through our diets. Foods high in magnesium include cacao nibs and leafy green vegetables. You can also find magnesium as a supplement.
Magnesium can help with everything from promoting better sleep to fending off depression to, yes, helping reduce the frequency of migraines. Several studies have looked at the efficacy of supplementing with magnesium as a way to help both prevent and ease the symptoms of migraines, and suggest it to be a solid natural option with few side effects.
There's a laundry list of reasons to add lavender oil into your wellness routine; it's been shown to help with nausea, sleep, menstrual cramps, and acne. And in the case of migraine sufferers, small studies have shown it to be helpful in reducing the severity of the migraine symptoms. One study focused specifically on inhaling lavender essential oil, and suggested that this method is a safe, effective way to help manage migraines.
Not going to lie, at first we read this as butterbeer and got a little too excited. Alas, butterbur is not a tasty beverage you can buy at the Hog's Head, but it is a nifty root that can help with migraines, according to studies. One study had migraine sufferers supplement with the root for four months to see if it could help prevent migraines. In order to participate, patients had to meet migraine criteria set forth by the International Headache Society, and they had to have had two to six migraines per month over the past three months. The conclusion: Researchers found it was an effective preventative treatment for migraines. Magic.
This traditional Chinese medicine treatment involves inserting thin needles into targeted areas of the body to help balance the body's qi, aka energy flow. (In case you're wondering, no, it doesn't hurt.) The American Migraine Foundation lists acupuncture as an alternative treatment that can be helpful in reducing the frequency of migraines. They point to a review that looked at 22 clinical trials involving acupuncture and migraines. This review concluded that adding acupuncture into your migraine treatment plan can help reduce the frequency of migraines. In fact, they found that frequency of migraines reduced by 50% in a majority of migraine patients who incorporated acupuncture.
Another Hogwarts-sounding potion ingredient, feverfew is actually a flower that has been found to help prevent migraines. A scientific review of "randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials of feverfew mono-preparations for the prevention of migraine in human subjects" (basically, only the most legit studies that are directly applicable to humans) found that this folk remedy is, in fact, likely to be helpful in the prevention of migraines. You can find the dried leaves in capsules, extracts, and teas. ■
Next up: Learn what happens to your body when you give up caffeine.