The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.


Migraine headaches are also known as vascular headaches because it is believed that there is an abnormality of blood vessel constriction and dilation. Several newer theories of the cause of migraine include excessive release of substance P(pain triggering compound released by nerve cells) and serotonin deficiency. A migraine headache typically causes throbbing sharp pain, often on one side and usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Some migraine sufferers have an aura preceeding the headache, which may include blurring or vision or bright spots in the vision, anxiety, fuzzy thinking or weakness or numbness of one side of the body. Current therapy for migraines includes analgesics, medications to alter blood vessel constriction, antidepressants and selective serotonin receptor activators. Most people with migrianes will need some combination of medications to get the best relief.

Natural treatment of migraine headache involves first identifying the factor(s) that trigger the headache. Known precipitating factors include low serotonin levels, food allergies, foods that contain or cause release of histamine, alcohol, nitrates, MSG, stress, emotional changes, hormonal changes, fatigue, muscle tension, weather changes, and eyestrain. Common food allergies in migraine patients include milk, wheat, chocolate, eggs, citrus, shellfish and tomato. Histamine containing foods include chocolate, cheese, beer and wine. Elimination of these foods from the diet can be very helpful. Deficiencies of Vitamin B2, B6, and C and magnesium have been found in migraine patients, so supplementation with a good vitamin-mineral combination is advised. If muscle tension is a significant factor, then chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation and massage therapy can be helpful. Biofeedback and relaxation therapy has been found to be effective and acupuncture treatment may be helpful in some people. For low serotonin levels, supplementing 5-hydroxy-tryptophan is helpful.

Herbal treatment-
Feverfew- an effective preventative treatment for migraine, works by inhibiting release of blood vessel dilating substances, inhibiting inflammatory substances and stablilizing blood vessel tone. Its effectiveness appears to be due to the constituent, parthenolide.
Liquid extract -1-11/2 teaspoons three times a day
Dry herb in capsules- 1000-1500 mg three times a day
Standardized extract (0.6% parthenolide)- 100 mg three times a day

Other herbs-Ginger, Garlic, St. Johnís Wort

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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