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Thursday, September 13, 2007

2 Migraine Remedies

Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts featuring remedies based mainly on food herbs. Originally published as a complete article in Dr. Leung's newsletter in June of 1997, this series has included posts on sterility/infertility, kidney stones, and shingles as well as some excellent background information in an introductory piece. Today's post covers remedies for migraine. Tomorrow's post will be the grand finale and will cover colds and flu, a very appropriate topic as we head into the season.

Migraine. This type of headache can be incapacitating; and modern medicine offers few cures, if any. The following 2 remedies should help. They are from the recent traditional Chinese medical literature.[6],[7]

(1) Chrysanthemum Tea - The flowers usually come in 2 types: Large ones are about 1 inch in diameter while the small ones are half to one-third the size. If you are a migraine sufferer, simply steep 6-8 large or 15-20 small flower heads in 2-3 cups of boiling water in a teapot for 5-10 min. You may screen off the flowers before drinking the tea. Also, you may sweeten it with sugar or honey. Prepare and drink several pots of this tea a day, and make this part of your daily routine on a long-term basis. It not only will help migraine, but also hypertension if you happen to be suffering from this as well (this Newsletter, Issue 1, p. 2). This remedy was successfully used in treating 32 patients (ages 14-51 yr.; 9 males, 23 females) with migraine from 2 mo. to 17 yr. in duration, resulting in a total response (no recurrence after 1-year follow-up) in 23, and partial response (symptoms and recurrence rate reduced) in 9 patients; all responded to the tea between 15 and 60 days. Caution: If you are allergic to chrysanthemums or other flowers of the composite family (e.g., daisies and dandelions), handle the flower heads very carefully. And if you are allergic to sulfites, don’t use this remedy at all, because chrysanthemum flowers may have been treated with burning sulfur to preserve them.

(2) Xue Xie (Dragon’s Blood; Fruit Resin of Daemonorops spp.) on Rheumatism Plaster - This was successfully used on a 32-year-old male with a 6-year history of migraine. The patient’s symptoms (right side of head) and frequency had intensified (4-6 times a month) 6 mo. prior to this treatment. Modern diagnostic techniques (EEG and CT) revealed no abnormal brain functions and modern drugs (ergotamine, propranolol, aspirin, diazepam, etc.) did not help. Three days after treating with above plaster, the severe pain, along with accompanying symptoms (nausea, vomiting, etc.), completely disappeared. No recurrence was observed on a 3-year follow-up. Method: Sprinkle 0.5 g (~1/16 oz) of Dragon’s Blood equally on 2 Rheumatism Plasters. Apply one to the right temple and the other to the most painful spot. Change medicine daily. For someone desperate, this certainly is worth a try. Both xue xie and Rheumatism Plasters (many kinds but basically similar) are common medicines in Chinese communities worldwide. They should be readily available in Chinatown herb shops.

[6] B.F. Liu, “Chrysanthemum Tea Alone in the Treatment of 32 Cases of Migraine,” Henan Zhongyi, 15(4): 234(1995); [7] X.X. Wang and W.P. Yang, “Topical Treatment in Curing a Case of Migraine,” Jiangxi Zhongyiyao, 23(1): 34(1992).

These and more herbal remedies are available from the volumes of Dr. Leung’s newsletter, of the same name as this blog (Leung’s Chinese Herb News). This newsletter was published and sent to subscribers (most were industry-insiders) from 1996 to 2004. The collected works now serve as an excellent reference work, created with Dr. Leung’s frank, honest opinions and down-to-earth communication style.

For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit www.earthpower.com. To order the newsletter containing the remedies mentioned above, visit the bookstore, click “Buy Now” on the newsletter, and select Issue # 8 from the drop down list.

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