Migraine – Ayurvedic treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies

Migraine is a burning health problem of modern age, affecting more than 1 in 10. Suitable lifestyle changes, Ayurvedic therapies and medicines hold the key in treating migraine. In Ayurveda this condition is referred as ‘Sooryavarta’ . Soorya means ‘Sun’ and avarta means ‘affliction’ or ‘blockage’. The headache gets worsened on sunrise, peaks during noon hours and reduces in the evening. Even though this is the typical feature of this illness, it may not be true in all cases. Symptoms may vary based on body types and habits.

Migraine is caused by excessive stimulation of brain and blood vessels. Migraine headache is usually associated with one sided throbbing headache, with nausea (tendency of vomiting), vomiting and sensitivity to light. Some people get warning symptoms called aura, having visual changes, just ahead of migraine episode.

Causes

Migraine causes as per Ayurveda:
Suppression of natural urges
Indigestion
Intake of polluted food
Exposure to sunshine for prolonged period
Oily and spicy food
Anger, jealousy, grief, stress etc
Intake of dry, pungent and salty food etc

migraine

Migraine attacks can be caused by:
Alcohol or smoking
Sudden stopping of intake of coffee / tea
Changes in hormone levels during a woman’s menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills
Changes in sleep patterns – excess sleep or less sleep
Exercise or other physical stress
Excessive stimulation or stress on sense organs by loud noises, bright lights, strong perfumes / odours,
Fasting
Stress and anxiety

Foods that can trigger migraine: 
Usually foods that can cause sudden increase of Kapha dosha or Pitta Dosha triggers a migraine attack.
Baked foods, chocolate, dairy foods, heavy-to-digest non veg foods, Onion, peanuts, processed foods, fermented foods, spicy foods can cause migraine.

Origin of migraine

Origin of migraine headache:
Due to the causative factors, Pitta Dosha obstructs the flow of Vata dosha in brain, causing throbbing pain. In case of Suryavarta type of headache, because Pitta is dominant in the afternoon, headache is at peak. The condition calms down by the dusk.

Symptoms

Symptoms of migraine:
Usually migraines are initiated by aura – visual disturbances. These disturbances can be – blind spot in front of eyes, blurred vision, seeing bright light, zig zag lights, lines etc.
Some may get pre-migraine signs such as yawning, mild confusion, vomiting sensation etc.

Nature of headache

Nature of migraine headache: 
pain over the eyebrows,
Headache worsening on exposure to sunshine
Throbbing pain
Pulsating pain, pain increasing with every pulse
One sided or two side headache, lasting for a few hours to up to 2 – 3 days.
Pain may radiate to neck and even to the shoulder of same side.

shirodhara

Ayurvedic therapies

Ayurvedic therapies for migraine: 
Shirolepa – Application of herbal pastes which pacify Pitta Dosha like Sandalwood, camphor, Jatamansi.
Shiro Dhara – pouring of thin stream of liquid over scalp.

Taila dhara with oils like ksheerabala taila, chandanadi taila is carried out where Vata involvement is high.
ksheera dhara (cow milk) is done when Pitta involvement is more
Takra Dhara (buttermilk) is done when there is obstruction to Vata passage is to be removed.
Kavala graha – Oil pulling, with chandanadi taila, mahanarayana taila
Shirovasti – Retaining the medicated oils over the leather cap fitted over the scalp. Any vata-pitta pacifying oils are beneficial for this purpose.
Sneha nasya – Instillation of medicated oils can be carried to the nostrils. Shadbindu taila or Anu taila yield significant benefits in this condition.

Useful herbs

Herbs useful in migraine
Yastimadhu – Indian licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra
Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
Hareetaki – Chebulic myrobalan-Terminalia chebula
Amalaki – amala – Eemblica officinalis
Bala – Sida cardifolia
Mallika – Jasminum officinarum
Kumari – Aloe vera

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines useful in migraine: 
Pathyadi khada – used in the treatment of headache, earache, pain in temporal region, migraine etc.
Shirashooladi vajra rasa – used in the Ayurvedic treatment of headache, migraine, tension headache, vascular headache etc.
Mayura ghrita
Bhoonimbadi khada
– Used in fever, cold, sinusitis, headache 
Kamadugha rasa (mouktika yukta) 
– Used in all high Pitta conditions
Chandrakala rasa
Saptamrita rasa
Sudhanidhi rasa
Kumaryasava
Godanti Bhasma – 250 mg of this medicine is given twice a day. In many occasions, it gives immediate relief from migraine, within 20 – 30 minutes, much faster than Paracetamol (By Mr.P.A Vora) 

Ayurvedic home remedies

Simple home remedies useful in migraine headache:
1. Tender leaves of jasmine or tender leaves of pomegranate are taken along with a pinch of salt and crushed well to obtain fresh juice. Early in the morning, preferably in empty stomach, 2-3 drops of this fresh juice is instilled to both the nostrils. Procedure is repeated once again evening hours (6-7 pm). This reduces the severity of headache in migraine.

