Natural Pain Relief for Migraine
By Asvini Prakash
Migraines are a neurological disorder where recurring headaches cause moderate to severe pain that feels like a throbbing or pulsing sensation. This is due to inflammation of the blood vessels of the cerebral membrane and irritation of localised nerve fibers, which send pain signals to the brain during a migraine attack. Migraines can be caused by environmental or genetic factors, hormones and stress, amongst other triggers.
Migraines are usually treated with painkillers to relieve the symptoms. However, a natural remedy can be used in place of medication to help with migraines. Although studies are inconclusive, anecdotal evidence suggests that ginger helps to relieve the pain and symptoms of migraines. Having one-eighth of a teaspoon of ginger powder with warm water at the onset of a migraine has been shown to be highly effective in blocking pain. Research shows that ginger powder plays a role in curbing migraines and works equally as fast as drugs taken for migraines but with substantially fewer side effects. Some of the side effects seen with conventional painkiller medication are diarrhoea, irritation of the throat or mouth, a rash, gas and flushed skin.
The ginger root has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with digestion, upset stomach, diarrhoea and nausea. Ginger blocks prostaglandins, chemical messengers that cause swelling in the brain. Ginger also acts as a blood thinner and muscle relaxant that can help reduce the inflammation around the head and contribute to better blood flow. This is how ginger helps to mitigate pain and other migraine symptoms.
Ginger can be consumed in a number of ways, including:
- Ginger powder
- Ginger root
- Ginger tea
- Ginger oil
- Ginger juice / smoothie.
Ginger tea is effective at reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches. Making ginger tea using fresh ginger root or ginger powder in warm water and drinking it at the onset of your headache is ideal as that is when it is most likely to block the pain. If you are someone with chronic migraines, consider having ginger tea 3-4 times a week as it might help manage the persistent pain. Some people might find that ginger tea is a more effective natural alternative to pharmaceutical painkillers.
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- Mashhadi, N S, et al. “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence.” International Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 4, no. Suppl 1, Apr. 2013, pp. S36–S42.
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- Mustafa, T., and K.C. Srivastava. "Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) In Migraine Headache". Journal Of Ethnopharmacology, vol 29, no. 3, 1990, pp. 267-273. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/0378-8741(90)90037-t.
- "Stop a Migraine and the Symptoms Naturally with Ginger." Migraine Again. https://migraineagain.com/stop-a-migraine-with-ginger/. Published July 5, 2019.