herbs that help migraines

You’re in severe pain, your head is throbbing, you’re sick to your stomach and every light and sound bothers you. You have migraines. You and so many others. Migraine is unbelievably common: 8.3% of Canadians and 12%-22% of Americans suffer from migraines. 91% of those can barely function when they’re struck by an attack. What can you do? Lots!

A systematic review tried to look at all the research on herbs and migraine. They found 19 studies of 9 different herbs. All but one (topical damask rose) of them showed at least some benefit for migraine.

The most studied herb was the great migraine herb feverfew. Of 7 controlled studies, all but one found at least some benefit.

The herb the researchers were most impressed with was butterbur. All 3 double-blind studies found a benefit.

A double-blind study found that adding curcumin to migraine drugs was beneficial. Another found that, although adding neither curcumin nor CoQ10 helped, adding both of them did.

An unexpected entry was coriander. But it worked. A triple-blind study found that adding coriander syrup to migraine drugs significantly reduced the severity, duration and frequency of attacks.

A double-blind study showed that “citron syrup” reduced the severity and duration of attacks.

Topically, the application of 3 essential oils were shown to work. Two double-blind studies proved the efficacy of menthol or peppermint oil as well as one each for chamomile and lavender essential oil.

That’s an impressive list of effective herbs for migraine.

As we noted in our feature on migraine in Vol.24, No.4 of The Natural Path newsletter, other herbs also help, including ginger and pine bark extract. Another curcumin study found that a combination of curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced frequency, duration and severity of headaches. We also found more studies supporting the use of peppermint essential oil. And anise essential oil also helps.

There is also a long list of nonherbal natural supplements that are important for migraine, including 5-HTP, SAMe, melatonin, CoQ10, magnesium, B2, and a B6-B12-folic acid combination.


Phytother Res October 2020;34(10):2493-2517


For the latest research to keep you and your family healthy, get The Natural Path delivered to your inbox each month for only $29.99 a year: Subscribe!

For much more on preventing and treating migraines naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia


For comprehensive help with migraine headaches, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.


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