7 Natural Cures for Migraines


For most people who experience an occasional headache, a couple of aspirin will usually do the trick. Migraine sufferers don't have it so easy. Not only do many migraine meds have side effects that range from nausea and stomach ulcers to an increased risk of stroke and even heart attack, but up to two-thirds of users have also reported that they don't deliver satisfactory results.

What to do? Plenty, according to the latest research.

Although researchers haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why migraines strike, they do understand the physiological changes that occur when a migraine hits. When the nerve cells in the brain become overstimulated, they release chemicals that cause inflammation and swelling in the blood vessels in the neck and brain. The cures listed below work by addressing these issues. Here are seven surprising natural cures for migraines that help prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

1. Exercise

Exercise has long been recommended to migraine sufferers, and now there's new evidence to support the theory that physical activity appears to help prevent migraines. In a 2011 randomized, controlled study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researchers found that aerobic exercise was as effective at preventing migraines as the preventive migraine medication topiramate (brand name Topamax). A third of the patients in the three-month study exercised on a stationary bike three times per week for 40 minutes, while another third took a topiramate regimen that was gradually increased to the highest tolerable dose (a maximum of 200 milligrams per day).

Compare Senior Living Options Near You -> Search Here

The exercisers and drug group both experienced a similar reduced number of migraines, but 33 percent of topiramate users also experienced adverse side effects, while the exercisers reported none. The researchers concluded that regular exercise may be an option for migraine sufferers who don't want to adhere to a daily medication regimen, and the medical community agrees that the findings are encouraging.

How it helps: Regular, gentle exercise helps to reduce tension and ward off stress, a well-known trigger for many migraine sufferers. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, which act as a mild sedative.

How much helps: The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, ideally spread out over the course of the week. Beware that intense exercise can actually trigger rather than prevent migraine, so don't overdo it.

2. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is found in certain foods and supplements. It helps protect cells from oxidative damage and is involved in energy production. In a trial measuring the effectiveness of riboflavin in preventing migraines, 59 percent of patients who took 400 mg of riboflavin daily for three months experienced a 50 percent or greater reduction in migraine occurrence.

How it helps: Riboflavin is an effective preventive treatment for migraines. It has been widely reported to significantly reduce the incidence of migraine headaches when consumed at high levels (400 mg per day), although it doesn't seem to help reduce the pain or length of a migraine once one occurs.

How much helps: The recommendation is 400 mg per day for three months. Researchers recommend taking riboflavin with a B-complex supplement, since riboflavin increases the absorption of other essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B3, and vitamin B12. In addition, vitamin B1 can help increase levels of riboflavin.

Best food sources: Liver, lean beef, lamb, venison, whole grains, tempeh, yogurt, low-fat milk, eggs, almonds, crimini mushrooms, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Store food away from light, which destroys riboflavin.

3. Magnesium

Because our bodies can't make magnesium, we must rely on dietary and/or supplement sources to get it -- and magnesium deficiency been directly linked to migraines in a number of major studies. Some estimates say that as many as three out of four adults in the U.S. may be deficient in magnesium.

How it helps: Magnesium helps relax nerves and muscles and transmits nerve impulses throughout the body and brain. In addition, magnesium helps prevent nerves from becoming overexcited. In short, this mineral aids in the prevention and reduction of migraines.

How much helps: Experts are split on how much magnesium to take for migraine prevention; some recommend 200 to 600 mg per day, while others recommend as much as 1,000 mg daily. Talk to your doctor to find a regimen that works best for you. If you take magnesium supplements, use chelated forms (such as magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide). This means that the magnesium is connected with another molecule in order to aid its absorption.

Best food sources: Pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, amaranth, quinoa, soybeans, and black beans.

More natural cures for migraines

4. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-hydroxytryptophan is a substance produced by our bodies from the amino acid tryptophan. Collaborative research between Harvard Medical School and Natural Standard suggests that 5-HTP may be particularly effective in reducing both the severity and frequency of migraine headaches.

How it helps: 5-HTP increases the body's production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in blood vessel regulation. Low serotonin levels have been associated with migraines, so 5-HTP supplementation appears to help by correcting the imbalance.

How much helps: Work with your doctor to determine the right dosage for treating migraines. Daily dosages may begin at 200 mg per day and go as high as 600 mg daily. Always drink a full glass of water with your supplement.

5. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant nutrient that's especially important in blood vessel health. Our bodies are able to make CoQ10, and we can also get it from dietary and supplement sources. In one trial measuring the efficacy of CoQ10 as a preventive for migraines, more than 61 percent of patients who took 150 mg of CoQ10 daily experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in the number of days with migraines. A subsequent double-blind, randomized trial found similar benefits -- and in both studies, patients experienced no ill side effects.

