Headache/Migraine Herbal Remedies


  • Feverfew is one of the most popular preventative treatments for migraine headaches. Caution: Do not use feverfew during pregnancy.
  • Betony is used for headaches of all sorts.
  • Lavender, marshmallow, mint, and thyme are all effective in treating a headache.
  • Rosemary tea is reputed to be good for nervous tension and especially good for tension headaches.
  • White willow bark is an excellent aspirin substitute
  • Valerian is both a sedative and a pain reliever
  • Chamomile is an effective calming herb
  • Skullcap, oats, lady slipper, Jamaican dogwood or passionflower can relieve headaches due to nervous tension.
  • Ginger, rosemary and peppermint can be effective for the treatment of migraines. Rub rosemary on the temples or make a salve from ginger, peppermint oil, and winter green oil and rub on the nape of the neck and temples to relieve tension headaches. For sinus headaches, rub the salve across the sinus area.
  • Cayenne (capsicum) has been noted to help cluster headaches


  • Include the following foods in your diet: almonds, almond milk, watercress, parsley, fennel, garlic, cherries, pineapple, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines), high copper foods such as green olives, seeds, liver, lobster, and oysters and foods high in potassium.
  • Omit from the diet the following foods that contain the amino acid, tyramine: aged meats, avocados, bananas, beer, cabbage, canned fish, dairy products, eggplant, potatoes, raspberries, red plums, tomatoes, red wine, yeast and hard cheeses. Note: cheeses with the most tyramine from the most to the least amount: English Stilton, Blue cheese, old cheddar, Danish blue, mozzarella, Swiss gruyere, feta, parmesan, and gorgonzola),
  • Other foods to avoid include alcoholic beverages (vodka is least likely to provoke headaches), iced beverages, salt, chewing gum, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), caffeine (coffee, tea, iced tea, cola), aspartame, aged cheese, yogurt, sour cream, nuts (including peanut butter), citrus fruits, other fruits (bananas, raisins, red plums, canned figs, avocados), certain vegetables (broad, lima, fava and navy beans, pea pods, sauerkraut and onions), certain bread products (homemade yeast breads, sourdough breads and other yeast-risen baked goods), nitrites (preservatives found in hot dogs, sausage, salami, bologna, and luncheon meats), spicy food, Aspartame (Nutrasweet) and excessive sunlight.
  • The following are common allergenic foods connected with migraines: apple, beef, benzoic acid, caffeine, cane sugar, corn, cow’s milk, egg, fish, goat’s milk, grapes, oats, onion, orange, peanuts, pork, rice, rye, soy, tartrazine, tea, tomato, walnuts, wheat, yeast. Note: The top five foods most commonly found to induce migraine headaches are cow’s milk, wheat, chocolate, eggs and oranges
  • Follow a diet that is low in simple carbohydrates and high in protein.


  • Magnesium: 1000 milligrams in divided doses. Caution: People who have kidney and heart problems should supplement magnesium only under medical supervision
  • Calcium: 1,500 milligrams at bedtime. Caution: Do not take calcium supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Fish oils: 1,000 milligrams three times a day
  • Coenzyme Q10: 30 milligrams twice daily
  • Other important nutrients to include are vitamins B6 and E


  • Get regular moderate exercise.
  • Massage the neck and back of the head daily.

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.