Elderberry syrup recipe

Elderberry Syrup
2 cups dried elderberries
1 quart boiling water
¼ cup raw local honey
¼ cup lemon juice
Cinnamon stick
Cardamon seed pods
Fresh Ginger

Place berries in an uncovered saucepan and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let soak overnight. The next day, simmer the berries for 30 minutes. Purée the warm berries in a blender, adding remaining ingredients as you blend. Pour the syrup into a clean bottle, and store it in the refrigerator.

sitz bath herbs


A sitz bath is basically a small hip bath that you sit in to ease the swollen, stretched muscles and tissues around your vagina after giving birth.
Sitz baths will also help heal perineal tears. You can either use a small basin or plastic tub placed in the bathtub that you squat into, or you can buy an inexpensive, and much more comfortable basin that fits right onto your toilet seat.
Calendula flowers (Calendula Officinalis) - (calendula officials) - calendula is a great antiseptic, as well as being anti fungal and antiviral. It lessens inflammation and cleanses the body via the lymph system. It is often used for painful scars and thus may be helpful for cesarean scars as well as perineal tears or episiotomy.

Plantain Leaf - (plantago spp) - plantain is cooling and has the effect of drawing out impurities. It coats and soothes mucous membranes and lessens inflammation in tissues.

Comfrey Leaf - (symphytum officials) -Comfrey is soothing, constrictive and healing for wounds, cuts and tears. It is a cell proliferant - it promotes speedy wound healing both inside and outside the body. NOTE: If there is infection present, do not use Comfrey as it will heal the outside so quickly that it may heal over infected tissues inside. Make sure wound is clean before using Comfrey.

Yarrow Leaf and Flowers - (alchillea millefolium) - Yarrow is useful for stopping excessive bleeding and acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as being anti bacterial and antimicrobial, and helps to relieve pain. It can also be used for varicose veins.

Prepare your sitz bath
To prepare your sitz bath...
• Pour boiling water over four ounces of your herbal sitz bath blend.
• Let it sit and steep for at least four hours.
• Strain it into a bowl, or directly into your basin and then sit with your vaginal area in the tea for about 15 minutes.
• Repeat several times a day if you do not have stitches, and enjoy the powerful healing of a simple herbal sitz bath!

post partum nutrition and herbs

Post Partum Nutrition and Herbs

Mothering the Mother after birth is vital to her continued strength and future health, from the physical to the emotional and spiritual. The post partum period is considered the 'fourth trimester' by conscious and discerning health care practitioners. It is a period of reintegration and recuperation.

"Preparation for the fourth trimester should begin prenatally. There is nothing more important than connecting pregnant women with one another, or better still, with those who have recently given birth. Prenatal classes or support groups may serve to accomplish this, but however it happens, it is not optional."

Elizabeth Davis - Hearts and Hands.

During pregnancy, labour and birth, and afterwards with breastfeeding, a woman is giving continuously of her life force. It is vital that she is replenished afterwards to ensure her complete recovery. Elder women's wisdom speaks of proper care during the childbearing years easing the discomforts of menopause. More immediate still;
"the better she feels, the more easily she will integrate her new role and learn to distinguish the needs of her child from her own..
Care of new mothers assures survival of the species, but more than that, it positively affects the quality of life for us all"

Elizabeth Davis - Hearts and Hands.

Ain't that the truth!

Many cultures around the world stress the importance of keeping the mother warm - literally and metaphorically not leaving her out in the cold!
Women are incredibly opened by birth and susceptible to chill and energy loss. During the moon that follows birth, a woman is given only warming foods with warming spices, healing teas and tonics. She is attended by the entire family and community to ensure she has enough rest, comfort, food and herbs and assistance with household responsibilities.
The range of time spent indoors and resting ranges from culture to culture as well as needs, but the aim is restore balance through total care. Cold foods, hair washing and being in cold weather are discouraged due to the heat lost through childbirth.
Often fires were built in the rooms near the mother, or steam baths were used to bring warmth as well as healing to the perineum and pelvic area.
Pelvic Steam Baths relax spasms, bring warmth and increase circulation, nourish the internal membranes, cleanse and promote healing.

Most herbs used for the steam baths are aromatics, combined with antispasmodic, antiseptic and soothing herbs. They can be used fresh or dried. These include;

Calendula - anti microbial with wound and skin healing properties.
Lavender - antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, relaxing nervine.
Red Roses - astringent, relaxing, uplifting for emotional stress, sadness and depression, nervine.
Rosemary - antibacterial, stimulating, aids circulation
Basil - antispasmodic, sedative, nervine.
Lemon Balm - antispasmodic, antiseptic, nervine.

