Hormone-related Migraines
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Lisa
Posted on: May 6, 2001

I have a girlfriend that has migriane headaches really bad and it seems that they are worse during her menstrual cycle. Recently I introduced to her a herb to help her with her headaches. I’m sure you are familiar with it: feverfew. Her doctor had her on a blood pressure medicine and she began convulsing, though her doctor told her that it was the shakes. She is scared to take the blood pressure medicine now becuase of the effects. Now that she has been taking the feverfew she is amazed on how wonderful it works. But my question is: during her menstrual cycle, when her headaches are the worst, is there something more that she can take to help her through this time? She is under a doctors care, yet not happy with the results and now that she is taking the feverfew her doctor doesn’t want much to do with her. If you have any other suggestions I would like your input.

Hormonal changes, stress and some medications, including oral contraceptives, may trigger migraines. Other common migraine triggers include caffeine, food intolerances ( commonly dairy products, wheat, eggs, oranges and MSG), 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. 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, if taken on a daily basis. Feverfew is most effective fresh ( one or 2 leaves daily) or as a fresh herb extract. If taking an alcoholic extract, 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.

In hormone-related migraines, herbs are used to balance the hormones by supporting the liver to metabolize the hormones more efficiently. Dandelion root or Vervain (Verbena officinalis) may be used for this purpose. Vitex agnus castus works to balance the hormones via the pituitary gland. This combination is taken daily for 3 months. At this point, your friend can note whether her migraines are occurring less frequently, and whether her hormonal system has become balanced.

Ginger can be used to help relieve nausea if this is a symptom that accompanies your friend’s migraines. Valerian’s antispasmodic and sedative actions work to relieve pain.

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