I have read a lot about ginger as an option for migraines. Specifically the commentary usually talks about ginger working very effectively as an alternative for people who rely on sumatriptan, which would be excellent for those who get side affects, as well as for those who have a history of heart disease as triptans are not ideal for such people.
For me, there would be multiple benefits if this were an option. I have the family history of heart disease, sumatriptan is expensive, and most annoying of all I can only get four tablets dispensed at a time. The whole thing gets to be a bit of a fiasco sometimes.
Like any claim of medical miracle, I would take this with a grain of salt. In this case there have actually been some studies on this. In the most referenced one, looking at 100 patients, each patient was either allocated ginger (250mg) or sumatriptan (50mg). It was a blind study, so no patient knew which they were getting. The results were promising, showing very similar migraine reduction across both groups. However this is a relatively small study and probably doesn’t account for an immeasurable number of variables in the world of migraine cause and effect.
But considering the limited negative impacts of experimenting with ginger, and the fact that it will be near free for me to do so, why the hell not give it a try? I do like ginger alot, after all.
It took me a while to find a free article which talked about this in detail. This is the one that gave me the best information (doctormurray.com). As mentioned in the article, 250mg of dried ginger (which apparently did show positive effects) is actually a tiny amount. Many other studies apparently use 1g and the author of the above mentioned article considers that 10g of fresh ginger would be worth a try, and certainly would unlikely to be harmful. Juicing it is recommended as an option.
I’ve decided to give something simpler a go. I don’t think I’d be keen to try plain ginger powder out of the spice cupboard in hot water, it just sounds gross. But I’ve always quite liked ginger tea…though some brands leave a bit of an after taste. So a while ago I went down to my local Woolworths and added to the tea collection.
I already had this one unopened in my cupboard:
Higher Living Ginger Kick Tea
And then I purchased this one:
Nerada Organics Peppermint and Ginger tea
These are tea bag teas, but I decided to get up close and personal and deconstruct them. Here is a shot of what was in the bags:
Nerada on the left, Higher Living on the right
As you can see, there is more content in the Nerada tea than in the Higher Living. The breakdown is as follows:
Higher Living, 27g teabag
- 60% ginger (16g)
- 40% lemon peel (10.8g)
Nerada, 60g teabag
- 40% ginger (24g)
- 60% peppermint (36g)
So the Nerada tea has much more ginger in it than the Higher Living. Plus I freaking love peppermint tea, for flavour and for digestive symptoms in general. It’s also good for the nausea associated with migraine.
Now I am aware that drinking a teabag tea, and not fully consuming the ginger, is likely to have a significantly reduced effect. But by my basic mathematics, the Nerada tea equates to 24g ginger which is 24,000mg, which is much, much more than the 250mg in the trial and is more than twice what the author of the doctormurray.com article suggests. If even half of the ginger can be infused into the hot water from the tea bag I will probably be getting the benefit that has been studied. And in future I may experiment with a more direct method, including drinking the contents of the teabag within the tea, as opposed to via infusion.
I’ll see how it goes. I always pick up these new possible treatments after a few migraine days, then things feel fine for a few weeks, then the migraines come around again and I gravitate toward what I know: I know sumatriptan (and valium, advil and a heat pack) works. The unknown may not.
But I will try to give this a go as a regular drink and also when I am feeling migrainey, and will update if I see any benefit!