Other herbs include red raspberry leaf, myrrh, yarrow, comfrey leaf, nettles, oregano, witch hazel.

How to have a Vaginal Steam;

Add two large handfuls fresh/one handful dry herbs to about a gallon of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Let steep for 10 minutes.

You will need to set up a way for you to sit over the pot of steaming herbs. One way is to use an open slatted chair and place the pot on the floor below you. Another is to pour the herbs into a large rimmed stainless steel bowl that can fit inside your toilet, resting on the edge underneath the seat.

Remove clothing from waist down, leave on warm socks. Sit on chair or toilet over steaming herbs and wrap yourself with a blanket from waist down. Keep upper body warm too.
Relax over steam for 20 mins, reading, journaling or meditating.
Be careful not to burn yourself.. Test the steam before sitting down!

Keep warm after the pelvic steam. It is ideal to do before bed. If you are doing it at another time, make sure to warp yourself warmly up in bed for an hour afterwards. Avoid any chills or draughts for 24 hours afterwards.

Possible side effects; May include a temporary increase in flow including more debris and dark fluids. This is seen as an effect of cleansing.

Contraindication; Do not do if pregnant, menstruating, have an acute uterine infection, vaginal sores or blisters. Never add aromatherapy essential oils to the steam as these can burn your sensitive genital tissue.

Sitz Baths are another, more commonly practiced way of using herbs to heal the perineum and vagina after birth.. The principle is essentially the same, except that the area is placed directly in the water with the herbs, and often is combined with sea salt to aid any healing of tears and soreness.

Often women were wrapped with a special cloth or band to help the uterus and internal organs and tissues back into place. This is a valuable practice that can be combined with regular massage post partum to help ease pains and bring comfort from pregnancy, labour and the after pains of the uterus contracting back into place.

Benefit of Herbs and Nutrition Post Partum;

Blood building and nourishment are essential after birth; Often this has been traditionally done by the use of soups and stews and bone broths - often using herbs that clear the afterbirth and uterus and prevent infection as well as toning and nourishing the tissues and blood. There are many recipes for nutrition after birth, that vary with culture and taste as well as availability. I am going to focus more on Herbs that are useful for tonifying, nourishing and fortifying, which include;

Nutritive Herbs:

These are tonic herbs akin to foods, often containing vitamins and minerals in abundance. They are building and nourishing and can be taken over long periods of time.

Milky Oats - Avena Sativa.. contains Vitamin B complex which sustains our energy and soothes our nervous system. It is great for convalescence, depression, debility, exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia and is generally an excellent tonic for the overworked or overstressed, those who live on too much caffeine or nervous energy.

Alfalfa -Medicago Sativa - cooling, sweet, astringent herb that gently cleanses, controls bleeding and is rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as vitamins A,D, E and K as well as chlorophyll and carotene.

Nettles - Urtica Dioca - Urtica is one of the finest nourishing tonics. It is reputed to have more chlorophyll than other herbs and contains vitamins A,C, D and K, and minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, Silica and Iron. It is a nourishing tonic for weakness, debility and anaemia. Nourishing to mother and baby during and post pregnancy. Aids kidney and bladder function and gently cleanses wastes. Nettle seeds are an adrenal tonic and restorative. Astringency can help check bleeding and contains vitamin K - can be used in sitz baths after birth. Useful in stimulating and nourishing breast milk.

Gotu Kola - Hydrocolyte asiatica - good combined with other nervines, reduces nervous exhaustion whilst promoting mental clarity. A connective tissue tonic, helps restore tone to ligament and uterine tissues, as well as useful for varicose veins as a circulatory tonic.

Red Raspberry Leaf - Rubus Ideaus - Increases fertility in both men and women, especially when combined with red clover.
Raspberry leaf is astringent and tonic - strengthens and tones and relaxes uterus, and entire pelvic area. Contains fragarine - an alkaloid that gives tone to uterine muscles and indeed tones and nourishes the whole body. It is the famous herb of pregnancy and great to use before during and after birth. Contains Vitamins A, C, E, B complex and easily assimilated calcium and iron as well as phosphorus and potassium among other minerals.

