Prevent and Stop Migraines Naturally

by Kara Bauer Patient Expert

Frequent migraine headaches can rob you of your quality of life. They not only produce throbbing in the head, but can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, etc. They can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and be debilitating and agonizing. However, by understanding the potential triggers and how to prevent or stop migraines naturally, you can greatly reduce their occurrence and strength. Its also good to keep in mind that learning what works and doesn't work for our own bodies takes time and dedication of personal observation over time. It can be very helpful to keep a journal during the process to discover the cause and remedies of your own personal migraines in order to get the best results from a natural approach.

There are many situations that can trigger a migraine. Usually some warning signals precede the headache such as flashes of light, tingling arms/legs, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light/sound, etc. With awareness, these are the moments when you'll be most effective at stopping a migraine from developing through natural methods. These triggers include specific foods/drinks, food allergies/intolerances, stress, physical exertion, hormonal changes (menstruation, birth control, menopause, etc.), abnormal sleep patterns, smoking, alcohol, bright lights, loud noises and certain smells.[1] Once you learn your triggers, you'll be able to either prevent them (by avoiding the food or type of situation for example) or be able to take action to lesson their impact before they become intolerable.

Below are 8 natural prevention and remedy methods, some or all of which may offer great benefit depending on each person's particular case.


It's important to eat whole, natural foods. The chemicals in processed foods such as MSG and aspartame can trigger migraines. Foods with tyramine (fermented foods and beverages, nuts, chocolates, etc.) may also be problematic for those who can't neutralize it appropriately. This can be offset with foods that detoxify tyramine such as onions, brussel sprouts, garlic and broccoli.[2] Food allergies, such as those provoked by wheat, yeast, dairy and eggs, are also a common trigger for severe headaches. It's also important to stay very hydrated by drinking lots of water. Sometimes a few big glasses of water at the first sign of migraine will halt it in its tracks.

2. Herbs
Both the plant herbs butterbur and feverfew can be helpful for migraines. Butterbur, which can be taken as an extract, relieves spasms and decreases inflammation.[3] You can take 100mg every 3 hours. Feverfew is thought to be most effective for prevention, but can also help lesson the effects of a migraine that has already started. Adults can take 100-300mg up to 4x per day.[4]

3. Magnesium
A deficiency in magnesium can also lead to migraines. When given intravenously in an emergency hospital, it can stop a migraine within minutes. As a preventative measure, you can either obtain magnesium from food sources such as spinach, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Alternatively you can take a supplement of 200-600mg per day.[5]

4. CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 can help reduce migraine frequency. The recommended dosage is 100mg 3 times per day.[6]

5. Vitamin B2
Studies have shown that Vitamin B2 or riboflavin can prevent or reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. A daily dose of 400mg has been shown to produce significant results over a 3-month period.[7]

6. Aromatherapy
Some people find relief sniffing peppermint oil . Researchers have found that it can relax the blood vessels and tight muscles in the neck and head. Other scents that may provide relief are lavender, bay, melissa, jasmine, eucalyptus and rosemary oils.[8]

7. Exercise
Exercise is great for not only stress relief (another migraine trigger), but also for releasing endorphins. Even though the last thing you want to do is exercise when you have a migraine, some people have found success doing so at the earliest warning signal and have stopped it from developing further.

8. Stress Relief
Stress is one of the main triggers of a migraine. It's important to find your own ways to reduce stress. Some options might include yoga, meditation, breathing, massage and exercise. We each know of activities that calm our mind and bring us back to the present moment. Make sure to include these in your daily schedule to keep yourself not only migraine free but also free of all other health conditions and diseases that arise from stress as well.

[1] (2013, May 3) What is a migraine? what causes migraines? Retrieved from

[2] (n.d.) Retrieved from

[3] Teitelbaum, J. (2008, August 15) Migraines: easy to prevent - naturally. Retrieved from

[4] (n.d.) Retrieved from

[5] (n.d.) Retrieved from

[6] (n.d.) Retrieved from

[7] (n.d.) Retrieved from

[8] (n.d.) Retrieved from

Kara Bauer
Meet Our Writer
Kara Bauer

Kara wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.