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Migraine relief

 
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Hi Anne!
I've been a lifelong sufferer of migraines.  What plants would you recommend in a forest to help with managing migraines?

Many thanks!
 
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I've no direct experience with it medicinally, but Feverfew has a reputation for being good for headaches -- the leaves and flowers in a strong tea or tincture. Tincture would be my personally preferred route, as it usually takes a lot of herbal tea to make an impact on any condition, and with something acute like a migraine, I'd want to take a strong dose without drinking a gallon of fluid.

While I haven't made it into medicine, we do have it in the garden and I enjoy it. It makes loads of cute, white, daisy-like flowers that bloom for a good long while.
 
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I take 2-3 feverfew leaves rolled up and disguised in food as soon as I feel a head ache.  1 hour later I feel much better.  I repeat  again if necessary.  I have a friend who eats one leaf of feverfew every day and says it changed his life! No more migraines.  The leaf does not taste good.   I hope this helps.
 
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I noticed fever few popped up in our food forest, unannounced the first season I suffered from migraines. I find it amazing that the food forest almost always knows what we need medicinally. Every time a new unknown volunteer arrives, I research to figure out what it is, and invariably notice its medicinal properties are totally aligned with something one of us really needs more of. As though all life is interconnected...

Though personally the only medicinal plants that really work wonders on my migraines have been linden flower (tilia) tincture and cannabis oil drops.  A few drops of either under the tongue are great nervous system relief.
 
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It is a really interesting question on migraine though I have to give a caveat in responding. So I cannot give direct advice BUT I certainly can make suggestions about plants to grow which might be useful in the short and longer term. As a herbal practitioner in the UK I adhere to professional ethical standards which include that I would not treat anyone without a thorough personal consultation. Usually a first consultation involves taking a full case history (maybe 60 nins) and includes advice on diet and lifestyle alongside herbal prescription(s). I mention this because migraine is a fascinating but complex complaint which often has roots (forgive the pun) of varying nature, particularly involving digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. I don't know your growing situation so will make this fairly general in the hope that it could be useful more widely.

I would focus on two plant families and will explain why. First I focus on the digestive system and the problem that could be triggered by a number of foods, perhaps reflecting a lowered level of activity. This would indicate digestive support using herbs with bitter actions. One of the best natural sources of bitters is members of the daisy (Asteraceae, used to be called Compositae) family. The bitter constituents are secondary metabolites used in plant defense against predators but for humans they provide a great stimulus for digestive secretions, often also laxative effects through increasing gut motility. Bear in mind that this advice might not suit people with a sensitive digestion. Moderately bitter daisy family members include superb groundcovering anti-inflammatory yarrow (Achilliea millefolium) and of course chamomiles (e.g. Matricaria recutita) suitable for teas. For stronger bitters which are best taken in tincture dropper form consider easy-to-grow feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), already suggested by a number of posts, and thistle-like relatives such as globe artichoke leaf (Cynara scolymus).

My second focus is on the circulatory system, and migraine sufferers often fall into two camps, the cold kinds and the hot kind - this possibly reflecting causative factors in either locally restricted circulation or an excess engorgement of local blood. So the other family to focus on is the rose (Rosaceae) family, covering a huge range from trees to herbs. Many of these plants are not only anti-inflammatory but also provide considerable benefit to the circulation through constituents ranging from vitamin C to anthocyanins (evidenced by red, purple and black pigments). These include many trees and shrubs bearing fruits which benefit the health of blood vessels and the heart. Not only can you have the fruits but also the leaves are useable in teas. Favourites of bush size are blackcurrant (Ribes nigra) and rose (Rosa canina). As for trees, an obvious choice would be hawthorn (such as Crataegus monogyna) of which all parts including flowers, leaves and hips can be dried for yearlong teas.

This is a selective answer but based on trying to provide some underlying design pointers, many other plant families would be of interest. In a way this is like developing a guild for plants, only this is a guild for migraine sufferers! I hope it is useful and perhaps you will let others know if you find particular combinations of these plant families that work together.
Globe-artichoke-leaf.jpeg
Clobe artichoke leaf
Clobe artichoke leaf
 
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Anne has given some really good advice.  I feel that knowing what is the cause of the migraines is part of understanding them and finding relief

I have a medical condition that causes headaches.  I don't let that bother me.  When I feel a headache starting, I have found that massage really works to make it go away. Another technique that I use is to get my mind off the subject by burying my attention on other more important things.  This thread will help you with the massage techinques that I use:

https://permies.com/t/67500/purity/Give-Yourself a Massage
 
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Slightly tangential answer, but I've had to cut caffeine entirely due to migraines. Plus, I find that migraines are directly related to my water intake.

So any herbal replacement tea that lets me forego coffee or tea, and keeps me well hydrated through the day has a direct impact on my migraines. (Caveat: if you cut caffeine, the withdrawal migraines are hell but only last a few weeks. )

I'm drinking a lot of barley and chicory root-based "coffee". So I'd certainly recommend growing chicory if it's something you want to try. I'm also currently experimenting with dandelion root "coffee" (still being processed, so I can't tell yet if it's any good).

Of course, the old standbys - lemon balm, mint, lemon verbena - are still great to grow as well, if you like the taste.
 
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If you get menstrual cycles, it might be worthwhile to track when your migraines happen and see if it's correlated with a particular time in the cycle. I find that I tend to get migraines a couple days before and after my period, so I'm extra careful to get enough sleep and avoid my triggers at those times. There's some evidence that hormone imbalance can trigger migraines in some people, or lower the trigger threshold (see: The Influence of Estrogen on Migraine and Non-Drug Treatment For Migraines in Women). So it might be worthwhile seeing whether your migraines could be correlated with an excess or deficit of estrogen (seems like it could be either, depending on the person), and maybe looking into regulating your cycle.

