Treating Migraines With Lavender

Lavender has been studied recently for several purposes, including treatment of mood and anxiety disorders (see, for example, the video I profiled in my last Care2 post, Lavender for Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Though it’s better known for its analgesic (pain-killing) properties, there hasn’t been a single documented clinical trial on lavender for the treatment of migraine headaches, which affect tens of millions of Americans every year. That is, until now: “Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”

Migraine sufferers were asked—at the early signs of headache—to rub two to three drops of lavender essential oil onto their upper lip and inhale its vapor for a 15-min period, then score the severity of their headache for the next two hours. In the control group they did the same thing, but with drops of unscented liquid wax instead. Neither group was allowed to use any painkillers. In the lavender group 74 percent of patients had an improvement in their symptoms—significantly better than placebo.

Although lavender wasn’t directly compared to more conventional treatments and outcome measures differed, lavender appears to stack up pretty well against typical migraine drugs. Lavender helped about three quarters of the time; high dose Tylenol may only work about half the time; and Ibuprofen 57 percent of the time. The top prescription drug, generic Imitrex, is effective 59 percent of the time, and the hardcore treatment they use in emergency rooms where they inject you under the skin works 70 percent of the time. Fortunately all of these work better than the original migraine therapy, known as trepanning, where doctors drilled holes in our head to let the evil spirits escape!

The lavender researchers concluded that the results of the study suggest that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.

Migraine sufferers may also want to experiment with avoiding potential triggers such as aspartame (see my video Diet Soda and Preterm Birth). Saffron may also help with headaches (Saffron for the Treatment of PMS) as well may the avoidance of certain parasites (Pork Tapeworms on the Brain and Avoiding Epilepsy Through Diet). A note of caution, though: Pregnant migraine sufferers seeking natural remedies should be wary of advice they may get (Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store Employees).

What’s better than treating your pain with natural remedies? Not having pain in the first place! Those eating healthy diets are less likely to be on pain medications in general (Say No to Drugs by Saying Yes to More Plants). See, for example:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

Image credit: r.nial.bradshaw via Flickr

Related:
Half of Doctors Give Placebos
Treating Breast Pain with Flax Seeds
How Diet Can Help Relieve Breast Pain

59 comments

William R
William R3 months ago

I'm here to tell everyone who are suffering from migraine headache that there is a treatment for it, I was ones a migraine sufferers for over 13 years, I always had migraine headaches 2 to 3 times in a week to an extent i lost one of my eye site for days, it was really hell for me, i visited different doctor for the treatment but all were singing the same song of no treatment for migraine, and I have taken different types of drugs, i spent all my money in drugs and health care centres, but still there were no avail, and I keep on praying to God to heal me from migraine headaches, but one day i was online doing research on how i can get treated on my headache and i found a testimony on how someone was been treated from migraine headache by Dr muzack of Africa with natural herbal products, at first i couldn't believe him, but i was dying in pain and now I have no option again than to gives this same man a trial but i never knew it's going to be the end of my headache i has been living with for years, the God who has done this for me will be praised for ever, that was how i contacted Dr muzack and he was humble and very understanding man, the way he spoke politely with me, that was when I knew that my problems is over, that's was how he sends the drugs which was made from herbal products over to me here in Canada, I took the drugs as I was directed to, it's over 7 months now and haven't feel any pain like headache and I'm even stronger than ever and it has no side effect. Feel

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Melania Padilla
Melania Pabout a year ago

Awesome!

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Pamela W.
Pamela W2 years ago

@ Angela D.

Oh how I wish it were that simple for all of us!

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Angela D.
Angela D.2 years ago

I’ve had migraine headaches for 8 years since my car accident. My neurologist told me I needed drugs and I could not work. After just three weeks treatment by Dr. Groman, I am now headache free and I can be a person again! Check out Abundant Health Chiropractic Center in Boca Raton, FL at www.drgroman.com

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Kerrie G.
Kerrie G3 years ago

Shared, thanks.

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Dani C.
Dani C3 years ago

thanks

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Judy Apelis
Judy A3 years ago

Thank you for the info!

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Judy Apelis
Judy A3 years ago

Thank you for the info!

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Aino M.
.3 years ago

Thank you! I should try it.

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Angela J.
Angela B3 years ago

Thanks for the article :)

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