Springtime welcomes beautiful flowers and an abundance of green plants, it’s the time of year where energy is reaching upward and outward. Not only the plants but we too experience the desire to move forward in our lives, start new projects and reach for new goals. With all this expansive energy happening the need for good health and vitality is particularly important. If you are not in good health, then springtime may bring a flare-up of various symptoms in your body. Many people experience more migraines and headaches in the Springtime.
The reason for this may surprise you, as your liver and digestive energy are involved. If you have been following my newsletters, you know I study Chinese medicine and their system of viewing the body. The liver and gallbladder are paired organs in the Chinese medicine system and they are very active in the springtime, this is when the liver naturally cleanses.
Energy flows through your body along invisible lines called meridians. Each meridian line is associated with the organs it balances. If there is slowed or blocked energy flow through the meridians of these organs than this will manifest as physical symptoms, such as pain. Migraines and headaches are one example of symptoms which often come from problems with the energy flow in the body. The liver oversees the smooth flow of energy through the body. Headaches and migraines indicate excessive energy flowing up to the head like a tea pot getting ready to boil. It is no surprise then that the meridian flow of the liver and gallbladder pass through the head and ends right in the eye region. Hence the migraines effecting sight. Because the flow of energy of the liver passes through the region of the stomach, digestive disturbances can further trigger the onset of migraines and headaches. The gallbladder energy travels up the outside of the body, over the shoulders and up to the region above the ears ending again by the eyes. This is a typical place for headaches to be felt as they begin at the base of the neck and travel upward.
There are a lot of different factors which can trigger a migraine or headache such as stress, exposure to toxins, eating processed foods, or eating foods which are hard to digest, hormonal fluctuations and sleep disturbances. What these all have in common is that they affect the function of the liver. Once the liver becomes congested, heat builds up and starts to rise in the body. This heat can trigger dilatation of the blood vessels which is a common trigger for migraines. In addition, the toxic buildup in the blood causes the muscles to tighten and become achy, since blood vessels contain smooth muscles they start to tighten and spasm as well.
I was prone to headaches and migraines most of my adult life, I had a lot of time to experiment with different approaches and supplements. Over the years, I have learned to focus on the liver first and foremost, as the most effective way to prevent migraines. There are 3 supplements which I have found to be the most helpful in preventing migraines and headaches. Over the past 20 years I have suggested these products to my clients or friends who suffer from migraines or headaches. In 90% of the cases there is a marked reduction in the occurrence of the headaches by over 50% in the first 30 days. I’d like to note that it is also necessary to make lifestyle changes (see below) while taking the supplements I order to ensure the desired results. Overtime if you maintain on a program you should find that the headaches or migraines flare up very infrequently.
Chinese Liver Balance TCM (#1008-8) this formula focuses on the gently cleansing the liver and blood of toxins while supporting the function of the liver and gallbladder. The formula contains herbs which are anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic thus helping prevent the migraine from flaring up. This formula will help to clear the blockages along the liver meridian. The Chinese liver Balance TCM is a concentrated extract formula. I typically might use 1 capsule 3 times daily through the first bottle, 2 per day through the second bottle, followed by a maintenance of 1 per day for a period of ~ 3 months.
Note: If I ate some food which I should not have eaten and a migraine was triggered, I would take 2 capsules every couple hours, for a total of 8 capsules. This is just an example, but I want you to know it won’t hurt to take a bit more if trouble is brewing. However, it is very important that you also drink plenty of water due to the cleansing effect of the formula.
Magnesium Complex (#1859-8) is a “magic bullet” for preventing migraines. This mineral relaxes the blood vessels and the muscles in the body. Magnesium is critical to over 700 biochemical reactions in the body, including hormonal balance and proper liver and gallbladder function. Magnesium helps to relieve anxiety and tension which can lead to anger and frustration which hinder liver function. Magnesium also helps us to get a good night’s rest. Your liver and gallbladder are most active from the hours of 11 PM until 3 AM, so it is important that you go to bed early and sleep restfully for healthy liver/gallbladder function. When your liver is congested, you will find you are very restless during those hours. Magnesium Complex (#1859-8) by Nature’s Sunshine is my favorite magnesium supplement for migraine relief. It has special forms of magnesium which get directly into the cells and nourish the muscles, tendons and nervous system. Some forms of magnesium like oxide have more of an affinity to the bowel and cause loose stools when you take high doses. Magnesium oxide is helpful for constipation but not as helpful for migraines. Most people do well on 2 capsules twice daily of Magnesium Complex.