How it helps: CoQ10 increases blood flow to the brain, improves circulation, and protects cells from oxidative damage. It also helps stabilize blood sugar; low blood sugar is a major trigger for many migraine sufferers.

How much helps: Nutritionist Phyllis A. Balch recommends 60 mg of coenzyme Q10 as a preventive treatment for migraines in her excellent text Prescription for Nutritional Healing (fourth edition). Nutrition guru Jonny Bowden recommends 100 mg per day, to be taken three times per day (the same amount prescribed in the double-blind study). Work with your doctor to determine the best dosage for you.

Best food sources: Food sources of CoQ10 aren't well documented, but this nutrient can be found in fish and organ meats (especially liver, kidney, and heart) as well as whole grains.

Find Senior Living Near You -> Search Here.

6. Feverfew

Feverfew is a bushy, aromatic herb plant related to daisies and widely used by herbalists and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for preventing migraines and other types of headaches. According to nutrition guru Jonny Bowden, "Using feverfew together with another herb, white willow bark, reduces the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine attacks by up to 60 percent."

How it helps: Feverfew helps alleviate the throbbing pain associated with migraines by reducing inflammation, especially in the blood vessels in the brain. It also has minimal side effects. It can help quell vomiting and nausea in migraine sufferers who experience those symptoms.

How much helps: A minimum of 250 mg per day may be helpful. Bowden recommends 300 mg, twice daily for two weeks. Other experts recommend an ongoing regimen that lasts four weeks or more before you can expect to see results.

Caution: Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking feverfew (or any herbal remedy). And don't take it if you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

7. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory substances that are abundant in many food sources, especially fish, nuts, and seeds. A well-documented three-month Swedish study found a 28-percent reduction in the number of migraine attacks and a 32-percent reduction in the intensity of the attacks. Similarly, a Danish study that took place at the same time reported that 87 percent of patients said their migraine condition had been improved by daily omega-3 supplementation.

How it helps: Omega-3 fatty acids protect brain cells and reduce inflammation, which may help to reduce the pain associated with migraines. In addition, omega-3s appear to be beneficial in reducing the frequency and duration of migraine headaches.

How much helps: Nutritionist Joy Bauer recommends 1,000 mg daily from a combination of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two beneficial types of omega-3. If you take omega-3 supplements, store them in the fridge to prevent the oils from oxidizing.

Best food sources: Wild Alaskan salmon, tuna, herring (not pickled herring), mackerel, rainbow trout, halibut, Pacific oysters, sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Omega-3 fats are somewhat fragile and are easily damaged by exposure to heat, light, and oxygen, so store foods properly and avoid overheating (especially frying) when cooking.

3 months ago, said...

To the people who asked if they can take these all at once, imo no. How would you know what is helping you and what is not? I would try one at a time for several weeks and see if it helps and what effects does it have on your body.

7 months ago, said...

Read more about migraine- < a href="http://www.medicinenet.com/migraine/article.htm" rel="do-follow">Click here

8 months ago, said...

Thanks for the interesting article. I had one quick question on one of the cures you mentioned, Feverfew. I have seen this one recommended a lot for migraine cures (ex. Herbs that have been shown to provide headache and migraine relief include the following: feverfew and ginger root. Essential oils that may be helpful include eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosewood. source: https://www.axonoptics.com/2016/02/how-to-get-rid-of-a-migraine/) but I am wondering about your disclaimer saying to "check with your doctor before use". What are some things that Feverfew could cause that need doctor approval? Just asking as I am not familiar with the herb but I thought essential oils were never a big worry...Thanks in advance!

12 months ago, said...

Can you take all 7 of these supplements together?

about 1 year ago, said...

These tips are very very effective. One must do physical exercises as recommended.Regular exercises is 'cure all' treatment.

over 1 year ago, said...

thank you =very much for this artical . My questuon is can I take all of these at the ame time?

over 1 year ago, said...

article useful for all readers, I think this would be beneficial for me and many other readers thank you for sharing. Read Also: 5 Home Remedies for Migraine Treatment .

over 1 year ago, said...

Natural cures have their place, but sometimes pharmaceuticals must be used. I have tried the natural treatments and they worked for a time but I have had to go back to anti-seizure medications to control my migraines. I was having about 2-3 per week and was pretty much unable to function before but with the meds I am now relatively headache free.

over 1 year ago, said...

I have family history with migraines & now my 17 yr old daughter is going on 7 months with a chronic migraine. Many tests have been done because of stroke like episodes but everything comes back ok. She's been on numerous medications that work for a short time then stop & headaches come back twice as hard. Besides headaches she has constant blurry or double vision, which I feel is a major contributor to headache sticking around. Depression because she's missed almost the whole school year, holidays, friends. She was always a very busy busy girl. Now she has days where she can't get out of bed. She is being seen in Seattle Now. I wish she could just be admitted & analyzed, sleep study, whatever it takes. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

over 1 year ago, said...

