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Millions of Americans have experienced migraines for years, and cases are on the rise. Who suffers them knows that they are much more than just a headache. Although they are episodes that can vary in symptoms and degree of intensity, usually the throbbing and excruciating pain that accompanies a migraine can be debilitating and significantly affect quality of life. In fact, there is data released by the Migraine Research Foundation, in which it has been confirmed that more than 90% of people with migraines cannot work or function normally, during and after an episode. Although medical control is essential and conventional treatment requires medication, a great complement is natural therapies such as relaxation techniques and herbal remedies.
There is no doubt that in recent years the health trend invites us to return to nature and bet on the consumption of ingredients that shine for their medicinal and therapeutic potential. It is no coincidence that years before the introduction of modern medicine, cultures all over the world developed herbal remedies to combat headaches and other common migraine symptoms. Today we know that many of these traditions have survived over time and continue to be a valuable alternative to treat the problem more completely and especially without side effects.
Remember that no herbal treatment for migraines is a substitute for medical follow-up and it is always valuable to have the approval of a specialist. Without further ado these are the 5 most popular and effective herbs to reduce the symptoms caused by migraine headaches and prevent annoying attacks.
1. Matricaria (Tanacetum parthenium)
Feverfew is the most popular herbal remedy for preventing migraine attacks. It was used for the first time in the 5th century BC in ancient Greece, a culture that discovered its immense healing potential to treat a wide variety of ailments such as: fever, swelling and inflammation, however its most common use since that time was to relieve pain and headaches. It is a plant native to the Balkans, which belongs to the Asteraceae family and is currently available all over the world. Its most modern uses have been extended to the treatment of: migraines, dizziness, inflammation, and breathing problems. Feverfew is prepared by drying the leaves, flowers, and stems of the plant, resulting in a fine powder that is used to make supplements and extracts, which are available in health food stores. Regarding the scientific references that support its curative benefits, there is a review from 2011 in which it is confirmed that feverfew is an effective treatment for migraines, fever, the common cold and arthritis.
2. Mint (Mentha piperita)
Mint is not only a great ally in the kitchen, it is one of the most popular and consumed medicinal herbs in the world. It is a genus of vivacious herbaceous plants, belonging to the Lamiaceae family and it is estimated that there are between 13-18 species, which grow in North America, Europe and Asia. In particular, science has linked peppermint leaves and its essential oils as a powerful natural medicinal ally in the treatment of headaches and migraines. Its analgesic qualities are related to menthol, its active ingredient that stands out for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, there is a recent study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in which it was found that menthol is incredibly effective in stopping migraine pain and relieving nausea related to attackss, when applied to the forehead and temples in a 10% solution. Experts recommend applying peppermint essential oil topically and betting on integrating the intake of infusions into the diet, they promote hydration, which is very important in the control of migraines and also helps control inflammation.
3. Sauce (Salix)
Willow bark extract is a real treasure. It is obtained from the willow tree, a tree found in Europe, Asia and North America, and which since ancient times has been valued for its medicinal potential. Since the time of Hippocrates, people used to chew its bark for its anti-fever and anti-inflammatory effects. Not for nothing was willow extract used in the development of aspirin, one of the most popular pain relievers to treat headaches and the reason is its content in a anti-inflammatory compound called salicin. There are also scientific references that support its antioxidant power. Willow was later used in China and Europe for headaches, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and low back pain. Willow bark is currently found in health food stores in capsule form and as a chewy bark.
4. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Is there anything more wonderful than ginger? Probably not. It is one of the nature’s most powerful spices, is a tropical Asian plant that for centuries has been part of their culture, daily life and medicine. Not in vain has it been used in herbal medicines in China for more than 2000 years. Ginger is a medicinal treasure recognized everywhere, especially in Indian and Arab medicines. Therefore for many years it has been valued for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic power, which has worked to treat: headaches, stomach ailments, nausea, flu symptoms, arthritis, and neurological problems. The evidence is strong and ginger has been shown to be a great anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, the benefits of powdered ginger are comparable to those of sumatriptan, a common prescription medication for migraine headaches. Best of all, integrating ginger into your diet is easy and delicious, it goes great in juices, infusions, smoothies, soups, sauces, stews and desserts. There are also great alternatives in the form of supplements, fresh or dried ginger extract.
5. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
We have all heard about the calming and calming effects of valerian, is one of the most popular herbal remedies for treating stress, anxiety, and altered moods. It has been used since ancient Greece and Rome, as a medicinal remedy and years later it became a popular treatment for insomnia. Later in the 16th century, valerian was considered a medicinal plant “total cure”, since it was used successfully to calm: insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, tremors, anxiety, depression and nervousness. It is believed that in particular it is a great ally of migraines caused by high levels of stress. Nowadays it is really easy to acquire it in the form of a supplement, tea or tincture made with dried roots. Valerian root capsules are one of the best-selling products in America.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.