Migraine Headaches Caused in Part by Antibiotics

Are Migraine Headaches Caused by Antibiotics?

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

The majority of people do not think that antibiotics cause migraine headaches – or that pharmaceutical medications used to manage their migraines may be directly inhibiting their ability to heal.

If you ask most people with migraines if indigestion, inflammation, muscle tension, and hormones are all part of their migraine headaches, quite a few of them will say YES. Many of these people are also aware that getting plenty of potassium and magnesium is important for proper electrolyte balance, but may not understand why their electrolyte levels are off.

Increasingly, more and more people are also aware of a disorder called Histamine Intolerance, and understand that their indigestion and migraine headaches may be resulting from an overload of histamine which occurs in the gut when the body is unable to break histamine and tyramine-rich foods down due to an enzyme deficiency (primarily, DAO, aka diamine oxidase).

Most migraineurs are also aware that dilated blood vessels are implicated in migraines, but won’t see a connection between their low blood pressure and the blood vessel dilation during migraine.

This constellation of symptoms can be very difficult to understand, and rarely do we see a clear presentation for what these different symptoms have to do with each other much less what their underlying cause is.

In this article, I’d like to share with you the pieces of the puzzle as I have come to understand them in the process of healing my own migraine headaches and histamine intolerance.  It’s my (layperson’s) belief that even sporadic antibiotics cause migraine by way of negatively affecting primarily the gut flora and the kidneys.

Laypeople and medical doctors use the term “cause” and “causation” differently.  Strictly speaking, it is inaccurate to claim that antibiotics “cause” migraine headaches, in the sense that we know that many migraine headaches have other or multiple confounding causes as well.  In a very general way, this article is simply pointing out that antibiotics can be one of the major causative factors in the development of migraines in many but not all cases of migraine, and that this is often not fully recognized.  Clearly, antibiotics is a huge category of drugs with many different specific effects depending on the type of antibiotic used, but generally speaking, they are all recognized to negatively impact gut flora balance and kidney health.

Please note that this hypothesis and all the information contain here is based off of my own research, self-experimentation and observations helping others as an experientally-trained health coach, and not as a traditionally-trained medical doctor.

Mainstream and Alternative Classifications of Migraine Headache and the Role of Pharmaceuticals in Migraine Causation

The International Headache Society’s ICHD-3 classification system outlines three types of migraine: migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and retinal migraine. Migraine types formerly thought to be distinctive disorders, such as chronic migraine and hemiplagic migraine, are now being classified as “complications” of migraine.

In contrast, clinical nutritionist Byron J. Richards has created his own classification system for migraine headaches because, “From a practical point of view the different types of headaches that Western medicine classifies have little use in fixing the source of the problem and stopping the headaches from happening in the first place.”  He classifies migraines into four types of headache: Lymphatic/Pressure Headaches, Hormonal Headaches, Blood/Toxic Headaches, and Nerve Inflammation Headaches. He says:

It is a sobering commentary on the skill of Western medicine that their toolbox for this issue is limited to a variety of pain killers – which sometimes treat or manage the pain in a symptomatic way and sometimes don’t work so well. While some type of pain killing is better than the headache, getting stuck in the rut of ongoing painkiller use is also problematic and not addressing the source of the problem.(Source)

WebMd doesn’t recognize that antibiotics cause migraines.  It describes “medication headaches” and reports that many drugs, including antibiotics, can induce “acute headache”:

Many drugs can induce acute headache, including nitroglycerin, antihypertensive agents (beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors, and methyldopa), dipyridamole, hydralazine, sildenafil, histamine receptor antagonists (e.g., cimetidine and ranitidine), NSAIDs (especially indomethacin), cyclosporine, and antibiotics (especially amphotericin, griseofulvin, tetracycline, and sulfonamides).

If, however, we know that many people with histamine intolerance manifest with symptoms of migraine, the question becomes which medications in particular lower DAO or trigger mast cells to release histamine. A growing list of medications known to be indirectly implicated in migraine headaches, histamine intolerance, and mastocytosis is outlined here.

