herbals and migraines

Specialties Holistic


I'm looking for information on the use of herbs to either prevent or ease migraine headaches. One reason I'm interested is that I suffer from them, the other is that I've found herbs to be a heck of a lot cheaper than most medicines and I do not have insurance. (I will when I graduate.)

I have mosby's little herbal guide and I found four things that are supposed to work: anise, feverfew, catnip and lemon balm. Put together in tea, these things aren't altogether nasty. Has anyone tried these? And do they work? If so, do they work only at the onset, or can you take them later? Migraines don't usually warn me that they're coming.



98 Posts

I take Excedrin Migraine for mine & it usually works within 15 minutes or so. It costs less than $5.00 a bottle, and they last me a while. I take one if I'm able to get to it when the migraine is just starting, or two if it's pretty well developed before I'm able to get to my medicine box. Don't know if it's an option you're interested in or not, but it's what works for me. Good luck.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

Catnip is nasty tasting. Let me search my books and post to you later today. I can tell you what herbs are known to help but I cannot say how much or how to use them........

I will try to find some information. I too have tried exced migrane and it helped alot.



583 Posts

I grew some feverfew one summer when I was plagued by migraines. I was taught (by the local wisewoman) that feverfew is most effective if you chew on fresh leaves at onset, but a tea preparation can also be effective for some people. When preparing a "medicinal" herbal infusion you should steep the leaves for 5-10 minutes at least, longer if your tea contains woody parts, seed pods or root, to get the most benefit.

Hope that helps-

Indy, LPN, LVN

1,444 Posts

Specializes in ICU, telemetry, LTAC.

Well. Catnip is indeed gross beyond description in a tea. It does smell good otherwise... hm. I very much enjoyed making the first cup of it last night (I just threw in equal amounts of all four herbs and a packet of splenda), feeding a sip to my fiance, and then telling him what was in it. :chuckle

Today I'm scaling back on everything except the feverfew, which seems to be the favorite from what I can find on the internet. Thanks for the infusion info though; feverfew doesn't come in plain leaf form here, and I don't wanna eat it in chopped up form. I do like making tea, it's soothing.



261 Posts

With my daughters Migraines we tried all the herbals and none of them made any difference at all I drove from Missouri to Arizona to a herbal specialist that gave us and I mean (gave for free) us 2 different mixtures that she said had helped some people. Well no relief for her but we say some beautiful country and met a truly caring lady. It took 4 years and over 35 medications in various combinations to find one that broke the cycle of 1-2 Migraines per day (24/7). Tension is one of the biggest triggers so try to stay calm and Good luck to you, there are many Yahoo Migraine support groups out there you can pm me about the one I have started for Migraines


35 Posts

I used to have violent migraines until 1998. I went to a physician (MD) who practices natural healing. I fast for three days, that was the cleansing phase, then gradually changed to semi-solid to solid totally vegetarian diet, meaning no animal products. I also suffered seasonal allergy, asthma, late onset diabetes and heart problem. Stopped all of my medications. I got rid of all of the problems. I also lost the weight. I feel great! more energy.


329 Posts

I can vouch that there is nothing nastier than Imetrex nasal spray. Just awful. You want to eat dirt just to get the taste out of you mouth.


21 Posts

butterburr, sold under the label Petadolex, it is taken daily as a preventative, anti-cholenergic, anti-muscarinic, lots of research done on it, worked well for me...my neurologist recc it. he did not want me to take butterburr from a health food store as if not prepared properly can cause cancer. yikes.

you can do a search online, under petadolex and find it. the producer is Weber and Weber, and you take it for a few months then taper off of it for a drug holiday.



775 Posts

From my studies Feverfew benefits ~2/3s of the people who try it for migraines. Because it contains parthenolides, compounds that seem to inhibit the release of serotonin from platelets. This is how it prevents constiction of brain arteries. The dosage recommended is up to three 300 to 400 mg. caps QD. The plant tastes very bitter so may benefit from sticking to the caps. One caution: Do not use during pregnancy. Just a P.S.- if you want to use it as a tea, best results are obtained by using the whole plant - the fresher the better. Fresh leaf extracts blocked constriction, which is desirable. But dried leaf extracts caused contractions :uhoh3: If you choose to eat the leaves they have been found to cause mouth sores in some people. You certainly can try it as a tea though, if you don't mind the taste.

You may wish to use Bay (laurus nobilis) in conjunction with feverfew. Bay also contains parthenolides, and is recommended by James Duke, PhD (author of The Green Pharmacy.) Typical dose is not well established, so you might want to check with the practitioner (?clerk at the store you get the herbs at.)

Another idea to consider is that it has been shown that many people who have migraines have either food allergies or food intolerances, which may not be picked up with standard allergy tests.

Big offenders are: cow's milk, wheat, chocolate, eggs, citrus fruits, strawberries, cheese, tomatoes, rye and the food additives tartrazine and benzoic acid.

Others could be red wine, caffeinated beverages, processed meats, MSG and aspartame (Nutrasweet). You'd have to try an elimination diet if you suspect these could be a culprit.

Hope this info helps :)


329 Posts

There are a few herbs that will give me a migraine. One of which is Black Cohosh.

I have heard of some people using Cool Cayenne with Butcher's Broom (to prevent..not to give!) :)

Monica RN,BSN

603 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC.
" It took 4 years and over 35 medications in various combinations to find one that broke the cycle of 1-2 Migraines per day (24/7)."

But you did not tell us what one actually broke the cycle.... Care to tell us please??

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