Can ginger help patients with a migraine?

Migraine Ginger
December 2, 2020

Over the years, our understanding of what a migraine is continues to grow. As more and more studies are published, we now understand that a migraine is not just a simple kind of a headache but instead is a complex neurologic disease with serious social and economic consequences. According to the Journal of Headache and Pain, migraine is the world’s third most common illness, roughly affecting 14 percent of the world’s population.  With severe symptoms strong enough to incapacitate a person, it is understandable why it is also known as one of the world’s leading cause of inability to work. In fact, according to the JAMA Internal Medicine, migraines account for a whopping $13 billion loss per year due to absences and reduced work performances.

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Having such a strong impact on society, researchers are eager to find a novel and effective way to treat such a common debilitating condition.

In a study published by the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, they have found a possible alternative treatment to the pain caused by a migraine.  The experiment involved putting ginger, a common food ingredient, side by side with Imitrex or sumatriptan, a drug of choice in the treatment of migraines.  In this double-blinded randomized study involving 100 patients, it was found that the effects of ginger taken as a drug for migraines were statistically the same as sumatriptan. One-eighth teaspoon of ginger produced that same effect as the standard dose of Imitrex with less cost and side effects.  The value of these finding cannot be stressed enough. Although individual differences can factor in when taking ginger as a supportive treatment for migraines, its relatively safe profile and affordability make it an effective alternative for some people.

Migraine: the seventh disabler

Burden of Migraine in the United States Disability and Economic Costs

Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.

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