Rosehips - Excellent source of vitamin C as well as astringent and diuretic, benefitting kidneys and easing constipation. Aids the absorption of iron. Contains Vit A which is useful in nourishing immune system.


Catnip - Nepeta Cataria - Gentle, relaxing, antispasmodic, great for mama and baby for both after pains as well as colic symptoms.. Can be used in gripe water with slippery elm, fennel and chamomile.

Chamomile - relaxing, anti- inflammatory, antispasmodic, good for nervous tummies. Aids relaxation and well being inside and out.

Passionflower, - relaxing sedative, night time tea, aids insomnia.

Lavender - Gentle, relaxing, soothing, good for insomnia and aids let down reflex where due to tension and stress.

Lemon Balm - Calming, aids digestion, antispasmodic, antiviral, relaxing nervine - passes through to babe.

Skullcap - On edge, excited, much on mind, new changes, overstimulation, blues, exhaustion from lack of rest.

Vervain - Helps when irritable, on edge, angry, had enough, might lose it, great combined with milky oats and skullcap in tincture. Also good for PMS, mood swings when your moon cycle starts again soon after birth.

GALACTAGOGUES - help increase the flow of breast milk.

There are many herbs that increase the flow of breast milk.. here i will focus on a few that I personally know and have used.

Vitex - Agnus castus.. a merits berry for women if ever there was one!
Vitex is a reproductive tonic that rebalances our hormones by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland function. It is therefore useful for PMS, menstrual cramps, menopause, and after using birth control pills, as well as a long term fertility aid. It helps with irritability, depression, headaches, anger,pms as well as menopausal symptoms - and can raise the level of progesterone in cases where women are estrogen dominant.. thus useful for shrinking fibroids, regulating cycles and aiding fertility. Improvements of various conditions can be felt in as little as two months, although more lasting results take from 6 months to a year or longer. Vitex nourishes the supply of breast milk.

Blessed Thistle - Great in the first few weeks after birth as it helps with uterine bleeding and milk irritability. Helps aid milk production by stimulating blood supply to the mammary glands and good for sluggish digestion too.. It is bitter and best taken as tincture.

Fennel Seeds - great taste, improve milk production as well as digestion.

Fenugreek Seeds - Strong maple like taste that exudes from your pores. Increases milk production fast.

Best used with alfalfa, raspberry leaf, nettles, and marshmallow root.

After Birth pains - Motherwort is great for fatigue, cramps and to aid relaxation. It is a bitter nervine, moves stuck heart and womb energy ( it is an emmenagogue, therefore not to be taken during pregnancy), great for palpitations, temperature and mood irregularities.
Calcium/Magnesium is great for after pains as is chamomile, lemon balm, oat straw, nettle, wild yam, red raspberry and partridge berry..
Stronger herbs include cramp bark and black haw and blue cohosh - relaxes smooth muscles in uterus and whole pelvic area. Relieves and reduces after pains.

Dandelion Root, Yellow dock root, Nettles, Rosehips..
Yellow Dock root helps the body retain Iron, rose hips contain Vitamin C. which increases Iron absorption.

After Birth Tea;
Oranges, lemons, Ginger, Cardamon, Cinnamon sticks, Lemongrass, Raspberry, Borage, Star Anise and Honey.
Grate ginger, add cinnamon sticks and star anise to a large pot of water, bring to boil and simmer for 25 mins. Add oranges and lemons for ten minutes. Add rest of the ingredients and let steep. Strain and add honey. If you prefer this can be made with red wine instead of as a tea.

For Shakes, chills, sweats after birth , grate fresh ginger root and steep for 10-15 mins with 2tsp panax ginseng and dried licorice root.

Also Cinnamon tea - 1/2 tsp powder to 1 cup water or milk. Sweeten with honey if desired.

