OTC Remedies
Symptoms Herbal/Alternative Therapy
Causes References

By: Harley Hunner, Kerry McNierney, and Anthony Apodaca

Herbal/ Alternative Therapy


Herbal & Nutritional Therapy


Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tanacetum L.
Species: Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz-Bip.
       Feverfew is a perennial which is native to the Balkan Peninsula. It has been cultivated and naturalized in much of Europe and North and South America. For more botanical information on feverfew visit the  USDA Plant Profile.  

       Its common name "feverfew" suggests the historical use of the plant to reduce fevers.  Other uses have been recorded in literature through history and include menstrual regulation, external pain relief and digestive problems. 

Tanacetum parthenium                             

Photo: J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database 

       Modern interest in the plant has been focused on its use in preventing migraine headaches. Research on the efficacy of the plant in preventing migraines found that most patients reported less frequent and less painful migraines (Pfaffenrath 2002). 



       According to The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Feverfew can be taken fresh or as a tincture. Two to three fresh leaves may be eaten daily on a piece of bread; as a tincture, 5 drops with water up to three times a day (1996). 



       You may refer to the American Botanical Council's Herb Reference Guide and scroll down to feverfew leaf for more information on dosage, contradictions and possible side effects.



Butterbur Root

Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Petasites P. Mill.
Species: Petasites hybridus (L.) P.G. Gaertn., B. Mey. & Scherb.
       Butterbur is a native of Europe but is now distributed throughout much of Northeastern United States.  

       Leaves are large, up to 2 feet across, and flowers are usually pink or lilac.  The plant is usually   6-12 inches in height and is usually found in disturbed habitats such as fields and roadsides.  

       The roots are the organ of primary interest in migraine treatment, however, several studies have shown that this plant produces cancer-causing chemicals. 

       Butterbur should to be tested for safety before widespread use in preventing migraines is indicated. 

Petasites hybridus                                      

Color Drawing: O.W. Thome (1885-1905),                  

Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz.      

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

       Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is found in the following foods: milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, leafy, dark vegetables, whole grains and organ meats.  Highly refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice contain little to no B2. Most people can consume enough riboflavin through diets rich in these foods but those who are strict vegans, lactose intolerant or eat primarily refined foods can be deficient in B2.  A study published in Neurology magazine reported a reduction in the number of migraines when patients took 400 milligrams of vitamin B2 a day (Schoenen et al. 1998).



       Glucosamine is a molecule synthesized from amino acid and sugar which is produced by our bodies.  It has long been recognized for treating arthritis, and it was during a glucosamine treatment that a patient reported a decrease in migraine headaches. This led researchers to conduct a preliminary study in which patients reported a reduction in the frequency and intensity of migraines. Click here to read a summary of the study.  More research is needed to determine the efficacy and dosage of glucosamine for migraine prophylaxis (Russell et al.2000).


 Notice: Do not take any herb without first seeking professional advice.

Alternative Therapy

Gut Brain Therapy

Gut Brain Therapy is based on a theory that migraine is caused by an underlying problem with the digestive system. Alternative Medicine Review published a study designed to quantify migraine patient improvement using a quality of life survey during treatment with specially designed diets.       Click here to read the complete study. One promising result was that 60% of participants reported being virtually migraine free at the conclusion of the study. This study supports the theory that migraines may be partially caused by incorrect assimilation and elimination of nutrients, however, more research is needed to verify these results (Sensenig et al. 2001).



Last updated July 20, 2004
For more information contact Dr. Mary O'Connell at moconnel@nmsu.edu