I've been having cluster migraine of &,22 years due to car accident and there not getting easier,so now I'm researching the natural ways,I'm fairly open minded but I guess you get like that when your body holds you to ransom.look forward. To chatting others that endure these things.

over 1 year ago, said...

I purchased TranquilRx serum for my daughter to help her with stress and headaches. It worked for her, smelled good and felt better, and was definitely relaxing.

almost 2 years ago, said...

Having learned to cure myself of migraine headaches during my internship in 1956, I have used the same drugless method since then to cure (and I do mean CURE!) many other patients. Actually, there's nothing to it! Joseph Moccia, MD

over 2 years ago, said...

I did the ginger tea today and it worked but I must add, it works even better to add cardamom. Cardamom not only helps my headaches but also treated a problem I had where I felt the need to burp but could not release it. The problem escalated to choking and causing me to make scenes in public because my esophagus was going crazy on me! But cardamom and ginger kombucha solved the problem.http://bestofshayari.blogspot.in/2014/06/37-home-remedies-for-headache-complete_22.html

almost 3 years ago, said...

I suffer severe chronic migraine...& this gives me more natural means of possible help than the medication that I take for migraine prevention; or especially the medication that I take for treating symptoms.

about 4 years ago, said...

To say where you can purchase all these things in the UK and at what cost

about 4 years ago, said...

5-HTP and CoQ10.

about 4 years ago, said...

Migraines are still very much an unknown quantity. I've heard it mentioned before that it could be "related" to seizures but to date I have to go with people in the know as they have studied and trained for it, unlike me. When my cat lets me know I'm about to have a migraine I take an anti-vomiting drug (domperidone) immediately. My neuro told me that if taken approx 15 mins before the zolmitriptan (or whatever else) it would make the anti-migraine meds more effective. That's true for me. My pet's warning signs may make him just that bit special but even without his "gift" he could never be replaced by another one because they all have their own character. So, captain Armadillo, I reckon Gracie would always be missed sorely by you, wonder dog or no wonder dog. (Hug)

about 4 years ago, said...

I have heard of dogs who could alert a person of an epileptic seizure, so I thought it was not unreasonable that my mini-dachshund always let me know that a migraine was about to occur. Migraines are somewhat seizure-like, correct? Gracie would get as close as possible to me, put her head on my knee and become totally quiet. It was as if she suddenly turned to stone. This behavior was unlike any other that she exhibited. She saved me lots of grief because I was able to get my medication readybefore the pain began. She saved me money as well. If I caught the migraine early enough, I did not need a second pill. She stayed with me through each headache until I was functional again. Gracie was a wonder dog. She died in December at age 17. I miss her sorely...

about 4 years ago, said...

Hi Anonymous, You are ever so right. I too have a strong family migraine history. Mine started at the age of 7. At 18 I had a major car accident with multiple head traumas which made things worse, and still do to date. In Belgium (my home country) migraine is still not on the list of "accepted" illnesses (to keep health costs down - tactic like any other) and I have to fork out the full whack for any treatment or painkillers. So far it has cost me more than the price of a fancy house. At one stage I was working full time (as and when I could of course but the job made flexi hours possible) just to be able to afford the medicine. Like you I went through all the signs: the auras, the flashes.... I saw some of the best neurologists and neurosurgeons but I'm still suffering with migraines 3 to 5 days/week. In "the olden days" the Cafergot deteriorated the condition of my veins very badly. I also had to be hospitalized to come off the stuff because my body was addicted to it and each time the Cafergot wore off, I got a new attack. Due to the accident I cannot stand any pressure on my head except on my forehead which has been numb since the accident happened. The coming off Cafergot would have taken 30 days but I asked if it could be done in less. 10 days was the minimum and all that time I sat on a chair in front of my hospital bed, head resting on folded arms. I know nicer ways to spend time. I'm now on several kinds of preventative meds and I'm allowed 2 zolmitriptan/week. Any more attacks and I have to sit them out, sometimes feeling like I'm dying. My neurologist wants to check me out every year to make sure nothing else crops up (tumor?). Last year this neuro could not work for a whole year due to the fact that he had a brain tumor himself. Therefore I had to have my check-up with a replacement neurosurgeon. Upon his question what my trouble seemed to be I told him "migraine". He had my extensive file on the pc in front of him. He said "migraine?" and just laughed in my face! Thankfully my regular neuro is back at work. He was already very understanding before, but since his own illness he is kindness personified and he keeps up to date with any new developments. There's one really strange way for me to know whether a migraine is coming on, even without the "spots", temporary blindness, auras etc.: 9 years ago I rescued a kitten from being drowned by somebody. When a migraine is on it's way and I'm home with the (tom)cat, he insists on getting on my lap and tucking his head in my neck while purring. It doesn't ease the pain but it keeps me calm and comforted. Some kinds of animals remain with their animal companions when one of them is ill. I'm now trying to find out whether he thinks I'm a cat or he's human.;-))

about 4 years ago, said...