In addition to the direct impact of meds on mast cells, gut microbiome, kidneys, and liver (not to mention thyroid, pancreas, etc), it is well established that many pharmaceuticals are “Drug Muggers” – they steal vital nutrients needed by the body to make enzymes and complete any number of important functions, like facilitating muscle relaxation. (So, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals caused by pharmaceuticals can contribute to hypertension of muscles in the neck and cervical area.  These nutritional deficiencies are compounded by gut inflammation and leaky gut caused by antibiotics).

Notice that none of the explanations in this section for how meds affect us implicate antibiotics in chronic migraine. So why do I insist that antibiotics are the main culprit?  Because their use leads to a predominance of histamine-producing bacteria in the colon, and hormonal, electrolyte, and blood pressure problems that manifest due to kidney dysfunction. If we look at the history of people with migraines, they almost all have had numerous doses of antibiotics throughout their life (who hasn’t?).  Many who have tried my protocol confirm that their migraine headaches started after a major surgery or dose of antibiotics. This assault so undermined their own body’s resilience that a chronic debilitating condition resulted.

It’s my view that these cases are not a result of that single dose of antibiotics or pharmaceuticals, but rather, that the person was already compromised from intermittent antibiotic use throughout their life and that one incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  As with many other pharmaceuticals (such as vaccines), the question is: how many doses can the body handle, and at which point is a threshold reached that tips the body over into chronic inflammatory disease?

All medications probably affect the microbiome, which explains why people who take daily pain meds or migraine meds do not respond as well to the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol as those who only do occasionally. From an evolutionary perspective, pharmaceuticals and synthetic chemicals are novel and challenging for our bodies. We did not evolve to process them.

Why do so many people with migraine headaches have high levels of histamine?

It’s great that more and more people, including physicians, are becoming aware of the problem of histamine intolerance. Anyone familiar with histamine intolerance will know that DAO (diamine oxidase) is one of the enzymes that breaks down tyramine and histamine, both of which are found in a lot of foods, especially aged or fermented foods (and supplements).  Therefore, the idea goes, histamine intolerance is caused by low DAO levels. This is the classical perspective on histamine intolerance.  It’s also well known that some opiates trigger mast cells to degranulate and release histamine that way.  This is called mastocytosis.  So clearly there are many routes through which one can end up with a lot of inflammation (ie, histamine) in the body. A DAO level test can be done, but if a person were to show normal levels of DAO, this would not mean that they don’t have histamine intolerance, in my view.  It would only mean that there was so much histamine in the body that even normal DAO levels couldn’t break it all down.

I personally prefer to refer to the symptoms of an overfull “bucket” of histamine as “Histamine Overload” rather than “Histamine Intolerance.”  “Histamine Intolerance” implies there is a malfunction in the person’s body, whereas “Histamine Overload” correctly describes an excessive amount of histamine caused by factors that have overwhelmed the body’s ability to break it down.

I feel its always important to remember that the view of disease that sees the body as a malfunctioning machine that needs to be fixed is outdated and inaccurate. The body is incredibly sophisticated and intelligent, and sends off alarm signals and symptoms when it has been assaulted, overwhelmed, or is lacking the support it needs to function optimally.

I think the more important and overlooked factors in Histamine Overload manifesting as migraine headaches (besides low DAO) are:

  • Excessive bacteria in the gut (colon) that produce histamine.  (Histamine-producing bacteria include: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecalis, and various types of E. coli.This is rectified by prebiotics that feed friendly bacteria, as outlined in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.
  • Estrogen dominance.  Estrogen is known to suppress DAO and increase histamine. Estrogen dominance is also addressed through the ingestion of specific plants in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.
  • Damaged cell receptor sites for DAO. DAO receptor sites are affected by Na+ and Cl- levels, ie, electrolyte balance (Source here).  Could the damage to the the kidneys and the subsequent effects on electrolyte balance be affecting not only DAO levels, but also cells’ receptivity to DAO? The SimplyWell Migraine Protocol improves electrolyte balance and cell receptivity to DAO.

