Migraines are defined as severe headaches that are characterized by pulsating pain. This pain is usually felt on the forehead and in some cases, the sides of the head. Migraines are more intense than headaches, and can be debilitating depending on the severity of the same. Some individuals will note that the migraines are accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, general bodily fatigue as well as a heightened sensitivity to noises and bright lights in the immediate environment.
Migraines are a relatively common condition, and will typically manifest in adulthood. Some individuals will experience migraines rather regularly, sometimes up to several times in a couple of days. For other persons, the migraine occurs irregularly. In the former, frequent migraines warrant a medical appointment in order to rule out the possibility of grave medical conditions. A medical appointment not only charts the way forward as far as medical treatment is concerned, it also gives patient the peace of mind to use natural treatments as supplemental options. Below are some of the most effective home remedies used for the management of migraines. Each of the remedies contains the following information: the time that you will require, what you need as well as the difficulty of the same.
1. Ice Pack:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Ice cubes and a clean towel. Frozen peas act as a great substitute.
Using an ice pack is one of the simplest ways to deal with a migraine. The low temperatures provide relief from the pain, and are great at numbing the throbbing pain. If you do not have ice cubes, a bag of frozen peas of frozen vegetables will work just as well.
- Place the ice cubes on the clean towel and wrap well. The reason for using a towel to wrap the ice is to prevent the risk of frostbite that arises when the skin is in direct contact with the ice.
- Place the wrapped ice pack on your forehead for 5 minutes. Shift the ice pack to your temples for another 5 minutes and finally to the nape of your neck for 5 minutes. This rotation works in your advantage because it targets the trouble spots associated with migraines.
- Repeat the procedure as often as required. Once the ice starts to melt simply replace the cubes and start all over again.
2. Cayenne Pepper:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 cups of warm water, and cotton balls.
Cayenne pepper is best known for its use in cooking, but few know it is one of the most effective home remedies for the natural treatment of migraines. The primary reason for this is that it contains capsaicin. This active ingredient is a natural anti-inflammatory and therefore helps get rid of the pain associated with migraines.Research shows that the topical application of the cayenne pepper greatly diminishes the pain of the migraine. You may also opt to drink a mixture of the cayenne pepper and warm water using the second set of directions included below.
Method 1: Topical application
- Place the cayenne pepper in a cup and add the water before stirring to create an even mixture.
- Take one of the cotton balls and place it in the cup containing the pepper mixture.
- Stir once more so that the cotton wool is covered all round as the cayenne powder does not dissolve, and will usually settle at the bottom of the cup.
- Scoop the soaked cotton wool and rub it on your nostrils. This is accompanied by a burning sensation which is unpleasant, but effective for the most part.
- Continue rubbing the peppery cotton ball until the burning sensation subsides. At this point, the pain from the migraine should have started decreasing.
- Repeat this procedure twice for best results until you can keep the migraine at bay.
Method 2: Ingestion of the Pepper mixture
- Place one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup and add warm water to the brim.
- Stir the mixture to disperse the powder and prevent it from collecting at the bottom of the cup.
- Drink this mixture as often as required until the migraine pain decreases.
Time Required: 40 Min
What You Need: Ginger root and two cups of water.
Ginger has long been used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, thanks to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger works because it has the ability to inhibit the production of prostaglandins. These are biochemical compounds that mediate pain. By inhibiting the production of these compounds, ginger works effectively to treat the migraine. In addition to this, ginger has the advantage of reducing nausea, one of the most accompanying symptoms in people who suffer from migraines.
- Peel the ginger root and proceed to wash it to get rid of the dirt.
- Chop the root so that you have 3 quarter-sized slices of the root.
- Place the ginger slices in the equivalent of 2 cups of water and allow simmering for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the resulting solution to a cup.
- You may choose to leave the ginger slices inside the water as you sip it, or you may simply strain the mixture to get rid of the slices.
- Sip the ginger drink slowly and let the effects set in as you inhale the resulting steam.
4. Topical Application of Peppermint Oil:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Peppermint oil and cotton balls. Olive oil or water (optional – used for dilution purposes).
Peppermint oil is a top choice when it comes to the natural treatment of different medical conditions. Its soothing properties help ease the migraine, thus reducing the characteristic discomfort of this condition. The oil has also been shown to be of great help for mental clarity. Before using peppermint oil, it is important to ascertain that you are not allergic to it. The simplest way to do this is to carry out a skin patch test. If irritation occurs, it is advisable to dilute the oil using either water or olive oil.