bach flower remedies for post partum

Bach flower remedies for adapting to life after the birth

CeratoFor first time mums - this remedy can help you trust your innate wisdom on how to best care for your new baby.
ElmFor those who may feel overwhelmed at the responsibility of looking after a new baby, helps you to get a good perspective and look after your own needs as well as the baby's.
GentianMay be of help for those whose birthing experience was difficult, or those who feel discouraged or depressed
HollyFor those who might feel threatened by the new arrival to the family, e.g. jealous siblings or a partner who feels "left out."
OliveA classic remedy for new parents! Helps to address the tiredness and exhaustion that can occur after a long labour followed by sleep-deprived nights.
OakFor those who normally very capable but are struggling, with lack of sleep and work during the day e.g. mothers with other children.
PineThe remedy for guilt, many mothers experience this emotion, if they cannot give their absolute best all the time. Pine helps us to accept responsibility without self-condemnation.
Red ChestnutFor selfless concern and worry for others. A good remedy for those who are continually checking that their newborn is still breathing!
Star of BethlehemThis remedy helps to rebalance energy after the shock of birth, ideal for both mother and child. It is an ingredient of Five Flower / Rescue Remedy
WalnutAn invaluable for first time mothers to help them adapt to their new role. It also helps the newborn to adapt to life outside the womb.
How to take Bach remedies Add two drops of the chosen remedies to a 30ml bottle of spring water (special dropper bottles are available). Both mother and baby may take these diluted drops internally, but if you prefer, four drops of the mixture can be added to baby's bath or rubbed behind the ears. Discard the mixture after one week and make up another bottle with fresh water. Wash and sterilise the bottle and dropper before re-using.

Herbs for pregnancy tea


Urtica is one of the finest nourishing tonics, containing Chlorophyll, Vitamins A,C, D and K, Calcium, Potassium, Silica and Iron.
It is a tonic for weakness, debility, anaemia and provides nourishment for the pregnant mother and fetus.
It aids the kidneys and bladder in it's diuretic function and speeds the body's cleansing of toxins and wastes. It's astringent action can aid in checking blood and can be helpful for cuts and wounds, and therefore may be useful in a tea or sitz bath for healing the perineum after birth.
Useful in stimulating milk production as a galactagogue, and drank internally by the mother both during pregnancy, birth and afterwards.


Increases fertility in both women and men, especially when combined with Red Clover.
Raspberry leaf is a tonic and astringent, strengthening and toning the uterine and pelvic muscles and a pelvic and uterine relaxant. It is the famous herb of use during pregnancy, and is a tonic to the whole body. Used throughout history to encourage an easy and speedy childbirth, as well as afterwards to stimulate milk production and speedy recovery.
Contains fragarine, an alkaloid that gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus. Contains Vitamins A, C, E, B complex and easily assimilated Calcium and Iron, and many minerals including phosphorus and potassium.


Contains high amounts of bone-building materials. A strong nutritive nervine for depression, effective herbal calcium and silica source. Strengthens nerves, and helps correct sugar use imbalances.


High in nutrients, the richest land source of trace minerals, nourishes the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary systems. Helps the body eliminate excess water. Contains chlorophyll.


Source of Vitamin C and Bioflavanoids and other valuable nutrients; Tonic, gentle astringent and diuretic.


Provides nutrients, toning and supports female system. Red Clover supports circulation, which helps move blood through the reproductive organs. This boosts fertility and makes a luxurious environment for your baby to begin life. It also aids blood volume expansion, which is vital during pregnancy to make sure your baby is healthy and carried to term.

herbal formulas ~ properties

As in all things, moderation and knowledge is suggested in the use of herbal remedies. Please contact an herbalist or knowledgeable physician concerning herbal treatments.


Wild Cherry Bark (Prunus Serotina) has a relaxant and strong, sedating effect on coughs, which is useful for dry, non productive coughs that have gone on for a long time..

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon Californicum) is recommended for bronchial and laryngeal troubles, COPD, chest colds and has expectorant and decongestant properties.

Cinnamon is used for coughs, colds and sinuses as well as sore throats.



Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata) is used as a remedy for all kinds of nervous manifestations, depression, anxiety, insomnia, as it has pain relieving and sedative qualities.

Motherwort (Leonurus Cardiaca) primarily is a herb of the heart. It can temporarily lower blood pressure and relieve palpitations due to anxiety. It is used in Childbirth to reduce anxiety and calm the nerves.

Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum) Kava is said to elevate mood, well being and contentment and produce a feeling of relaxation therefore it has commonly used for anxiety, stress, tension and insomnia. A mildly psychoactive beverage made from the Rhizome of the Kava Plant has been used for centuries by South Pacific Islanders, both ceremonially and socially, for it's relaxing and calming properties.


Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) has many extensive uses, though for coughs is used as a stimulating expectorant and to relieve chest congestion.

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) reduces respiratory inflammation as well as soothing and coating the mucous membranes. It has many properties including anti bacterial, viral and pain relieving.

