Paroxysmal attacks of headache, frequently unilateral, usually accompanied by disordered vision and gastrointestinal disturbances. Thought to be the result of vaso-dilation of extracerebral cranial arteries.
Causes are unknown, but a family history of migraine will be found in over half of the patients. It may be precipitated by allergic hypersensitivity or emotional disturbances.
Allergies are a common cause of migraine. It can also be caused by liver malfunction. Constipation, stress, environmental allergies, and lack of exercise should be considered as possible underlying causes of migraine headache.
70% of migraine sufferers are women, and migraines often run in families. Many patients have abnormal levels of brain chemicals that cause excessive dilation and/or contraction of the brain's blood vessels.
Headaches associated with the sensation of seeing zigzags of light, called scintillating scotomata, vomiting, and at times diplopia (double vision), sweating, and focal symptoms. Sharp stabbing pains frequently in temporofrontal region.
It must be distinguished from other types of headache, but the history, the course of the disorder, and the peculiar combination of symptoms rarely permit much uncertainty. The frequency may vary from several times a week to several times a year.
The migraine begins with a throbbing headache that is usually centered above or behind one eye; or, it can begin at the back of the head and spread to one entire side of the head. It is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and tingling and numbness in the limbs that can last up to 18 hours. A classic migraine is preceded by an aura, which can consist of disturbances of vision, speech disorders, weakness, and sensory disturbances. An aura can also consist of brilliant stars, sparks, flashes, or simple geometric forms passing across the visual field.
Rest and quiet, in darkened room during attack. Ergotamine tartrate proves efficacious in most cases but should be taken at the onset of the attack. This is administered under the care of a doctor.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Multivitamin and mineral complex, taken as directed on the label.
Niacinamide plus niacin (B3), 800 mg. niacinamide per day and 200 mg. niacin per day, increases blood flow to the brain.
Rutin, 200 mg. per day, removes toxic metals which may cause migraines.
Unsaturated fatty acids, taken as directed on the label, is needed for brain cells and for fat metabolism.
Calcium, 2,000 mg. per day, helps to control muscle contractions and to transmit nerve impulses throughout the body and to the brain.
Magnesium, 1,000 mg. per day.
Garlic capsules, 2 capsules with meals, is a potent detoxifier.
Pantothenic acid (B5), 100 mg. twice per day (Royal jelly is high in pantothenic acid), is needed by the adrenal glands when the body is under stress.
Vitamin B complex, taken as directed on the label, is needed for a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 50 mg. 3 times per day, is required for normal brain function.
Vitamin C, 3,000-6,000 mg. per day, aids in producing the antistress adrenal hormones and enhances immunity.
- Betony, wood
- Buck bean
- Bull nettle root
- Carrot, wild
- Centaury, European
- Clover, red
- Cohosh, black
- Culver's root
- Dandelion root
- Dogwood, Jamaican
- Elder, black
- Flag, blue
- Fringe tree
- Ginger, wild
- Ginkgo biloba extract
- Indian hemp, black
- Iris, stinking
- Kudzu, root
- Lady's mantle
- Marshmallow root
- Mistletoe, European
- Mullein, common
- Mustard seed
- Nettle, dwarf
- Palmetto, saw
- Pepper, pippli long
- Peony, tree
- Red root
- Rosemary, tea
- St. Benedict thistle
- Sesame, black, seeds
- Shepherd's purse
- Thistle, blessed
- Valerian, fragrant
- Vervain, European
- Viper's bugloss
- Virgin's bower
- Yam, wild
- Yerba mate'
- Yerba santa
Avoid salt and acid-producing foods: cereal, meat, bread and grains. Avoid fried foods and fatty and greasy foods. Omit yellow cheese, and other cheeses that contain tyramine. Avoid the amino acids phenylalanine and tyramine, nitrites (preservatives found in hot dogs and luncheon meats), aspirin, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common seasoning.
Chocolate and citrus fruits may precipitate an attack.
Exercise is important. It also helps to massage the neck and back of the head every day.
Use hypoallergenic supplements only.
Migraine headaches in women may result from hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. After menopause the headaches usually decrease.
Soft music has a calming effect and helps relieve migraines.
The most commonly used drug, ergotamine, can be addicting and should not be taken more than 2 days weekly.
Eat small meals and eat between meals to help stabilize wide swings in blood sugar that may precipitate a migraine. Follow the guidelines of hypoglycemia.
Include in the diet: almonds, almond milk, watercress, parsley, fennel, garlic, cherries, and pineapple.