Herbal Remedies for Migraine Headaches

Sally Painter
Herbs for remedies and vials

Migraine sufferers may turn to an herbal remedy instead of drugs. Pain management is everything when it comes to a migraine headache and some herbs have proven helpful.

Peppermint Essential Oil Massage Blend

Peppermint has been used in many forms as a tea to relieve indigestion and as an essential oil for aromatherapy and massage. When applied as a massage oil to the head and neck areas, some migraine sufferers have experienced relief from pain. Always check with your doctor or healthcare provider before embarking on any form of herbal treatment.

Massaging temples with peppermint oil

Menthol Study

A study from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran was conducted using menthol (the substance found in peppermint) and its treatment for migraines. A 10% solution of menthol was used in the trail. The results demonstrated that the menthol solution proved to be a treatment for migraines. Don't use peppermint massage oils on children under three years old.

Supplies and Ingredients

You will need a few supplies before you can make your massage oil. It's recommended that you wear gloves when mixing essential oils since undiluted essential oils can burn or cause a skin rash on sensitive skin. Supplies and ingredients you'll need include:

  • 1 small bowl or bottle/vial
  • 1 wooden stir stick or spoon
  • Measuring spoons (tablespoon)
  • Eyedropper (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) carrier oil (olive oil or other vegetable oil)
  • 15 - 20 drops peppermint essential oil

Directions for Mixing Oils

You can start out with two ounces of your carrier oil and 15 to 20 drops of the peppermint essential oil. Some homeopaths use a stronger mixture of one ounce (two tablespoons) and 20 drops of essential oil. Use an eyedropper if the bottle doesn't have a self-dropper insert or eyedropper. It's best to start with a more diluted mixture and only increase if you don't get relief from your headache. Too much essential oil can cause skin irritation.

Blending the Two Oils

You can mix the two oils either in a small bowl or a two- or three-ounce bottle or vial. Choose a bottle/vial that has a lid so you can store any leftover mixture. You want to blend the oils. If using a bowl, stir with a wooden spoon or stir stick until the oils are blended. If using a bottle or vial with a lid or cap, you can gently shake it to mix the oils together.

Applying Peppermint Oil Treatment

Once the two oils are thoroughly blended, you can use the oils as a massage. You can use your finger tips or don a pair of disposable gloves.

  1. Dip your fingertips into the bowl or use the dropper to place a few drops on the tips of your fingers.
  2. Massage the oils into your temples and forehead.
  3. Take several deep breaths through your nose to allow the essential oil aroma to fill your sinuses.
  4. Move your fingers in circular patterns as you work the oil into your skin.
  5. Work your way down to the back of your head and neck, massaging the oil into the base of your head and neck muscles.
  6. Continue use massaging the peppermint oil blend onto your shoulders and where your neck and back muscles connect.

Helpful Hints for Using Peppermint Massage Oil

You should lie down in a quiet dark room and allow the oil you blended to be absorbed into your body. If you have an aromatherapy oil diffuser, you can use it with peppermint essential oil while you rest. If the oil doesn't seem to be powerful enough, you can always change your ratio to one ounce of oil carrier instead of two ounces. Be sure you are careful not to use too much essential oil and irritate your skin. It's better to use less and gradually add more, testing as you go.

Peppermint Tea for Migraine Symptoms

Some migraine sufferers also have nausea whenever a migraine strikes. Peppermint tea has been used for centuries for indigestion and other gastric ailments, as well as the pain associated with migraines. You can purchase prepared peppermint tea prepared in tea bags or loose leaves.

Fresh Mint Leaf Tea Supplies

If you grow your own peppermint, you can prepare a tea using the leaves. You will need a few supplies and ingredients.

  • 1 cup of water (filtered preferably)
  • 10 to 15 fresh peppermint leaves (depending on personal taste)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions

  1. Allow the water to boil.
  2. In the meantime, wash and pat the peppermint leaves dry between two sheets of paper towel.
  3. Place the leaves into an 8 ounce teacup or mug.
  4. Remove water from range and pour boiling water into a cup or mug.
  5. Allow tea to steep for five minutes.
  6. Add honey if desired.
  7. Sip tea and repeat as needed.

Feverfew Treatment for Migraine Headaches

Feverfew has been used for centuries as a treatment of migraines and other illnesses. You can use it as a tea or a tincture.

Closeup of blooming feverfew plants

National Institutes of Health Study

A study from the L. M. College of Science and Technology and L B S College of Pharmacy, both in India, breaks down the chemical compounds of feverfew and its anti-inflammatory properties/activities. The study concludes, "Flowers and leaves [feverfew] and parthenolide showed significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities, which confirmed the folk use of feverfew herb for treatment of migraine headache, fever, common cold, and arthritis…"

Ingredients and Supplies for a Feverfew Tincture

You can make a powerful migraine herbal remedy with feverfew. While you could make this from dried feverfew leaves (using half the amount of leaves), it's always best to use fresh herbs for tinctures.

  • 4 or 6 ounce jar (can use canning jars with lids and rings)
  • Enough fresh feverfew leaves, chopped to fill a 4 or 6 ounce jar
  • 80 proof vodka (4 or 6 ounces)
  • Funnel
  • Cheesecloth
  • 4 to 6 of 1-ounce tincture bottles with eyedropper caps/lids

Feverfew Tincture Directions

  1. Harvest the feverfew leaves, collecting enough leaves to fill the jar at leaves 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  2. Chop the feverfew leaves (or use a food processor), taking care not to pulverize or chop too finely. You want to be able to tell they are leaf bits.
  3. Fill the jar about 2/3 or 3/4 full with the chopped feverfew leaves.
  4. Pour the vodka into the jar and fill the jar to about 1" from the top rim.
  5. Screw on the lid and shake.
  6. Set jar in a cool dark place and allow the alcohol to extract the feverfew for six to eight weeks. Shake the jar every three days.
  7. At the end of six to eight weeks, divide the tincture into individual tincture bottles.
  8. Use cheesecloth over the funnel to pour the tincture into the smaller bottles.
  9. Allow the funnel and cheese cloth to drain completely before removing.
  10. Repeat until each bottle is filled.
  11. Label the tincture bottles with "Feverfew Tincture" and the date you bottled them.
  12. Store in a cool dark place.
  13. Tinctures made with alcohol have a 3-5-year shelf life.

How to Take Feverfew Tincture

There are couple of ways you can take your feverfew tincture. The easiest way is to place the tincture underneath the tongue. This way you have minimum taste of the bitterness as you swallow it. Some people use tinctures in teas or in mixed cocktails. How you choose to use it can be as simple or as creative as you prefer.

  • You'll want to take between 100 to 300 mg of the feverfew tincture up to four times a day (according to NIH).
  • Feverfew is most effective when take at the first signs of a migraine.
  • If you have auras with your migraines, the first flash of light should alert you to take the tincture to stop the migraine before it cycles.

Feverfew Side Effects and Warnings

Side effects are minor and include, bloating, nausea, insomnia, headache, and joint pain. Feverfew may interact with other medications/drugs, so be sure to check with your doctor or health practitioner before taking it.

  • If you're pregnant, you shouldn't take feverfew.
  • If you are currently on blood thinners or are allergic to any flowers of the daisy family, you shouldn't take feverfew.
  • Don't administer feverfew to children under the age of two and adjust according to the child's weight. Always check with a doctor or health practitioner before giving feverfew to children!

Using Herbal Remedy for Migraine Headaches

You can use an herbal remedy as an alternative treatment to drugs for migraine headaches. Finding relief from painful migraines can be achieved when using specific teas and tinctures.

Herbal Remedies for Migraine Headaches