The Health Benefits of Migraine Tea

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Migraines can be painful and even debilitating. Many people with migraines have become interested in tea as a possible relief from migraine symptoms. Though research is limited, drinking certain teas has been shown to help with migraine pain. This article will discuss the best teas for migraines and soothing recipes to try.

Migraine Tea

Getty Images

What Does Headache Pain Feel Like?

Migraines are recurring headaches causing intense pain that can feel like throbbing or pulsing. They can also cause other symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, changes in mood, sensitivity to light and sounds, and neck pain.

There are two main types of headaches:

  • Tension headaches cause mild to moderate pain. Symptoms include dull aching pain and tightness surrounding the head, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Triggers usually include stress, poor sleep, diet, and caffeine use.
  • Migraine headache is more severe and can last for several hours to days. Symptoms of a migraine headache include throbbing pain, distorted vision, sensitivity to light, and nausea or vomiting. Triggers for migraines can be more complex and include hormonal factors, stress, eating patterns, and even weather. Some patients experience an aura before the onset of a migraine that signals the oncoming headache. Without an aura, it can be challenging for some people to predict a migraine.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The pain from tension headaches and migraines can be debilitating and can lower the quality of life for people experiencing them. As a result, many sufferers turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that are not standard medical care practices, such as drinking tea.


There is limited research on the effectiveness of tea for treating migraines. However, there is some evidence that tea may help with migraine pain.

Best Teas for Migraines

Most herbal teas used as a supplemental treatment for migraines are decaffeinated, though for infrequent migraines, caffeine can help relieve the pain. Caffeine shouldn't be used to treat frequent migraines, however.

Most science is unclear about how ingredients in teas affect migraines and the exact mechanism for why tea helps people with migraines. However, the following teas have been shown to help relieve pain.

Decaffeinated Tea

  • Butterbur tea: Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is an herbal supplement derived from a shrub that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. One study shows that this tea is an effective treatment for migraines.
  • Curcumin tea: The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is an effective anti-inflammatory. Research shows promising data for preventing migraines, including a study supporting that curcumin used with fatty acids helps reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain and spinal cord).
  • Coriander tea: The syrup derived from coriander (Coriandrum sativum) has been shown to reduce the duration and frequency of migraines, as well as reduce migraine pain.
  • Citron tea: Citron (Citrus medica) also appears to be a safe therapy to help reduce pain and the duration of migraine attacks. After measuring the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines, one study concluded that citron was effective for treating migraine headaches.
  • Ginger tea: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is well-known for reducing symptoms of nausea and indigestion and is generally safe to use, even during pregnancy. Recent research shows it may also help relieve migraines. One study evaluated ginger in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen), which help reduce inflammation and pain, to improve migraine symptoms. Patients in the study responded significantly better after being treated with ginger extract and anti-inflammatory medication than those treated with an anti-inflammatory alone.

Caffeinated Tea

Green tea is famous for its antioxidant properties and has numerous health benefits that can help treat and reduce the risk of disease. Green tea has historically been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times.

Although there have been many studies about green tea, it is not completely clear if it helps migraine pain because it boosts overall health and is an anti-inflammatory, or because it contains caffeine.

Does Caffeine Help Migraines?

Caffeine is an ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) headache medications because it helps reduce inflammation. Caffeine is also a vasoconstrictor, which means that it narrows blood vessels to restrict blood flow.

When blood vessels in the head become enlarged during headaches, caffeine can decrease pain by constricting them and reducing blood flow. Many medications for headaches work by causing constriction of vessels in the head.

If you suffer from migraine pain, consider keeping a journal tracking what you ate, drank, and did around the onset of your migraines to note any triggers. You may find a certain amount of caffeine can help relieve migraine pain.

Caffeine Sensitivity

People who are sensitive to caffeine may want to consider avoiding this ingredient altogether. Caffeine sensitivity may feel like a rush of adrenaline, give you the jitters, and cause difficulty focusing for several hours. Those with caffeine sensitivity may metabolize caffeine more slowly.

Dosage 

There is no recommended or standardized dosage for tea intake. However, when consumed in moderation, it is generally considered to be safe. Talk with your physician about your health history and if drinking tea is right for you, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Possible Side Effects

Although there are several health benefits of tea, there are potential side effects as well, particularly for teas that include caffeine. Always research the ingredients in your tea and speak with your physician about drinking it if you are pregnant.

Some side effects of caffeinated tea may include:

  • Anxiousness or restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Nausea

Migraine Tea Recipes 

The easiest way to make tea is to purchase pre-made tea bags from the store. However, you can buy loose leaf tea as well.

The following two recipes can help provide migraine relief.

Honey Green Tea Recipe

This cozy green tea recipe may offer some relief from migraine symptoms. This recipe makes a single serving.

Ingredients:

  • One cup water
  • One slice of lemon
  • One teaspoon honey
  • One green tea bag

Instructions:

  1. Heat water in a teapot.

  2. When water is hot but not boiling, carefully pour into a heatproof mug containing one teabag. Let steep for one to three minutes before removing the teabag.

