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Does Feverfew Really Work to Relieve Migraine Headaches?

September 11th, 2009

feverfew-herb-headache-remedy.jpgMigraines are a severe type of headache that can last up to three days. These headaches are a chronic condition, not just a temporary annoyance. Whether appearing once every couple of months, or once a week, they can make life unbearable. A telltale sign of an impending migraine is an “aura” — everything that you look at seems to have a bright fog surrounding it. If left untreated, this fog evolves into intense pain on one side of the head, usually beginning at the base of the skull. The pain travels up and around the affected side of the skull, and usually intensifies at the area between the eye and nose of the affected side.

Vomiting, nausea, tingling, and numbness of the face and limbs of the affected side, and worsening intense pain in the head continue until the migraine has run its course. Many claim they do not know what is the true cause of migraines, but there is evidence that suggests inflammation of blood vessels in the head affect nerves on that side. The pain will continue to be transmitted in this loop, and is not stopped once the aura stage has passed. The only answer, once this stage has been met, is to go into a dark room, lie down with a damp cloth placed at the neck and over the affected area, and wait it out. When one begins to recover from the migraine, one is left feeling tired and weak, as if recovering from a cold or other virus.

Other solutions have been NSAIDs (over the counter pain medications) like ibuprofen and non-aspirin pain relievers. These may work at first, but if you have been affected from an early age by migraines, or have very frequent migraines, these will quickly lose their potency. More and more may be needed to combat attacks, and in light of recent dangers published regarding over-usage of certain NSAIDs, they are best avoided to treat migraines. Many also advise avoiding certain foods and smells, as these can trigger the onset of symptoms. Air pressure and weather changes can also lead to a migraine. One may turn to prescriptions of specific migraine medications (some of which are also used to treat psychotic disorders), but a few the side effects are just as undesirable as the actual malady.

Another solution can be found in natural remedies, particularly Feverfew herb. This remedy can come in the form of the actual herb, as tinctures, or as dietary supplements (capsule form). For maximum effectiveness, these must be taken as soon as the migraine aura begins. The latter has the lowest success rate, and needs to be taken several times at the onset of the migraine to work. The tincture form is a liquid extract that can be dissolved in water and tastes terrible but is more effective. About ten drops of Feverfew must be dissolved in a standard bottle (or large glass) of water and drunk within ten minutes. One dose may do the trick the first couple of times used, but during later occurrences, must be repeated within twenty minutes or so of the first dose. Remember, it tastes terrible, so if it doesn’t stay down, it is not effective. The most effective form of the Feverfew herb is the actual fresh herb itself — specifically, the leaves. It is best to eat a 1-inch square of leaf as soon as the aura makes itself known. If the pain is stopped soon enough, the migraine is avoided.

Of course, always consult your doctor before using any dietary supplement to treat illness, and to make sure that there are no other underlying or more serious medical conditions.

Lis Vargas is a new author at Constant Content whose first article now appears at Karlonia.com.

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