Headaches and Migraines

Alternative Treatments for Headaches and Migraines

Alternative treatments for headaches include acupuncture, yoga, relaxation, massages and aromatherapy. Many patients shy away from herbal remedies because of potential allergies that often worsen the headaches. A few herbals have gained some acceptance in the treatment of headaches.

Dong Quai- Although its main application is in the treatment of menstrual disorders and menstrual cramps, Dong Quai is often used to treat headaches. While there are practically no clinical studies on this herb, animal and in vitro studies suggest that Dong Quai may be useful as an anti-inflammatory, smooth muscle relaxant, analgesic, and mild sedative.

Feverfew- is used in migraine prophylaxis as well as treatment of migraines. The current consensus is that feverfew may work prophylactically to prevent migraines, and that emphasis should be placed on the use of high quality preparations with detectable and consistent levels of its key components (parthenolide levels of 0.2% to 0.9%). While clinical investigations have shown mixed results, two studies indicate that feverfew treatment results in a reduction in frequency of migraines and milder migraines in pre-treated individuals. Feverfew is also used in combination with vitamin B12 and Magnesium with some decrease in frequency of headaches. Side effects include stomach problems, diarrhea, allergic reactions to the fresh leaf when ingested, flatulence and unpleasant taste.

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