Migraine (Anantavaata)
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Migraine is a common problem of the nervous system. It is characterized by frequent headaches that are triggered by some particular factors. Migraine headaches are very much rampant in the modern world. Statistics reveal that there may be about 15% of the total world population suffering from some kind of migraine or the other, out of which about 5% are yet to be diagnosed.

Definition of Migraine (Anantavaata)


Migraine is defined as a very severe and recurring attack of headache which is accompanied by a feeling of nausea. The frequency of migraine headaches varies from one person to another, and so does their severity. Also, there is a vast difference in the types of pains that are felt during attacks of migraine. Generally the headaches in migraine are felt only on one side of the head.

Migraine is a neurological disorder, i.e. it is caused in the nervous system of the body. There is yet research going on to ascertain the exact nature and cause of the malady. Due to this, migraine can never be diagnosed with conviction. The diagnosis is often a conjecture on the basis of the symptoms that are shown.

In Ayurveda, migraine is very similar to anantavaata, a vata dosha disorder. There is another condition described in Ayurveda, the ardhaavabheda. However, ardhaavabheda only refers to the one-sided headache and does not encompass migraine completely.

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Causes of Migraine (Anantavaata)

The exact cause of migraine is not known. Meaning that, it is not known why some people are prone to migraine-related headaches and some others are not. In people with migraine complaints, it is observed that there are usually some triggering factors that bring on the migraine headache.

A list of the common triggering factors for migraine is given below:-

A. Causes Related to Lifestyle

Busy and hectic life, rife with lots of tensions and worries

Financial problems and major losses of money

Continuous and prolonged exposure to toxins and chemical pollutants, including smoke and fumes

Excessive smoking

Sudden changes of climate

Continuous exposure to loud sound

Watching too much television, especially those with lot of sound and visual effects

Improper sleep patterns – either too much, too little or interrupted

Pubertal changes in girls

Pregnancy in women


Extreme excitation of either sorrow or happiness

B. Causes Related to Diet

Monosodium glutamate, i.e. ajinomoto in food

Too much of oily or spicy food

Fermented foods and foods containing too much yeast


Beverages such as tea, coffee and colas

Excessive consumption of dairy products

Flesh foods that are not fresh

Grapes and raisins

Dry fruits such as nuts and peanuts

All kinds of alcoholic drinks

C. Causes Related to Medication

Drugs that dilate the blood vessels, such as nitroglycerine

Too much painkillers

Withdrawal from painkillers

Birth control pills

Aminophylline, used by asthmatic patients

Reserpine, nifedipine and diuretics used by high blood pressure patients

According to Ayurvedic principles, migraine is a tridosha disorder, i.e. vitiation in any of the three doshasvata, pitta or kapha – can cause migraines. Out of the three doshas, pittadosha is the most prominent factor. Pittadosha causes the dilation of the blood vessels, which causes the onset of a migraine attack.

From the external symptoms, it can be understood which of the three doshas is causing the attack. Refer to the following table to see what kind of migraine symptoms are shown by the doshas:-

Migraine due to vata dosha

  • Dryness of skin
  • Constipation
  • Pain is very acute

Migraine due to pitta dosha

  • Redness and burning sensation in the eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Irritability
  • Nosebleeds

Migraine due to kapha dosha

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headache with a dull throbbing pain

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Phases of Migraine (Anantavaata) Explaining the Symptoms

The onset of a migraine attack is not sudden. Sometimes there is a warning a few days in advance. The total attack of migraine can be divided into four distinct phases – prodrome, aura, pain and postdrome. Out of these, the pain is the only phase that is seen in all sufferers of migraine. Several migraine sufferers can have attacks without prodrome, aura and postdrome phases.

The migraine headache symptoms shown by sufferers of migraine are more or less common in all. The following table gives a comprehensive summary of the various symptoms shown during the different phases of migraine.

Phase of Migraine

When Does it Begin?

What Does it Do?


Prodromal Phase (occurs in 40 to 50% of all migraine sufferers)

May begin a few hours or even a couple of days before the migraine attack.

