Best Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches...

Here’s the strongest home remedy for "instant migraine relief" you'll ever come across, along with other natural remedies for migraine headaches that are guaranteed to treat this painful condition quickly and effectively!

Article by Troy Sawyer (Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Coach, Sports Nutritionist)

Updated May 8, 2024 -- This post contains affiliate links  

Best home remedies for migraine headaches

This horrible and painful health condition is very dear to my heart. I suffered from some of the worst forms of migraine headaches for many years, but thankfully, I’ve now managed to overcome this problem and I want to help you do the same. At one stage in my life I was actually getting at least one agonizing migraine every week - and sometimes it would last for 2 to 3 days. Once my migraine came on fully I would ended up completely immobilized and couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow.

It was bloody awful!

I was left with no option but to dose myself up on painkillers, something I really hated doing, and then hope I didn’t throw them back up. (If you regularly suffer from migraines you’ll know that one of the side effects of a migraine headache is it makes you feel nauseous and ill). So basically, my quality of life just plain sucked at this point in time!

Of course, when you get a bad migraine you can’t think or even function properly, and if you have them regularly they can force you to have unwanted time off work (bosses don’t seem to be very understanding when you take sick leave for a headache either). Migraines can also, and usually do, stop you from doing the things you love. I remember missing out on plenty of weekend activities when a migraine would strike on a Saturday or a Sunday. Spending time in bed when it’s a beautiful day outside and everyone else is having fun also sucks big time! 

Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches That Work…

After studying this subject incessantly, and trying just about every natural cure and conventional treatment available over the years, I’ve come up with my top 15 home remedies for migraine headaches that really do work a treat. They are all designed to prevent the 3 most common types of headaches from occurring (tension, cluster and migraine), however, some are also brilliant for providing powerful relief if you do happen to have a migraine headache right now.

Are these preventative remedies 100% effective all of the time? 

No they are not. 

But what they will do is give you excellent relief, along with lengthening the amount of time that you may suffer from another migraine. The severity will also be greatly reduced. In my own case, I have not managed to completely eliminate migraine headaches from my life. What I have managed to do though is lengthen the time in between my headaches enormously (6-8 months in fact), along with lowering the severity by a massive amount. In fact, if I do happen to get a headache today, it’s only a very mild one and I can easily treat it using a few simple natural and home remedies (the ones I’m about to discuss).

So enough of the chin-chat. Here’s the top “do’s and don’ts” and home remedies for migraine headaches in no particular order. The first 7 listed are designed specifically for providing quick (instant) relief if you do happen to be suffering from a migraine headache right now, while the other 8 natural cures are designed to help prevent further migraines in the future. Be sure to test them all out so you find the ones that work best for you…

Home Remedy for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #1 – Lavender, Peppermint and Basil Oil…

Lavender, basil and peppermint oil are all simple and inexpensive treatments for migraine headaches. For relief, you can either mix 3 drops of lavender oil in 3 cups of boiling water and use this to breathe in the vapors (be sure to put a towel over your head to lock in the vapors) or gently massage some lavender oil on your forehead and temples, then lie down and breathe in the scent. With basil oil you do exactly the same thing, and ditto for peppermint oil, except when applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples you dilute it down to a 10% solution.

It’s definitely worth trying all of these remedies to see which one works best for you. You can also use all three together (1-2 drops of each) in a vaporizer or with the boiling water remedy for a more super-charged and potent mix if you like. Use this remedy every hour or two and you'll enjoy some welcome relief - especially from the horrible nausea.

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #2 – Vicks VapoRub…

Good old Vicks VapoRub works an absolute treat for migraine headaches. Simply rub some Vicks on your forehead and temples then lie back, relax and breathe in the vapors. Repeat this process every hour until your headache is gone. A definite “cheap as chips” remedy that gives excellent results!

Natural Treatment for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #3 – The Migraine Reliever Drink…

Migraine headache reliever drink

This potent drink is a sure-fire migraine reliever. All of the ingredients in this concoction help to relieve the symptoms of a headache, along with helping to prevent further ones in the future (if you continue to eat these foods on a daily basis).

