If nothing seems to relieve your migraine attacks, going the “natural” route may sound appealing. But not all holistic methods are treated equally, especially if you’re curious about using homeopathy for migraine.
Here’s what research actually has to say about using homeopathy for migraine attacks.
Does homeopathy work for migraine?
Basically, researchers straight up don’t recommend homeopathy for migraine. There’s also no evidence that homeopathy for headaches and migraine attacks actually works.
In general, research shows that homeopathy isn’t very legit. And the little research that has looked at homeopathy for migraine found it’s ineffective — and can even be dangerous.
Homeopathy has been around since the 1790s, and the main concept is that “like cures like.” This basically entails taking diluted substances derived from minerals, animals, and plants that cause the same symptoms you’re already experiencing.
Dilution is also a major principle of homepathy. Homepaths believe diluting these substances makes it stronger and more able to treat symptoms.
So, if you visit a homeopath with a headache or migraine, they’d give you a diluted substance that would cause the same head pain.
But scientists have looked pretty extensively into whether homeopathy works, and their answer is a resounding “nope.” The World Health Organization (WHO) also warns against using homeopathy for serious conditions.
Homeopathic medicines really shouldn’t replace conventional migraine treatments. The FDA also doesn’t evaluate and regulate homeopathic remedies, and the concentration of potentially harmful ingredients is difficult to verify — and could result in accidental poisoning or an allergic reaction.
But if you were to consult a homeopath, the list of remedies might include:
- Iris versicolor
If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see a good number of these are poisonous (ahem, belladonna = nightshade). So, while these substances should be diluted until there’s almost nothing left, it’s difficult to verify that’s actually happened. Even small amounts may cause a reaction that will send you to the doctor.
🚨 Signs something is wrong 🚨
Call 911 or get to an emergency room ASAP if you suspect an allergic reaction or poisoning from homeopathic remedies. Symptoms can include:
- nausea or vomiting
- abdominal pain
- face, eyes, or tongue swelling
- trouble swallowing
- wheezing or trouble breathing
- chest pain or tightness
- heart palpitations
TBH, homeopathy in general isn’t rooted in much science. There’s also not a lot of research on homeopathy for migraine attacks. The info we do have is also pretty murky, outdated, and controversial.
In a small 2000 study including 68 people with migraine attacks, the group who received the homeopathy treatments reported reduced migraine pain. But the homeopathy group’s results were only very slightly better than the placebo group.
A 2013 study with 168 children also found homeopathic treatments reduced migraine attacks. But the study included people 5 to 15 years old in 12 different countries, and the substances and amounts used in the homeopathic remedies weren’t consistent.
Other research flat out says it doesn’t work, including a small 1999 research review. And, some 2014 guidelines concluded that researchers wouldn’t recommend homeopathy as an option.
If you’re not down with homeopathy but still want to go a more holistic route, there are natural remedies for migraine attacks that have some legit scientific backing.
Some of the main contenders include:
- Magnesium. A research review showed that a lack of magnesium might be one of the things that cause migraine attacks. So, adding a magnesium supplement during an attack or eating more high magnesium foods (almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews) might help.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin). A 2015 research review found that this B vitamin might be your best bud for soothing a migraine attack, especially period migraine.
- Acupuncture. If you don’t mind needles, one study found that people with migraine responded super well to acupuncture, experiencing less pain than a group who didn’t receive it.
- Lavender oil. A 2012 study found that folks who inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes found some relief from their migraine attacks. Using other essential oils for headaches, like peppermint oil, may have a similar effect!
- Ginger. This handy little root is famous for making you feel less nauseous, and a 2013 study suggested ginger may help soothe migraine too.
Need more tips to bonk those migraine attacks on the head, before they attack your head. You can try taking some measures to help lessen, or prevent, them from happening in the first place.
- Avoid loud noises and bright lights. Clubs? Busy venues? Driving at night, and getting everyone’s headlamps in your eyes? They’re all an express ticket to Migraine Central.
- Keep an eye on your diet. Certain foods and drinks, such as chocolate, red wine, and cheese, may be gateways to migraine attacks.
- Keep an eye on your hormones. Women tend to have more migraine attacks around their periods, so keep track of your cycle, and take some preventative measures before your flow shows up.
- Eat and sleep regularly. Skipping meals isn’t great for your head. If you don’t eat within an hour of waking up, you could be letting yourself in for a bad day. And don’t skimp on sleep, either.
- Avoid stress. Easier said than done, we know. But stress is one of the main causes of migraine, so even if it’s hard to manage a stressful situation, try to relax and think calmly about how to resolve it.
Homeopathy is super controversial because there’s just no evidence that it works. So, if you’re looking for a holistic cure for your migraine attacks, homeopathy isn’t the answer.
Many homeopathic treatments contain diluted toxic ingredients, and since they’re not regulated by the FDA, it can be difficult to know how much of the ingredient is in your treatment. Worse case scenario, taking a homeopathic remedy for migraine can cause an allergic reaction, poisoning, or even death.
It’s best to stick with conventional migraine treatments, or seek research backed holistic remedies that may help your throbbing noggin.