  • Feeling of depression
  • Altered moods
  • Inexplicable craving for a particular food
  • Fatigue and excessive yawning
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stiff sensation in the neck
  • Frequent urination


Aura Phase (occurs in 20 to 30% of all migraine sufferers)

Less than 60 minutes before the migraine attack

  • Visual symptoms such as appearance of zigzag or dazzling lights
  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Pins and needles pain in the hand and buccal cavity (roof of the mouth)
  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Hallucinations
  • Hypersensitivity to touch


Pain Phase (the most proliferating phase of migraine, called as ardhaavabheda in Sanskrit)

This phase is the actual migraine attack

  • Headache begins, which may be mild to severe and of various pain types
  • The pain may begin as bilateral, but would end as unilateral
  • Anorexia, nausea and vomiting are most common
  • Blurred vision
  • Stuffiness in the nose
  • Sufferers like to be away from light and sound
  • A feeling of lightheadedness
  • Polyuria and pallor is common
  • A single vein can be prominently felt in the temple
  • Stiffness or tenderness can be felt in the back of the neck
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme mood swings


Postdromal Phase (this phase occurs in all migraine sufferers)

This phase occurs after the severity of the migraine attack is past

  • An extremely fatigued and emaciated feeling sets in
  • Hyperirritability is common
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • A general feeling of uneasiness, called as malaise

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Complications due to Migraine (Anantavaata)

Migraine or anantavaata is a chronic disorder in people, i.e. the condition of migraine lasts for several years within the body and cannot be treated completely at once. Due to this reasons, several of the smaller symptoms that are shown during the migraine attacks can exacerbate into serious ailments in the future. The following are some of the complications that can arise:-

(i) Photophobia – Constant sufferers of migraine can develop a condition called as photophobia. Photophobia means fear of light. During the pain phase of the migraine attack, the person wishes to seek out dark places as light affects the nervous system. This tendency to be in a dark place may aggravate with time, making the person permanently shun brightly lit places. In extreme cases, blindness could be caused.

(ii) Phonophobia – Similar to photophobia, phonophobia is the fear of sound. Chronic migraine sufferers will develop a dislike for loud sounds and always be seeking out for tranquil places.

(iii) Vertigo – Vertigo is the medical term for a constant feeling of lightheadedness. Persons suffering from vertigo suffer dizziness and have a continuous feeling of falling down. This is a common symptom during migraine attacks, but long-term migraine can cause permanent vertigo.

(iv) Stroke – It is seen that migraine left untreated for a long time in a person can increase the chances of having a heart stroke in the future.

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Transmission of Migraine (Anantavaata)

There is no question of migraine getting transmitted from one person to another. Migraine is a non-communicable disease. However, it runs in generations through hereditary lines.

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Prevention of Migraine (Anantavaata)

Migraine is a chronic condition, whose attacks are felt recurrently. These attacks are compounded by triggering factors, which are already listed above. Triggering factors differ from one person to another, and in almost all sufferers of migraine, there are a combination of triggering factors at work.

Consider an example. Ice-cream is a triggering factor of migraine in several cases. However, sometimes ice-cream causes migraine while other times it doesn’t. This is because ice-cream is not the only factor causing the migraine attack. There must be something else in the diet or the environmental conditions that may be triggering the migraine attack in conjunction with the ice-cream. Like, eating an ice-cream in the winter may cause a migraine attack, but eating an ice-cream in the summer may be harmless.

In order to prevent migraine attacks, several people maintain a migraine diary. In this diary, a detailed record is kept of the migraine attacks. The diet of the person on the day of the attack and the physical activities the person indulged in on that day are mentioned in the diary. This diary helps to make a quick survey of exacerbating conditions and preventing them in the future.

Migraine therapies should not be discontinued if there is some feeling of migraine relief. It is necessary to continue to treatment program till the end. In the case of Ayurvedic treatment, there is no question of stopping the treatment ever, as most herbs prescribed by Ayurveda are components of the daily diet.

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Diet during Migraine (Anantavaata)

Diet plays an important role during migraine. Most triggering factors of migraine are diet-related. Hence, the migraine attacks are kept at bay by avoiding the triggering items in the diet.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Migraine (Anantavaata) Relief

The treatment of anantavaata by Ayurveda follows a very systematic synergic pattern. The treatment is a three-point process, which is as follows:-

  • Controlling the rebounding of the migraine attack
  • Reduce the exposure to triggering factors
  • Medication to prevent the future attacks

When migraine treatment is done only through allopathic or other forms of medication, then there may be a chance of rebounding in the future. Also, most medication cannot totally eliminate the migraine condition from the body. Ayurveda aims not only removing the severity of the migraine attack, but also prevents the recurrence of attacks in the future.

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Adrak or Sunthi

Zingiber officinalis


Adrak is an excellent painkiller. Rubbing dry ginger on a grinding stone with water on the forehead provides migraine relief during migraine attacks.


