A migraine is a terrible headache that tends to recur and is
often accompanied by a feeling of nausea. The pain is usually felt on one
side of the head. One may experience flashing lights, zigzag lines, bright
spots, partial loss of vision, or numbness or tingling in the hand, tongue,
or side of the face. Moving around makes the headache worse. While no
medical tests confirm migraine, the diagnosis is based mainly on the
Many scientists think migraine is a vascular disorder
caused by a tightening (constriction) and sudden opening (dilation) of the
blood vessels in the head, neck, or scalp. Others believe that an abnormal
release of neuro-chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin or noradrenaline
may cause the throbbing pain of migraine. In Ayurveda, two conditions, known
as Ardhaavabheda (meaning literally the unilateral pain) and Anantavaata
resemble the classical migraine.
Activities: In most of the individuals the following
activities may possibly trigger migraine.
|Stress and time pressure, major hassles, major losses,
anger, frustration, depression and conflict. |
|Excessive relaxation and positive feelings such as
|Smells and fumes, tobacco smoke, light glare or dazzle,
weather changes and high altitude. |
|Onset of puberty in girls, monthly period, birth control
pills, pregnancy, delivery, oestrogen therapy and menopause. |
|Motion and travel. |
|Too much, too little or interrupted sleep. |
|Hunger or fasting. |
|Excessive activity (especially if you are not in good
Food: The food items that are known to trigger migraine
|Beer, wine and ‘hot’ liquor. |
|Caffeine in coffee, tea, and cola drinks and some
over-the-counter medicines. |
|Dairy products such as ice-cream, milk, curd, cheese,
butter and milk cream. |
|Fermented foods, such as dosa and pickled foods.
|Grapes, lemons, bananas, figs, and raisins.
|Processed meats. |
|Chinese food containing monosodium glutamate (MSG).
|Saccharin in diet foods or diet drinks. |
|Onions and beans. |
|Yeast-containing products, such as fresh breads and
|Nuts and peanuts. |
Drugs: Medicines that might trigger migraine are:
|Blood vessel dilating drugs such as nitroglycerine.
|drugs for high blood pressure such as reserpine,
nifedipine; diuretics. |
|anti-asthma medications like aminophylline.
|oestrogens including birth control pills. |
|painkillers in general—either overuse or withdrawal from
|Spread your workload evenly during the day to avoid highs
and lows of stress at work or at home. |
|Do not sleep excessively, especially during Sunday
mornings and holidays. |
|Do not get too tired. |
|Eat at regular times, and do not skip meals.
|Do not eat or drink anything, you think brings on a
|Limit the amount of tea, coffee and painkillers you use.
|Watch your posture. Try to keep your neck straight.
|Keep your muscles relaxed when you are not physically
active. Try not to frown or tighten your jaw. |
|Restrict your physical activities in hot weather.
|Avoid bright or flickering lights, loud noises or strong
smells if they trigger headaches for you. |
|Remember the classic advice; “ati sarvatra varjayeth” or
moderation in all things. |
|There are three factors which, when used in a synergy,
prevent migraine. The first is to stop rebounding. The second is to reduce
your exposure to avoidable migraine triggers. The third is to take
preventive medication. |
|Rebounding occurs when you rely on painkillers and other
quick fixes for temporary relief. Each time this type of medication wears
off, the underlying problem—migraine—is magnified. Rebounding also blocks
your ability to respond to the next two steps in preventing migraine:
reducing your exposure to avoidable trigger factors and, if necessary,
taking preventive medication. |
|Reducing exposure to trigger factors is difficult because
these factors from many sources are all mixed together at any given moment.
This is the reason why people sometimes notice headaches after eating or
drinking certain things, such as chocolate or wine, but sometimes don’t get
headaches despite exposure to these items. Therefore, it requires
observation and patience on the part of the patient to make sure that any
addition in the diet does not trigger a headache. |
|Preventive treatment pays dividends in the end but can
seem to be difficult in the beginning, before it starts working. As a
preventive treatment, you may be advised to take specific Ayurvedic
medicines such as soota sekhara rasa, Mahaa-vaata vidhwansana rasa,
Dasa-moolaarishta, Shad bindu taila, Chandanaadi vati, etc. Once adequate
headache control is maintained for at least several months, preventive
treatment can be liberalised. |
|This may mean experimentally adding dietary items, one at
a time, gradually reducing the dosage of preventive medication, or
eventually, both. In this way, the level of preventive treatment required to
maintain long-term headache control can be determined. |
However, in the long run, it’s the elimination of dietary
triggers which is a crucial step in preventing migraine.
|Hold an ice-pack to your forehead or temples to reduce
your pain. |
|Lie down in a quiet, dark room. |
|You could try keeping a migraine diary. Writing down
information about your headaches and what you were doing when they happened
can help you find out what triggers your headaches. Then you can avoid those
|Take the juice of Tinospora cordifolia (giloy), in doses
of 10 ml with honey. |
|Apply a paste made of black pepper and rice with the juice
of bhringaraaja to the forehead. Alternately, you can apply the paste of
sandalwood also. |
|Drop some ghee, medicated with saffron flowers (kesar)
into each nostril and inhale deeply. |
|Take three grams of coriander seeds, five grams of
lavender flowers (ustukhudusa), five seeds of black pepper, and five badam.
Grind with water, sieve, and take before sunrise. Soak badam overnight in
water and remove the skin before preparing the paste. |
|Godanti mishran in the dose of 1-2 tablets twice daily
with lukewarm water controls migraine. Pathyadi kwatham, an oral liquid in
the dose of 15 ml twice daily with equal water is a good remedy.
Shirashoolaadi vajra ras is very useful in general migraine headaches.|
As we all are genetically different with
different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many
different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually
formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a
substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic
treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always
consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
Dr. Ch. Murali
Manohar, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Directorate of Women Development,
Main Road (Sarathi Studio Road),
Hyderabad - 500073.,
+91 (040) 23742146; Mobile: 09246575510
a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
a.m. to 1.30 p.m.