Natural Headache Remedies

 

Headaches are a pain– literally! They can come without warning and leave many people feeling debilitated. According to the American Headache Society, at least 37 million people struggle with migraines or other severe headache disorders.  

As a Naturopathic Doctor, the questions I often get are “what causes headaches?” and “what can I do about them?” Keep reading to learn about the most common causes for headaches and natural remedies that can help!    

 

Why Do We Get Headaches?  

Different types of headaches can have different underlying causes. For example, tension headache, the most common type of headache, shows up as mild to moderate pain with a sensation of pressure, like a tight band around the forehead. Tension headaches are typically caused by muscle tension, stress and dehydration.  

Migraines, the second most common type of headache, can feel like severe, throbbing pain that may be accompanied by an aura, light-sensitivity and vomiting. These headaches are commonly triggered by stress, dehydration and hormone imbalances  

Stress-management and adequate hydration are extremely important when addressing the common underlying causes of headaches. For those who need additional support, check out my top 5 natural headache remedies below!  

 

Natural Headache Remedies 

 

1) Ginger  

This spicy root has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to address pain and inflammation. A study compared ginger to sumatriptan, a common medication used to treat migraines, and found that ginger was as effective as the medication and had fewer side effects (1). 

Ginger is one of the key ingredients in our delicious Tru-Turmeric+ gummies! Check them out for an easy way to up your ginger intake. 

 

2) Magnesium 

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies and is required for over 300 biological reactions. Studies have shown that many people who experience headaches have low magnesium levels (2). Further research has found that magnesium supplementation reduced the frequency and severity of headaches (3).      

 

3) Butterbur  

Butterbur is a shrub used in traditional herbal medicine for headaches and allergies. A clinical trial found that butterbur root extract reduced the frequency of migraines by 48% after 4 months of consistent use (4). Butterbur has been shown to help lower the production of inflammatory molecules and relax smooth muscles in the body which may explain these clinical findings (5) 

 

4) Melatonin  

This hormone is produced by our brains to help us fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Studies have also found that melatonin may be an effective treatment option for headaches (6). Researchers believe this is attributed to melatonin’s pain-reducing and antioxidant properties.    

 

5) Riboflavin  

Also known as vitamin B2, this water-soluble nutrient is necessary for healthy cellular function and energy production. Riboflavin is commonly found in meat, eggs and nuts. Clinical trials have shown riboflavin to be helpful in the prevention of migraine headaches (7).    

 

Take-Home Points 

Natural treatments offer gentle and easy options to help ease pain and improve overall health. As with any condition, I always recommend working with a Naturopathic Doctor or another healthcare provider to understand and address the underlying causes of your symptoms! 

Let us know how you treat your headaches at @livetrulyfe! 

 

 

References:  

  1. Maghbooli M, et al. Phytotherapy Research. 2014 Mar; 28(3): 412-5. DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23657930/  
  2. Mauskop A, et al. Headache. 1996 Mar; 36(3):154-60. DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8984087/  
  3. Grober U, et al. Nutrients. 2015 September; 7(9): 8199-8226. DOI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/   
  4. Lipton R, et al. Neurology. 2004 Dec; 63(12):22404. DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15623680/  
  5. Alternative Medicine Review. 2001 April; 6(2): 207-9. DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11302783/  
  6. Gelfand A, et al. Headache. 2016 Sep; 56(8):1257-66. DOI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012937/  
  7. Thompson D, et al. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2017 Aug; 42(4): 394-403. DOI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28485121/