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Natural Remedies for Migraine

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: January 2024 | Last updated: February 2024

If you have migraine attacks, you may consider many different types of treatment. Natural remedies are an example of an alternative treatment. Natural remedies have been used for many centuries for a range of ailments. Some of these remedies may help with migraine.1

What are natural remedies?

Natural remedies include vitamins, minerals, other supplements, or herbal treatments. There are some studies that support natural remedies for migraine.1,2

However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not control natural remedies the way it does other medicines. It does not require rigorous clinical trials for natural remedies. This means there is far less evidence of how well these products work. This also means these products cannot claim that they treat or cure a disease.2-4

Advantages of natural remedies

People with migraine may want to try natural remedies for several reasons, including:1,2

  • Natural remedies can be more affordable than prescription medicines
  • Natural remedies can have fewer side effects than prescription medicines
  • Some migraine medicines may interact with other medicines
  • Dissatisfaction with conventional medicines

Examples of natural remedies for migraine

Natural remedies that may help with migraine include:1,2,5,6

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – This is an antioxidant that our bodies naturally make. You can also take CoQ10 supplements. Some research shows that CoQ10 may help prevent and shorten migraine attacks.
  • Feverfew – This is a plant-based supplement. Research results on feverfew and migraine are mixed. Some studies show that when taken regularly, feverfew can prevent migraine attacks.
  • Riboflavin – Another name for riboflavin is vitamin B2. Some studies suggest that it can reduce frequency and lessen intensity of migraine attacks.
  • Butterbur – This is a plant that is made into supplements. Some studies suggest that butterbur can reduce migraine frequency, but it may impact the liver.
  • Magnesium – This is a mineral you can take as a supplement. Magnesium is one of the most well-studied supplements used for the prevention of migraine. Research suggests that magnesium reduces migraine frequency, intensity, and associated symptoms.
  • Omega-3s – These are fatty acids that are found in some foods. You can also take omega-3s as a supplement. Limited research suggests that omega-3s may reduce migraine frequency. Omega-3s are thought to be beneficial for migraine because they regulate serotonin levels in the brain, reduce inflammation, and decrease the number of inflammatory proteins. Common sources of omega-3 include fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

Other things to know

Just because they are natural does not mean these remedies are safe for everyone. Natural remedies may:1-3

  • Cause side effects
  • Interact with other treatments
  • Be overused

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way other medicines are. This means that no outside agency confirms the ingredients or suggested dose.3,4

For example, a fish oil supplement may have more or less fish oil than listed on the label. A supplement may also contain ingredients that are not labeled correctly or at all. This can be dangerous. It can lead to taking too much or taking unwanted ingredients.3,4

The FDA created good manufacturing practices (GMPs) to help this situation. GMPs are guidelines for companies to follow when making supplements. The FDA rarely inspects facilities making supplements in the United States. Companies outside the US do not have these inspections. But many more supplements are sold than are tested. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if a supplement is safe.3,4

Talk with your healthcare provider before starting any natural remedy for migraine. Before beginning treatment for migraine, also tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

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Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.