Horehound (Marrubium Vulgare) is an excellent expectorant useful for bronchitis, respiratory infections and sore throats.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Licorice is a sweet tasting root that is great for colds and respiratory problems. It works as an expectorant by promoting mucous drainage and provides a soothing lubrication of the respiratory tract. It is a valued ingredient in cough medicines due to it's soothing abilities.

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The expectorant properties of thyme have been used in the treatment of congested lungs, whooping cough and bronchitis. It has also been used to reduce muscle spasms, especially those that narrow the tiny airways in the lungs, to help ease breathing.



Oatstraw and their Milky Oat Tops (Avena Sativa) are a nourishing nervous system restorative that strengthens a weakened constitution.
It is helpful in depression, stress, exhaustion, as an aid in breaking addictions, anxiety and insomnia.
It is high in B Vitamins, Silica and other vitamins and minerals.


Burdock (Arctium Lappa) is a tonic and alterative, cumulatively strengthening and cleansing the entire system. It has been used as a blood purifier in herbal medicine, to help psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus Indica) is known as an alterative, diuretic and tonic. Used for skin ailments, rheumatism and syphilis.

Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus) is used for skin conditions, poor digestion, liver detoxification, constipation and anaemia.

Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) contains a strong concentration of phytoestrogens and has been used for the menopause and in the prevention of breast cancer, as well as for respiratory and skin conditions.


Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris) is
an excellent nervine. Used for insomnia and nervousness.Kills parasitic worms internally.
Mugwort is considered feminine in nature and has been linked through out history has been used as remedy for women’s health. It is an emmenagogue; promotes suppressed menses. Drink before and after the full moon and wear red (Gladstar). Useful for young women just starting menses. Believed to increase fertility. Used for moxabustion in Chinese Medicine. Used in treatment of liver disorders and as a digestive aid (digestive bitter). Drink infusion before and/or after eating to promote digestion.Promotes sweating. Which can be a benefit when intentionally sweating out an illness; a very old healing technique when one first feels the effects of an illness. Strong infusion can be used in a bath for an invigorating bath or one before Ritual or Dreaming.


Cleavers (Gallium aparine) is an excellent lymphatic tonic and diuretic. In essence the lymph system is the body's mechanism to wash tissues of toxins, passing them back in to the bloodstream to be cleansed by the liver and kidneys. This cleansing action makes Cleavers useful in treating psoriasis and arthritis, which benefit from purifying the blood, as well as swollen glands, cystitis, ulcers and tumors.
Borage (Borago Officinalis) has been used for many years to relieve depression and reduce fevers, as well as for respiratory complaints. "I Borage, bring courage.. " Olde saying. Drives away Melancholy.
(Sambucus Nigra) strengthens and maintains the immune and respiratory systems. Elderberry may be taken to help prevent colds and flu, and taken at the first sign of cold or flu. Elderberry is believed to generally reduce the course of infection down to one or two days.
Melissa Officionalis)
is anti-viral, so the tea is great to drink if you’re feeling under the weather.  The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an anti-viral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses. Lemon Balm can help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Shingles, due to the anti-viral action. One of Lemon Balm’s key medicinal qualities is as a tranquilizer.  It calms a nervous stomach, colic, or heart spasms.  The leaves are reputed to also lower blood pressure.  It is very gentle, although effective, so is often suggested for children and babies.

Migraines are psychedelic

key hole garden whiterabbit

Migraines are psychedelic.

No doubt about it.

There’s a definite pattern of aura, peak, plateau and come down.
The aura can be zigzagging in the air, blind spots in vision, sensitivity to lights, sounds, smell, touch, temperature, sentience in general. Nausea, crankiness, aching joints, tight muscles, noticing your body’s uncomfortability in a heightened way. Sometimes the prodrome and aura can last for a few days, and this is the prime time to take ‘preventative’ measures, or nip it in the bud.

There is not always rhyme or reason, at least that I can identify, to when, where and why a migraine will strike. Chocolate, caffeine, sugar, stress, definitely hormones, tiredness, heck, life in general.. these are all triggers. It is its own world and domain, and once I’m in it, I have to play by its rules.
Yet some things, I am learning, do help.

