Treat Migraines Naturally with Herbs

Edited by Nuance, Anonymous

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What is a Migraine?

Migraine 2425.jpg

A migraine is a severe, painful headache that affects one side, or both sides of your head. A migraine is usually preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs such as blind spots, flashes of light, a tingling sensation in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

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For some, migraines start in early as childhood, while for others; they begin during their adolescence or early adulthood. Scientifically, the jury is still out whether migraines are primarily a neurological issue (a problem with neurons), or whether they are a vascular issue (a dysfunction of the blood vessels). It's likely they both play a significant role in cause of migraines, but for the purpose of this article, we're primarily looking at the vascular aspects of migraines.

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In the Middle-Ages, a migraine was called, "half a headache".

The Four Stages of a Migraine

Usually, a migraine lasts from 4 to 72 hours if untreated. The frequency of migraines varies from person to person. While one person may only suffer from migraines rarely – others may have migraines several times a month, that last for days. Not everyone who suffers from migraines will experience all four stages.

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  1. 1
    PRODROME.
    A day or two before a migraine shows up, the body warns the migraine sufferer of a pending migraine. The early stages of a migraine may include:
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    1. Food cravings.
    2. Mood swings that go from depression to euphoria.
    3. Frequent yawning.
    4. Stiff neck.
    5. Constipation.
    6. Increased thirst.
    7. Frequent urination.
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  2. 2
    AURA.
    Auras may occur before or during the migraine. Most people who suffer from migraines don't experience auras at all. Auras are symptoms of the nervous system. They are visual and sensory disturbances. These symptoms begin gradually, and then build up over time, and last for 20 minutes to an hour. Examples of symptoms caused by a migraine with an aura include:
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    1. Visual events include seeing various shapes, flashes of light or bright spots.
    2. Vision loss.
    3. Mental confusion.
    4. Numbness or weakness in the face or on the left or right side of the body.
    5. Pins and needles in your arms or legs.
    6. Hearing noises or music that isn't actually there.
    7. Trouble speaking.
    8. Unpleasant smells.
    9. Uncontrollable body movements – usually the extremities.
    10. A Hemiplegic migraine may cause weakness of limbs.
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  3. 3
    DURING THE MIGRAINE.
    During a migraine, you may experience:  
    1. Pain occurring on side or both sides of your head
    2. Throbbing or pulsing pain in your head.
    3. Sensitivity to touch and smells.
    4. Sensitivity to light and sounds.
    5. Blurred vision.
    6. Lightheadedness. Sometimes fainting will follow this.
    7. Nausea and vomiting.
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  4. 4
    POST-DROME (after the migraine).
    The final phase of a migraine is after the migraine attack. You may feel drained, exhausted or light-headed. Others may feel a kind of elation. These feelings may last around 24 hours. You may also experience:  
    1. Confusion.
    2. Moodiness.
    3. Sensitivity to light and sound.
    4. Walking on eggshells sensation.
    5. Dizziness.
    6. Weakness.
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Causes, Triggers And Susceptibility To Migraines

Causes

Although the cause of migraines isn't completely understood, it is clear that environmental factors and genetics seem to play a major role. Also, physiologically, a disorder with the central nervous system, and/or brain chemistry, or irregularities with the brain's vascular system (blood vessel system) may be the underlying cause of migraines.

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  1. 1
    Trigeminal Nerve.
    The trigeminal nerve is an important pathway in your brainstem. Changes in the way the brainstem interacts with this nerve may be one cause of migraines.
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  2. 2
    Imbalanced Brain Chemicals.
    Imbalances with chemicals like serotonin, which is responsible for regulating pain in your nervous system, may be involved. Studies are still being done.
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  3. 3
    Serotonin Levels.
    During a migraine attack, serotonin levels drop. When this happens, your trigeminal nerve may release neuropeptides, which travel to your meninges (the brain's outer covering), resulting in a migraine.
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  4. 4
    Neurotransmitters.
    Other neurotransmitters have something to do with migraine pain, including calcitonin, a gene-related peptide (CGRP).
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  5. 5
    There also seems to be a genetic predisposition to migraines.
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Triggers

Many things can trigger a migraine, including:

  • Weather.
    • Changes in humidity.
    • Changes in temperature.
    • Extremely dry conditions.
    • Extreme Weather (storms).
    • Dusty environments
  • Food Drink and Additives.
    • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, smoked fish, figs, chicken livers, aged cheese).
    • Chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, dairy products, avocado, banana, onions, citrus, and fermented/pickled foods.
    • Processed foods.
    • Alcohol (especially wine).
    • Coffee
    • Aspartame.
    • Monosodium glutamate (Message).
    • Nitrates (hot dogs, bacon, summer sausage).
  • Allergies and allergic reactions.
  • Sensory Stimuli.
    • Flickering lights.
    • Loud noises.
    • Smoke-filled rooms.
    • Perfumes and after shave lotions.
    • Other strong smells like paint thinner.
  • Physical stress – jet lag, exhaustion, over-exercise (including sex).
  • Emotional stress – including tension, depression, excitement and anxiety.
  • Changes in sleep patterns, irregular sleep, and insomnia.
  • Hormonal Changes in Women.
    • Menstruation. (especially fluctuations and irregularities).
    • Birth control pills.
    • Hormone replacement medications.
    • Childbirth.
    • Menopause.
  • Smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • Low Blood Sugar (caused by fasting or skipping meals).
  • Dehydration.
  • Sleeping pills.

Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO MIGRAINES

  1. 1
    Genetics.
    If there's a family history of migraines, there's strong chance you'll develop them as well.
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  2. 2
    Age.
    Migraines can show up at any time in your life, although most often, it's during adolescence. During your 30s migraines tend to peak, becoming less frequent and less severe as you grow older.
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  3. 3
    Sex.
    Unfortunately for women, they are three times more likely to have migraines than men.
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  4. 4
    Hormonal changes.
    Women may find their migraines begin just before or shortly after menstruation. They may also change during pregnancy or menopause. Migraines generally improve after menopause.
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How to Treat a Hot Migraine

ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking herbs, especially if you are taking other medications. Herbs can have contraindicated or counteract conventional medicines. If you have Hot Migraines, the probable cause is vasodilation – the blood flows too quickly because the veins are too open. The idea, according to the Doctrine of Humors, is if you have a hot migraine, you need to cool it down. There's a good chance you're the person who can't have lights on, wants a cold compress, and a cool bath. Often people with this type of Migraine will have low blood pressure. Migraines dealing with issues of vasodilatation, often occur as result of:

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  • Heat.
  • Sex and masturbation. (both vasodilators).
  • Over-exertion (physical).
  • Infection.
  • Injury
  • Ingesting food they are sensitive to.
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Message
  • Menstruation, perimenopause, menopause, pregnancy.
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To treat a hot migraine, you need a vasoconstricter to counteract the cause of your migraine. Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels. The muscles contract the wall of the vessels, particularly the large arteries, small arterioles and veins. Below is the recipe for a infusion (tea) to treat a "hot" migraine. This is best started when the first signs of a migraine show.

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What You Need

  • Teapot with an infuser (insert for brewing herbs either glass or plastic)
    A glass infuser inside a glass teapot is excellent for steeping herbs.
  • Teaspoon
  • Boiling water
  • Honey

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of dried borage flowers or 25 fresh flowers (L. Borago officinalis)
    Borage - a wonderful vasoconstrictor.
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint or 20 fresh leaves. (L.Mentha piperita)
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon balm or 20 fresh leaves (L. Melissa officinalis)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried comfrey leaves (L. symphytum officinale)
  • 1 teaspoon dried raspberry leaves(L. rubus strigosus)
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Method

  1. 1
    Boil a kettle of water.
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  2. 2
    Place the herbs into the infuser.
    If you don't have an infuser, brew the way you would normal tea, and then strain through a plastic strainer. Do not use metal tea balls.
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  3. 3
    Pour boiling water over the herbs and fill the teapot.
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  4. 4
    Let it steep for five minutes.
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  5. 5
    Strain into cup.
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  6. 6
    Add honey to taste.
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  7. 7
    Don't exceed four cups of tea a day.
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How to Treat a Cold Migraine

ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking herbs, especially if you are taking other medications. Herbs can have contraindicated or counteract conventional medicines. If you have a Cold Migraine, the probable cause is vasoconstriction – the blood flows too slowly because the veins are compressed. The idea, according to the Doctrine of Humors, is if you have a cold migraine, you need to heat it up. There's a good chance you're the person putting hot compresses on your head, heating up those bean bag things in your microwave, taking hot baths. Often people with this type of Migraine have high blood pressure. Migraines dealing with issues of vasoconstriction often are triggered by:

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  • Stress.
  • Skipping meals.
  • Cold weather.
  • Bright lights.
  • Loud noises.
  • Tyramines (aged cheeses and other foods).

To treat a Cold Migraine, you need a vasodilator. These herbs work to widen the blood vessels. They relax the muscle cells in the vessel walls, particularly in the large veins, large arteries, and smaller arterioles.

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What You Need

  • Teapot with an infuser (insert for brewing herbs either glass or plastic)
  • Teaspoon
  • Boiling water
  • Honey

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of feverfew flowers (L. Tanacetum parthenium)
    Feverfew (L. Tanacetum parthenium)
  • 1 teaspoon lavender - dried or fresh (L. Lavendula officinalis)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon balm or 10 fresh leaves (L. Melissa officinalis)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh rosemary (L. Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage or 4 fresh leaves (L. Salvia officinalis)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (L. Capsicum frutescens)
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Method

  1. 1
    Boil a kettle of water.
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  2. 2
    Place the herbs into the infuser.
    If you don't have an infuser, brew the way you would normal tea, and then strain through a plastic strainer. Do not use metal tea balls.
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  3. 3
    Pour boiling water over the herbs and fill the teapot.
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  4. 4
    Let it steep for five minutes.
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  5. 5
    Strain into cup.
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  6. 6
    Add honey to taste.
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  7. 7
    Don't exceed four cups of tea a day.
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Tips and Warnings

  1. 1
    ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking herbs, especially if you are taking other medications.
    Herbs can have contraindicated or counteract conventional medicines.
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  2. 2
    If you're going to keep herbal teas in the fridge, only keep them up to 24 hours.
    Add honey when it's hot, then refrigerate.
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  3. 3
    Don't use metal when working with herbs, unless stainless steel.
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  4. 4
    Get A Diagnosis.
    Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated, and this isn't good.
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  5. 5
    Keep A Record.
    If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them.
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  6. 6
    See Your Doctor.
    It's important you seek medical advice after you get your first migraine. Also make an Appointment With Your Doctor if:  
    1. The pattern or your migraines change, either frequency or intensity.
    2. Your headaches feel different. Suddenly, your migraines don't feel the way they usually do.
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  7. 7
    Seek Immediate Medical Assistance.
    If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately, or go to Emergency at the nearest hospital. These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious medical problem:  
    1. An abrupt, severe headache that feels like your head might explode – like a thunderclap.
    2. Migraine with a fever.
    3. Migraine with a stiff neck.
    4. Migraine with mental confusion.
    5. Migraine with seizures.
    6. Migraine with double vision.
    7. Migraine with weakness or numbness.
    8. Migraine with trouble speaking.
    9. Headache following a head injury, especially if the headache worsens.
    10. A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement.
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