  3. Stir in one teaspoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon.

  4. Let cool, if needed, before drinking.

Although this recipe calls for a green tea bag, you can substitute it for any kind of tea such as chamomile, citron, black, or another favorite tea flavor.

Turmeric (Curcumin) Tea Recipe

Curcumin is an ingredient in turmeric and has anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also responsible for turmeric’s orange color and unique flavor. Curcumin may help relieve migraine symptoms and has many other anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

Absorption from curcumin is higher when consumed with black pepper (Piper nigrum), which is why black pepper is an ingredient in this tea.

Ingredients:

  • One teaspoon grated fresh turmeric (or powdered)
  • One green tea bag
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • One teaspoon honey

To omit caffeine from this recipe, you can replace the green tea bag with an herbal tea of choice.

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a heatproof mug.

  2. Carefully fill the mug with warm-to-hot (not boiling) water.

  3. Let the tea bag steep for three minutes, then discard.

  4. The curcumin may begin to settle, so stir between sips to mix it up.

A Word From Verywell

Migraines are painful and debilitating. If you or someone in your family suffers from migraines, speak with your physician about symptom management and prevention options. The cause, treatment, and prevention of migraines and their symptoms can be a complex topic. There is often no simple solution, and sometimes people must try different types of therapies to find relief.

Drinking certain teas has been shown to help with migraine pain. It can also provide a soothing reprieve from busy schedules. Taking a quiet moment to sip a cup of tea may be what you need to relax and help keep migraine symptoms at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best teas for headaches?

    Studies show that teas made with butterbur, citron, curcumin, and coriander have been more effective in managing and treating headache symptoms than placebos, which are substances with no therapeutic effects. Talk to your physician about trying different tea recipes to support your current medications and enhance migraine relief.

  • How does caffeine help headaches?

    Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it narrows blood vessels. When blood vessels in the head become enlarged, caffeine can constrict the vessels to reduce the pain. Caffeine helps reduce inflammation and is an ingredient in many OTC headache medications.

  • How do you get rid of migraines quickly?

    Depending on the type and severity of your migraines, finding relief from pain may take some time. Start by discussing your migraine symptoms with your physician, including potential prescription and OTC medications to provide relief. You may also consider alternative therapies, such as hot or cold packs, dimming the lights, relaxing, meditating, or drinking herbal tea.

Was this page helpful?
14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Drummond PD. Herbal treatments for migraine: A systematic review of randomised-controlled studiesPhytother Res. 2020;34(10):2493-2517. doi:10.1002/ptr.6701

  2. Dodick DW. A phase-by-phase review of migraine pathophysiology: supplement articleHeadache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2018;58:4-16. doi:10.1111/head.13300

  3. Rizzoli P, Mullally WJ. HeadacheThe American Journal of Medicine. 2018;131(1):17-24. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.09.005

  4. Migraine Research Foundation. Migraine facts.

  5. American Migraine Foundation. Caffeine and migraine. Updated January 10, 2017.

  6. Lipton RB, Göbel H, Einhäupl KM, Wilks K, Mauskop A. Petasites hybridus root (Butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraineNeurology. 2004;63(12):2240-2244. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000147290.68260.11

  7. Abdolahi M, Jafarieh A, Sarraf P, et al. The neuromodulatory effects of ω-3 fatty acids and nano-curcumin on the cox-2/ inos network in migraines: a clinical trial study from gene expression to clinical symptomsEndocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2019;19(6):874-884. doi:10.2174/1871530319666190212170140.

  8. Delavar Kasmaei H, Ghorbanifar Z, Zayeri F, et al. Effects of coriandrum sativum syrup on migraine: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trialIran Red Crescent Med J. 2016;18(1):e20759. doi:10.5812/ircmj.20759

  9. Jafarpour M, Yousefi G, Hamedi A, Shariat A, Salehi A, Heydari M. Effect of a traditional syrup from Citrus medica L. fruit juice on migraine headache: A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trialJ Ethnopharmacol. 2016;179:170-176. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2015.12.040

  10. Martins LB, Rodrigues AMDS, Rodrigues DF, Dos Santos LC, Teixeira AL, Ferreira AVM. Double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of ginger ( Zingiber officinale Rosc.) addition in migraine acute treatment. Cephalalgia. 2019;39(1):68-76. doi:10.1177/0333102418776016

  11. Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Chin Med. 2010;5(1):13. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-13

  12. Singhal K, Raj N, Gupta K, Singh S. Probable benefits of green tea with genetic implicationsJ Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2017;21(1):107-114. doi:10.4103/0973-029X.203758

  13. Temple JL, Bernard C, Lipshultz SE, Czachor JD, Westphal JA, Mestre MA. The safety of ingested caffeine: a comprehensive reviewFront Psychiatry. 2017;8:80. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00080

  14. Kesarwani K, Gupta R. Bioavailability enhancers of herbal origin: An overviewAsian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2013;3(4):253-266. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60060-X