This is my semblance of a regime:

When I get an aura, I take Magnesium internally and externally as Epsom salts in the bath, often with lavender and rosemary essential oils.
Lately I have been experimenting with Agrimony, Meadowsweet, Skullcap and Wood Betony tea.. Sometimes I add Blessed Thistle, sometimes Iris root and Dandelion. These herbs help when the migraine seems more abdominal, the nausea is strong and I feel like I’ve flipped 180 degrees in my body and I can’t quite find my centre. Although truly, at all times, digestion is impaired during migraines. For me it can follow a liver/gallbladder meridian, although not always.
I have taken Bupleurum and a Chinese herbal formula called Peaceful Earth to settle my stomach and calm my liver.
I take probiotics. And Omega 3.
I’ve taken homeopathic Gold, Nux Vomica, Belladonna, Sepia, Pulsatilla with much success if I take them early enough and I have taken many other homeopathic remedies, too numerous to mention.
When my muscles are tight and sore I take Black Cohosh and Vervain. Mostly I take Advil at this point too, to prevent a full scale attack.
For those of you who have ever suffered from migraines - need I say more…

My ability to think straight, or even at all is wounded during the full blast and plateau of at least 12-24 hours of a migraine.
However, psychic and dream space are opened up and a land of pretty pain emerges that reaches to the depths of my brain and brings out its hidden stories.
Talking to others is almost unbearable as I struggle to convey where I am in words at all. Yet at the same time, I want an understanding presence, sympathy and to be cared for and left alone to journey through. Psychedelic. Just like tripping.
And if I do communicate, often it is in the garbled, jumbled way of the catatonic. Wherein only I understand what I am referring to and often, singularly, find it hilarious. Often I weep with the unbearable quality of the pain.
Meanwhile, my baby sits and sleeps alongside me, like a faithful angel who understands my space.

After many sleeps, which is truly the only thing that helps, and many hours, the end is near. And it feels like a break in a very long, strong storm.
The clouds part and I see blue.
Then hot baths, so hot they warm my shivers and the heat pounds on to my head. Warm chicken soup, something about them birds that help my head. A thanks and a prayer to them.. Cascades of water, fresh and refreshing.
The next few days are like tripping too. Still so new and raw and sensitive and still integrating. Keep careful with that new body and new awareness of yours. Keep the balance, don’t do too much, don’t forget what you’ve learned. It takes the best part of a week to overcome the effects.
It amazes me that so many of us live with this insane pain. It’s so disturbingly unpleasant.
Time for another psychedelic sleep, me thinks, this one ain’t over yet.

A few remedies for Migraines;

Magnesium ~ studies show that migraine sufferers are often low in magnesium. Magnesium relaxes muscles and eases tension, which often goes hand in hand with migraines and tension headaches. Magnesium can be found in leafy greens, nuts, cacao, tea, coffee and spices.

Co-enzyme Q10 - involved in the creation of ATP the energy source of cells, as well as an antioxidant. Studies show that use of co-enzyme Q10 as a daily supplement for 4-12 weeks greatly reduced the severity and occurrence of migraines in sufferers. CoQ10 can be found in oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) and organ meats such as liver but supplementation is beneficial where needed.

Riboflavin (B2) - Helps convert food to energy. Found in legumes, lean meat, green leafy veg, nuts and dairy products. Reduced occurrence and severity of migraines showed in study groups over 3 months of trial.

Butterbur (petasites hybrids) -a perennial shrub found throughout Europe, North America and Asia. It grows in wet, damp forests and marshes, close to streams and rivers. Its name comes from its leaves being used to wrap butter in a warm climate. Studies show that use over several months reduces the severity, duration and occurrence of migraines.

Food allergies or reactions - these are varied among sufferers, although common culprits include caffeine, chocolate, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers), greasy, fried foods, sugar, citrus, soy, peanuts, yeast, corn, dairy, red wine, - all the good stuff in life, you know?! Yet a good deal of these foods contain tyramine which can be a trigger for some migraine sufferers. Cutting these out for a few months is definitely wise, and gives your body a chance to reset and calm down from the inflammatory response of pain and high alert. Slowly introducing foods one at a time over two weeks can give you clarity over what foods effect you and what do not.
For some, foods are not an aggravation at all and many crave certain flavors, such as salt.

Adding Omega 3’s into your diet will also aid in calming down the inflammatory response which food allergies can bring, as well as adding good fats to your diet, enhancing immunity and aiding brain function.

Probiotics can help remedy the irritation and dysbiosis of your gut, and help settle nausea and abdominal migraine symptoms. Ginger, Tumeric, Cumin and Fennel tea also settle the stomach and help with nausea. Add Red Raspberry leaf, Nettles, Alfalfa, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Wood betony, Meadowsweet and Oatstraw. Including other relaxing herbs such as Passionflower, Vervain can be helpful too, more effective if some or all of these are just your daily brew giving minerals and vitamins and chlorophyll and calm.

