Twelve Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches

The Truth About Diets and Exercise (Humor)
July 15, 2009
Health Myth #6: “Government-run universal health care would increase the international competitiveness of U.S. companies.”
July 18, 2009
Show all

Twelve Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches

I found this excellent article on home remedies for migraine headaches — which impact more women than men. Several of these I use in my practice. However, I would recommend you discuss any of the natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) with your personal physician before trying them.
More Information:By the way, you can learn more about several of these natural medications in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. Here’s the article, from Fox News:
Talk about gender bias. Three out of four of the nearly 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines are women. The reason may have to do with a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Additional triggers can also include alcohol, weather changes, stress, food and lack of sleep, says Dr. Brian Grosberg, assistant professor of neurology and director of Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Headache Center in Bronx, N.Y.
Nonetheless, there are therapies you can try at home to relieve your migraine pain, Grosberg said.
And the best thing about these remedies? They aren’t gender-specific.
1. Drink water
“Dehydration can be a big cause of headaches,” Grosberg said.
2. Drink caffeine
Caffeine is a double-edged sword – it can help and hinder headaches.
“Caffeine can restrict blood vessels, it can lessen pain, it’s a constituent of some pain over-the-counter pain medicines, but it can also trigger headaches for some people,” Grosberg said. “If someone uses caffeine excessively, it can cause a rebound headache, making existing headaches worse.”
3. Tying a headband around the head
Grosberg said this is a practice that’s been done since ancient times, and he’s not sure how it came about, but some people claim it works.
4. Fish oil
Enthusiasts claim that fish oil reduces inflammation and works by restricting the blood vessels in your temples. Grosberg said there’s no sound evidence, but he recommends trying it.
5. Peppermint oil
Rub it on the part of your head that hurts.
“There’s been no literature to support this, but again, people say it works,” Grosberg said.
6. Eat ginger or take ginger capsules
“No one really knows how this works either,” Grosberg said. “It clearly reduces nausea, but other than that …”
7. Magnesium
Grosberg said this has been studied and when taken in doses of 400 to 600 milligrams per day, magnesium is effective for menstrual-associated migraines and migraines associated with auras.
The downside: Magnesium may cause diarrhea, if you take too much, Grosberg said.
8. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
In doses of 400 milligrams a day, vitamin B2 can also act as a preventative for migraines, Grosberg said. It can cause some people to urinate more frequently or have darker urine, so the dosage may have to be adjusted.
9. CoEnzymeQ10
Grosberg said that taking 300 milligrams per day has proven to be effective in reducing head pain. The downside: It can be expensive.
10. Butterbur
The most effective “natural medicine,” Grosberg said, is called butterbur, or petasites.
Butterbur is a plant grown in Germany, and extensive studies have proven that in pill form, it is very effective in treating migraine pain and asthma, as well as alleviate upset stomachs. Butterbur is safe, although it can only be ordered online.
11. Cold (or hot) compress
This is another remedy that no one knows why it works, but it some swear by it.
“It’s hard to study something like that,” Grosberg said. “It can have a placebo effect, or it can have a distracting effect on the patient. But a lot of patients swear by it.”
Whether you try one or all of these at-home remedies, Grosberg said you should still keep a headache diary to monitor what works and what doesn’t, and what triggers your headache. This will assist your doctor in treating you.
“Overall, the less medicines you take, the better,” he added.

One thing Dr. Grosberg does not mention, is acupressure. I have a chapter on it in my book, but there are at least four pressure points that have been shown, in studies, to reduce the pain from a migraine headache. And, acupressure can be used with any of the above.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Walt – I counted 7 of the 11 (or 8 of the 12, if you count your note about acupressure) to relieve my headaches. I wouldn’t call them migraines, but they can get intense.
    To prevent headaches, I make sure I drink lots of water and get enough sleep. When they come on, I first ice my neck. If that doesn’t do it, then I take fish oil, put a moist heat compress on my head and go to bed (after rubbing peppermint oil on a couple acupressure points).
    Just last week, that strategy helped manage a throbbing headache, but I felt like it could come back in an instant if I wasn’t very careful. I had heard that CoQ10 could help, and found some in my mom’s cupboard. I took 1, and was amazed at how it helped. There’s no more pain threatening to blowup into a debilitating headache.
    Thanks for the tips.

  2. cindy aubrey says:

    I appreciate the list Dr. Walt. Having tried several of your home remedies, I have found the greatest relief is staying hydrated and taking Vitamin B2. Although for me, a sure trigger for migraines is MSG – then all bets are off. I try to avoid it, however, when eating outside of our home, you never know what you are eating.
    Cindy Aubrey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.