Chinese Cure for
Migraine Headache

The Chinese cure for migraine headache believes that the imbalance of certain internal organs are causal for the many symptoms. Traditional Chinese Medicine would say let’s douse the ‘Liver Fire Blazing Upwards’ and focus on supporting the organ.

Once the organ gains its strength back, the symptoms stop.

Lack of effective pain killers eventually led me to search for a Chinese cure for migraine headache.

Ok, I know what you might be thinking - there is no such thing as a ‘cure’ for migraines.

But knowing that never stopped me (and has not stopped me) from searching for my key - striving for some solution – to cure my persistent excruciating debilitating brain pain.

Chinese Medicine sees a one-sided splitting headache or migraine as Liver Fire Blazing Upward! Along with this comes irritability, easy to anger, bitter taste in mouth, and constipation. Tick! Tick! Tick! These sound just like my symptoms!

One thing I thought was amazing when I was studying all this was how much the symptoms were so aligned with my own experiences. For example, the Liver meridian opens at the eyes and my eye pain is my early warning signal for a migraine. I found that connection really fascinating! Like proof I wasn’t imagining the eye pain.

The Chinese cure for migraine headache is holistic and considers many symptoms.

The whole body is looked at, felt and smelled!

Headache can be the principal complaint of a wide assortment of patterns; they can be sudden in onset or short in duration or severe and long lasting.

These are all considered excess patterns.

Chronic mild headaches are considered a more deficient pattern. I seem to be mixed!

Fall Asleep Before 11pm

The time of day the Gall Bladder and Liver are ‘in power’ is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Failing to sleep during these times may cause an imbalance that may contribute to increasing your migraines.

It is important to be asleep before 11pm so your liver energy is not diverted from its important physical function of filtering your blood. The liver must regenerate effectively to assist in reducing migraines.

Acupuncture, Food and Herbs

Chinese Cure for Migraine Herbs and Pills

Chinese practitioners use acupuncture, herbs, food, tai chi and qigong as tools of their trade.

Because this arena is so vast and we have already covered acupuncture for migraines and acupressure in migraine pressure point as a Chinese cure for migraine headache, I will just focus on foods and herbs that support organs here.

Food is considered to have powerful healing properties and is used as medicine. So here are some of my absolute favorites and one absolute necessity for preventative maintenance over a migraine episode.

The Element is Wood and the Taste is Sour

Food is medicine in the Chinese cure for a migraine headache. Foods the gall bladder likes: wheat, chicken, peach, and leek. If you find yourself craving sour foods like lemons or pickles you may be feeding a wood imbalance or it may be trying to re-balance itself.

Even more supportive to the gall bladder are: artichokes, green beans, beetroot, carrots, endive, fennel, kale, mustard greens, nettles, olive oil, parsley, radish, sweet potato, nuts, beans, lentils and watercress.

Spring Time and Stir Fry

Spring is Liver / Wood time so the cooking method is Stir fry and use lots of green vegetables. Strawberries are good for the liver. More supportive are: asparagus, berries, buckwheat, cabbage, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, leek, sesame seeds, quinoa and amaranth.

5 Tips and Recipes - Chinese Cures for Migraine Headaches

Tip 1 – Umeboshi plums are a common Chinese cure for migraine headache. Umeboshi plums neutralize extremes, so ¼ eaten every 20 minutes at onset may help abort the attack. I personally like to drink a nice hot cup of kuzu (Japanese arrowroot powder) tea with an Umeboshi plum in it.

Depending on how I am feeling, I use 1 teaspoon to one tablespoon of kuzu dissolved in a few tablespoons of cold water first and then boiled in a cup of water in a saucepan. Then I put the plum in or if I am feeling the need for sweet, I add just a little (1/4 t) rice malt or rice honey.

I can recommend iherb for buying quality umeboshi plums and kuzu. That's where I get mine.

Tip 2 - An easy Chinese cure for migraine headache, for deep inside headaches, is heated apple juice or hot water with 1 tsp of rice vinegar or 1 tsp of barley malt or rice honey. I keep a jar of apple juice concentrate in my fridge so I can always make a hot apple drink.

Tip 3 – Even better to reduce liver stagnation try: 240 ml hot water, with 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar. If you live in a hot climate or experience hot flushes, try fresh lemon juice as it is considered cooler than vinegar.

Tip 4 – Michio Kushi in his book Basic Home Remedies suggests Daikon Tea (p. 23). A Daikon is a mild flavored Japanese radish and looks like a large white carrot. Michio's recipe uses dried Daikon, but I have only found fresh.

• Shred the Daikon and if it fills one cup - add four cups of water.

• Simmer the shredded root for 15-30 minutes and right at the end of cooking add a pinch of sea salt. You can also use kombu, or Umeboshi plum instead of sea salt. Do not add sweet to this drink, it is already Yin.

Tip 5 – The Chinese herb for migraine is Corydalis – Yan Hu Suo. It is an analgesic and has been used as a Chinese cure for migraine headache for centuries.

Chinese herbs come in the dried raw form, an alcohol based extract or tablet form.

I can recommend getting quality powder, pills or granules from this company if you can't find the raw herbs (just click on the links). These work well (not the alcohol based extract so much).

The dried raw herb is boiled and drank as a tea. 5-10 grams per day is a normal dose.

I believe pill form or extract crystal granules to be best because of the bad taste of the tea and by providing a more reliable measured dose. Although, I grew to love my raw herb tea despite the taste.

• 1 gram of extract crystals equals 5 grams of raw herb.

You might want to experiment and start with the lower dose first and see how effective it is for you. Currently there are no known drug interactions with Corydalis, however, do not take it if you are pregnant.

Find Relief Using These Combinations

Experts are now saying the best way to cope with migraines is to use a combination of traditional and alternative therapies. This combination works for me. Give them a try.

Soothe Away - Ice and Heat Treatment

Acupuncture for Migraines

Migraine Pressure Points

Corydalis – Yan Hu Suo

Biofeedback and Meditation

Umeboshi Plum

Kuzu Root

Yoga on-line for exercise and relaxation

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Subscribe to our free monthly e-zine called Surviving Chronic Migraine and keep up to date on my passion for Chinese medicine and the latest alternative treatment for migraines. I am always on the look-out for any new discoveries that help reduce migraine pain.


Kushi, M (1994) Basic Home Remedies. One Peaceful World Press, Beckett, Massachusetts. p. 23.

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Inspirational Quote:

The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.

- Aristotle

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