Other herbs can be used internally for pain, such as White Willow bark, Skullcap, Black Cohosh, Jamaican Dogwood, Pedicularis. Or externally as an analgesic rub - tiger balm or similar products.
My friend swears by using an ice pack on the head and sticking her feet into as hot water as she can handle.
Bringing the energy down to the feet.

Hot baths with Epsom Salts (Magnesium) and added essential oils such as Rose, Rosemary, Lavender, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Cedar, or anything you find pleasing and not nauseating! This is great for relaxing tense muscles and slowing down and breathing deeply. This could be followed with an ice pack to the head, neck and shoulders. One theory is that migraines are caused by dilated blood vessels in the head and manifest as a pulsating, throbbing pain, most often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.

“The biggest myth is that migraine is a type of headache. This is wrong.
Migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects your central nervous system. Headache is one of its symptoms, but migraine almost never consists of head pain alone. There are many other possible symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, hunger pangs, and slurred speech....
Migraine is caused by abnormal brain chemistry. Migraine is not something you’ve caused. It is not an emotional response to problems in your life, or some unconscious effort to get sick so that you can take a break from your daily challenges. Migraine is a genetic difference, in most cases inherited from one or both of your parents.... It is a chronic neurological illness you were born with. You can’t cure it, but you can minimize its effects on your life.”

The Migraine Brain by Caroline Bernstein M.D

Other theories of what causes migraines are discussed in this article;

a cuppa tea

There are some things in life I just love..
One of these things, as i sit here and muse and write, is having a cuppa tea (in this case hot sweet black yorkshire tea with a few cloves thrown in) and biscuits. (read; cookies, if you’re american!)
I love dunking them in (in this case, gluten free ginger biscuits) and tasting the crumbly moist sweet warmth in my mouth no matter how much sugar is there!
I muse on..
Since I arrived in America 7 years ago, I have gone from a booze loving, smoking, toking, wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine drinking, thinking myself healthy, relatively happy consumer to being plagued by all manner of health complaints and radically changing notions of health and what’s good for you.
These days, I have migraines and severe stomach aches from eating wheat. Caffeine and chocolate seem to be triggers. I have tried cutting out tomatoes, corn, soy, chocolate, sugar, and grains to the point of suspicion of a plate of food. My baby spews up and gets cramps if I eat cow dairy.
I no longer drink caffeine, alcohol, smoke or toke or have fun with natures substances.
Some may say it is detoxing, some may say it is grains.
The point is.. everyone has a different opinion and ultimately, things change and completely seem to ignore the very real relation of food to mood and vise versa.
Has cutting out these foods made me happier and healthier? Yes, to some degree, no, in other ways. I am more conscious perhaps as well as more picky. I make many more meals at home, but find it harder to eat out at friends or at restaurants, which can amount to an awkward social food factor or the inevitable migraine if I lapse.
I have no doubt that my changing body ~ new environment, two babies and entirely new set of cells later, have in part made my reaction to certain delicacies so strong. I have read and heard about Paleo, Gluten and Grain Free, Lactose intolerance and Gut Dysbiosis and worried about whether my diet and my children’s is a leading cause of their/my dysfunctions.. All in all, I swing between clarity and confusion and I’m sure many of you can relate.
No doubt about it, this nation is health obsessed, for better or for worse. And it better be, with the amount of money people need to ‘fork’ out if they find themselves in need of care. Health care can literally cost ‘an arm and a leg’ and it is fabulous that more and more of us have access to ways of self healing, through diet, exercise, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbs and homeopathy and the myriad health modalities out there.
We are fortunate to be blessed with the quality and quantity of food and all its related allergens (!)
And yet, I look at people, my past self included, who do not have access to this knowledge and choice and see a more relaxed enjoyment of what’s on their plate. Less constant weighing up of contents and consequences.
A little voice pipes up at the back of my mind.. It belongs to a ninety year old lady called Beatty who had Tourettes syndrome in the Nursing home i used to work in, she once bit my head but thats another story… She always said about food, “If you like it, dear, then its good for you.”
I hear screaming at the unscientific basis of this old lady’s comment.. but, as it goes, when it all boils down to it there is something to be said for Beatty’s point of view.. at least in terms of enjoyment.. if you are what you eat, then make it a treat!