Homeopathy for Migraine
Roger K. Cady, MD
Homeopathy is an alternative or complementary form of medicine. Built on the law of “similars” or “like cures ” homeopathy is based on providing very dilute solutions of medicines that in higher doses might be expected to produce the symptom that is being treated. The closest thing to homeopathy in modern medicine is allergy shots used to desensitize the immune system and make it less likely to react to something in the environment that is likely to cause an allergic reaction. Bee venom might provide a simple analogy. If a person is stung by a bee the amount of venom they receive from the bee sting may result in all out response of the body called anaphylaxis. This can be serious or even cause death.
To prevent this response in the future, allergists may give a person very dilute amounts of bee venom that are so small the body does not respond with an anaphylactic or allergic response. Over time the concentration of bee venom is increased and the body becomes increasingly tolerant of the venom. Eventually, even if the person is stung by a bee, the anaphylactic reaction will not occur.
Homeopathy also involves very dilute concentrations of medicine to treat a medical problem. In these instances the medicine acts as a type of “map” to assist the body to respond in a fashion that reverses a problem such as migraine. While homeopathy is controversial, it has been used for centuries and is considered to be very safe.
Gelstat Migraine: feverfew/ginger
Two clinical trials of homeopathic combinations of feverfew and ginger have been published that suggest it can successfully treat migraine. Feverfew is a plant that has been used throughout the ages to treat and prevent migraine. Ginger is effective at relieving migraine and reversing inflammation. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot studyon the efficacy of sublingual feverfew/ginger in the acute treatment of was completed in 2010 to assess the effectiveness of feverfew/ginger for migraine headache relief and relief of migraine associated symptoms. Results demonstrated that 32% of subjects became pain free within 2 hours of treating a migraine as soon as it had started, compared to the 16% who used placebo (P = .02). Two hours after treatment, 64% of migraine patients in the study rated their headache intensity as “no pain” or “mild pain” after taking sublingual feverfew/ginger compared to 39% for the placebo group (P = .003).A second study showed similar results.
The product is delivered as a liquid under the tongue and is absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. It is most effective when used early in the attack of migraine. Subjects reported few side effects except a few people found the taste unpleasant. Feverfew/ginger is ideal for early treatment of migraine and it does not cause medication overuse headache (rebound headache). It can be used with any other migraine treatment without concerns of medication interactions.