Migraines can be quite painful. It's just like a headache, except it causes a more severe throbbing sensation which is usually on one side of the head. Most of the time a migraine comes with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. In some cases, people who suffer from migraines don't even get out of bed at all. What makes it worse is that it can last for hours to days.
Thanks to the existence of painkillers, we have a way to relieve migraine pain. Medications work in a span of a few minutes, which happens to be more effective if you sleep right after taking it. However, being too reliant on pills won't be good for your health either. (Think about your liver!) Fortunately, there are safer alternatives and natural remedies that can relieve migraine pain—including drinking tea!
This blog post will serve as your definitive guide to the best teas to drink to help with migraine relief.
What are migraine symptoms?
How can we be prepared for a migraine before actually feeling its wrath? There are signs we should be watching out for. 60% of people who have migraines notice symptoms like these hours or days before a headache:
- Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
- Food cravings
- Lack of appetite
- Mood changes
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Extreme thirst
There are also other symptoms that come from our nervous system and are often associated with our vision. These usually start over a 5 to 20 minute period and last for less than an hour. They might be a little less common compared to the ones above. Here they are as follows:
- Hallucinations (seeing black dots, wavy lines, or flashes of light)
- Tunnel vision
- Ringing in ears
- Tingling or numbness on one side of the body
- Not being able to see or speak clearly
What causes a migraine?
Unfortunately, medical experts still haven't figured out the exact causes of migraine headaches. They are presumed to be related to changes in the brain. Over the years, scientists thought that migraine occurs due to the changes in the blood flow to the brain but it was later thought of as the reason for migraine pain but it isn't necessarily the source.
As of today, it is believed that migraine is caused by overactive nerve cells sending out signals that trigger our trigeminal nerve, which causes the sensation to our head and face. This in turn triggers the body to release chemicals that make the blood vessels in our brain swell. This is followed by our neurotransmitters causing inflammation and pain.
People also think that the source of migraines can come from genetics. If you have parents or family members getting it, chances are you can get them too.
What are common migraine triggers?
Lots of factors may trigger a migraine. It's important to know what they are so you can avoid getting that severe headache.
- Skipping meals
- Hormone changes
- Too much or lack of caffeine
- Lack of hydration
- Physical activity (e.g. exercise, sex)
- Too much or lack of sleep
What are the risk factors for migraine?
Lots of people in the world get migraines, but these factors will make you more likely to have them:
- Gender - more females experience migraine pain than males
- Age - usually, people start to have migraines between ages 10 to 40
- Family history - 4 out of 5 people that have migraines also have family members who get them
- Having medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, etc.
Best teas for migraine relief: what are they and how can they help?
Would you believe that a possible way to relieve migraine pain can be found in the form of natural tea?
While we're not saying that drinking tea is the only viable natural remedy for migraine relief, it will do wonders for your mind and body. Herbal tea is one of the healthiest and unique-tasting beverages in the world. Many people drink tea for the purpose of reaping its benefits such as promoting good digestion, lowering blood sugar, increasing metabolism, and reducing stress and anxiety. In this case, we're talking about the role of tea in providing migraine relief.
According to the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ginger Hultin, RDN, it is because of tea's hydrating properties that make it an effective aid for headache or migraine treatment. Another mind-blowing reason is that tea has an anti-inflammatory antioxidant called catechins which can help reduce pain.
Wait, how does drinking caffeinated drinks work to help relieve migraines?
Drinking caffeinated tea is particularly helpful because, as mentioned above, one of the triggers of migraines is the lack of caffeine in the body.
Some people experience a headache when their blood vessels swell, tighten or undergo other changes. These increased blood flow pressures cause pain messages to be sent from the surrounding nerves and straight to your brain -- which brings on headaches!
Caffeine is said to have vasoconstrictive properties in some cases, meaning that it can help alleviate this pressure by narrowing these same blood vessels; therefore reducing any potential pain you may feel.
Although you can drink coffee as well, tea offers less caffeine content and is considered a healthier alternative. This way, you won't end up overindulging in caffeine either (another one of migraine's triggers).
Can caffeine induce headaches?
Yes it can. The downside with too much (in high doses) caffeine consumption is that your body becomes dependent on its effects. When you stop drinking it, the blood vessels around your brain enlarge and cause increased pressure which can then lead to caffeine withdrawal headaches, lasting for a few weeks until the body gets used to not having caffeine in the body.