Feverfew concentrate (#288-1) is the third supplement in my migraine support program. Feverfew is an herb which has a long history of use for preventing migraines and headaches as well as helping with pain from arthritic joints and muscle tension. This is a key player as well in the program. Feverfew is thought to hinder the production of prostaglandins, the hormone-like substances that cause pain and inflammation. It also hinders the release of histamines which can trigger a migraine and may be released because of an exposure to an allergen. In addition, Feverfew is said to help control the constriction of the blood vessels in the head and the resulting spams. NSP has a concentrated form of Feverfew which is standardized for active ingredients so 1 capsule twice daily is an adequate dose for a migraine prevention program.
Lifestyle Considerations for preventing migraines and headaches
Eat a healthy diet made primarily of fresh foods (organic is best) with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils, plenty of fiber and lean meats in moderation. If you eat eggs make sure they are organic and free range.
Avoid excessive sugar or carbohydrate intake – balanced blood sugar is important for a healthy liver. Too much sugar or carbs in the diet result in excessive insulin output which causes the bile to become sticky and the gallbladder to become sluggish – this can trigger headaches.
Avoid white sugar and white flour products
Limit caffeine – A cup of coffee in the morning and several cups of green tea during the day is fine. Avoid caffeine after 4 PM as it can inhibit sleep and overload the liver if not broken down by bedtime.
Drink at least 6 glasses of water daily – it is recommended to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Add lemon or lime wedges to the water (liver supporting).
Keep check on your stress levels – excessive stress as well as the emotions of anger and resentment burden the function of the liver. If you have a high stress day consider taking supplements to help you handle the stress. Nutri-Calm (#1617-3) is a popular choice and loved by everyone who takes it. Nutri-calm supplies a B-complex with vitamin C in a base of herbs which support stress. Stress-J (#1084-1) is an herbal supplement which combines well with the Nutri-calm. Stress-J contains herbs which calm the central nervous system, and relax digestive tract stress and spams.
Stretch your muscles daily – the liver cleans the blood which in turn feeds the tendons and muscles of the body. When liver activity is sluggish or congested nourishment to tendons and blood vessels is curtailed, the joints become stiff, and muscles become spasmodic. Remember several meridians run across the area of the shoulder and back of the neck, if your muscles are tight then this will impair circulation and energy flow to the head which can trigger a migraine or headache.
As a side note, you may need to visit a Chiropractor for evaluation of your neck alignment if you have persistent headaches and neck pain as well.
Add a Green food supplement – like Alfalfa, Barley Grass or Spirulina. Your liver loves green vegetables. I like to add a green food supplement for higher quality greens than you can get at the grocery store. Even if they are organic they can still be deficient in the trace minerals (77 of them) that are needed for optimal health. Nature’s Sunshine tests all their herbal supplements to ensure that they contain all the vitamins and trace minerals they are supposed to (if it’s not in the soil, it’s not in the plant).
I really like the Ultimate GreenZone formula (#1104-4) which is a great combination of superfoods and a variety of greens to nourish your liver, as well as your whole body.
Ingredients: Amaranth seed, brown rice, flax seed, spirulina, fructooligosaccharides, quinoa seed, flax seed hull lignans, chia seed, chlorella, millet seed, alfalfa leaf and stem juice concentrate, licorice root, soy lecithin, carrot root, lemon grass aerial parts, papaya fruit concentrate, artichoke leaves, spinach leaves and stems, broccoli flowers, kale leaves, asparagus stems, red beet root extract, bromelain (from pineapple fruit extract), chicory root, acerola fruit extract, horsetail stem and strobilus, lemon bioflavonoid extract, chlorophyllin, parsley leaves and pau d’arco bark extract.
I hope this information and the recommended supplements help you on your road to a life free of migraines or headaches. If you suffer from regularly occurring migraines check with your medical doctor for a full evaluation, as there are many factors which could be contributing which I did not mention in this article.
Blessings, Valerie Greguire
Disclaimer: Supplement recommendations are not designed to treat a disease condition. Discussions are for educational purposes only. Supplements should be used to nourish and strengthen the natural function of the various body organs and systems so that they will have a greater capacity to heal themselves. It is not intended to replace your doctor's recommendations. Any questions or concerns that you have regarding existing medical conditions, or the use of medications with supplements, should be discussed with your nutritionally oriented medical doctor. Copyright 2017 Restoring Light