Natural remedies are a drug-free way to reduce migraine symptoms. These at-home treatments may help prevent migraines, or at least help reduce their severity and duration.
Note: Severe migraines may require treatment with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that works for you.
1. Avoid hot dogs
Diet plays a vital role in preventing migraines. Many foods and beverages are known migraine triggers, such as:
- foods with nitrates including hot
dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
- cheese that contains the
naturally-occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, Parmesan,
- alcohol, especially red wine
- foods that contain monosodium
glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer
- foods that are very cold such as ice
cream or iced drinks
- processed foods
- pickled foods
- dried fruits
- cultured dairy products such as
buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
A small amount of caffeine may ease migraine pain in some people. Caffeine is also in some migraine medications. But, too much caffeine may cause a migraine. It may also lead to a severe caffeine withdrawal headache.
To figure out which foods and beverages trigger your migraines, keep a daily food diary. Record everything you eat and note how you feel afterward.
2. Apply lavender oil
Inhaling lavender essential oil may ease migraine pain. According to recent research, people who inhaled lavender oil during a migraine attack for 15 minutes experienced faster relief than those who inhaled a placebo. Lavender oil may be inhaled directly or applied diluted to the temples.
3. Try acupressure
Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure with the fingers and hands to specific points on the body to relieve pain and other symptoms. Acupressure is a credible alternative therapy for people in pain from chronic headaches and other conditions. A separate study found acupressure may help relieve migraine-associated nausea.
4. Look for feverfew
Feverfew is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy. It’s a folk remedy for migraines. however, there’s not enough evidence that feverfew prevents migraines. Still, many people claim it helps their migraine symptoms without side effects.
5. Apply peppermint oil
The menthol in peppermint oil may stop a migraine from coming on. The study found that applying a menthol solution to the forehead and temples was more effective than placebo for migraine-associated pain, nausea, and light sensitivity.
6. Go for ginger
Yoga uses breathing, meditation, and body postures to promote health and well-being. Yoga may relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines. It’s thought to improve anxiety, release tension in migraine-trigger areas, and improve vascular health. Although researchers conclude it’s too soon to recommend yoga as a primary treatment for migraines, they believe yoga supports overall health and may be beneficial as a complementary therapy.
8. Try biofeedback
Biofeedback is a relaxation method. It teaches you to control autonomic reactions to stress. Biofeedback may be helpful for migraines triggered by physical reactions to stress such as muscle tensing.
9. Add magnesium to your diet
Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches and migraines. Studies show magnesium oxide supplementation helps prevent migraines with aura. It may also prevent menstrual-related migraines.
You can get magnesium from foods that include:
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
- peanut butter
10. Book a massage
A weekly massage may reduce migraine frequency and improve sleep quality. The research suggests massage improves perceived stress and coping skills. It also helps decrease heart rate, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
If you get migraines, you know the symptoms can be challenging to cope with. You might miss work or not be able to participate in activities you love. Try the above remedies and find some relief.
It might also be helpful to talk to others who understand exactly what you’re going through. Our free app, Migraine Healthline, connects you with real people who experience migraines. Ask treatment-related questions and seek advice from others who get it.