An enzyme in pineapple called bromelain is a strong natural pain reliever. Cucumber helps to rehydrate the body (dehydration is a major cause of migraines). Celery is regularly recommended by naturopaths to treat headaches due to the flavonoid it contains (luteolin) which acts as an anti-inflammatory on brain cells. Then according to renowned health expert and author, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, kale has been proven to actually cure migraines completely. The lemon in this mix helps to maintain your acid/alkaline balance, which is crucial for preventing and treating migraines. And ginger has been used successfully for centuries to treat migraine headaches due to the powerful pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties it contains.

To make up this super powerful concoction, simply remove the skin from these foods (if need be) and churn them up in a high powered blender or Nutra-bullet then slowly drink until gone.

So make sure you get all the necessary ingredients (organic if possible) and definitely give this drink a go. It’s one of the best remedies for a migraine headache you’ll come across!

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #4 – Cold Compress or Ice Pack…

This one is considered a “no brainer” treatment for migraine headaches and will definitely help to give you some much needed relief from that awful pain and throbbing. It works by constricting the blood vessels that are pressing on the nerves and causing your headache pain. Just take an ice pack(s) or cold compress and either apply to your forehead or the back of your neck muscles (or both), particularly at the base of your skull. Leave there for as long as possible or follow the 10 minutes on 10 minutes off regimen for best results.

If you don’t find enough relief from this remedy then as an alternative you can put your feet in very cold water and place a hot towel on the back of your neck. What this technique does is it sends the blood from your head down to your feet, which also helps to relieve the pressure build up in the blood vessels. As a variation, and somewhat contradictory remedy, you can soak your feet in hot water with some mustard or cayenne pepper thrown in. This also draws blood from the head down to the feet and relieves the pressure build up in the blood vessels. Alternating between these two methods can provide even more relief. Although I’ve never actually tried either of these remedies myself, many people swear by their effectiveness.

Home Remedy for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #5 – Work and Massage Acupressure Points…

Trigger point therapy is definitely a powerful headache relief remedy. Some parts of the body are linked to areas of the brain where migraine headaches originate from. One such area is the soft tissue and web of skin located between the base of your thumb and forefinger (known as trigger point LIG4). If you try massaging this area right now you may even feel a bit of a twinge at the top of your neck muscle where it meets the base of your scull (if you regularly suffer from neck tension headaches). Or you may feel something around the top of your eyes, your forehead or the temples. Be sure to massage using a firm circular motion for 5-10 minutes, then switch hands and repeat.

Another worthwhile technique is to put your thumb in your mouth (on the same side as your headache pain) and reach up and press the cheekbone up and outwards, then do the same on the other side. After this, place both thumbs on the upper palate inside your mouth and firmly press the sides out. Do this several times for best results. 

Finally, a good scalp massage or neck and shoulder massage can also work wonders. Researchers in Brazil found that massaging the greater occipital nerve, located at the back of the neck just below the scull, is very effective for relieving migraines.

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #6 – Have a Strong Cup of Black, Green or Oolong Tea… 

Tea remedy for headaches

Tea is not only refreshing and extremely good for you, it contains caffeine, which is a terrific reliever of headache pain. In fact, caffeine is even added to most pharmaceutical pain killers because it’s been found to increase their effectiveness by nearly half. Black tea, green tea (especially Matcha green tea) or oolong tea are considered the best and contain some very potent antioxidants as well. Just make sure you brew your tea nice and strong for full effect and benefit. You can also add a couple of bruised whole cloves to your tea if you wish (for their powerful anti-inflammatory benefit). This is actually an old folk remedy for migraine headaches that your grandma probably used. In addition to drinking tea, you can also eat some natural dark chocolate as well. This food is high in caffeine and likewise helps to sooth a headache.

Note: Caffeine can actually cause migraines if you're a regular and/or big tea or coffee drinker. If this relates to you, you may want to approach this remedy with caution. 

