7 Natural Remedies For Migraine Relief

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There’s no cure for migraine, but some natural remedies can help ease the pain.

Peppermint oil has a numbing effect, and lavender may soothe. Both are available as ointments or in diluted essential oil sticks to rub on the forehead and temples.

1. Cold Compress

One of the simplest natural migraine remedies is a cold compress. Research suggests that applying a cold compress, like an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables, reduces inflammation and slows nerve conduction to ease pain and discomfort (50).

You can purchase specialized ice packs designed for use on the neck, eyes or face or make your own using a plastic bag filled with ice cubes or a small bag of frozen vegetables. Place the ice pack on your head or neck, where you feel the most pain or tension. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and move it around or replace with a new cold compress, as needed, until you experience relief.

Other simple home remedies include eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated by drinking water, wearing migraine relief caps, and taking advantage of natural light. Migraine sufferers can also benefit from keeping a headache diary to identify food, stress and activity triggers that can be avoided. It may help to avoid foods that are known to increase the frequency of migraines, such as aged cheese, chocolate and caffeine. In addition, a few studies indicate that herbal supplements, such as curcumin and chamomile, can help prevent migraines. Butterbur, an herb that has anti-inflammatory properties, has also been shown to help decrease migraine headaches in three placebo-controlled trials. However, it should be noted that butterbur can contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids and can interact with certain medications and so is not suitable for everyone.

2. Hot Compress

Many migraine sufferers find relief with over-the-counter or prescription medications, but natural and home remedies may also help. They can ease the pain during an attack and prevent headaches from returning.

For instance, a warm or hot compress applied to the neck and head can relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. A hot shower or bath may also be soothing. Just make sure that the temperature is safe and not too hot, as this can cause burns or discomfort. The best time to try this is during the early stages of a migraine.

You can help prevent migraines by eating small, frequent meals and following a diet low in MSG, aged cheese and cured meats, as well as fatty foods and chocolate. Keeping a food diary can help you identify potential triggers and avoid them.

Regular sleep habits and avoiding too much stress can also help prevent headaches. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day and avoid consuming caffeine right before or after you sleep, as this can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

3. Acupressure

Acupuncture is an ancient practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body for targeted effects. A 2020 systematic review found that acupuncture may be effective for people with migraine headaches. If you are interested in trying this treatment, you should make sure to visit a qualified practitioner.

Applying different variations of cold and heat to the head, neck, and shoulders can also help reduce pain and tension. A cold compress or a wash cloth soaked in ice water can be applied to the forehead and scalp. Hot compresses or showers can be helpful, too. You can even try putting a small amount of Tiger Balm, an ointment typically used for muscle aches, on the forehead during a migraine attack. Just be careful, since applying too much ointment can cause a skin reaction in some migraine sufferers.

You can reduce the frequency of migraines by eating a healthy diet. Avoid foods that can trigger your headaches, such as certain dairy products and strong odors. You can also try to keep your blood sugar stable by eating frequently and choosing a diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans, lean proteins, and healthy fats like olive oil.

4. Scalp Massage

As we go about our day, the muscles in our head and neck tense up from stress and poor posture. This can cause headaches and discomfort. Scalp massage is a gentle yet effective way to ease the tension. Whether you go to a massage therapist or use a scalp massager at home, this therapy can help relax the muscles and improve blood flow. This reduces headache pain and helps eradicate toxins. It also releases oxycontin, which is a hormone that boosts mood and improves your overall sense of well being.

Some people with migraine experience allodynia, a symptom that makes touch or other stimuli that are not normally painful extremely uncomfortable. However, many migraine sufferers report that rubbing their forehead or temples relieves the pain of a migraine. This is because a pressure point called Union Valley (Hegu) can be stimulated with the fingers or a small ball.

A rubbing action also stimulates the brain to send different messages to the pain receptors, which can help decrease migraine pain. In fact, a 2022 study found that both massage and cervical mobilization (a technique that involves manual manipulation of the neck) improves symptoms in migraine patients.


5. Ginger

Besides helping soothe nausea associated with migraine attacks, ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties. It restricts blood vessels and increases serotonin levels, both of which are thought to help stop the pain.

Ginger extract is available in capsule form and can be taken as a preventive treatment or at the first sign of an attack — though it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking it. It can interact with some medications and can cause stomach issues in some people.

The essential oil from lavender may help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for migraine headaches. It can be inhaled through aromatherapy, or mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin, according to research. Peppermint oil may also provide pain relief when used in a similar way, but there’s less evidence for this use.

A 2020 review found some positive preliminary results for curcumin and chamomile as headache prevention supplements, but you should consult with a health care provider before trying them. And make sure any herbs you’re considering are from a reputable source, as the FDA doesn’t regulate herbal supplements.

6. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can help reduce the frequency of migraines in some people. It works by constricting blood vessels to prevent pain and discomfort. It also has analgesic effects and may make over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, more effective. However, too much caffeine can actually cause headaches, so it’s important to be aware of your daily consumption.

During a migraine, try consuming less caffeine or eliminating it completely to avoid triggering an attack. It’s also a good idea to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Some migraine sufferers find that smelling certain herbs, such as lavender or peppermint, are soothing during an attack. The menthol in these herbs has a cooling and numbing effect, helping to calm the nervous system. However, these herbal remedies should be used sparingly as they can interact with some prescription medications and are not advised for children or pregnant women.

Another natural remedy for migraine relief is magnesium, which helps relax tense muscles. It’s found in many foods, including dark-green vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Some studies suggest that supplemental magnesium can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. It’s best to talk with a doctor before incorporating this remedy into your diet.

7. Linden Tea

Linden tea, made from steeping dried linden blossoms in hot water, can calm and soothe the nervous system and support relaxation. It also works as a natural sleep aid and supports digestive comfort.

Linden is thought to reduce histamine, a natural substance that plays a role in the immune, respiratory and digestive systems. It’s found in certain foods, including aged cheeses, fermented foods, beer, wine and cured meats, but some people can’t excrete histamine well enough, which can cause headaches in those who are sensitive to it. Linden may also help relieve stress, anxiety and irritability by lowering blood pressure, relieving muscle tension and soothing indigestion.

While there’s no cure for migraine, many things can be done to help prevent and ease symptoms, such as staying hydrated, eating a diet that includes whole foods, avoiding caffeine and not skipping meals, and applying different combinations of heat and cold to the head and neck. Some people swear by ice packs placed on the forehead and temples, while others say they get relief from scented oils, especially those that smell pleasant. Still, a lot of research needs to be done on these home remedies and many of them may not be effective in everyone.