2. One fist full of Doorva grass (cynodan dactylon) is taken and its fresh juice is obtained. To this, 2 pinch of licorice powder is added and mixed well. This is consumed during the noon hours. Procedure is repeated for 20-30 days. This helps to reduce the severity of illness significantly.

3. Take coriander seed powder – 1 teaspoon. add it to one cup of water, leave it as it is for whole night, next day morning, drink it on empty stomach.

4. Soak 5 raisins and 5 almonds in water at night, next day morning, eat them.

5. Saffron home remedy for migraine (click to read more)

Stress and anxiety and migraine:
Stress and anxiety may act as trigger factors or migraine patients tend to develop anxiety and depression over a period of time. Hence, leading a well organised, stress free life is key in controlling migraine.
Related:
Anxiety tips and remedies
Stress symptoms and relief

Other factors

Migraine and constipation:
In many cases, migraine patient often suffers from constipation and gastritis symptoms such as burning sensation in stomach, bloating etc. In them,treating constipation is very effective in reducing migraine attacks and intensity.

Migraine and Pranayama:
In many patients, Pranayama techniques requiring holding breath may cause or worsen an attack. Hence, resorting to simpler techniques like Anulom Vilom Pranayama or avoiding holding of breath for long is advised.

Migraine and women:
Migraine is seen in women nearing to periods and in elderly nearing menopause. In them, treatment for hormonal balance is useful.

Tips

Do not take pain mitigating medicines frequently. Over intake of pain medicines may cause rebound headache and may eventually increase the frequency of migraines.
Make sure to sleep and eat at regular intervals.
Make sure to sleep at least 7 hours at night.
Avoid fasting. It will increase both Pitta and Vata dosha, worsening migraines. Do not skip meals.
Use a very mild deodorant / perfume
Quit smoking and get rid of alcoholic addiction
Do not drink strong coffee / tea. Make it light.
Do not abruptly stop taking coffee or tea. Be very gradual in withdrawal.
Try to avoid pubs and clubs with loud music and flashy bright lights
Wear sunglasses wherever possible.
Make sure to have proper ventilation at your place. Do not use a/c for long period of time.
Early morning walking for 10 minutes in fresh air will help you immensely.
If you get time, go to a nearby Ayurveda centre and get massage with Maha Narayana Taila. (once a week).
Or take the oil and do massage yourself once a week and then take bath.
Use an umbrella or hat to protect yourself from direct Sun.
Avoid or restrict green chilli use.
You can have cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger and pepper.
Do not hear to loud sounds.
Try to control your anger.
Lower computer / TV screen brightness
Do not take too hot water bath or too cold water bath.
Watch for those things or foods that trigger a migraine attack. Make a list of them and avoid them.

Migraine headache is a troublesome health complaint in significant number of patients. Some are having hereditary contribution too. In some other victims, junk food, irregular food habits, untimely food intake etc can be traced. Even through these are not the exact factors of origin of the disease, surely they act as provoking factors for the illness.
In addition, stress, night awakening, tour and travel, cosmetics (body spray, deodorants etc),smoking  are found to be contributing in worsening this condition. Hence, a well disciplined lifestyle will arm you better to keep away migraine attacks.
Article by Dr Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar

49 thoughts on “Migraine – Ayurvedic treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies”

    • In cases of Migraine due to Vata increase, Rasayanas based on Ashwagandha, Shatavari or Kooshmanda are useful.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dear Doctor. I was wondering what would be the role of very well acclaimed Rasayans like Brahma Rasayana and Chyavanprash in treatment of Migraine?

        Reply
        • In Migraine, it is not having direct role. But it improves digestion strength, metabolism and immunity. Lack of these are indirect causes for migraine.
          Being good anti oxidants, they also treat free radicals and relieve physical and mental stress, indirectly helping in migraine.

