Many women suffer from migraines that primarily take place before or during their menstrual period. Of course with all headaches or migraines, an integrative approach to treatment begins with identifying the underlying cause rather than the symptoms alone. In this case, a woman’s natural hormone fluctuations are the cause of this inflammatory response.
With menstrual migraines, women also often have other PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, and abdominal heaviness or pressure. These signs of fluid retention are seen most frequently in women who have high estrogen levels compared to progesterone levels. The fact that we have estrogen receptors on our blood vessels helps us to treat this in 2 ways. Yes..hormones are everywhere!!
First, we need to assist the body in excreting estrogens more efficiently. Second, it is important to support the bodies production of progesterone where progesterone is low or suboptimal relative to estrogen.
Here are 3 herbs that do just that:
1. Vitex agnes castus- otherwise known as Chasteberry. This herb has been used for hundreds of years for women’s hormones issues and in particular menstrual migraines. By helping women ovulate more effectively, the body will naturally increase progesterone levels premenstrually. This herb works on the pituitary gland and acts on the ovaries and adrenals. It is taken twice daily.
2. Taraxicum officinalis- otherwise known as dandelion. This herb will help lower excess estrogen in the tissues by supporting the liver in metabolizing estrogen and promoting the release of bile.
3. Sanguinaria canadense- known for its effects with any vascular event, such as hot flushes and migraines.
You may want to get these herbs customized by an herbalist. Migraines can be managed naturally if the underlying causes or triggers are found. Talk to your practitioner on ways that you can find relief.
Reference: Stansburaass,J., Faass, N. Botanical Treatment Strategies: Migraine Case Studies. Townsend Letter-Feb/March 2012. p.84-88.