Curing migraines through ayurveda

Ayurvedic remedies for migraines and how to prevent those throbbing headaches

By Dr Sudha Ashokan

Ayurveda calls migraine Ardhavabhedaka which roughly translates to precipitating factors that cause vitiation of vata and kapha. Vitiated vata covers the kapha in the arterial wall. This vata avrita kapha affects the dhamanis (arteries) of the brain and decreases the circulation, leading to splitting headaches that we know as migraine.

Sign and symptoms

The headaches usually begin in one spot and subsequently involve the whole of one side of the head. The pain is usually severe and throbbing and is associated with vomiting, photophobia, pallor and sweating which may necessitate the patient taking to bed in a darkened room.

Common precipitated factors

  • Menstruation
  • Flashing light
  • Disturbance in sleep
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Cheese, chocolate and paneer
  • Sour fruits
  • Red wine
  • Allergy to certain types of substances like strong perfumes
  • Skipping meals.

Ayurvedic treatment

These Panchakarma and Kerala therapies are effective:

Sirodhara: A continuous stream of medicated oils is dripped on the forehead along with a gentle massage all over the body which relaxes, soothes and maintains the circulation in the brain by reducing the spasm of the blood vessel. Nasyam is also advised to remove the Kapha vitiation.

Siroabhyanga: Special medicated oil is poured on top of the head and is left for sometime. A gentle massage is given for the head for relaxation.

Note: After the 7-14-21 days Sirodhara, Siroabhayanga is advised which will have a permanent cure if taken along with oral medicines.


  • As soon as you feel the headache take analgesics/painkillers to reduce stress and pain and go to sleep. A good Ayurvedic alternative though is Amritharishtam.
  • Avoid bright lights
  • Get a good night’s sleep, try not to sleep late.
  • Don’t skip meals. Make it a habit to take small frequent meals instead of starving yourself and feasting on large meals.

Photo credit: Daniel Szwalkiewicz

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