Flashback Friday: Ginger for Migraines

Flashback Friday: Ginger for Migraines


“Ginger for Migraines” Many successful herbal treatments start like this. Some doctor learns that some plant has been used by some ancient medical tradition, like ginger for headaches and figures, hey, they’ve got patients with headaches and since its just some safe common spice advises one of their migraine patients to give it a try. At the first sign of a migraine coming on, the patient mixed a quarter teaspoon of powdered ginger in some water, drank it down, and poof, within a half hour the migraine went away. And it worked every time, no side-effects. This is what’s called a case report, which is really just a glorified anecdote, but case reports have played an important role in the history of medicine. AIDS was first discovered as a series of case reports. Some young guy walks into a clinic in Los Angeles with a bad case of thrush and the rest is history. Or reports of an unusual side-effect of a failed chest pain drug leading to the billion dollar blockbuster, Viagra. Case reports may be the ‘lowest’ or ‘weakest’ form of evidence, but they are often the ‘first line of evidence.’ That’s where everything begins. So a report like this isn’t helpful in and of itself, but it can inspire researchers to put it to the test. The problem is, who’s going to fund it? The market for migraine drugs is worth billions of dollars. A quarter teaspoon of powdered ginger costs about a penny. So who’d fund a study pitting ginger versus the leading migraine drug? No one… …until now. A double-blinded randomized controlled clinical trial comparing the efficacy of ginger to sumatriptan, also known as Imitrex, one of the top-selling billion dollar drugs in the world, in the treatment of migraine headaches. They tried using just one eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger versus a good dose of the drug. And they both worked just as well, just as fast. Most started out in moderate or severe pain before, but after the drug or ginger, ended up mild or pain free. The same proportion of migraine sufferers reported satisfaction with the results either way, and so as far as I’m concerned ginger won, not only because it’s a few billion dollars cheaper but because there were significantly fewer side-effects in the ginger group. On the drug people reported dizziness, a sedative effect, vertigo and heartburn. The only thing reported for ginger was an upset tummy in about 1 in of 25 people, though taking a whole tablespoon of ginger powder at one time on an empty stomach could irritate anyone’s tummy, just as a note of caution. Sticking to an eighth of a teaspoon is not only up to 3000 times cheaper than the drug, but you’re probably less likely to end up as a case report yourself of people that have had a heart attack or died after taking the drug.

44 Replies to “Flashback Friday: Ginger for Migraines”

  1. Dr. Greger did a live Q&A yesterday here on YouTube. Watch the replay at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx0USAbvWqk -NF Team

  2. I'm a confessed gingerholic: 1/4 TSP of dry and 1/2 TBLS of fresh micro shredded mixed into my plant milk for breakfast. I love the mild spicy taste. If it's organic no need to peel (that's a PITA).

  3. Yes, ginger is a gift of nature! I just put it under the tongue, and I dissolve, such a pleasant burning saliva, and immediately the head begins to "work well" 🙂

  4. Further reading:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106649/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/

  5. And how does Dr. Greger relate to raw food? (this is the type of food when you eat all the raw foods) Is there any research on this? It is believed that the heat treatment of food, although it makes its components more bioavailable in some cases, but in general, the thermally processed food is “dead” and requires additional treatment with conditionally pathogenic microflora

  6. Yes, I can attest, ginger works for headaches specifically migraines. I use raw peeled ginger in hot water to make a tea. It assists with the nausea that is a migraine symptom as well. I don’t do those migraine drugs. Ever.

  7. I put my peelings from ginger use in a teapot & then steep over night with half squeezed lemon & it’s skin thrown in too & pour in some more hot water for morning tea ☕️ so minimal wastage & has helped migraines that have recently started getting since menopause started.
    But going to try powder now too 🙂

  8. In this video, Dr Greger repeatedly shows the research finding that ginger has an abortive effect. I remember hearing one natural therapist say that she noticed many of her patients who had miscarriages were big eaters of vietnamese and asian cuisines which contain a lot of ginger. Interesting, huh?

  9. I,ve tried ginger with not such a goog result, but Im an individual case of course. Migraines for me are due to wrong thinking, wrong interpretation of external or psicological facts from the brain. Nothing to do with a disease. Medicins don't cure migraines. Knowing oneself in order to change, does. I don't have pills anymore and I'm doing better.

  10. Other side effects of regularly consuming ginger may include reduction of diabetes, fatty liver disease, inflammation, nausea, and other pain. The severity of these side effects may vary whether consuming ginger fresh or dried. Ask you doctor whether living a longer and healthier life is right for you. 😉

  11. Sounds like a bandaid. What is the cause of the headache? Caffeine? That was it for me, quit it and no more headaches. Of course, I do also eat vegan.

  12. The only crap that helps my hormonal migraine is Sumatriptan. Which leaves me with a lot of side effects. Going to try the ginger.

  13. Thank you once again Dr. Greger! As a pharmacist, you make me more informed on how to better consult my patients on matters like this. I know what I'll be recommending my patients for migraines from now on.

  14. I use ginger to quell nausea. I have a balance disorder, get nausea and motion sickness frequently, and when I do, I chomp on a little cube of candied ginger. Nausea, gone, the moment that ginger juice I swallow hits my tummy. It's great!

    Will ginger work on regular headaches, like tension or stress headaches? Or just migraine?

  15. Hi, thanks for this advice, I'll put it to the test. Strange thing is that I also suffer from AF and have found that Ginger, Tumeric, Cinnamon, Bananas and Strawberries which are all supposed to be good for us, trigger my AF, but AF is better than a migraine 😃

  16. I drink a glass of red wine every day of my life to avoid migraines.Nobody will believe me though.So OK…if you never drink the stuff then yes you'll get a migraine from it the first time or so..but if you persevere it works.I found this out when I stopped drinking one glass a day for financial reasons.All went well until I started getting big migraines again.When I resumed my "daily dose" they went away.They say it is caused by prostaglandins released into the stomach.I have a theory that the daily wine triggers a tiny release each day and thus avoids the BIG release maybe a few weeks down the line.I'm 64 and I've suffered from blinding migraines from childhood,so I think that I'm qualified to opine on this subject at least.And please:no trolling about me being an alcoholic.It's so puerile.

  17. Love you Doctor Greger Thanks for another great video. My girlfriend suffers from migraines and she doesn't like drugs. We will give this a try!

  18. As a chronic migraine sufferer, I am willing to try just about anything that isn’t a drug.
    Zomig has been the only prescription drug that has ever worked for me. The side effects are awful.
    I will be trying this ginger!
    Thanks Dr. Gregger!

  19. Is Dr Schultz’s daily superfood powder healthy or unhealthy? Especially since it contains spirulina and chlorella…

  20. Migraine sufferer here and want to share what works for me. Give yourself brain freeze by drinking something very cold like a smoothie. Accidentally stumbled upon it one day. It goes away instantly!

  21. I used to get migraines once or twice a week. But when I switched from the SAD to whole-food plant-based, they disappeared entirely. I've only had one migraine in the last 1.5 years, and that was almost certainly a side effect from a vaccine.

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