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Complex Migraine -- Causes and Top
10 Natural Remedies

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Last updated March 31, 2017 (originally published March 11, 2011)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Complex Migraine

1. Butterbur May Help Prevent Complex Migraines

The herb butterbur is seen as a possible aid in the
prevention of complex migraines. A 2001 study from
Municipal Hospital, Munchen-Harlaching, Germany that
looked at butterbur’s preventative powers found the
frequency and duration of migraines were significantly
reduced after taking 50mg of the herb twice daily for three

Another 2004 study from Albert Einstein College of
Medicine, New York found the same and also reported that
higher doses of butterbur promoted greater improvement
in symptoms – 75mg twice a day was best.

Is Feverfew a Complex Migraine Killer?

More than five double-blind, placebo-controlled studies
have been completed to test feverfew against migraine, but
the results have not been consistent. A 2005 study by
Neurologische Universitätsklinik, Essen, Germany using a
feverfew preparation made with liquid carbon dioxide
resulted in fewer migraines in 170 people. Other studies
used whole feverfew leaf in capsule form and found
benefits for migraine sufferers in the reduction of

However, further research has not found the same
conclusive benefits. Indeed, a 2004 study from the
Department of Complementary Medicine from the University
of Exeter and Plymouth in the UK concluded that "
There is
insufficient evidence from randomised, double-blind trials
to suggest an effect of feverfew over and above placebo
for preventing migraine. It appears from the data reviewed
that feverfew presents no major safety problems.

Homeopathy Treats Complex Migraines

A classic homeopathy treatment received positive outcomes
in a 1991 study by Brigo and Serpelloni “Homeopathic
treatment of migraines: a randomized double-blind
controlled study of 60 cases” published in The Berlin
Journal on Research in Homeopathy. Researchers
prescribed one or two remedies out of Belladonna, Ignatia,
Lachesis, Silicea, Gelsemium, Cyclamen, Natrum muriaticum,
and Sulphur. Patients were placed in a treatment or a
control group. At the end of the trial, the treatment group
experienced significant reduction in the intensity, duration
and frequency of migraines.

Magnesium Shows Promise as a Migraine Treatment

A preparation of magnesium may not be the most
appetizing remedy but research indicates the mineral can
help prevent complex migraines. A 1996 study from Munich-
Harlaching Clinic, Germany looked at 81 people who
suffered from recurrent migraines.

Results showed the frequency of migraine attacks reduced
by 41.6 percent in the group taking 600 mg of magnesium
a day.  

Unfortunately, most Americans have diets which are
magnesium-deficient.  We should al get about 400
milligrams of magnesium a day. But it is becoming
increasingly difficult to consume enough magnesium from
food to stay healthy. Part of the blame is owed to the foods
we choose to eat. And part of the blame is the declining
nutritional quality of vegetables grown in the United States.
What this means is that you will have to work hard to reach
400 or so milligrams a day in magnesium from food,  let
alone reach the 600 milligram levels one would need to
stave off migraine headaches.


Even though it is hard to reach the 400 or so milligrams per
day minimum magnesium levels from food, you should try.
Add foods high in magnesium to your diet. Just an ounce of
almonds or a half a cup of cooked spinach provide 80
grams of magnesium (20% of the recommended daily
amount) A 100 grams of zucchini provides 20 grams of
magnesium. Read more about
foods high in magnesium.]

Vitamin B2 Works to Reduce Complex Migraine By 50%

One 1998 study from Department of Neurology, University
of Liège, Belgium found 400mg of vitamin B2 a day
reduced migraine attacks by more than 50 percent.

Vitamin B2, whose scientific name is "riboflavin", also
reduced the number of days the headache pain lasted,
researchers found.

Foods richest in Vitamin B2 are liver, which provides 100%
of the recommended daily amount in a 3.9 ounce service,
lamb, which also provides 100% of what you need ina 3.9
ounce serving and yogurt, which provides 34% of the daily
recommended amount per cup.

The recommended value of Vitamin B2 is only 1.2
milligrams per day for men and 1.1 milligrams per day for
women, so the amount of Vitamin B2 which was used in
the migraine study was 333 times larger than the "normal"
amount you would eat from foods.

You may therefore also consider
supplements of Vitamin B2
to see if your complex migraines are lessened.  
As always,
check with your doctor before taking any form of
supplements to make sure they are compatible with any
current medications you may be taking or with your overall
health status.

Soy Isoflavones Help Reduce the Severity of Migraines

Soy the superfood – now a weapon in the attack against
migraines? In a 2002 study from the Department of
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Boise 49 women were
tested with either a placebo or soy isoflavones combined
with dong quai and black cohosh. Those taking the soy mix
had fewer headaches and their headaches were less
severe. The study was designed to test menstrual migraines
but soy may also show promise for treating complex

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) Prevents Migraine

Your body produces 5-Hydroxytryptophan as it makes
serotonin and in supplement form 5-Hydroxytryptophan
helps increase serotonin production. Could increased
serotonin production help ease complex migraines? One
1986 study by Titus, Davalos and Alom “5-
hydroxytryptophan versus methysergide in the prophylaxis
of migraine: randomized clinical trial” thinks so. According
to its results, 600mg of 5-Hydroxytryptophan was equally
as effective as a standard migraine drug in reducing the
intensity and duration of migraines.

Does Fish Oil Ease Complex Migraine Symptoms?

Fish oil has many scientific claims attached to it but could
the omega-3 fatty acid source be good for complex
migraines? A 1986 study by Glueck, McCarren, Hitzemann
et al. “Amelioration of severe migraine with omega-3 fatty
acids: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,”
showed promising results for fish oil. But larger studies
have failed to find similar benefits and found fish oil did not
reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

All in all, taking fish oil or krill oil is worth a try. Include
enough oily fish in your diet and see if your complex
migraines improve.

Identify Your Triggers To Reduce Your Complex

The first step to helping reduce your migraines through
your diet is to identify which foods trigger your complex
migraines. Sufferers know instinctively that food is
sometimes a problem and 1994 research from University of
Nebraska College of Medicine, Lincoln confirms food and
chemicals can trigger migraines. Many foods have been
identified as possible offenders – chocolate, cheese, nuts,
monosodium glutamate and alcohol. Keep a food and
symptoms diary over a number of weeks to identify
patterns before cutting problem foods from your diet.

Practice Good Headache Hygiene to Avoid Migraines

Foods aren’t the only possible triggers for complex
migraines. Make sure you get enough rest and regular
sleep – try to go to bed and wake up at regular hours each
day and don’t skip sleep in the week to catch up at the

Eat small, regular meals to keep your blood sugar regulated
and drink plenty of water. Also get active - three to five
times a week, which will help lower stress and cut your
incidence of complex migraine.

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zucchini is a vegetable that is  high in magnesium
Add magnesium-rich zucchinis to your diet to fight migraines.

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