Allergies and Migraine
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Libby
Posted on: March 23, 2004

When my insurance company quit paying for Zyrtec, I started taking bee pollen, nettle and quercitin for my allergies which seems to work well for the most part. However, I seem extremely sensitive to changes in weather pressure. My nose is stuffy and I usually end up with a migraine if it rains for more than 3 days. I have seen a neurologist and ruled out any problems that he could rule out. Any ideas?

Factors that may be implicated in allergies and migraines include food allergies or sensitivities, digestive and liver function, and immune function.

Adding fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines) to the diet, 2 to 3 times a week, is helpful in most allergies and migraines. Wild fish, rather than farmed fish, is best, because the omega-3 oils are created with the natural diet of fish, and are not as high with farm-fed breeds.

Alternatives are fish oils and hemp oil, but only if you can be assured that they are free from chemicals and rancidity. Hemp oil should never be heated at any stage of its processing. Ask at a health food store for information on their products. A good alternative to hemp oil is hemp seeds, which you can keep refrigerated and grind daily, or grind a jar full to keep in the freezer. This keeps the oils in the seeds free from rancidity.

Avoid common migraine triggers, especially during the periods when you are most likely to suffer: caffeine, food intolerances (commonly dairy products, wheat, eggs, oranges, MSG and other food additives and preservatives), and the following foods and drinks: red wine, cheese, corn, smoked or pickled fish, sausages, hot dogs and all other preserved meats, pork, shellfish, walnuts, food additives and alcohol. Because each individual may be sensitive to any number of different foods, a good strategy is to avoid dietary triggers and test for food intolerances by eliminating the foods listed as common intolerances (above), one at a time from the diet.

Feverfew is the specific herb used to prevent migraines, when taken on a daily basis. It prevents the blood vessel constriction which starts the migraine, so is not effective once the migraine has started. Feverfew is most effective fresh (one to three leaves daily) or as a fresh herb extract. If taking an alcoholic extract of the fresh herb, pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over the daily dosage, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature before drinking. This helps to dissipate the alcohol.

Lavender works well for many people with allergies and migraine. It can be taken as a tea, one teaspoon of the dried flowers steeped in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. The essential oil of lavender is applied to the forehead for migraine relief.

Stress is a major factor in migraines. If stress, anxiety or tension are factors in your case, explore ways that you can reduce stress, like walking or other exercise, yoga, Chi Gung, meditation or breathing exercises.

One to three cups of German chamomile tea daily may be helpful. Not only is chamomile calming, but it improves digestive and liver function.

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