Migraines are no fun. If you’ve suffered from one, you’re probably nodding in agreement. Adamantly.
Up until a few years ago I’d never had one. I’ve had bad headaches (what some call “ice pick headaches”) but not migraines. I was thankful because I knew people who were debilitated with them: vomiting, nausea, and the inability to function.
And then I got one out of the blue. And another. And another. My eyes hurt. My head ached. I was nauseous. My hair even hurt. I’d close my eyes with my head underneath the covers and it was still too bright.
I was dumbfounded. Why was I suddenly getting migraines?
What Are Migraines?
A migraine is a recurring, intense headache of moderate to severe pain lasting for hours or days. It often causes a throbbing, searing, or pulsing pain, sometimes in a specific area of the head. It can cause fever, chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.
Sometimes migraines warn you they’re coming with symptoms such as flashes of light, zigzag lines in their vision, blind spots, or even a temporarily loss of vision. Some report tingling in their arms and legs.
Migraine headaches are one of the most common health conditions in the world, and one of the top 20 causes of disability among adults. In the United States, about 12% of people get migraines. Women are three times more likely to suffer from them than men. About 60% of women have migraines that coincide with their menstrual cycle.
What Causes Migraines?
There’s no real solid answer to the cause of a migraine — hypotheses vary. And even more confusing is that migraines can be triggered differently, depending on the person. Something that causes a migraine in one person may not affect somebody else. However, there are a few common factors:
- lack of sleep
- too much or too little food
- specific foods or drinks
- hormonal changes
- exposure to light or certain smells
- changes in weather or altitudes
- physical activity whether light or intense
Experimenting With Red Raspberry Leaf Tea For Migraines
One afternoon I had a conversation with my friend Hilary, explaining to her my sudden onset of migraines. She asked if I’d been stressed. Well, if you consider an unexpected job change and an intense period of packing, painting, and moving in a 3-month time period stressful, then yes. But all that activity was several months ago. Life had “sorta” slowed down since then.
When I told her the ice pick headaches and now the migraines always seemed to appear a few days before my period, she asked, “Have you been drinking your red raspberry leaf tea?”
I have a love affair with tea. And not just any tea: red raspberry leaf tea.
It all started when heard how red raspberry leaves could ease labor pains. I was eight months pregnant with our fifth baby and wasn’t opposed to a natural way to ease labor one iota. 😉 So, I investigated a little, drank a bit here and there, and after the birth of our son thought, “Hmmm. I do believe that labor was easier than previous ones.”
I forgot about the tea for a few years until I was pregnant with our sixth baby. This time I dug into research and drank a cold mixture of red raspberry and other herbs by the quart jar. My labor and delivery was amazingly different and faster. I was sold — even more so when I continued to drink it and found that it eased after pains and completely made my menstrual cycle bearable.
By the time the migraines started, I’d been drinking it regularly for several years… except for the 3 to 4 months when we’d been so busy with moving. When I thought about Hilary’s question, it dawned on me that I hadn’t drank it at all for at least 2 months.
Could it be that simple? If I started using red raspberry leaf for migraines, would they stop?
So I started an experiment. I went back to making the tea and drank one quart a day. Interestingly, I started the experiment a few days after my last migraine so I had a month to drink the tea. When my period came and went with no sign of a migraine, I was elated. I continued to drink it, and 4 more months passed without a single migraine.
If I slow down my intake of tea I do get light headaches, but even my ice pick headaches diminish if I drink it regularly. I haven’t stopped drinking it since.
It’s my assumption that my migraines were caused by changes in hormones. If you think your migraines are caused by this too, be sure to try Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (recipe below) and let me know if you notice a difference.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
- 8 parts red raspberry leaf
- 3 parts dried alfalfa
- 3 parts dried peppermint if you’re nursing, replace this with fenugreek as peppermint can decrease your milk supply
- 2 parts stinging nettle leaf
Combine herbs and store in an airtight jar or container.
To make hot tea, pour boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the tea mix.
Let it steep for about 5 minutes.
Remove the leaves and sweeten with stevia or another natural sweetener.
To make a big batch of cold tea (my favorite), pour about 4 cups of water over 1/2 cup of leaves.
Let steep for about 4 hours.
Strain the leaves and pour the tea into a gallon container.
Sweeten with stevia or another natural sweetener.
Fill the gallon the rest of the way with water.
Place it in the refrigerator until cold. This tastes great on a hot day!