- Place three drops of the peppermint oil in a shallow bowl.
- If you have sensitive skin, add an equivalent amount of the olive oil or warm water.
- Stir the mixture before soaking the cotton balls in it.
- Rub the cotton balls on your forehead and temples as you breathe in and out as deeply as you can. This is accompanied by a cooling sensation.
- Repeat this procedure until the migraine eases.
5. Using The Feverfew Plant:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: One ounce of Feverfew flowers (either fresh or dried), a pint of boiling water in a pan, and a strainer.
Feverfew is one of the herbs whose benefits have been harnessed for the natural treatment of migraines. The herb works by tightening the blood vessels in the head. During a migraine, the blood vessels in the head are dilated. This applies pressure on the nerve cells, which is what causes the characteristic pain of the migraine.
By reducing the dilation of blood vessels, the pressure on the nerves is eliminated, thus managing the pain and treating the migraine. Research also shows that Feverfew contains a compound known as parthenolide. Parthenolide is a potent anti-inflammatory, and this works well to treat the migraine. Best of all, the plant has minimal side effects, making it ideal for many individuals suffering from migraines.
- Place the dried flowers in the pan containing the boiling water and allow them to steep for about 15 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer and stir the contents.
- Drink half a cup of the mixture twice everyday as required.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Three teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers, a cup of hot water, and a strainer. Lemon juice (optional).
Chamomile has long been used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties which help manage the pain associated with the migraines. The herb also has a soothing effect, so much so that regular intake of chamomile tea may help reduce the frequency of the migraines.
PS: The best species of chamomile to use is German chamomile (botanical name is Matricaria recutita), so be sure to look out for this specific herb. In the absence of German chamomile, other species will work.
- Place the dried chamomile flowers in the cup containing water and allow steeping for 10 minutes. This causes the water to extract the active ingredients that bring relief from the migraine.
- Strain the tea and discard the steeped flowers.
- Add some lemon juice to enhance this natural remedy’s efficiency.
- Stir well and drink thrice daily or until you get relief from the migraine.
7. Cod Liver Oil:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: One tablespoon of cod liver oil and a glass of cold orange juice. This could be supplemented with the use of cod liver capsules.
Studies carried out by various health organizations have pointed to the fact that the constituent compounds in cod liver oil help in the reduction of inflammation among other health benefits. These anti-inflammatory properties come in handy in the treatment of migraines. The inclusion of orange juice is meant to mask the taste of the cod liver oil which most people find almost unpalatable on its own.
- Place a tablespoon of the cod liver oil in a cup and add the orange juice.
- Stir the mixture and drink it.
- Alternatively, simply follow the dosage indicated on the cod liver capsules packaging.
8. Stay Hydrated:
Time Required: Periods are staggered throughout the day, but typically takes a few minutes to drink a glass of water.
What You Need: Drinking water
Failure to drink enough water is one of the most common triggers for migraines. One of the most effective ways to deal with this is to stay adequately hydrated. This also means steering clear of foods and drinks that cause dehydration. Alcohol intake, copious amounts of coffee and carbonated drinks are the most common culprits.
- Simply stagger your water intake throughout the day to stay hydrated. The recommended amount is 8 glasses daily, but you would need guidance from your medical doctor if you suffer from other conditions.
9. Lavender Oil:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: Four drops of lavender oil and boiling water.
Lavender oil is a handy remedy used for the management of migraines. When its vapors are inhaled, their soothing properties help ease the pain. The advantage of using this essential oil is that it is safe for topical application on different types of skin, and is often used without the need for dilution. Note, however, that lavender oil must never be used internally as it is toxic when used orally.
- Place four drops of the lavender oil in the boiling water.
- Lean over the water and take deep breaths to allow you to inhale the vapors. Do this until vapor production ceases.
- Repeat this procedure until you get relief from the migraine.
Other ways to deal with migraines naturally include getting enough quality sleep, engaging in exercise (preferably in the outdoors) and using a host of relaxation techniques such as yoga and massage. It also helps to stay away from alcohol as the accompanying hangovers are your worst enemy when you have a migraine.
For individuals who are prone to regular migraines, one of the best ways to manage this otherwise painful condition is to learn and manage the triggers. Triggers are stimuli which worsen the severity of the migraines. By keeping a journal of the migraine occurrence, you will be able to notice trends and potential causes of the migraines, thus helping you manage the pain better. Lastly, it is important to avoid spikes in the levels of blood sugar as this has been shown to trigger a cascade of biochemical events that increase the severity of the migraine.