As a last resort, I just pop them Excedrin.

Cheers and good luck!
 
Elle Monchanin
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Hello Everyone...thank you for taking the time to read and respond! Such great folks here...
I apologize for the delayed response. Wouldn't ya know it...I've had a nagging headache for the last few days! Isn't it ironic?!

Anyway, I wanted to come back and respond to those who took the time to help me out! :~)
I'm sure there's a way to individually respond, but I just couldn't figure it out and I didn't want to delay my responding another day!

Migraines are such an enigma and it is remarkable how so many sufferrers have different causes/symptoms/relief systems. It is important to share our stories and information to help others!

Bri Bird, Susan Mulligan, Alexandra and Colin Proctor...looks like you all had the same idea: I'm taking notes and Feverfew is now on my list! Thanks!

Anne Stobart: I appreciate your honesty and candor. Without going into too much detail, my migraines are hereditary and began to grow in intensity and time in between occurrances starting getting shorter after a TBI when I was in my late teens. So...mine have neurological roots, no pun intended. LOL  As with many of the others who responded, it looks like Feverfew is a good go to option to start with. I'm also a huge fan of chamomiles.

Anne Miller: I have tried massage therapy and it did not relieve my migraines at all. I sure wish it did!

Kena Landry: I do watch my caffeine and water intake; these have been ruled out as triggers. However, I have been wanting to try garbonzo beach coffee. Have you ever had it?

Emily Rude: Did it, done it, done with it and ain't going back! LOL Stay as far away from pharma as you can...that includes Excedrin anything otc. :~(

Ona Stamm: Nature is simply awesome, isn't it! I also put linden flower on my list to research...thanks!

I will report back in a few days/weeks after further research and possible testing to let you know what worked for me.

Have a fantastic weekend and stay safe!
Elle
 
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Wild lettuce is my go to when someone I knowbhas a migraine. So far, knock on wood, everyone who has tried it has fallen asleep, slept hard, woke up without a migraine.

I simply make a tea from two leaves, steeped for 5 minutes.

The flavor isnt great, mixing mint leaves and a bit of honey in works well to cover.

Hope you find relief.
 
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J Davis wrote:Wild lettuce is my go to when someone I knowbhas a migraine.



Does any wild lettuce work? Or do you have a specific variety in mind?
 
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There's a remedy mentioned by late herbalist Michael Moore in his materia medica :

"CLEMATIS (Virgin's Bower) [Clematis virginiana]
Frontal and migraine headaches with sweaty neck and forehead, not responding or no
longer affected by vasoconstrictor medicines; a vasodilator to disperse local
inflammation.
RECENT HERB. Tincture [1:5, 50% alcohol] 10-40 drops, to 3X a day. Standard Infusion, 2-6 ounces, to 2X a day. Tincture [1:5, 50% alcohol] 10-40 drops, to 3X a day.
CONTRA: Vasculitis, pregnancy; should not be used concurrent with other
medications."



Have not used it personally but Michael Moore's work is well respected. All of his work is public domain via swsbm.com

<3
 
J Davis
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:

J Davis wrote:Wild lettuce is my go to when someone I knowbhas a migraine.



Does any wild lettuce work? Or do you have a specific variety in mind?



Have tried various varieties. Some are stronger than other in terms of pain relief, but all I have tried do work. Just a dosage variation issue I think.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Excellent! Now I'm not so upset at mowing down that new to my yard variety! I have one that is naturalized to my lawn.
 
Emily Rude
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Elle Monchanin wrote:
Emily Rude: Did it, done it, done with it and ain't going back! LOL Stay as far away from pharma as you can...that includes Excedrin anything otc. :~(



I didn't mean to say you should hitch up with pharma. Just thought it might be helpful (or at least interesting) to track your patterns. That way, it might be easier to decide which new remedies/techniques are the most likely candidates for success.

As for Excedrin...it may be the unholy spawn of a extravagantly unethical behemoth corporation, but by God it works for me like nothing else has. Until I can replace it, I'd rather take it than spend 4-6 days per month throwing up and feeling like I've been stabbed in the face.

But speaking of replacing it -- I'll def stay tuned for your report. I have some wild lettuce around -- hadn't known it could be used for pain relief. Maybe I'll give it a try, we can compare notes.

 
Elle Monchanin
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Emily...I do hear ya and I understand! You're right about getting relief (sometimes it means doing/taking something that goes against your hard lines in the sand)...those who haven't been blessed with a migraine yet have no clue!

I will definitely be posting more on this!

Thanks!
 
Anne Miller
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Elle said  I have tried massage therapy and it did not relieve my migraines at all. I sure wish it did!



I am sorry I did not see your reply sooner.  Life sometimes has a way of, well, just getting in the way.

I am also sorry that my thread about self-massage did not help.  In that thread, I talk about a technique that I learned from a horse therapy.  

Most massage therapists do not use this technique because they do not know about it.

It is something so simple you can do it yourself.  It may not work for everyone, all I know is that it has helped me tremendously.

It just involves using circular motions on the area where the headache or pain is.  Maybe the headache or pain doesn't go away though maybe it is a little less painful.

The thread I mentioned also talks about using magnesium bath flakes to help with the pain.  I don't want to go into detail here about that so maybe you will take a look at the thread.




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