It’s hard to think of any health condition that is more pervasive than migraines. After all, most of us fit into two categories – we either suffer from migraines ourselves, or we know someone who is directly affected by migraines. Unlike your typical headache, a migraine can cause a whole range of uncomfortable symptoms, making it extremely debilitating and taking you out of action for days at a time. These symptoms can include throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of balance, visual disturbances, and hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smell. What is so troublesome about migraines is that modern medicine still has few answers about the causes, prevention, and treatment. Most conventional medications simply aim to reduce pain, but are often ineffective and also cause other side effects. Fortunately, Ayurveda gives us a number of simple but effective home remedies for migraines, including a number of herbs and natural medications, as well as other Ayurvedic techniques.
Simple Ayurvedic Remedies for Migraines
Brahmi is regarded as one of the most important revitalizing or rasayana herbs in Ayurveda, used in a number of remedies and Ayurvedic medications for over 2,000 years. Mentioned in many of the earliest Ayurvedic treatises such as the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, brahmi is notable for its beneficial effects on the mind. It has a calming and soothing effect that can lower stress, promote relaxation and sleep, while also exhibiting antispasmodic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. All of these characteristics make it useful in the treatment of migraines and it is a common ingredient in Ayurvedic medications for migraines. Brahmi’s nootropic and neuropharmacological benefits are so powerful, that research shows it can even treat memory impairment. Aside from the use of medications containing brahmi, you can also use brahmi oil and pastes to relive migraines naturally by massaging them onto the scalp or applying the oil into the nostrils.
Classified as a tridoshic herb, pudina or mint can help to restore the natural balance of your doshas, relieving a variety of ailments. It is most commonly used in Ayurvedic medications for digestion, but it is also known to help in the treatment of common headaches and migraines. Although the precise mechanism of action is not understood, pudina is believed to relax the muscles around the sinus and skull, and the aroma also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. The use of the herb to treat migraines is also supported by research, with a study showing that the application of a menthol solution over the forehead and temples could reduce symptoms of migraine pain, nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light. For best results, you should begin using pudina or mint oil as soon as you feel a migraine coming on.
Widely used as a cooking ingredient, ginger is also a powerful herb that can help in the treatment of migraines. It is often used in Ayurvedic treatments to boost digestive, respiratory, and circulatory functions, but is also known to fight nausea, reduce pain, and detoxify the body. These features also make it useful when dealing with migraine symptoms. Studies suggest that ginger root or powder can reduce the severity and duration of migraines just as effectively as allopathic medications, but with almost no side effects. Researchers believe that these benefits may be linked to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. Ginger is also useful as a remedy for migraines because it relieves other symptoms associated with migraines such as nausea and vomiting. Ginger can be used in variety of methods, including in its raw form, fresh juice extract, powder, in herbal teas, or in capsules.
Like brahmi, ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded rasayana herbs in Ayurveda, also finding many mentions in classical texts. Regarded as an adaptogenic herb, ashwagandha is known to have a powerful revitalizing effect, increasing strength and energy. Its therapeutic benefits extend far wider however, as it is also believed to strengthen brain and nervous system functions. It also has proven anti-inflammatory properties that make it helpful in the natural treatment of migraines. We have also learned through research that the herb can lower stress levels, which can trigger or increase the severity of migraine attacks. You can use ashwagandha supplements to treat migraines, but the best way to exploit its benefits would be by using Ayurvedic migraine medications that contain the herb.
- Ayurvedic Lifestyle Techniques
In addition to the use of herbs and Ayurvedic medications to treat migraines, Ayurvedic texts also recommend other lifestyle changes to prevent and better manage the problem. Some of these recommendations include the practice of yoga, pranayamas or breathing exercises, meditation, and jal neeti or nasal irrigation. These practices are now proven to help through different actions, some of which are not clearly understood. Yoga may help by improving blood flow, reducing muscular tension in trigger points, and reducing stress and anxiety levels. Comprehensive studies have shown that the practice can reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of migraines. Nasal irrigation may help as it has been shown to help relieve chronic sinusitis, clearing the nasal passages and reducing sinus stress. Similarly, breathing exercises or pranayamas and meditation have a relaxing effect not just on the mind, but also on the muscles and nervous system, which can help provide natural migraine relief.
In addition to using these Ayurvedic home remedies for migraines, you should also be more mindful about your diet and daily lifestyle. This awareness of your surroundings and your body will help to identify and avoid migraine triggers, reducing the frequency of attacks and making the remedies more effective.
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