Disclaimer: this is my personal testimony – if you think this might work for you, please do research it and, if you’re already on doctor-prescribed medication, please do check with your GP.
I think “migraine” is thrown about quite a lot… everyone gets the odd headache, but I think only people that suffer from actual migraines understand the torment of it, and how different it is from a headache. So little is known about them – the cause; the cure. “Migrainers” (a term I refuse to adopt as a part of my identity) learn to know triggers but, for the most part, it’s still a mystery.
leading to “aura” – a wave of flashing lights in my vision that grows until my vision was all but blocked – like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope
Last Summer I had a nervous breakdown (I’ve been fairly open about that to some extent) and it led to a string of migraine attacks. They were so ferocious, I was referred to several consultants, who all agreed: just migraines. We’d also recently gone vegan (having been junk food addicts) and one consultant believed the hormone and stress changes due to the extreme diet change alone could have set them off; add in the breakdown and it was a melting pot of cortisol imbalance which was the cause.
They lasted for a couple of months, and just as I was beginning to become less afraid of them, they faded out.
Two weeks ago, out of the blue, 7 months after the last one, I had the worst migraine attack I’d ever had. In one day, I had 4 bouts of the blind spots and aura lights; nothing the next day, then 3 times again on 3 consecutive days. I went to the doctor again. I wasn’t scared of the cause any more, but it had become debilitating. We were spending all our time in blacked out rooms, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t looking at the laptop, or tv screen or phone… we weren’t able to make anything, or do anything business-related, and that did scare me.
I was prescribed a migraine medication – I was so desperate, I would have tried anything. I really try not to take tablets… the idea of dulling my senses just doesn’t sit right with me, somehow. But I just needed this to stop, so we went to the pharmacy to get some.
We read the side effects and they were horrendous: tightening of the jaw; panic attacks; weakness in limbs… I think I cried when I read them as they sounded scarier than the migraines. We both hated the idea of me taking them so we chucked them away unopened.
We had reached a total low point – it was late at night, I was exhausted, hubby was worried about me. I’ve known people to be miraculously healed of things, and I was praying and still believing I was healed of this, but it was all so huge. The phone rang, and it was my dad. I should add, my dad and I aren’t close at all… in the 5 years I’ve been married, this was the second time he called us out of the blue; the only other time was 3 years ago to arrange a visit as he was in the Midlands meeting a business partner. He’s a nice man, my dad – we’re just not as close as some families.
Equally, my husband is a quiet, stoic, private man, and he doesn’t share private things ever. But I think maybe he needed to feel we weren’t alone, and he told my dad about the migraines. My dad didn’t know about the stuff last Summer – we don’t speak often and, when we do, it’s always about business stuff.
Without a moment’s hesitation he said, “Has she tried feverfew?”
It brought back memories of my parents giving me a little feverfew from the garden as a child when I got a headache (and of rubbing comfrey on my leg when I ran into a bush of stinging nettles), but we were skeptical because, after all, headaches aren’t the same as migraines.
He also said he’d send us a box of it as he was growing it in his herb garden. I felt hope absolutely bloom. I had thrown the prescribed medication away in disgust, and this felt like an answer to prayer.
It arrived a couple of days later, and we picked all the leaves and put them in a small tupperware tub for safe-keeping.
We started looking into it and discovered that feverfew tablets are a known preventative for migraines… there are myriad brands, so we chose the one that would arrive soonest, and am on one tablet a day.
Last Monday (5 days ago, the day before I started taking the tablets) the blind spots re-appeared. This was a slow-burn migraine – the aura lights were slow to come and where they normally last about 20 minutes, they were gradually, gradually, gradually increasing and I could tell this one was gonna be BAD. I took some of the feverfew my dad had sent and chewed it. It tasted awful, but within minutes, the aura started to fade away; it retreated back into blind spots (it’s never done that before) almost like it was undoing itself, and then disappeared, with no trace of a headache.
This, for me, is astonishing. It felt like it was literally stopped in its tracks and undone. As I said, I’ve been taking the feverfew tablets once a day now, too, but I am still in absolute awe over what happened when I chewed the real herb.
We started calling all our local garden centres and one of them had 2 small plants in stock. We reserved them and went to pick them up. (We also bought compost, new pots so they can grow, and a lot of stuff to feed the birds… double win!)
While we were there, we got chatting to the owner and, oddly, she and her husband both suffer from migraines. She has experienced the aura thing, but her husband’s presents itself as a “pins and needles feeling in his eye”…. just thinking about it gave me cold shivers.
He is taking the tablets, but had never tried the fresh herb, so I told her what it did for me, and it made me realise: maybe not everyone knows about this. It made me want to talk about it, in case anyone can be helped.
I want to stress that some people experience side effects taking the tablets – they can cause bloating and indigestion, for example, but I’ve not experienced any of that (meanwhile, aspirin and Ibuprofen cause me dreadful, dreadful indigestion). Also, the Migraine Trust absolutely advocate the use of feverfew – but they don’t mention that chewing the fresh herb can halt a migraine even once it’s started. Or, at least, it did for me. Equally, it seems some people experience mouth ulcers when they chew the fresh herb but, again, I didn’t experience that at all.
The other thing about migraines is the way they leave you feeling – someone that’s had an appalling migraine will often be left feeling lethargic, listless and profoundly depressed for anything up to a week. For me, discovering feverfew has honestly given me my life back.
When we went to the doctor, I asked him about it, and he had no knowledge whatsoever… I guess GPs don’t really know about herbs, and they’ve a vested interest in prescribing pharmaceutical medications. For the record, am not against them in any way shape, or form. Our house has a medicine cabinet like everyone else’s – but this isn’t help that my doctor could have given me.
I’m not sure if this will be helpful… I so hope it will because I wouldn’t wish the torment of migraines on anyone. But if this is something you’re dealing with, and perhaps you’ve having this read to you because you can’t look at a laptop screen, I would like you to know that there is real hope. Please do research it for yourself first and if you’re currently on any medication, please do check with your GP – I’d hate for anyone to have an adverse reaction to it. But as far as I’m concerned, feverfew is a miracle cure for migraines… and it’s related to the daisy which, everyone knows, is the friendliest flower.