Herbs for Migraines

I thought I would tackle herbs for migraines today since many conversations I have heard lately were about this topic. Anyone that has ever had a migraine understands how debilitating they can be. From the halo vision, through the head pain and the nausea, migraines are not your average headache.

There are a number of websites that mention the use of rosemary for headaches but very few that tell how or why it works. Richard Whelan has some interesting information on his website. He quotes Thomas Bartram that rosemary is good for migraine headaches. He also talks about the tonic effect rosemary has on circulation,nervous system and vascular nerves. I suspect this is where the real information is.
Medical News Today states that the cause of migraine is unknown but it is thought to be a “temporary alteration in the nerve signals, chemicals and blood flow to the brain”.
Rosemary protects the brain with a chemical called carnosic acid. Carnosic acid protects the brain from neurodegeneration.
Even the University of Maryland Medical Center acknowledges that rosemary helps support the circulatory and nervous system.
The fact that rosemary is an anti-spasmodic may also help in relieving the vascular constriction.
One way to use rosemary to treat migraines is to drink rosemary tea. You can use rosemary fresh from your garden or there are a number of tea bags on the market. I recommend Celebration Herbals. It is available at herbal health food stores and in Coquitlam at Reflections Books.
The other way to use rosemary is to diffuse rosemary oil. Inhaling the steam is thought to ease the migraine pain.


Peppermint is one of the oils that many people have heard of in reference to treatment of headaches. In fact in a poll of 30,000 people 12% were found to have tried peppermint oil. Migraine dot com continues on to say that it is thought that the calming and numbing effects of peppermint are what is useful in the treatment of migraine.
One way to use peppermint to treat migraine is to apply peppermint oil to the forehead and temples.

My friend Crystal from Passiflora Aromatics would remind you that applying essential oils directly to the skin is not recommended unless they are cut with a carrier oil. This can be olive oil, coconut oil or one of the more exotic oils like sweet almond oil.
The alternative to using peppermint essential oil is to make peppermint tea. The tea is calming and soothing and will have an effect on the tension related to migraines. As with rosemary, I recommend Celebration Herbals peppermint tea if you don’t have mint growing in your garden. Spearmint will also work.


Studies have been done that indicate that ginger is just as effective as sumatriptan in the treatment of migraines. It also has less adverse side effects. The study can be obtained at PubMed.
It is thought that ginger may block prostaglandins that stimulate muscle contractions.

It turns out that you may not have to look any further than your own garden or spice cabinet to help relieve your migraine.