Natural Treatment for Migraine "Quick Reliever" #7 – Big Glass of Warm Water with Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)…

A lot of migraines are caused by dehydration. So rehydrating yourself is paramount and can actually make a headache disappear quite rapidly. But rather than just have a glass of water, turbo-charge your drink by adding some lemon juice and ACV. This mix will rehydrate you much quicker and balance your acid-alkaline level, giving you far better relief than just having water alone. As an extra benefit, apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium, which is also known to help migraine sufferers quite significantly.

So fill yourself up a big glass of warm, filtered water and add the juice of a half fresh squeezed lemon, along with 2 tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar (such as these brands). Stir and drink straight away. Then make up another mix, but this time slowly sip on it over the space of an hour. Also avoid all alcohol at this time as this dehydrates the body. If your headache was caused by dehydration, it will surely be gone by the time you finish your second glass! 

Preventative Remedies for Migraine Headaches You Need to be Using…

Now you have some quick relieving natural remedies for migraine headaches that you can choose from, it’s time to look at some of the long term solutions for lowering the severity of your migraines, and even stopping them altogether. Here’s 8 things you must do if you regularly suffer from migraines and want get rid of them and get your life back. They work wonders for me and I know they’ll work wonders for you too if you stick with them…

Home Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #1 – Exercise… 

Exercise prevents migraine headaches

If I had to pick the one thing that’s made the biggest difference to the frequency and severity of my migraines, this would surely be it. Although I’ve been going to the gym since the age of 18 (I’m now 49), there have been times when circumstances prevented me from being able to exercise consistently. And these were the exact times when my migraines would flare up! Even well-known health advocate, Dr Andrew Weil, recommends exercising to prevent migraines. And a recent Swedish study found that migraine sufferers who exercised for 40 minutes a day, 3 times a week, were able to reduce the frequency and severity of their migraines by a substantial amount. 1  

For me, I still find that weight training or group classes such as Les Mills Grit or Bootcamp work the best. They help to strengthen the neck muscles (which then causes fewer headaches) and provide the best stress relief. As you’re probably already aware, stress is one of the biggest causes, if not the biggest cause of migraine headaches. Of course, the extra health benefits of regular exercise have also been well documented. If you’re not comfortable with doing weight training or group fitness classes then even going for a brisk walk or riding your bike 3-5 times a week can be beneficial and will still help tremendously.

So whatever you do, don’t skip over this one. Find yourself a good gym or exercise group in your local area and get started straight away. Even if you’ve never exercised before, it doesn’t matter. Once you get into the habit of doing regular exercise, you’ll feel so much better, have loads more energy, and have less headaches to go with it!

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #2 – Butterbur Herb…

A study published in the December 2004 edition of Neurology found that participants who took two 75mg capsules of butterbur cut their headache occurrence by almost half. 2 That’s actually quite amazing when you consider these people made no other lifestyle changes apart from taking the butterbur herb. The reason butterbur works so well is it contains two unique substances, petasin and isopetasin, which help to reduce blood vessel spasms and inflammation. So without the inflammation and spasms, the blood vessels in the head don’t press against and irritate the nerves that cause headaches.

Butterbur is very well tolerated by the body and is safe to take long term. In fact, I strongly recommend you continue to take it for the rest of your life if you want to put an end to your migraines! You can either buy butterbur in capsule, powder or tincture form from most good health food stores or online. 

Natural Treatment for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #3 – Feverfew and White Willow…

The active ingredient in feverfew inhibits the chemicals in the brain that cause blood vessels to dilate in the head. Although this herb won’t help your migraine once it’s begun, it will definitely help to prevent further migraine headaches in the future. This remedy became quite popular back in the 1980s after a ground-breaking study showed that 70 percent of participants had less migraine and headache pain after taking feverfew daily. What’s interesting as well is in the second part of the study, when participants were switched over to the placebo pill, their headaches tripled! Another study found feverfew beneficial for migraine sufferers when it was combined with white willow extract (the herb used in the development of aspirin). By taking both of these herbs together, participants were able to drastically reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of their migraines. 3

Feverfew is another safe herb that you can continue to take long term (also highly recommended) and dosages are in the range of 100-150 mg’s daily for the standardized versions. White willow bark extract is best taken at the onset of a migraine. In fact, it’s a good idea to always keep some white willow in your pantry and take it even if you think you feel a migraine coming on (better to be safe than sorry). You can also purchase both feverfew extract and white willow bark from most health food stores or online.

