You may be housing a powerful Migraine tool in your spice cabinet. Below we explore simple ways to start using ginger for Migraine relief, but first, let’s look at what research and the community have to say about this common herb.
Ginger has been used since ancient times as an herbal remedy to treat a number of ailments from nausea and vomiting to arthritis and muscular aches. It houses a pharmacy of its own.
The root has strong anti-inflammatory properties, settles the stomach, helps with nausea, and aids with digestion. Some who deal with Migraine attacks swear by ginger as a must-have addition to their pantry (and purse).
What the Research Says About Benefits of Ginger
Clinical evidence linking ginger to Migraine relief is slim.
Can ginger help migraines?
Despite the promising buzz, clinical evidence linking ginger to Migraine relief is slim.
A few small, controversial studies suggest that ginger can be helpful in managing Migraine. In one 2014 study of 100 patients, researchers found that taking a half teaspoon of ginger in a little warm water at the onset of a Migraine attack can be “statistically comparable to sumatriptan,” a commonly prescribed Migraine abortive (1).
Ginger may be more useful as a complementary treatment rather than a replacement for more standard Migraine treatments.
A 2018 study found that when ginger was added to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as treatment for Migraine attacks, patients fared significantly better in pain reduction and returned to a level of functionality quicker than if treated with an NSAID alone (2).
The same authors conducted a more recent, placebo-controlled trial, and they found that ginger was no better for Migraine relief than placebo (3). That’s a bit of a buzz-kill, but you can’t argue with science.
Ginger for Migraine Nausea
The benefits of ginger include helping nausea.
Can ginger help migraines?
There isn’t great research proving that ginger relieves Migraine pain, but this herb can be a safe home remedy for one of the most insidious Migraine symptoms: nausea.
Ginger has a lot fewer side effects than some of the pharmaceutical options for nausea relief, like Zofran or Compazine. Headache specialists often encourage patients to use ginger alongside their other treatments if they find that it helps – especially pregnant people or those who cannot take prescription meds.
“Natural therapies, like ginger, are suggested as an approach for mild nausea. But if you’re to the point of vomiting, a prescription approach is typically required to gain effective control over nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Andrew Charles, Director of the Goldberg Migraine Program and professor of neurology at David Geffen School of Medicine in UCLA, told Migraine Again.
Don’t swap your Imitrex for ginger root just yet, but definitely consider adding it to your toolkit if you frequently deal with nausea.
“I’m a proponent of anything that is not a medication that can be added onto medication treatments or non-oral treatments for pain as well as for nausea and vomiting,” Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Amaal Starling told Migraine Again. “Ginger can be helpful. Some patients have used B6 which can be helpful, as well, for nausea. Other patients have used Sea-Bands that activate acupressure points.”
A number of studies show the benefits of ginger in stopping nausea and vomiting. One trial found that ginger lessened chemotherapy-induced nausea and decreased cancer-related fatigue (4).
Ginger has also been studied as a pain reliever in those with arthritis and muscle tension, which is also a notable Migraine symptom.
What the Community Says about Ginger for Migraine
Some swear by ginger for Migraine relief.
Many people in the Migraine community have told us that ginger helps them treat attacks, by relieving nausea or pain or both. Ginger for Migraine is by no means a cure or a silver bullet, but there are a handful of anecdotes to back up its place in your medicine cabinet.
Here’s what our community says:
Ginger Works Like a Charm for Milder Attacks
I have found taking ginger to be very helpful to me when I have migraines. It will not totally get rid of a bad migraine, but it will ease the pain for me. So I still use my Imitrex but I use ginger as well. – Kimberly
I’ve tried it, and it sometimes works and keeps me from taking medicine. The way my neurologist put it is that it isn’t going to work on the really bad migraines, but it is often effective for mild migraines. – Sharon l.
I’m drinking a lot of Twining’s ginger and lemon tea with honey these days, it helps. – Melisa B.
I gave it a try after 14 days straight of attacks, and fear of sumatriptan overuse and side effects. I am already on Aimovig, which wasn’t helping. However, after 20 years of looking for some relief, the ginger is working like a magic pill for me. I’ve quelled seven attacks with only ginger, and so grateful that it is helping in acute situations. – Laura
Ginger is Helpful for Nausea
It helps to overcome nausea. – Tehzeeba J.
It doesn’t hurt to try, especially when you’ve become immune to most of the OTC meds. -Kourtney S.
I take organic ginger capsules when I first get a migraine with my meds and it has really been helping with my nausea! – Alanna K.
Skepticism for Ginger
Migraine is a neurological disorder. Ginger may help with an upset stomach, but it is not “as effective as Imitrex.” – Donna
I find it hard to believe it’s as effective as Imitrex. Ginger is as effective as Advil, Tylenol, a cold compress, or a lollipop. – Allison R.
