You herbal experts..

Is there any herbs that are good for pain relief? I get good ole migrain headaches, and checking to see the alternatives that really work…

My pelvic associate, gets migranes a lot…she swears by feverfew.

(and technically, this should be in the “General Questions” forum…but it’s a common mistake when a person is new. Welcome aboard!)

First of all, if you haven’t been checked out for things like food allergies etc. please go do so.

Yes, there is an herbal remedy that has been proven in scientific studies to work quite well. (I can’t find an article online that specifically says the A.M.A. promotes it’s use in some cases, I read about it years ago in a scientific/medical type journal.) It’s approved by the A.M.A. too. Feverfew. Also the scent of lavender, and peppermint tea may help.

Good luck.

(The source I used to look up the remedies is “The Green Witch Herbal” by Barbara Griggs. A good book, not extremely in depth, but good for a wide range of “common” household uses.)

This is what I found online with a quick search.

What is Feverfew?

Ummm, why is this in the Pit? In case any anti-herbalists come around?

ooops, have not got the flow of the forum yet.

Nope it’s in the pit for this…


Thank you for making this possible!:wink:

I really, really want to see a cite on this assertion.

I don’t know why this is in the Pit either, but I have to admit that I will be using the term “Pelvic Associate” from now on.

Yeah, I don’t believe the A.M.A. is in the business of promoting or approving any drugs, herbal or otherwise.

There is some research evidence that feverfew may be useful in treating migraines. A problem with this and other herbal remedies is assuring purity and standardization of dosage. Apart from a risk of mouth sores/ulceration which may be associated with chewing on feverfew leaves, I don’t recall any significant associated toxicity or side effects.* Might be worth a Google and PubMed search if you’re interested.
*I’m not promoting or approving feverfew for migraines either.

I don’t think the AMA is in the business of “approving” medications.

Here is a cite for you, though:

Murphy JJ, Heptinstall S, and Mitchell JRA: Randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. Lancet ii: 189-192, 1988.

Thanks, Lamar. But I should have been clearer. I was looking for evidence that the AMA was endorsing herbs.

I actually do think a few herbs have potential benefit, like milk thistle for hepatitis, and saw palmetto for prostatic englargment.

I don’t know much about feverfew yet, but I do note that Dr. Heptinstall, whom you cited, was one of my profs back in med school!

Hold on, here.

Even granting that feverfew helps prevent migraine, I’m not entirely sure if that’s what the OP is asking for.

That is, do you want something for headache pain, Spitball, or something for migraine, or something for pain resulting from migraine?

OK… GQ, I guess. Although I’ll understand when my GQ colleagues dismiss herbal therapy as an IMHO topic, I’ll let the pinko Euro trash inside me prevail for now. :wink:

Well, if anyone does, I’ll just smack 'em around with a fistful of foxglove and willowbark.

I wish I could find cites for the A.M.A. acknowledging feverfew, but I can’t find any online, and I also can’t with absolute certainity(due to many EXTREMELY stressful events in past years) remember the Scientific/Medical type magazine I read it in. I believe it was the JAMA in which I read it, but I am not certain. I have found a page with three article links on it, but I cannot access them. Just in case some of you can, here is the page. JAMA search page.

It is mentioned as a treatment on their site though, but not on a page dealing directly with migraines.

From this page on their site.

Feverfew is more of a preventative measure, if you take it as you feel the migraine coming on, it can lessen the length and severity.

I am not sure about actual treatments for the migraine pain, but here’s something that worked for my migraine like headaches. (Light and sound sensitivity, nausea, lessened balance, tingling, and vision distortion were all symptoms, but I never went to an allergist while I was getting them, so they were not officially diagnosed as such.)

I don’t know what you’d be able to use for yourself, but my physician told me to take a Hydroxazine, (sp?) which would dilate the blood vessels in my head, (it’s one of the side effects of the medication from what he told me, it was a last ditch thing, nothing would work and I would be crippled with pain) and I’d be able to drift off to a healing slumber, and wake up in a few hours without the migraine. (This was in High School, I think it was from a poorly ventilated Art Room, where Screen Printing was being taught.)

I’ve had friends advocate a little bit of a cola drink, the caffiene seems to help some people if they can get it early enough in the onset of the migraine. I guess the main thing is that you need to start “picking up” the signals heralding the onset, and take action earlier.

Thanks for all the info. I was looking for some prevention and treatment tips, I have not looked into any homeopathic remedies and checking to see what was being tried out there. Thanks.

Hey, herbal is one thing. There probably is some value there. But I’d advise avoiding the whole homeopathy thing unless you really enjoy buying tiny vials of expensive water.

Cecil speaks on homeopathy here:


The words “migraine” and “pain relief” from the OP seem unambiguous enough. So maybe this question concerns prevention vs. palliation? I.e., Would you rather prevent a migraine, or wait till one hits and then try to relieve it?


I’ll take prevention for $500, Alex.

Here’s the thing, though, with herbal remedies: If they work, they cease to be considered “herbal”. For instance, folks used to use willow bark to relieve pain. Some pharmacologists started to wonder if there was anything to this, so they studied it, discovered that it worked, and isolated the active ingredient. So, do you see this stuff in the “herbal medicines” section any more? No, you see it in with the “mainstream” medicines, in the bottles labeled “Aspirin”.

If feverfew or whatever actually works, it won’t take the drug companies long to figure that out, and start selling the active ingredient as “medicine”, not as an “herb”.

What actually happened in the case of aspirin was that salicylic acid, the active ingredient in willow bark, varied in quantity in natural preparations and was hard to administer effectively, not to mention being linked with side effects (including severe gastric distress). Eventually an enterprising scientist with the Bayer Co. discovered a process to make acetylsalicylic acid, which was less toxic and could be offered in standardized doses. So it wasn’t merely a matter of isolating the active ingredient, but of presenting it in a safer and dependably effective form for people to use.

There are a number of herbs (i.e. digitalis) which have followed similar paths into mainstream medicine, and others which combine potentially useful as well as toxic constituents, which need to be removed before they can be used safely.