Is Ginger an Effective Alternative to Migraine Drugs?

May 21, 2013

In a large-scale human study, Iranian researchers compare ginger to the prescription drug sumatriptan.

By Robby Gardner, Associate Editor

 

An Iranian study comparing ginger (Zingiber officinale) and the migraine drug sumatriptan suggests that ginger may be a natural alternative to migraine drugs. Sumatriptan is known by the brand name Imitrex.

Ginger has already impressed in nausea studies, where pregnant women and cancer patients experienced benefits better than placebo and comparable to drugs. Migraines do often occur with nausea, but few studies have proposed ginger for migraine relief.

In a double-blind, randomized trial, researchers from Zanjan University of Medical Sciences assigned 100 subjects with acute migraine to daily ginger powder or sumatriptan for one month. Each subject was instructed to record five subsequent migraine attacks during the study, with self-estimates of time of headache, severity, and time between onset of headache and intervention.

Two hours after consuming ginger or sumatriptan, headache severity decreased significantly and similarly. Fewer adverse effects were reported with ginger.

The study is now published in Phytotherapy Research.