Yesterday we learned that inflammation of body tissues is believed to be the source of migraines, because clinical studies have shown that reducing inflammation will reduce the occurrence of migraines.
In addition to the foods we discussed, a number of traditional herbal remedies can be used to control inflammation. These herbal remedies are effective at relieving migraine pain and reducing the frequency of migraines.
Many people think herbal remedies can’t be that effective because they aren’t medicine. Actually, herbal remedies have been used as medicine for thousands of years and have proven effective for many conditions. Unfortunately, there are very few modern clinical trials that support these findings, mainly because there is no funding for such trials.
As always, be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting any of the treatments described.
Butterbur is a shrub-like plant that is believed to reduce inflammation. The roots of the plant have been used for centuries to treat pain, allergies, gastric disorders, and headaches.
Clinical trials have shown that butterbur is effective in reducing the frequency of migraines when taken on a daily basis for at least 3 months. A standardized butterbur extract should be used, and never the raw root, to ensure proper dosage and avoid potentially harmful side effects.
Feverfew is a flowering herb in the daisy family. As its name suggests, it is a traditional remedy used to treat fevers. Studies have shown that feverfew relieves migraine pain in 70 percent of patients. It has also been shown to cut the frequency of migraines in half. A chemical called parthenolide, found in the leaves of the plant, is believed to be responsible for these benefits.
Feverfew should also be taken on a daily basis to be effective for migraines. Capsules of dried, powdered feverfew leaf are the most common form, although the fresh-picked leaves of the plant can also be used. The benefit of using capsules is consistent potency of the dosage, which is difficult to control when using fresh leaves.
Passionflower is a traditional remedy for stress. It is a mild sedative and muscle relaxant that also has anti-inflammatory properties. The effects of passionflower on migraines have not been tested in clinical trials, although one study did find that it is effective as a general sedative.
Passionflower is best suited to stress-related migraines. Unlike butterbur and feverfew, it does not need to be taken on a daily basis to be effective. It has mild analgesic properties and can provide short-term relief from migraine pain.
Many other herbal remedies are used to treat migraines, and we will look at a few more of them in tomorrow’s episode. Thanks for tuning in!
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