Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief
By Cathy Wong — From about.com July 6, 2011 762 4
What are Migraines?
According to the National Headache Foundation, more than 29.5 million Americans have migraines. Symptoms of migraine may include:
Moderate to severe pain on one or both sides of the head
Pulsating or throbbing pain
Pain worse with physical activity
Nausea with or without vomiting
Sensitivity to light or sound
Approximately 20 percent of people with migraines experience what's called an aura prior to the migraine. Symptoms of an aura include flashes of light, zig zags, or blind spots in your vision or tingling in one arm or leg.
Natural Remedies for Migraine
The herb feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for headache, migraine, arthritis, pain, and fever in Europe. It became especially popular in England in the 1980s as an alternative to conventional drugs for migraines.
Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of feverfew for the prevention and treatment of migraines. For example, one study examined the use of a feverfew extract or a placebo in 170 people with migraines. There was a significant decrease in migraine frequency with feverfew, which decreased by 1.9 migraines per month, compared to the placebo, which decreased by 1.3 migraines per month.
Not all studies have shown that feverfew is effective, however. A critical review of five studies on feverfew and migraines, involving a total of 343 people, concluded that results were mixed and did not convincingly establish that feverfew was effective for preventing migraine.
Side effects of feverfew may include abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and nervousness. People with allergies to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow should not take feverfew. Feverfew may increase bleeding time, so it should not be taken by people with bleeding disorders or two to three weeks before or after surgery. The safety of feverfew in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
Feverfew may interact with "blood-thinning" medications, such as aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). People taking these medications should consult a healthcare practitioner before taking feverfew.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a compound produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan…