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Migraine attacks aren’t typical headaches. You may experience pounding pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. When a migraine attack or episode occurs, you’ll do almost anything to make it go away.

Natural remedies are drug-free methods of reducing migraine symptoms. These at-home treatments may help prevent the onset of migraine attacks or at least help reduce their severity and duration.

Keep reading as we take a look at 15 natural remedies that may help you manage migraine symptoms.

Note that migraine attacks may require treatment with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Speak with a doctor about a treatment plan that works for you.

Diet plays a vital role in preventing migraine attacks. Many foods and beverages may be migraine triggers, such as:

  • foods with nitrates, including hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
  • chocolate
  • cheese that contains the naturally occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss
  • alcohol, especially red wine
  • foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer
  • foods that are very cold, such as ice cream or iced drinks
  • processed foods
  • pickled foods
  • beans
  • dried fruits
  • cultured dairy products, such as buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt

A small amount of caffeine may ease migraine pain in some people. Caffeine is also in some migraine medications. But too much caffeine may cause a migraine attack. It may also lead to a severe caffeine withdrawal headache.

To figure out which foods and beverages trigger migraine attacks for you, keep a daily food journal. Record everything you eat and note how you feel afterward.

Inhaling lavender essential oil may ease migraine pain. Lavender oil may be inhaled directly or diluted with a carrier oil and applied in small amounts to your temples.

A 2016 randomized controlled study found evidence that 3 months of lavender therapy as a prophylactic therapy, meaning taken before a migraine attack begins, reduced frequency and severity of migraine attacks. However, research is still limited.

A 2020 review of studies published in the journal Phytotherapy Research examined the ability of various herbal treatments, including lavender therapy for migraine. The authors found mixed or limited evidence to support the use of butterbur and feverfew for treating migraine but didn’t note that current research supports the use of lavender.

According to the authors, many studies had a high risk for bias, and more high quality research is needed.

Acupuncture involves injecting very thin needles into certain parts of your skin to stimulate relief from a wide variety of health conditions.

A 2020 randomized controlled study found that 20 sessions of manual acupuncture along with usual care was more effective at preventing migraine in people with a history of episodic migraine without aura than sham acupuncture along with usual care. Sham acupuncture is a treatment where the needles are not inserted as deeply.

A 2016 review of 22 studies also found moderate evidence that acupuncture may reduce headache symptoms. In the results summary, the authors explain that if people had 6 days of migraine per month before treatment, it would be expected that they would have:

Feverfew is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy. It’s a folk remedy for migraine. It still isn’t well-studied, but there is some evidence that it may be slightly more effective than a placebo for treating migraine.

In a 2015 review of studies, which is an update of a previous 2004 study, the authors concluded that larger studies are needed to support the use of feverfew for treating migraine.

The authors note that one larger study published since the 2004 review found 0.6 fewer migraine days per month in people who took feverfew versus a placebo. They describe previous studies as low quality or providing mixed evidence.

The 2020 review of studies published in Phytotherapy Researchalso summarizes the finding on feverfew as “mixed.”

The chemical menthol found in peppermint oil may help prevent migraine episodes, although there’s a very limited amount of research.

A 2019 randomized controlled study compared the effects of nasal 4 percent lidocaine with 1.5 percent peppermint essential oil and a placebo for managing migraine symptoms.

The researchers found that 40 percent of people in the lidocaine and peppermint oil groups experienced considerable improvements in their symptoms, compared with only 4.9 percent of people in the placebo group.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that very little research has examined peppermint leaf, but a limited amount of evidence suggests topical peppermint oil may benefit tension headaches.

Ginger is known to ease nausea caused by many conditions, including migraine. It may have pain-relieving benefits for migraine attacks. According to a 2020 review of studies, one randomized controlled study found evidence that ginger may have beneficial activity.

More research is needed to understand the extent and usefulness of ginger for treating migraine-related pain.

Yoga uses breathing, meditation, and body postures to promote health and well-being. A 2015 study found yoga may relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine attacks. It’s thought to improve anxiety, release tension in migraine-trigger areas, and improve vascular health.

The researchers concluded that yoga could be beneficial as a complementary therapy for treating migraine.

Biofeedback is a relaxation method. It teaches you to control autonomic reactions to stress. During this therapy, electrodes are applied to your skin to monitor physiologic processes that change with stress, such as your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

During a biofeedback session, you work with a therapist to manage stress using changes in your physiologic processes as feedback.

According to a 2019 study, there’s good evidence to support the use of mind-body interventions such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy for treating migraine. These therapies are effectively free of side effects and may make a good alternative for medication for some people.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches and migraine. Magnesium oxide supplementation may help prevent migraine with aura. It may also prevent menstrual migraine (hormone headaches).

A 2021 study found that 500 milligrams of magnesium oxide taken twice a day for 8 weeks was as effective as the medication valproate sodium for preventing migraine without significant side effects.

You can get magnesium from foods that include:

  • almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • peanut butter
  • oatmeal
  • eggs
  • milk

Massage may reduce migraine frequency. Migraine is associated with low serotonin in the brain, and massage has been shown to increase serotonin. There’s limited evidence to support the use of massage for migraine relief, but it’s generally safe and has a low risk of side effects.

Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure with the fingers and hands to specific points on the body to relieve pain and other symptoms.

A 2017 study found evidence that acupuncture may help manage migraine-related nausea during treatment, but that it doesn’t improve pain or quality of life.

According to the American Headache Society, more than 80 percent of people with migraine report stress being a migraine trigger. Learning how to better manage your stress may help you decrease migraine frequency.

Some commonly used stress management techniques include:

According to the American Migraine Foundation, about a third of people with migraine report dehydration as a migraine trigger.

To prevent dehydration, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when exercising. On hot days, you may need to drink more water than usual.

The connection between sleep and migraine still isn’t entirely clear. Research from 2016 has found a correlation between high migraine frequency and poor sleep quality. This association is true in people with migraine with and without aura.

Going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and avoiding stimulating activities before bed are some of the ways you can improve your sleep.

Butterbur is a plant that grows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Up until 2012, the American Academy of Neurology recommended using it for preventing migraine attacks. In 2015, they stopped their recommendation due to the possibility of liver toxicity.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends only using pyrrolizidine alkaloid-free butterbur products, as this chemical can damage the liver, lungs, and circulation. Speak with a doctor before taking butterbur.

If you have migraine, you know the symptoms can be challenging. You might miss work or not be able to participate in activities you love. But the remedies above may provide some relief.

It might also be helpful to speak with others who understand exactly what you’re going through. Our free app, Migraine Healthline, connects you with real people who experience migraine. Ask treatment-related questions and seek advice from others who get it. Download the app for iPhone or Android.

If your migraine attacks or episodes don’t respond to home remedies, it’s important to talk with a doctor. Visit a doctor if your symptoms are severe, frequent, or interfere with your daily life.