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #4 – Magnesium and Potassium…

Magnesium and potassium are two crucial minerals for overall good health and longevity. They are also two “must have” remedies for migraine headaches! Magnesium is vital for healthy nerve function and low levels have been found to contribute to migraines and headaches in general. A 1996 study revealed that out of 81 migraine sufferers, 41.6% of participants taking a magnesium supplement had a reduction in their migraine attacks compared to 15.8% in the placebo group. 4 With potassium, it’s not really understood how it actually helps migraine sufferers (no conclusive studies have been done), but the fact that it’s an ingredient in the popular pain killer diclofenac may provide a clue.

To get your daily supply of magnesium you really can’t go past an amazing product called Natural Calm. This food does exactly as its name suggests, it helps to keep you calm and relaxed and is an excellent natural sleeping aid (lack of sleep can be another contributing factor for migraines). I can’t speak highly enough about this supplement and strongly recommend you look into it further. You can read some testimonials on it here... Natural Calm Benefits

For potassium, good old apple cider vinegar should definitely be your first choice. ACV also balances your acid/alkaline levels, which helps to prevent migraine headaches as well. What I love most about ACV is it’s just so cheap compared to the benefits you receive. In fact, a 1 gallon bottle of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar costs around $30 (U.S.) and it will last you for nearly a year!

To take your ACV, simply mix 2 tablespoons in a glass of warm, filtered water along with a teaspoon of Manuka honey (for taste) and drink 10 minutes before a meal twice a day, every day. Or, if you find you struggle with the taste of apple cider vinegar, go with the ACV capsules instead.    

Home Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #5 – Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Co-Enzyme Q10…

Best vitamins for migraine headache relief

Belgian researchers discovered that taking 400 mgs of vitamin B2 daily can reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches considerably (their findings were then published in the journal Neurology). And in the February 2005 edition of Neurology, they published the results of a large study which showed that Coenzyme Q10 was far superior at preventing migraines than a placebo. Two other small studies have also been able to prove that CoQ10 does indeed reduce the incidence and severity of migraines. 5

The dosage for CoQ10 in the first study was 100 mg's 3 times daily, so this is the amount you would need to take. Vitamin B2 at 400 mgs a day is a high dose but you can now buy extra strength B2 supplements (such as these) so this won’t be a problem. You can likewise find these supplements online or purchase them from any good health food retailer.

Natural Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #6 – Fish Oil and Vitamin D…

Fish oil and vitamin D are two "tried and tested" home remedies for migraine headaches that have been shown to help tremendously with this condition. Fish oil helps to prevent the constriction of blood vessels and the subsequent actions in the head that lead to migraines. Vitamin D reduces inflammation (as does fish oil), which is another common trigger for migraine attacks. One study presented at the American Headache Society annual meeting back in 2008 found that almost half of all chronic migraine sufferers have very low levels of vitamin D. 6

The recommended dosage of fish oil for migraines is around 10,000 mg's daily taken in divided doses. For vitamin D, its worth taking the time to get your vitamin D levels checked first to see if they are low. Adults need between 4000-8000 IU's every day according to vitamin D expert, Dr Cedric Garland, so if you do have a vitamin D deficiency, supplementation and regular sun exposure will be required. 7 Of course, fish oil also contains vitamin D so taking this will help bring your levels back up as well. You can easily purchase fish oil and vitamin D3 supplements from just about anywhere these days. Just make sure you go with a reputable brand and stay away from the cheaper varieties.    

Natural Treatment for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #7 – Learn to Relax!

Meditation for migraines

Anxiety and stress are probably the two biggest causes and initial triggers for migraine headaches. When you’re stressed you can literally feel the muscles in the back of your neck tensing up or your head starting to feel like someone’s applying a clamp to your temples and is slowly tightening it. The problem is, when your head is under this form of duress, a migraine headache is usually not far away!

