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Treatment for Migraine

Migraine has become a common disorder owing to modern lifestyle. From the perspective of ayurveda, migraine headaches are due to a disorder in tridosha - the mind-body constitution. Although it is possible to get headaches from disorders in vata, pitta, or kapha, migraines frequently occur when systemic pitta moves into the cardiovascular system, circulates, and affects the blood vessels around the brain. The blood vessels dilate due to the hot, sharp quality of pitta. This, in turn, creates pressure on the nerves, resulting in migraines. Pitta disorders are characterized by any of the symptoms like the red complexion and eyes, light sensitivity, burning sensation, anger, irritability, nosebleeds, and bilious vomiting, or a combination of these. So, the treatment involves following the recommendations for pitta pacifying foods, herbs and lifestyle.

Avoid hot, spicy foods, fermented foods, and sour or citrus fruits. A pitta-soothing diet is effective both for migraine relief and as a preventive measure.

Preventive Breakfast.
If you are one of those individuals who get migraines at midday, which then subside later in the evening, there is a preventive approach available from ayurveda. It is simple, but effective.

First thing in the morning, take 1 ripe banana. Peel it, chop it into pieces, and add 1 teaspoon warm ghee, 1 teaspoon date sugar, and a pinch of cardamom on top. This is delicious, and it will help to reduce pitta or take the Indian sweet Jalebi made in desi ghee with  milk  and crystallized sugar (mishri) also can prevent a headache from arising.

Herbal Remedy
The following herbal compound is beneficial in managing migraine.
  • Shatavari 5 parts
  • Brahmi 4 parts
  • Jatamamsi 3 parts
  • Musta 3 parts
Prepare this mixture, and take 1/2 teaspoon twice a day, morning and evening, after breakfast and dinner, with a little lukewarm water. This formula is designed to pacify the aggravated pitta and help relieve migraine headaches.

Laxatives (such as aloe vera gel, rhubarb, and fennel), liver cleansers (such as bhami amalaki and brahmi), sandalwood oil on the third eye, temples, heart, and under the nose, medicated aromatic oils or ghee, fomentation, and cooling snuff (nasyam) are also advised.

Other Treatments
Avoid Direct Sun. Walks in the full moon and by water; and flower gardening reduce Pitta causes of migraines.

Soothing Nosal Drops (nasyam).

Once a headache has developed, putting about 5 drops of warm brahmi ghee in each nostril will help relieve the pain. If done continuously it can prevent further attack substantially.

Head Massage and shiro dhara are special therapies which uses medicated oils are highly beneficial.
Migraines from Vata Imbalance
As mentioned migraines can also originate due to imbalance in vata dosha. The symptoms of vata imbalance are: anxiety, depression, dry skin, constipation, and extreme pain. The recommended treatment is: triphala as a purgative, jatamanshi, brahmi, and rest. Shiro dhara (hot oil head massage) is also recommended. Avoid overexertion.

Migraines from Kapha Imbalance
This condition is characterized by dull headache, heaviness, fatigue, nausea, white or clear phlegm, vomiting, and excess salivation. Respiratory and ENT disorders such as sinusitis, chronic bronchitis etc are often associated with these symptoms. The recommended treatment is: trikatu, brahmi, tulsi tea, inhaling eucalyptus oil, vomiting, exercise, nasal snuff of ginger or pepper or ‘Kshad bindu thailam.Shiro dhara (hot oil head massage) is also recommended.

Recommended Yoga Postures
Moon Salutation is especially good for migraines. Yoga postures such as the Hidden Lotus, Boat pose, Bow pose, Spinal Twist, Palm Tree pose, and Standing on the Toes are also good to combat migraines.

Pranayama
Doing a cooling breathing exercise such as shitali helps in pitta dominated migraine anulomvilom pranayam is useful in Vata predominant migraine and kapalbhati pranayam in Kapha predominated migraine is beneficial.

A Healing Yawn
When you have a migraine, gently squeeze your earlobes, pulling the ear down, and do the act of yawning. This will relieve the pressure on the blood vessels and help to pacify the headache.
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