An Anecdote from the National Headache Foundation
The best evidence for ginger for Migraine comes from anecdotes.
The NHF reports an anecdote of a woman who took 500 to 600 milligrams of powdered ginger in water at the first sign of a Migraine and received relief within 30 minutes. The woman began eating the raw form to treat her Migraines and reported fewer attacks and of the ones she did have were of lesser intensity.
The NHF notes that ginger’s antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties could be the basis for why the herb is effective but acknowledges that the evidence is just not there. We need more double-blind experiments with control and placebos groups to be conducted before we know for sure.
How to Use Ginger for Migraine Relief
The good news: ginger for Migraine is inexpensive and safe. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before adding anything new – even ginger – especially if you are pregnant.
If you want to give this natural and complementary treatment a try here, are some of the best ways to use ginger for Migraine relief:
Ginger essential oil can help soothe a Migraine attack.
If your Migraine attacks come with an upset stomach, digestive issues, or nausea, try using ginger essential oil. Rub a few drops along your inner wrists, where the points to your stomach channel are and along the stomach where the discomfort is felt.
There are essential oil blends combined specifically to aid for digestion, or you can try mixing a few different essential oils with the ginger oil. Other oils that settle the stomach, promote healthy digestion, and help with Migraine symptoms include fennel, coriander, and peppermint.
Never apply essential oils to your skin directly. It’s important to dilute with a carrier oil like coconut oil or avocado oil. Test patch on your skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction.
Because essential oils are not regulated, make sure to only use them topically – don’t drink them.
An Ayurvedic Mask
Ayurvedic medicine, the healing modality for balancing mind, body, and spirit in India, suggests creating a strategically placed face mask with ginger powder to treat a Migraine attack. The mask is simple to make and calming to use:
Add warm water to organic ginger powder, make it into a paste, and dab it lightly along your forehead and temples. Rest in a quiet, dark room or somewhere calming.
Ginger tea is delicious and helpful for coping with Migraine.
Ginger Chew and Candies
For something fast and easy to carry in your purse, car, or grab from your desk drawer, try ginger candies. Made from all-natural ginger, but put into delicious candy form, these are the perfect thing to pop into your mouth to settle your stomach or when you feel a Migraine attack beginning.
Plus, they are safe to use for relief while pregnant. Try to avoid eating too many, though. You don’t want to send your blood sugar into a spike and crash – which would exacerbate Migraine symptoms.
Ginger tea can help with nausea.
Incorporate fresh ginger root into your diet and routine. Here are some simple ways to use the real thing:
Whip up a smoothie
Have fun experimenting with ingredients that are complementary to your taste buds, or if you’re looking for a good combo to start with, try tossing spinach, kale, pineapple, pear, coconut water (which is super hydrating), and an inch of shaved ginger into the blender.
Or try this Potent Migraine Pain Relief Shake.
If the texture of the blended ginger bothers you, consider making a juice with the same ingredients above—the only difference is the juicer will strain out all the pulpy contents.
Slice the ginger and rub the real stuff on your wrists and temples.
Brew some tea
Try this warm and comforting tea with a spicy kick. It’s super soothing.
Shave, cut, and chop one to two inches of fresh ginger. Boil the ginger in several cups of water for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea with a strainer and drink the elixir. Make your own ginger ale
To quickly and easily relieve nausea, you can make a healthier version of ginger ale in your own kitchen. This is one of the most refreshing – and most delicious – ways to use ginger for Migraine relief, and it works quickly to settle an upset stomach.
Is ginger a cure-all for Migraine? No. However, it could be promising as a natural tool to add to your arsenal. If anything, the herb is deemed safe for consumption—not to mention good for digestion and other ailments—so if you’re up for it, try it out on early-stage attacks to see if it helps you.
Be sure to let your doctor know that you’re using ginger. It may interact with other meds, or your doctor may recommend quantity limits. If you find that your Migraine symptoms like nausea are not well-controlled with ginger, talk to your doc about your other options.
Ginger is easy to use, inexpensive, and versatile with many different ways to incorporate it into your routine. The next time you feel the familiar rumblings of a Migraine attack beginning, try this ancient spice along with your other pain-relieving tools. You might just find the perfect natural complement to add to your arsenal for Migraine relief.
Comments? Have you tried ginger for Migraine relief? What is your favorite way to use it? Share your thoughts on Tippi.
Updated January 2021 with a quote from Dr. Charles
The post Ginger for Migraine & Nausea: Easy to Use & Inexpensive appeared first on Migraine Again.
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