A new study published in the journal Headache has found that a homeopathic preparation of ginger and the medicinal herb feverfew is effective at treating migraine headaches. Based on their findings, researchers found that 63 percent of those who took the remedy at the first signs of a migraine experienced pain relief, while only 39 percent of those taking a placebo experienced any perceived relief.
Funded by PuraMed Bioscience, the study assigned 45 participants the homeopathic treatment, and 15 the placebo. None of the participants knew which treatment they had been assigned. At the first sign of a migraine, participants were instructed to place the preparation under their tongue for sublingual absorption. Roughly one-third of those taking the homeopathic remedy experienced complete relief within two hours.
“The results are really intriguing, but definitely preliminary,” said Dr. Rebecca Erwin Wells, an instructor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts, concerning the findings. And although the study was funded by the company producing the remedy, she and others still consider its findings to be relevant and important for the development of complementary and alternative medicines.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, feverfew has long been used as a European folk medicine to treat headaches, arthritis, and fevers. In fact, the name “feverfew” was first hatched after it was discovered that the herb effectively treated fever symptoms. For treating migraines, the center says adults can take 100-300 milligrams (mg) of the standardized extract up to four times daily.
“We found that 50 percent of adults with migraine or severe headaches, which is 13.5 million Americans, used complementary and alternative medicine in the previous year,” added Wells. “We need more research to understand the mechanisms, benefits, side effects and risks of complementary and alternative therapies.”