Ginger may help reduce symptoms associated with migraine like nausea, vomiting, and pain. However, more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of ginger for people with migraine.
Migraine is a neurological condition that affects over one billion people worldwide and ranks as the third most prevalent illness globally. While migraine is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a cure, there are many treatment options that help people manage life with migraine.
Treatments for migraine include over-the-counter pain relievers as well as prescription medications like Triptans. There are also natural remedies that some people with migraine turn to for relief.
Ginger is one natural remedy that has become a point of interest in symptom management.
As a popular herbal supplement, ginger boasts several health benefits. Because of its range of health benefits, ginger is sometimes considered a superfood. However, the research on the specific effects of ginger on migraine is less conclusive.
But what does the science say about the potential benefits of ginger for migraine?
Ginger, along with spicing up our meals, has shown some promise in easing migraine symptoms. However, more research is needed before ginger can be recommended as an effective means to prevent or treat migraine.
While ginger likely won’t make your migraine attacks disappear entirely, studies have found that it can help relieve common migraine symptoms like pain and nausea.
Gingerols and shogaols are natural compounds found in ginger that are known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. These compounds work by reducing inflammation in the brain and blood vessels. It’s believed that this inflammation may contribute to migraine attacks.
Gingerols and shogaols may also help treat nausea and vomiting, symptoms often associated with migraine attacks.
Research published in Phytotherapy Research in 2014 found that ginger had comparable therapeutic effects to sumatriptan, a common prescription medication for migraine. The study involved giving 100 randomly assigned patients either ginger powder or sumatriptan. The two treatments were observed to reduce migraine severity.
The group taking ginger powder also experienced fewer side effects than participants taking sumatriptan.
If you’re interested in incorporating ginger into your migraine management regimen, several options are available. Ginger can be taken as a:
Ginger supplements are easy to find at most health food stores, but it’s important to choose a reputable brand and follow the recommended dosage instructions.
Ginger tea, made by steeping fresh ginger in hot water, can be mixed with honey and lemon for taste. This may be an inexpensive and more accessible option if you don’t live near a health food store.
The form of ginger you choose may also depend on your symptoms. For example, if you’re experiencing nausea and cannot consume anything, ginger essential oil can be applied to your temples for relief. If your stomach can tolerate it, a ginger lozenge can also be sucked on.
Ginger essential oil may also help reduce headache pain when massaged into the temples, forehead, and back of the neck. Remember to always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (such as jojoba) before applying to the skin.
Although ginger is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation, it may cause gastrointestinal side effects like heartburn and upset stomach in higher doses. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, consult with your doctor before starting a ginger regimen.
If you experience side effects when taking ginger, it can also help to talk with your doctor. They may be able to help find a different natural remedy that would work better for your body.
Research into these remedies suggests they may help decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks. It’s important to note that these therapies can be used to support migraine management by being added to your migraine treatment plan.
While ginger has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that may help alleviate migraine symptoms, its effectiveness varies by individual.
Ginger may be beneficial for some people with migraine, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t a cure-all. Regular or severe migraine attacks often require a more thorough treatment plan that involves a combination of medicinal and natural therapies.
As long as your body tolerates ginger well and you don’t have a blood clotting condition or take blood-thinning medications, it may be worth trying a ginger tea, powder, or supplement the next time you’re trying to manage a migraine episode.
It’s always best to consult a doctor if you’re looking for a complementary or integrative migraine treatment option to accompany your migraine management plan. You and your doctor can work together to find a treatment or combination of treatments that works for you.
Medically reviewed on June 13, 2023
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