          Reply
  1. I am in the twelfth week of pregnancy and am 25 yrs. I have had an acute vata problem since 2 years post marriage. Now while pregnant the problem has aggravated beyond tolerance with severe unbearable headaches with constipation. My ayurvedic doctor cannot be contacted due to distance problem and the Gynecologist does not understand what is Vata. I wish to know what immediate medicines or remedies I can take when surfaced with such acute headache and constipation. Please help. The Gynecologist gave me a Crocin the other day which I took half but it did not help at all.

    Reply
    • Hi, During pregnancy, it is very dangerous to follow online Ayurvedic advice. Consult your gynecologist again, who would give medicines for migraine and constipation.

      Reply
  2. Doctor… I would like to share my experience recently with headache… I got up from bed with headache as I had dreams…..I crushed 3 jasmine flowers and applied it over the forehead till the sideburns area…..I had instant cooling effect and the headache came down within 10 minutes….can you please elaborate more on ayurvedic properties of Jasmine flower…like guna etc…and would like to know whether it will be useful only in headache caused by vata and pitta

    Reply
    • Dear sir,
      There is no specific syrup for Migraine. But you can use Juice of Giloy in 10ml doses with honey.

      Reply
  3. The cause of Migraine can be many some of them include: Nutritional Defeiciency, Lack of sleep,Menopause,Excessive work, Stress etc., Please do rule out the cause by consulting a Ayurvedic physician and start the course of treatment.

    Reply
  4. Lot of benefited shirshooladi vajra ras and godant bhasam and misri.mix all and take with milk morning and evening with milk.beneficial in migrain our vaid ji using since last many years.

    Reply
    • Hi, both shirshooladi Vajra ras and Godant bhasam should be used strictly under medical supervision. It can be said as a generalized medicine for migraine.

      Reply
  5. Sir, I Am havIng migraine problem For 6 class. It pains Alot.plz tell me about medicines too eradicate migrane

    Reply
    • Sir, There are many ayurvedic therapies you can undergo like
      • Shirodhara
      • Shirolepa
      • Sneha nasya
      • Kavala graha
      For these take a advise from a ayurvedic physician before taking any medicine.

      Reply
  6. Because, on cloudy days, doing nasya may cause nasal allergic symptoms in a few sensitive people.
    In your case, follow all Nasya rules very strictly – Read about them here – easyayurveda.com/2013/08/12/how-to-do-ayurvedic-nasya-treatment-at-home-nasal-drops-for-long-life/

    Reply
  7. Hello Sir,

    I have migraine headache and i used to vomit.I have more Pitta. If i reduce Pitta will migraine be prevented? What are the ways to reduce pitta? Please suggest me

    Reply
  8. Hi, it might be useful. But because your condition is prevalent since such a long time, it is best for you to consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.

    Reply
  9. Thanks doctor for the excellent article.

    I have migraine for past 5 years and have taken some ayurvedic medicines but still could not get complete relief. I have seen pankajakasthuri’s migraine oil and tablet over Internet. Some say they may contain steroids. So I am confused and seeking any professional advice. Please suggest me whether I can try it.
    Thank you Doctor.

    Reply
  10. I suffer from headache wen I inhale strong or pungent smell. The headache is associated with nausea. Wat is the exact cause??
    I am confused because the same smell at one time may give headache but at some other time it will not give headache.

    Reply
  11. I GET SEVERE HEADACHES IF I DO NOT EAT IN EVERY TWO THREE HOURS. i FIND IT DIFFICULT TO KEEP EATING OFTEN , IS THERE A WAY TO REDUCE THAT HEADACHE?

    Reply
  12. I also tried lavender essential oil, it relieved pain for sometime.
    Is there any other more effective medicine or essential oil for my headache.

    Reply
  13. Sir avipattikarchooran before meal and triphla chooran at night works in migraine in the female patient age of 70 migraine with constipation?

    Reply
  14. Dear Dr,
    Kindly suggest a ayurveda medicine for menstrual migraine. Also please let me know if there is a home remedy. Thank you sir

    Reply
  15. Please consult at
    Aishvaryas Ayurvedic Treatment Centre
    C2/2, K.R.R Nagar Housing Unit, NRT Nagar, Theni, Tamil Nadu 625531

    Reply
  16. Thank you very much doctors..
    Very informative !! Simple Clear and logical explanations..
    Thanks again

    Reply

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