So the bottom line here is you must find ways to relax and unwind, especially when you’re right in the middle of a stress attack. I know it’s easier said than done but meditation and Yoga really do help. Meditating or practicing Yoga or tai chi first thing every morning helps to get you off on the right foot, so to speak. And if you can start your day relaxed and at ease then the rest of the day usually flows much easier. If you do feel yourself becoming uptight and stressed during the day, go somewhere quiet and try relaxing and meditating, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. If I was at work and I got myself all wound up and into a tither, I would go to the toilet and sit in the cubicle and meditate for 10 minutes (you’re allowed a toilet break at work right?) This practice helped a great deal and sometimes was the difference between getting a headache and getting no headache.

When it comes to meditation and Yoga, there is no wrong way or right way to do it. However, by joining a group or finding a good book on the subject you can learn to not just have a nice relaxation session, but instead, have yourself a deep and truly exhilarating experience! Personally, this is one practice I could never give up now. The benefits are just so amazing and life-changing. Here’s some good books on meditation and Yoga techniques if you’re interested… Meditation/Yoga 

Home Remedy for Migraine "Long Term Solution" #8 - Foods to Avoid, Foods to Eat… 

It’s a well-known fact that certain foods can bring on and trigger migraine headaches, while other foods can help prevent and treat a migraine attack. Some of the foods that have been shown to affect the frequency and severity of headaches, and the ones you definitely want to avoid, include; all processed dairy foods, wheat (gluten), peanut butter, tartrazine (yellow food dye), artificial sweeteners (particularly aspartame), processed meats and meats containing nitrates such as bacon and hot dogs, foods containing tyramine (an amino acid found in red wine), and foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). Alcohol can also be a trigger for migraine headaches as it irritates and inflames the nerves and contains vasoactive compounds that cause your blood vessels to expand.

For the foods you need to be eating more of, it’s the standards; fresh fruits (especially apples), vegetables, nut’s (except peanuts), seeds and grains (except wheat and rye). Flaxseeds and sesame seeds are particularly good for migraines because of the potent anti-inflammatory compounds they contain. Quinoa is gluten-free and an excellent “grain” substitute for wheat and rye. Cinnamon is great for preventing and relieving migraines and chilli’s (especially cayenne pepper) are some of the most powerful natural pain relievers in existence. Cayenne pepper and chilli’s also help to increase blood flow - particularly in the brain - which further benefits migraine sufferers.

In addition to these, make sure you get plenty of probiotics and fermented foods into you. Believe it or not, digestive problems and a lack of good gut bacteria can be a major trigger for migraine headaches (new research is just beginning to uncover this important find). You can easily make your own tasty probiotic rich foods and beverages without a lot of fuss. Here's a useful website on how to go about this... CulturesForHealth

Finally, skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which in turn, increases the amount of pain you experience from a migraine headache. So be sure to eat 4-6 small meals a day and always include some lean protein with each meal to help keep your glucose levels steady.

A Final Word on Using These Home Remedies for Headaches…

So that ends this article on natural treatments and home remedies for migraine headaches. There are certainly plenty of options to choose from and they all work extremely well. Like I said earlier though, with the first 7 remedies you will definitely need to experiment with each one. What works for one person doesn’t always necessarily work for another. With the 8 long term treatments, try and use as many of them as you can (preferably all of them) if you’re a regular migraine sufferer. You’ll find that once you get used to these lifestyle changes and they become habit, you definitely won't want to go back to your old ways. 

So don’t waste any more time then. Get into it and get rid of that dreaded migraine. Life’s too short to be stuck inside your house in bed while everybody else is out enjoying themselves and having fun! 

Good luck and God bless.

P.S. If your migraine headache is related to a sinus infection or seasonal allergies, you might like to check out our recent articles on these for more help - particularly in regards to the hydrogen peroxide relief therapy - which works astonishingly well. You can click on the links below to go there...

Go from home remedy for migraine headaches to natural remedies for sinus infection

Go from home remedies for migraine headaches to home remedies for allergies

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