Natural Remedies

Migraine sufferers often look for natural remedies to help prevent migraine attacks and ease their debilitating migraine symptoms. Natural remedies, also referred to as nutraceuticals, have been used for many centuries for a range of ailments. Some have been shown to help with migraine.

Natural medications, such as vitamins, minerals, or other supplements, often appeal to people with chronic migraine for many reasons, including:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription drugs do not work for every patient
  • Prescription drugs may be too costly
  • Prescription and nonprescription drugs may have unwelcome side effects
  • Certain prescription or over-the-counter medications may interact with other treatments the person is taking
  • Their healthcare professional may recommend trying natural remedies1

Natural products that may help with migraine

There are numerous herbal treatments that have shown to help some people with migraine. However, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require rigorous clinical trials on dietary supplements, there is far less evidence on how well these products work. As dietary supplements, these products cannot make claims that they treat or cure a disease. Dietary supplements can include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes. These items can come from a plant, bush, tree or flower and its seeds, stems, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers.

Natural remedies that may help with migraine include:

While the amount of scientific evidence for each of the natural remedies listed above varies, the American Academy of Neurology found sufficient evidence to include several natural remedies in its guidelines for the prevention of migraine: butterbur, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium citrate.2

How do natural remedies work?

As with many treatments, researchers and doctors don’t always know how natural remedies work, and each natural remedy has its own probable method of action. Many contain numerous different compounds are thought to ease migraine symptoms or sometimes prevent migraine attacks.

Side effects of natural migraine remedies

Many people believe there aren’t side effects or potentially dangerous consequences if a treatment comes from natural or herbal source. Although natural migraine remedies are not drugs, they may still cause side effects, can interact with other treatments or be overused and cause overdose. Please check information on each individual natural remedy and check with your doctor before using any product.

Different supplements may cause different side effects depending on:

  • The person
  • The dosage
  • How often it is used
  • What other treatments the person is taking
  • What other conditions the person may have

All supplements should be discussed with a doctor first, to determine what the possible risks, including whether the supplements may interact badly with existing medications being taken.

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Who should not take natural migraine relief

Most natural remedies shouldn’t be taken by women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or breastfeeding. Most natural remedies haven’t been studied in pregnant women and therefore pregnant women should speak to their doctors before considering taking any natural remedy.

Many natural remedies interact with other medications. Before taking any natural remedy, consult your healthcare provider.

As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your physician.

Written by: Otesa Miles and Emily Downward | Last review date: May 2018
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