Herbal Health Information on Migraines

Migraine headache is caused by the over dilation of arteries in the brain after they have constricted. Sufferers describe various symptoms such as, nausea, visual disturbance, flashing lights, strange smells and headache. Sometimes the visual disturbances may occur without the headache.

The causes are possibly dietary, hormonal or emotional disturbances.

In all cases it is important to try and prevent the arteries going into spasm initially.


As with tension headaches, CUT THE CAFFEINE OUT. Do it slowly so that you do not suffer Caffeine withdrawal on top of everything else.

Here’s where you are really going to hate me

No Chocolate Cheese or Red wine!!!!!! It was always thought that the Tyramine they all contain can have a constricting effect on blood vessels. However modern research has both proved and disproved this. So let’s go with the tradition and cut them out to be on the safe side.

Many people find other food substances may trigger migraine so it is worth keeping a food diary to check.

Drink at least two pints of water a day.


Keeping the blood vessels from going in to spasm is the first line of defence.

Crampbark, seen in the West Rise Marsh video, Valerian and Chamomile , seen in the shingle beach video,are all good muscle relaxants and feverfew is the long standing traditional herb which has anti spasmodic properties.

Together with a muscle relaxant herb I would add a nervous system supporting and repairing herb such as St. John’s wort or Vervain.

If the Migraine is related to the monthly cycle, in Clinic I would add a hormone balancing herb such as Agnus castus or Dong quai

None of these herbs are any good if you are in the throws of a Migraine, they are all preventative treatments and should be taken regularly for a period of three to six months.

There are over the counter preparations of migraine herbs and you will be able to find Feverfew preparations in any Health shop.

Make sure the “over the counter” preparations are licensed products so that they are safe to use.

If you would like to visit the Clinic for more help with Migraines, then click on the Clinic tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist, Herbal Health Information

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Herbal Health Information on Menopause

What I am about to say about menopause may surprise you:-

It is not an illness!

Rather look on it as a change, just like first starting your periods was a change in the way your body functioned.

I have helped so many women in my clinic get through menopause I feel it is a bit of a specialist area for me.

Having said it is not an illness, I of course know it causes many women serious distress, with many symptoms both physical and emotional.

Most common of the symptoms are hot flushes ranging from a few mild ones a day to 2-3 an hour with face redness and sweating.

Apart from the flushes, symptoms include, poor sleep, digestive problems, weight gain, depression, headaches and more.

My approach is to help people get through the menopause as easily as possible which means getting the body to accept this new way of functioning as normal and to prevent it trying to return to its youthful state which is the major cause of the symptoms.

There is a system in the body called the Endocrine system, consisting of the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries or Testes, which are responsible for the production of most of our hormones.

It starts with the Pituitary gland situated just below the brain which controls the secretions from the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries/Testes. These organs send messages to the pituitary gland and to each other to give a status update and messages from the pituitary control the output of the hormones produced in these organs.

When the ovaries stop ovulating (producing an egg) each month, the message to the pituitary is one of panic SEND REINFORCEMENTS I can’t manage on my own!

Unfortunately for us the area of the brain which controls the pituitary is right next to the temperature control area and any message which goes up there to stimulate the pituitary into action also stimulates the temperature control area. Hence the hot flushes. Who designed that?

It is completely wrong to try and increase the amount of oestrogen in the body in hopes of stopping the flushes. We need to get the body to accept the new lower hormone levels so that it is not sending panic messages around and about.

There is one herb I have found to help the body adjust to these new levels and that is Dong Quai. Which of course we have not seen on our herb walks as it is a Chinese herb. To help with the flushes I use the traditional herb, Sage, which we have not looked at yet, but we will visit an herb garden and have a look at soon in a video, so keep your eye on the walks section. Sage is not the be all and end all for hot flushes but does help to reduce them. There are other herbs for flushes such as Willow and Zizyphus but these need to be used under the supervision of a practitioner as they are not commonly available over the counter.

I often mix these with a liver herb such as milk thistle, to ensure the liver is metabolising hormones properly and calming herbs such as Passiflora or Motherwort.

St. John’s wort which we looked at in the shingle beach video is also excellent during menopause as a nervous system supporting herb, but remember cannot be taken if you are on any orthodox medicines.

Eat sensibly and cut out Caffeine containing drink and food (sorry, chocolate), drink plenty of water and you are going to hate me for saying this, but many many women report that alcohol sets off flushing horrendously.

Of course if you get stuck qualified Medical Herbalists are around to provide excellent support.

Linda Bostock

Medical  Herbalist

Herbal Health Information

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