In this blog post, we're focusing on how drinking tea helps with migraine treatment. Not all teas can relieve migraine, so we carefully identified each one that does help with migraine treatment. Check them out below.
1. Green tea
When it comes to drinking tea, green tea is one of the most popular ones. Maybe it's because of its taste, smell, or basically the countless number of benefits it provides to our health. Green tea contains a high concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which reportedly aids in relieving pain brought about by headaches and migraines. Also, by drinking green tea, we can develop improved mental alertness. You can think better, work better, and basically live better.
2. Ginger tea
Ginger is not just a spice we can add to culinary dishes. It can also be a drinking tea that can relieve inflammation either in our digestive or nervous system, both of which are possible roots of migraine. In fact, a study found the effectiveness of ginger powder equates to that of the drug sumatriptan in relieving migraine pain after 2 hours. This means drinking ginger tea might possibly be a good alternative to taking medication!
3. Peppermint tea
Popular for being a home remedy, peppermint has been used for many years especially when it comes to treating an upset stomach. Peppermint oil has also been long-known to effectively treat nausea, headaches, as well as muscle tension. It's also rich in vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium. Although the tea hasn't really been proven to help relieve migraine pain, the leaves contain menthol as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
There might not be enough evidence to support how drinking peppermint tea can help with migraine treatment, but it's definitely worth a try!
4. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea isn't even a caffeinated tea, so can it help with migraine treatment? Chamomile may not be known for directly curing headaches, it has a reputation for being a relaxing tea that is also a sleep aid. If your migraine is caused by stress or tension, drinking chamomile tea will definitely help you calm down. It provides a warm, soothing sensation in every sip that it's nearly impossible to be as stressed as before afterward.
It also helps you sleep better, therefore eliminating the chances of getting a migraine due to lack of sleep. Chamomile tea also helps boost the immune system and fight off infections related to colds, so you don't have to worry about getting headaches because of it.
Try: Zzz Sleepy Tea
5. Willow Bark tea
Who knew that a tree doesn't just protect us from the harsh rays of the sun but can also protect us from migraine pain? The willow bark tea, made from the bark of a willow tree, is actually the main source of salicin. Salicin is an active ingredient used to make aspirin, a well-known pain killer. This is why drinking willow bark tea will definitely help relieve all kinds of body pains such as migraines, headaches, back pain, muscle pain, and more. So if you're running out of aspirin or are too busy to go to the pharmacy, why not just make a cup of willow bark tea?
6. Feverfew tea
For many years, feverfew has been used as a medicinal plant to treat and relieve common pains such as migraines, stomach aches, and even toothaches. Talk about a pain-combatting tea!
There was one study where a group of participants with migraines was given either feverfew or a placebo. Those with placebo experienced more frequent and severe headaches while the ones with feverfew did not. This showed that drinking feverfew tea is effective as a prophylactic migraine treatment.
What are other natural remedies that can help relieve migraine pain?
It's important to drink tea when you're getting a migraine. But it's also significant to consider and make use of other natural remedies to further relieve the pain and prevent it from happening again. It would also be helpful to do these things when you feel a migraine coming or if you engage in an activity that might cause you to have one (e.g. having your period).
Listed below are the natural remedies and treatments you can turn to when relieving migraine pain:
- Use cold compress - When having a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. You can opt to wrap ice cubes in a towel. Apply it on your forehead for 15 minutes, then take a break for another 15 before putting it back again.
- Use hot compress - Try placing a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head (nape). Taking a nice, warm shower might also give you relief!
- Avoid harsh lights - Avoid using gadgets in the meantime because they have bright lights that might worsen your headache. Dim the lights in your room or make use of blackout curtains to keep the sunlight away.
- Hydrate yourself - Drink plenty of fluids! Being dehydrated can cause a headache or make it more severe.
- Get caffeine in your system - Drink some caffeinated tea. Having caffeinated tea early after the migraine pain starts will help ease it. Just remember not to drink too much because that won't be good for you either!
Say goodbye to migraine pain by drinking tea regularly!
Migraine is not an easy enemy to beat. But as long as you’ve got these home remedies and all these herbal teas, the odds will definitely be in your favor. Drinking tea will not only relieve the pain caused by migraine headaches, but you will also get to enjoy various health benefits that will allow you to experience life better.
If you want to know more about teas and their health benefits and recipes, you can check out our website.