Bacopa monnieri

Water Hyssop

Brahmi is a known nootropic, i.e. it is used to increase the functioning of the brain. Brahmi also reduces the anxiety caused due to stress.


Nardostachys jatamansi

Indian Spikenard

Jatamansi is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment used for nervous and convulsive disorders.

In order to prevent the recurrence of migraine attacks, the following medications are prescribed in Ayurveda:-

  • Sootha Shekara rasa
  • Mahavaata Vidhwansana rasa
  • Dashamoolarishta
  • Chandanaadi vati
  • Shah Bindu taila

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Post Your Comments

Comment Script


At last I have found a remedy for migraine. Really Brahmi is the best medicine.
#1 - Poonam - 07/20/2010 - 14:01
I am still looking for a better and suitable medicine. Kindly help me.
#2 - Dr. V.J. M[@]EY - 03/23/2011 - 12:44
#3 - shanta - 06/28/2011 - 05:16
i m suffering from migrane, pls provide me the best auryvedic medicine which can cure me.
my email id is:
[email protected]
#4 - Mahesh - 08/15/2011 - 02:35
I am suffering from head ache daily whole head, back of head, back of neck,neck, some times forehead, sides of nose, behind eyes, cheak etc. Sometimes starting from morning mild and sometimes from noon & evening. But every day head ache for the past 1 1/2 years. Consulted Alopathi doctor and they says it is a Migrain & prescribed medicine. But no effect. I am using specs for shortsight . Recently checked the power and confirm OK. Is this is a migrain attack? and describe any medicine. it is nearing 1 month non stop head ache etc.starting. I am 18 years old mail and studying college. In college I have to take drawing etc. Before 3 weeks ago I was concentrating drawing and at that time head ache and other aches described above started and till now I am experiencing. My email id is [email protected]
#5 - Ramakrishnan - 11/16/2011 - 03:32
is there any exercises, yoga, treatment i am against medicine taking medicine from last 4 years but no use my problem increases i hate medicine. someone told me dont take any medicine may be that is right treatment. suggest some yoga, exercises........?
#6 - eshwar - 03/06/2012 - 06:01
Dear sir, i am suffering from migraine head pain from last 6yrs. So pls kindly provide some permanent treatment for this big problem. I felt very happy after reading ur article and now after reading i am getting the feeling that i can get permanent treatment here. Thank you sir. From [email protected]
#7 - anil - 10/07/2012 - 08:04
Dear Sir i m suffering from migraine head pain continuously.....it's too much irrtating and interuped in my study....and i must study on computer...plz tell me best ayurvedic medicne for migraine....thanks..
#8 - Manisha - 11/01/2012 - 08:02
Dear Sir i m suffering from migraine head pain continuously.....it's too much irrtating and interuped in my study....and i must study on computer...plz tell me best ayurvedic medicne for migraine....thanks.
[email protected]
#9 - Manisha - 11/01/2012 - 08:03
How to download the material what is given in this page
#10 - PRASADARAOBVM - 11/16/2012 - 08:33
i have migraine scine last 5 year and i take too much medicine but i can not get relief pls let me know Ayurveda medicine email is [email protected]
#11 - kaid - 12/13/2012 - 03:31
Dear Sir
I have being having migraine for last 20 years. Now a days paid is not tolerable. I have read the article on this blog and was tempted to contact you. Could you please advise what treatment should I take to compeltely recover fm Migraine, My email address is [email protected]
#12 - Ganesh K R - 12/18/2012 - 02:47
Dear sir,
I am suffering from migraine for 1 year..i consulted many doctors and they told me migraine...i am taking medicine at that time but I could not get relief..i m student and not concentrate my study...headache occurred 3-4days in a weak...i read ur articles.then I feel that you will give me great solution.....p
My email id is [email protected] help me..i will very thaankful for this kindness.
#13 - pramod kumar - 02/03/2013 - 06:23
I seem to get migraines after taking Brahmi. I figure the increased blood flow to the brain would induce migraine and it seems to in me.
#14 - Danny - 03/14/2014 - 02:57
have migraine since 10 yr,nov 13 started ciplar la 40 daily,after taking 6 month having vertigo now and eico noises in the left year ? kindly help sir?
#15 - ckp - 06/29/2014 - 06:35
can anyone tell me how to use bramhni to cure migraine
#16 - Ashish - 12/18/2017 - 23:40
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