Note to other commenters: see my first comment above, first. As a migraine sufferer, I have heard over & over about the "aspartane" and migraines, cancer, MS, you name link......there is NO proof to that. Studies can't make a link. Check www.snopes.com for more info on the one woman who single-handedly started this aspartame rumor.....It annoys me because there is so much BAD suff on the 'net; and this is one of them. Also, don't go into your doctor insisting on all "natural" and "holistic" treatment. He or she DOES need to know what you are on (all herbs, vitamins etc) if you are to have surgery or have other major medical diagnoses.....but to expect him or her to treat you with what you've read online or in a book (written by...?) is very unfair. Nothing against living more "naturally" but ANYTHING can be taken to an extreme. I recall a hospital patient seriously ill with a body wide septic infection due to a situation that could have /should have been taken care of with a simple laparascopic surgery where he would have gone home the same day; he refused and refused; finally, as he became sicker and sicker, he, at friends' advice, checked him self out of the hospital "AMA" (against medical advice) to go to his chiropractor for coffee "high enemas" to cure him. Don't know what happened, but that is the type of thing we on the "other" side see all the time. I also read recently about a young girl diagnosed with polio. She had never received any shots, due to her parents' belief in what they'd read/ heard, mainly on the 'net, about how dangerous they are; and despite there being NO proven link, ever, by any "real" study, between immunizations and autism (her parents, apparently, were furious with the medical doctors who could not "cure" the polio Tragically, it was too late, she had it and would have permanent effects of some kind from it........Recently diptheria is making something of a comeback, we've had a real outbreak here in my city....due to all the un-immunized children......these are just examples coming easily to mind. So, I guess my main point is: and I don't mean to sound like I'm lecturing anyone! Is to LET your medical doctor help you......bring in literature to support your point of view if there is a NEW study or medicine you've read of, but work with him or her, not against them. Of course there are bad doctors as there are bad .......name any profession. Hopefully your insurance will allow you to change, even if you have to drive further, to a city with more specialists and/or a teaching hospital (usually university-affiliated) which will hopefully have the "newest" available treatments and other help.....

about 4 years ago, said...

As a lifelong (since age 5) migraneur (migraine sufferer) w/ a strong family history: my grandmother, great-grandmother, my uncle, his granddaughter, my young adult son and others....Migraines are NOT regular headaches and NOT sinus headaches. Nor tension/stress headaches. There are some excellent articles on migraines in www.mayoclinic.com and other sites. Don't confuse the "other" (and to me, lesser) headaches w/ migraine. A true migraine can last for hours or days, can cause nausea and vomiting, and therefore eventually dehydration if not controlled; there are often visual changes such as "spots" before the eyes (called "scotoma") or "lightning bolts" and other strange configurations. These can come before the actual headache and be what is called an "aura"; or a person can have just the eye symptoms (very annoying: as if someone has flashed a camera right in front of your eyes....I get those, as both an aura and sometimes alone.) They are called Opthalmic or Ocular Migraines btw. Others have other types of "auras" that tell them when a migraine is coming on...some are affected by certain odors, etc. With a true migraine, and EEG of the brain done at the time can show some of the same exact changes in the brain as with types of seizures. I see a neurologist who has helped me tremendously. The newer drug family, under the "triptan" name (Imitrex was the first one) are like miracles for me and others. Botox injections (approved recently by the FDA for use against/ or prevention against migraines) can be helpful for 6 mos or more. Your health insurance SHOULD cover it as it is OK'd by the FDA....you may have to pay up front and be reimbursed, there is still much confusion in the insurance bureaucracy about its' use.....but keep asking! Change doctors if you are still on one of the older "outdated" migraine meds, like Midrin or Cafergot and are still having frequent migraines. A pain manager who is a board certified physician can help a lot too. I have been told Magnesium is helpful, and one other neurologist had me trying Depakote, an anti-seizure prescription drug as a preventative, but I'm not on it now. It DID help me w/ a severe migraine when in the hospital (for another reason) and it was given to me via IV. Natural foods etc can be helpful, I'm sure, but for constant migraines that effect your life and endanger your job (due to calling in sick) TRY some of the newer meds and other modalities like Botox. You would not have a type I diabetic try to control his diabetes w/ food....to me this is a similar situation and not "just a headache"! (from an RN and migraine sufferer).