Can Homeopathy Help with Migraine?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

If you experience migraine, you’re not alone. Approximately 1 in 7 adults in the United States experience migraine episodes.

Typically, migraine is treated with prescription medications. But if you’re unable to tolerate or don’t want to take traditional medications, you may be considering homeopathic options.

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While some believe that homeopathy can help ease the symptoms of migraine, it’s unclear if they’re effective from a scientific standpoint. The research on homeopathy for migraine is lacking and controversial.

If you’re curious about homeopathy for migraine options, read on. This article will explore the available research, along with other natural remedies for migraine.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine from more than 200 years ago. It’s based on the idea that a substance that causes symptoms may also treat those same symptoms. This concept is known as “like cures like.”

The practice also maintains that substances are more potent when they’re diluted. Homeopathic remedies are made of various substances diluted in water.

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Although homeopathy has been used for hundreds of years, it’s not a replacement for conventional treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) also warns against using homeopathy to treat serious conditions.

The substances used in homeopathy come from:

  • minerals
  • animals
  • plants

Examples of the above include:

  • ignatia amara (comes from the seeds of the St. Ignatius bean tree)
  • pulsatilla (plant)
  • gelsemium (plant)
  • natrum muriaticum (minerals)
  • lycopodium clavatum (plant)
  • atropa belladonna (plant)
  • iris versicolor (plant)
  • kalium phosphoricum (minerals)

These substances may also be used in homeopathy for:

  • migraine prevention
  • treatment
  • both

Does research support the use of homeopathy for migraine?

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In general, traditional medicine can help manage migraine episodes. However, you may consider homeopathy for migraine if:

  • you prefer more natural options
  • traditional medicine causes unwanted side effects
  • traditional medicine fails to provide relief
  • you want an over-the-counter (OTC) option (without a prescription or doctor’s visit)

There’s some controversy regarding the effectiveness of homeopathic treatments, including those for migraine. That’s because the main principles of homeopathy aren’t rooted in mainstream scientific concepts.

Research on the efficacy of homeopathy for migraine is also lacking. The available studies are outdated or have found mixed results.

For example, a small 2000 study found that homeopathy may reduce migraine pain. A 2013 study found that homeopathic treatments can reduce migraine in children, although the substances and amounts used were inconsistent.

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Other scientific articles have found conflicting results. According to a small 1999 research review, homeopathic medicines for migraine were ineffective. A 2014 research review also recommended against using homeopathy for migraine.

More peer-reviewed research is necessary to determine if homeopathic medicines can help treat migraine pain.

If you’re interested in starting any homeopathic regimen, it’s important to use caution. Talk with a healthcare professional before taking any homeopathic:

  • substances
  • herbs
  • supplements

A healthcare professional can help you avoid medication interactions and ensure the remedy is safe for you.

What are other natural ways to ease migraine pain?

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Although your doctor can prescribe medications for migraine, you may seek other options for several reasons.

Natural migraine remedies might be an option. Some examples include:

  • Magnesium. Migraine is associated with low levels of magnesium, a mineral that’s essential for neurological health. A 2019 research review showed that magnesium supplementation helps prevent and treat migraine.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin). B2 may reduce both frequency and severity of migraine, according to a 2015 research review.
  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine. The practice may help ease migraine pain and frequency, according to a 2021 study.
  • Essential oils. Inhaling essentials oils, like lavender oil and peppermint oil, could also reduce migraine pain. Use caution with essential oils as strong odors can trigger migraine in some people.

Again, consult a healthcare professional before trying a natural remedy. They can provide guidance based on your symptoms and other conditions.

The takeaway

Homeopathy has been used for hundreds of years to treat various conditions, including migraine. Still, there’s little scientific evidence to prove that the practice works. Research that has examined the efficacy of homeopathy for migraine has also found mixed results.

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Keep in mind that some homeopathic substances might negatively interact with other supplements or conditions. If you’re interested in trying a homeopathic regimen, talk with a healthcare professional first.

If you’re looking for natural alternatives to traditional migraine medication, consider:

  • magnesium
  • vitamin B2
  • acupuncture

Also, work with your doctor to identify your migraine triggers and determine how you can avoid them.

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