Magnesium, Calcium, B3, B6, B12, Inositol, Amino Acids
Resisting the flow of Life
– fear of what lies ahead
– Fear of failure
– Intense self-control
– Repression of true feelings
Foods that Heal
Eat foods which tend to inhibit blood clotting, such as fish, unrefined flax; walnut or pumpkin seed oil, garlic and onion. A predominantly vegetarian diet will keep acid-forming foods to a minimum. Raw wheat germ provides vitamins B3 and B6 which help balance serotonin levels, a hormone affecting constriction of blood vessels. Green, leafy vegetables and beets provide iron.
Foods that Harm
Most common allergens associated with migraines are cow’s milk, wheat (gluten), chocolate, eggs, oranges and the additive MSG. Avoid aged protein foods, such as hot dogs, cheese, sausages, cold cuts and smoked or pickled fish, as they contain tyramine, a vasoactive amine, which has been shown to trigger migraine attacks. Tyramine is also found in alcoholic beverages. Red wine should be avoided not only because of its tyramine content but also because it contains flavonoids which inhibit the activity of the enzyme which normally breaks down tyramine and other vasoactive amines in the body.
Reduce the intake of animal fats. The arachidonic acid they contain tends to increase blood clotting, which is associated with migraines. Limit intake of dairy products.
We do not know for sure how migraines originate. There are several theories. It appears that, with the modern imaging techniques, we are making headway in understanding the mechanism of formation of migraine.
One of these theories suggests that certain arteries in our brain contract and cause a reduction blood flow to the visual area of our brain. It is suggested that this reduction of blood flow results in the visual and other symptoms that accompany a migraine.
Then, when blood vessels expand and put pressure on the nerves in the artery wall, there is pain. The underlying causes of these contractions and dilations of the cortroid arteries are more obscure. Susceptibility tends to run in families and affects more women than men.
Migraine patients are more prone to fainting when standing up suddenly than other people, and they are also more sensitive than other people to the vascodilatory effects of physical and chemical agents.
Another theory proposes that nerve cells in the brain begin to lose function which causes a reduction in blood flow, which reduces levels of magnesium, which in turn adds to decreasing nerve cell function and that this dysfunction spreads in a wave like fashion to all affected areas.
Blood platelet disorder has also been implicated, with the platelets of migraine sufferers aggregating more readily than normal platelets in response to neurotransmitters such as serotonin and adrenaline, the “stress” hormone.
Many researchers feel that serotonin; an important brain chemical may fuel migraines. Platelets (components of our blood) contain all of the serotonin normally present in blood, and, after they aggregate, (clump together) serotonin is released, resulting in a potent constricting effect on the arteries.
You can trigger a release of serotonin by eating certain foods, drinking certain beverages, stressing out or sometimes just oversleeping. When this happens, the blood vessels in your head narrow. As your kidneys process the serotonin and the level of this hormone like substance drops, the vessels dilate rapidly, pressing on surrounding nerves and causing pain and inflammation. The ache can last for hours or days because the swelling lingers after the blood vessels return to normal.
The nervous system Disorders
The nervous system itself may also be implicated, as it releases specific neurotransmitters, possibly in response to chronic stress.
Certain foods contain chemicals-amines-that dilate the blood vessels, causing a rebound vasodilatation and may thus precipitate an attack.
Many herbal medicines can provide relief from migraine headache. The herb feverfew is especially useful for this purpose. It is being used extensively in Europe for the prevention of migraine attacks. Feverfew contains parthenolide, the plant’s active ingredient, which inhibits the brain chemicals that dilate blood vessels and cause a migraine. Thus, feverfew has some of the same anti-inflammatory effects as aspirin, without aspirin’s side effects. The herb must be taken for several weeks before the effects are felt. So, it is useful as a preventive medicine and not for combating the pain when the migraine is already in progress.
Clinical studies with feverfew have focused on the treatment and prevention of migraine. A double-blind study of patients who reported that they had been helped by feverfew was performed at the London Migraine Clinic. A test group was given a placebo to determine if their symptoms worsened. They did, increasing in both the frequency and severity of the attack.
Recommended Dosage of Feverfew
Appropriate dosing of feverfew leaf for migraine prevention is based on parthenolide content. A recommended daily dosage of 125 mg of a dried feverfew leaf preparation containing a minimum of 0.2% parthenolide is often prescribed for migraine prevention. This translates to a daily parthenolide dosage of at least 250 mcg. This is considered the minimum amount for efficacy. Unpublished studies indicate that 100 mg. per day of feverfew extract at .7% parthenolide content may be more desirable.
Please note that feverfew will work effectively only if you take it every day – not just when you get a migraine–and only if you take enough of it. This is because feverfew functions mainly as a preventive
Do not use feverfew if you are pregnant or lactating, have a kidney or liver disorder, cancer, or for children under the age of twelve years
Other Suggested Herbs for Migraine
INFUSIONS, OILS and TEAS
Fenugreek: Infusions, steep 5-15 minutes, take 1 cup during the day, hot or cold
Peppermint: oil, 5-10 drops, 3 times daily; fluid extraction, 1-2 tsp., 3 times daily; infusion, steep 5-15 minutes, take 6 oz., 3 times daily
Rosemary: infusion, steep 5-15 minutes, take 2 oz., 3 times daily; oil, 1-3 drops, 3 times daily; external: Rub diluted oil (1 part rosemary with 10 parts vegetable oil) on forehead and temples. Also use as a nasal vapour bath.
Lavender: Rub some lavender oil on the temples and fore, head. Lavender has antispasmodic and cooling properties.
Marjoram, St. John’s wort, fennel or caraway seed tea with 1 tsp. of honey is helpful for relieving symptoms.
Mix equal amounts of agrimony, wormwood and centaury. Pour boiling water over 1 tsp. of this mix, steep five minutes, strain and drink unsweetened.
Apply a hot herbal compress to the back of the neck. Use camomile, St. John’s wort or lemon balm infusions.