There are many powerful, effective natural remedies for migraines that can help the holistically minded avoid medication and actually work to heal and reduce pain and intensity.
Migraine generally is an episodic headache that can be disabling. The word migraine is a French version of the Latin word hemicrania, meaning “half of the skull.” This refers to the tendency for migraine to affect one half of the head during an attack. It is estimated that twenty-eight million Americans are in need of natural remedies for migraines with 18.2 percent of females and 6.5 percent of males having at least one migraine attack per year.
53 percent of migraineurs (individuals suffering from migraine) report severe disability or the need for bedrest during an attack, so home remedies for migraines are essential to dependable treatment. The headache occurs unilaterally 60–70 percent of the time and the pain is described as throbbing or pulsing with a tendency to become a continuous ache.
Based on our research, the following nutrients and herbs are recommended as natural migraine remedies. As with all other maladies, every migraineur is different and requires individualized therapy. In particular, transformed migraine, the transformation of periodic migraine attacks to daily headaches, usually in the presence of excessive over-the-counter medications, requires very careful monitoring. Medical supervision is recommended. Scientific studies demonstrate metabolic changes in transformed migraine that are not present in nontransformed migraine.
It has been known for some time that individuals with migraine have reduced levels of magnesium, both in the serum and intracellularly. Up to 50 percent of patients have decreased magnesium during an acute attack. In addition, an intravenous infusion of magnesium can abort an acute attack and daily oral supplementation with magnesium can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium as a home remedy for migraines reduces the symptoms in several ways. It plays a significant role in inhibiting the flow of calcium into cells at an ion channel activated by glutamate. Glutamate acts on a specific receptor, the N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. When activated, the channel opens for several ions, potassium, sodium, and calcium. The influx of calcium and other ions may result in the release of more glutamate as well as substance P, a signaling molecule for pain. The magnesium ion blocks this channel outside the cell and needs to be expelled before it will open. Magnesium deficiency may disinhibit the NMDA receptor.
Magnesium as a home remedy for migraines is essential with doses from 200 mg twice/day up to 400–500 mg twice/day depending upon GI tolerance.