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Herbal Medicine for Migraine

This series of traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias deals with herbal formulations used by Bhumkas. We aim to bring the Bhumka knowledge on the global platform so that herbal pharma companies find a direction for development of cheaper, safer and eco-friendly medicines. The current article deals with the treatment of Migraine.

Patalkot is known for its richness of medicinal flora. This valley is covered with tropical forests, which are supposed to be rich in biodiversity. However subtropical hill forests are found in few areas. Some of the economically medicinal plants are on the verge of extinction. The endemic and rare flora is also found in the region. The place is spread over an area from 22.24 to 22.29 degree north, 78.43 to 78.50 degree east. The place is located at a distance of 79 Km from the district headquarters in the North-West direction, and 20 Km from Tamia in North-East direction. 'Doodhi' river flows in the picturesque valley. It is a treasure of forest and herbal wealth.

There are 12 villages and 13 hamlets in this valley, with a total population of 2012 (1017 male and 995 female). Most of the people belong to 'Bharia' and 'Gond' tribes. Tribals perform herbal practices for curing their ailment. The tribal who treats patients is known as Bhumka. Bhumkas are real herbal experts. We have documented hundreds of practices performed by these Bhumkas. The series Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias deals with herbal formulations used by these Bhumkas. We aim to bring the Bhumka knowledge on the global platform so that herbal pharma companies find a direction for development of cheaper, safer and eco-friendly medicines. The current article deals with the treatment of Migraine.

Combination of herbs viz., Curcuma longa, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Azadirachta indica, Tinospora cordifolia, Terminalia chebula, Ocimum sanctum, Eclipta alba

Drug Preparation: Curcuma longa roots (11/2 tbsp), Glycyrrhiza glabra roots (11/2 tbsp), Azadirachta indica bark (11/2 tbsp), Tinospora cordifolia stems (11/2 tbsp), Terminalia chebula fruits (1 tbsp), Ocimum sanctum leaves (11/2 tbsp), Eclipta alba leaves (11/2 tbsp).

Dosage: One teaspoonful powder should be given to the patient, twice a day (morning and evening) with water or honey.

Plant Profiles:

1. Curcuma longa Linn. (Turmeric)

Sanskrit- Haridra; Hindi, Bengali, Marathi & Gujarati- Haldi, halada; Tamil- Manjal; Telugu- Pasupu, Kannada- Arishina.

A perennial herb, 2-3 ft. high with a short stem and tuffted leaves; the rhizomes, which are short and thick, constitute the turmeric of commerce. Turmeric is used both as a colouring material and as a condiment. The characteristic yellow matter, distributed throughout the plant, is especially concentrated in the rhizomes (WOA. 1997).

2. Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Licorice)

Sanskrit- Madhuka, Yashti-madhu; Hindi- Mulhatti, Jethi-madh; Bengali- Jashtimadhu, Jaishbomodhu; Marathi- Jeshta Madha; Gujarati- Jethi Madha; Telugu- Yashtimadhukam, Atimadhuramu; Tamil- Atimaduram; Kannada- Yashti Madhuka, Atimadhura; Malayalam- Iratimadhuram

G. glabra, the principal source of the commercial drug, is a hardy herb or undershrub attaining a height up to 6 ft.; leaves multifoliolate, imparipinnate; flowers in axillary spikes, papilionaceous, lavender to violet in colour; pods compressed, containing reniform seeds. The underground part in some varieties consists of a rootstock with a number of long, branched stems; in others, the rootstock, which is stout, throws off a large number of perennial roots. The dried, peeled or unpeeled underground stems and roots constitute the drug, known in the trade as Liquorice (WOA, 1997).

3. Azadirachta indica A. Juss. syn. Melia azadirachta Linn. (Indian Lilac, Margosa Tree, Neem Tree)

Bengali- Nim; Gujarati- Limbado; Hindi- Nim, Nimb; Kannada- Bevinamara; Malayalam- Veppa; Marathi- Limba; Oriya- Nimba; Sanskrit- Arishta, Nimba; Tamil- Vembu, Veppam; Telugu- Veepachettu, Yapachettu; Urdu- Nim

A large, evergreen tree, 12-18 m in height and 1.8-2.4 m in girth, with a straight bole and long, spreading branches forming a broad crown, commonly found throughout the greater part of India, and often cultivated. Bark grey or dark grey, rough, reddish brown inside, with numerous oblique furrows and scattered tubercles; leaves imparipinnate, alternate, 20-38 cm long: leaflets 8-19, alternate or opposite, ovate-lanceolate, oblique or sub-falcate, falcate-lanceolate, glossy, bluntly serrate; flowers white or pale-yellow, small, scented, numerous, in long, slender, very lax, axillary panicles; drupes green, turning yellow on ripening, aromatic, oblong, or ovoid-oblong, smooth, 1.3-1.8 cm long, with a single exalbuminous seed (WOA. 1997).

4. Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers ex Hook. f. & Thoms. (Gulancha, Tinospora)

Sanskrit- Amrita, Guluchi, Jwarari; Hindi- Amrita, Giloe, Gulancha, Gulbel, Guloh, Gurcha, Jiwantika; Bengali- Golancha; Marathi & Gujarati- Gulvel; Telugu- Tippateege; Tamil- Amudem chindil; Kannada- Amrutoballi, Madhuparne, Uganiballi; Malayalam- Amrytu, Chittamritam; Oriya- Culochi.

A large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub found throughout tropical India, ascending to an altitude of 300m. Stems rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. Bark grey-brown or creamy white, warty; leaves membranous, cordate with a broad sinus; flowers small, yellow or greenish yellow, appearing when the plant is leafless, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; drupes ovoid, glossy, succulent, red, pea-sized; seeds curved (WOA. 1997).

5. Terminalia chebula Retz.; C. B. Clarke (Fl. Br. Ind.) in part (Chebulic Myrobalan)

Hindi- Harra; Bengali- Haritaki; Marathi- Hirda; Gujarati- Hardo; Telugu- Karakkai; Tamil- Kadukkai; Oriya- Haridra; Punjabi- Har, Harar; Assamia- Silikha

A tree 15-24 m. in height and 1.5-2.4 m. in girth, with a cylindrical bole of 4-9 m., a rounded crown and spreading branches, found throughout the greater parts of India. Bark dark-brown, often longitudinally cracked, exfoliating in woody scales; leaves ovate or elliptic with a pair of large glands at the top of the petiole; flowers yellowish white, in terminal spikes; drupes ellipsoidal, obovoid or ovoid, yellow to orange-brown, sometimes tinged with red or black and hard when ripe, 3-5 cm. long, become 5-ribbed on drying; seeds hard, pale yellow (WOA. 1997).

6. Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Sacred Basil, Holy Basil)

Sanskrit- Ajaka, Brinda, Manjari, Parnasa, Patrapuspha, Suvasa Tulasi; Hindi- Tulsi, Baranda, Kala Tulsi; Bengali- Tulsi; Marathi- Tulasa, Tulasi Chajadha; Gujarati- Tulsi; Telugu- Tulasi, Brynda, Gaggera, Krishna Tulasi, Nalla Tulasi; Tamil- Thulasi; Kannada- Vishnu Tulasi, Kari Tulasi, Sri Tulasi; Malayalam- Trittavu

An erect, herbaceous, much-branched, softly hairy annual, 30-75 cm. high, found throughout India ascending up to 1,800 m. in the Himalayas, and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Leaves elliptic-oblong, acute or obtuse, entire or serrate, pubescent on both sides, minutely gland-dotted; flowers purplish or crimson, in racemes, close whorled; nutlets sub-globose or broadly ellipsoid, slightly compressed, nearly smooth, pale brown or reddish, with small black markings.

7. Eclipta alba (Linn.) Hassk. E. prostrata (Linn.) Linn. syn E. erecta Linn.

Sanskrit- Bhringaraja, Kesaraja, Ajagara; Hindi- Bhangra, Mochkand, Babri; Bengali- Kesuti, Keshukti, Keshori; Marathi- Bhringuraja, Maka; Gujarati- Bhangra, Kaluganthi, Dodhak, Kalobhangro; Telugu- Galagara, Quntagalijeru; Tamil- Garuga, Kayanthakara; Kannada- Garagadasoppu; Malayalam- Kyonni; Oriya- Kesarda.

An erect or prostrate, much branched, strigosely hirsute, annual, often rooting at the nodes; leaves opposite, sessile, oblong-lanceolate, 1-4 in. long; flower-heads white, 0.25-0.35 inch in diam. This plant is a common weed in moist situations throughout India, ascending up to 6,000 ft. on the hills. E. alba is commonly known as safed bhangra (Hindi) when in flower and as kala bhangra when in fruit. Pila bhangra is the name given to the closely related plant, Wedelia chinensis Merrill syn. W. calendulacea Less., which is used, to some extent, vicariously for E. alba (WOA. 1997).


WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).

About the Authors:

Dr Deepak Acharya: He is the Director of a herbal formulation company in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India. He has written 30 research papers in National and International journals of repute. He writes popular articles for web and magazines.

Ms Garima Sancheti: She is a research scholar, working in the field of Radiation and Cancer Biology from Department of Zoology (University of Rajasthan, India). She has to her credit various research papers in scientific journals as well as articles on web.

Dr Anshu Shrivastava: He is a Botanist and PhD from BSI- Jodhpur, currently working as Research Associate in SRISTI- Ahmedabad.

Dr Sanjay Pawar: He is a botanist in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh.

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