Migraine attacks aren’t typical headaches. You may experience pounding pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. When a migraine attack or episode occurs, you’ll do almost anything to make it go away.
Natural remedies are drug-free methods of reducing migraine symptoms. These at-home treatments may help prevent the onset of migraine attacks or at least help reduce their severity and duration.
Keep reading as we take a look at 5 natural remedies that may help you manage migraine symptoms.
Note that migraine attacks may require treatment with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Speak with a doctor about a treatment plan that works for you.
Diet plays a vital role in preventing migraine attacks. Many foods and beverages may be 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, and Swiss
- 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 attack. It may also lead to a severe caffeine withdrawal headache.
To figure out which foods and beverages trigger migraine attacks for you, keep a daily food journal. Record everything you eat and note how you feel afterward.
Inhaling lavender essential oil may ease migraine pain. Lavender oil may be inhaled directly or diluted with a carrier oil and applied in small amounts to your temples.
A 2016 randomized controlled study found evidence that 3 months of lavender therapy as a prophylactic therapy, meaning taken before a migraine attack begins, reduced frequency and severity of migraine attacks. However, research is still limited.
A 2020 review of studiesTrusted Source published in the journal Phytotherapy Research examined the ability of various herbal treatments, including lavender therapy for migraine. The authors found mixed or limited evidence to support the use of butterbur and feverfew for treating migraine but didn’t note that current research supports the use of lavender.
According to the authors, many studies had a high risk for bias, and more high quality research is needed.
Acupuncture involves injecting very thin needles into certain parts of your skin to stimulate relief from a wide variety of health conditions.
A 2020 randomized controlled studyTrusted Source found that 20 sessions of manual acupuncture along with usual care was more effective at preventing migraine in people with a history of episodic migraine without aura than sham acupuncture along with usual care. Sham acupuncture is a treatment where the needles are not inserted as deeply.
A 2016 review of 22 studiesTrusted Source also found moderate evidence that acupuncture may reduce headache symptoms. In the results summary, the authors explain that if people had 6 days of migraine per month before treatment, it would be expected that they would have:
- 5 days with usual care
- 4 days with fake acupuncture or prophylactic medications
- 3 1/2 days with real acupuncture
Feverfew is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy. It’s a folk remedy for migraine. It still isn’t well-studied, but there is some evidence that it may be slightly more effective than a placebo for treating migraine.
In a 2015 review of studiesTrusted Source, which is an update of a previous 2004 study, the authors concluded that larger studies are needed to support the use of feverfew for treating migraine.
The authors note that one larger study published since the 2004 review found 0.6 fewer migraine days per month in people who took feverfew versus a placebo. They describe previous studies as low quality or providing mixed evidence.
The 2020 review of studiesTrusted Source published in Phytotherapy Researchalso summarizes the finding on feverfew as “mixed.”
The chemical menthol found in peppermint oil may help prevent migraine episodes, although there’s a very limited amount of research.
A 2019 randomized controlled studyTrusted Source compared the effects of nasal 4 percent lidocaine with 1.5 percent peppermint essential oil and a placebo for managing migraine symptoms.
The researchers found that 40 percent of people in the lidocaine and peppermint oil groups experienced considerable improvements in their symptoms, compared with only 4.9 percent of people in the placebo group.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source notes that very little research has examined peppermint leaf, but a limited amount of evidence suggests topical peppermint oil may benefit tension headaches.