Migraine and Its Ayurvedic Management

A migraine is a terrible headache that tends to recur and is often accompanied by a feeling of nausea. The pain is usually felt on one side of the head. One may experience flashing lights, zigzag lines, bright spots, partial loss of vision, or numbness or tingling in the hand, tongue, or side of the face. Moving around makes the headache worse. While no medical tests confirm migraine.
Many scientists think migraine is a vascular disorder caused by a tightening (constriction) and sudden opening (dilation) of the blood vessels in the head, neck, or scalp. Others believe that an abnormal release of neuro-chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin or noradrenaline may cause the throbbing pain of migraine. In Ayurveda, two conditions, known as Ardhaavabheda (meaning literally the unilateral pain) and Anantavaata resemble the classical migraine.

Improper diet and lifestyle causes vitiation (impairment) of the vata (air) and Kapha (water). Vata is obstructed by the Kapha in the head region, causing headache. As the pain intensifies, vata also vitiates Pitta dosha (fire), causing a burning sensation in the head, nausea and vomiting, photophobia and phono phobia.. Headache is also often caused by emotional stress, overwork or insomnia.
o Beer, wine and ‘hot’ liquor.
o Caffeine in coffee, tea, and cola drinks and some over-the-counter medicines.
o Dairy products such as ice-cream, milk, curd, cheese, butter and milk cream.
o Fermented foods, such as dosa and pickled foods.
o Grapes, lemons, bananas, figs, and raisins.
o Processed meats.
o Chinese food containing monosodium glutamate (MSG).
o Saccharin in diet foods or diet drinks.
o Onions and beans.
o Yeast-containing products, such as fresh breads and doughnuts.
o Nuts and peanuts.

o Stress and Time Pressure, Major Hassles, Major Losses, Anger, Frustration, Depression and Conflict.
o Excessive Relaxation And Positive Feelings Such As Excitement.
o Smells And Fumes, Tobacco Smoke, Light Glare Or Dazzle, Weather Changes And High Altitude.
o Onset of Puberty In Girls, Monthly Period, Birth Control Pills, Pregnancy, Delivery, Estrogen Therapy And Menopause.
o Motion and Travel.
o Too Much, Too Little or Interrupted Sleep.
o Hunger or Fasting.
o Excessive Activity (Especially If You Are Not In Good Health).

o Spread your workload evenly during the day to avoid highs and lows of stress at work or at home.
o Do not sleep excessively, especially during Sunday mornings and holidays.
o Do not get too tired.
o Eat at regular times, and do not skip meals.
o Do not eat or drink anything, you think brings on a headache.
o Limit the amount of tea, coffee and painkillers you use.
o Watch your posture. Try to keep your neck straight.
o Keep your muscles relaxed when you are not physically active. Try not to frown or tighten your jaw.
o Restrict your physical activities in hot weather.
o Avoid bright or flickering lights, loud noises or strong smells if they trigger headaches for you.
o Hold an ice-pack to your forehead or temples to reduce your pain.
o Lie down in a quiet, dark room.
o You could try keeping a migraine diary. Writing down information about your headaches and what you were doing when they happened can help you find out what triggers your headaches. Then you can avoid those triggers.

• Godanti mishran in the dose of 1-2 tablets twice daily with lukewarm water controls migraine. Pathyadi kwatham, an oral liquid in the dose of 15 ml twice daily with equal water is a good remedy. Shirashoolaadi vajra ras is very useful in general migraine headaches.
• Preventive treatment pays dividends in the end but can seem to be difficult in the beginning, before it starts working. As a preventive treatment, you may be advised to take specific Ayurvedic medicines such as soota sekhara rasa, Mahaa-vaata vidhwansana rasa, Dasa-moolaarishta, Shad bindu taila, Chandanaadi vati, etc. Once adequate headache control is maintained for at least several months, preventive treatment can be liberalised.
• This may mean experimentally adding dietary items, one at a time, gradually reducing the dosage of preventive medication, or eventually, both. In this way, the level of preventive treatment required to maintain long-term headache control can be determined.
• However, in the long run, it’s the elimination of dietary triggers which is a crucial step in preventing migraine.
• Drop some ghee, medicated with saffron flowers (kesar) into each nostril and inhale deeply.

• Have warm and easily digestible foods, boiled and steamed vegetables, soups, vegetable juices, porridge, brown rice and whole-wheat flour.
• Eat fruits like apples, papayas, mangoes, grapes and pears.
• Buttermilk, salads, and boiled rice sautéed with cinnamon, cumin seeds and garlic or asafetida are good in the daytime.
• Also, 5-6 almonds or walnuts and some raisins can be eaten each day.
• Avoid refined, oily, spicy, cold and stale food.
• Avoid yogurt, especially at night.
• Avoid working for long hours continuously; take short breaks. Have a good night’s sleep in a dark room.
• Avoid overexposure to cold or hot weather. Cover your head with an umbrella, or wear a hat or cap when you go out.
• Apply a paste of ground clay or sandalwood powder mixed with rose water for relief in burning sensation with headache.
• Grind 10-12 grains of black pepper and 10-12 grains of rice with water to make it a paste. Apply this paste on affected area of the head for 15-20 minutes.
• Mix ¼ teaspoon of clove powder with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil. Apply this paste on the affected area for 20-30 minutes.
• Take the juice of Tinospora cordifolia (giloy), in doses of 10 ml with honey.
• Apply a paste made of black pepper and rice with the juice of bhringaraaja to the forehead. Alternately, you can apply the paste of sandalwood also.
• Take three grams of coriander seeds, five grams of lavender flowers (ustukhudusa), five seeds of black pepper, and five badam. Grind with water, sieve, and take before sunrise. Soak badam overnight in water and remove the skin before preparing the paste.

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