Why do so many people with migraine headaches have dilated blood vessels, low blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalances?

There seem to be mixed views as to whether migraine is an issue of constricted or dilated blood vessels.  But it is clear that with migraine, there is less than optimal blood flow and that this leads to loss of oxygen to the brain and attendant pain.

Constricted blood vessels would seem to logically be the cause of lack of blood flow, whereas it would seem dilated blood vessels would lead to more blood flow. However, the opposite is true.  The important key to understand here is that dilated blood vessels are also associated with low blood pressure.  Most migraineurs have low blood pressure, so while the vessels may be dilated and wide open for the blood to flow, if the pressure of that blood is low, it will not be able to bring the blood and oxygen to the head.

Additionally, low blood pressure will prevent good circulation to the extremities, which is why many with migraine headaches have cold hands and feet, tingling in hands and feet, and various peripheral neuropathy issues.

So the root question is actually, “Why do so many migraineurs have low blood pressure?”  Well, what regulates blood pressure?  The kidneys do.  They regulate blood pressure partially by way of how they regulate electrolyte balance.  Antibiotics are known to cause electrolyte imbalances via damage to the kidneys. This can be mitigated as outlined in the SimplyWell Protocol by consuming the optimal levels of potassium to sodium electrolytes (2:1 ratio), which will raise blood pressure, increase DAO levels, and improve cellular respiration and metabolic function.

As it turns out, there are also bacteria in the digestive tract that help to regulate blood pressure as well.  Therefore, anything that assaults the colonic bacterial balance and the kidneys (ie, antibiotics) will seriously compromise a person’s ability to regulate their blood pressure.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and Yale University have discovered that a specialized receptor, normally found in the nose, is also in blood vessels throughout the body, sensing small molecules created by microbes that line mammalian intestines, and responding to these molecules by increasing blood pressure. The finding suggests that gut bacteria are an integral part of the body’s complex system for maintaining a stable blood pressure. (Source)

To make matters even worse, stress also dilates blood vessels, as does histamine.  So once you are caught in a state of inflammation and high histamine, which in and of itself is very stressful, your blood vessels will be constantly dilated.  When this happens, small amounts of blood proteins (fibrin, glubulin, and albumin) leak into the interstitial spaces, get trapped around the cells compromising optimal electrolyte balance and cellular respiration, and congest the lymphatic system.  When the lymphatic system is congested and cannot be fully cleaned out via the venous blood because the kidneys are congested from antibiotics, varying degrees of sepsis result.

I’d like to give credit to Angela Stanton (creator of the Stanton Protocol) for her insights into low blood pressure and the importance of salt to raise blood pressure.  Stanton’s protocol is based on reduced carbohydrate consumption and increased potassium and salt intake.  Her protocol does not address histamine intolerance or inflammation in the gut, however.  The prebiotics in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol are an example of how healthy sugars from root vegetables can and do lower insulin sensitivity, thereby making carbohydrates easier for the pancreas to process, and less triggering for migraineurs.

What role do hormones play in migraine headaches?

The adrenal glands sit atop our kidneys and regulate our stress hormones.  Going through a surgery or getting antibiotics is extremely stressful, especially if the damage done from that surgery leads to a debilitating condition like chronic migraine headaches.

For many women like myself, the triggering surgery may have been a c-section operation.  So on top of antibiotics and the stress from the surgery, the mother is going to have taxed adrenals from sleep deprivation from caring for her child, and in some cases years of breastfeeding which can be literally very draining even in the absence of migraine headaches.  There are clearly many compounding factors that contribute to stress and adrenal fatigue, but I contend that it is the original stress to the kidneys from antibiotics and surgery that undermine the mother’s ability to be resourced and resilient in the face of the new challenges of motherhood.

The adrenal glands use progesterone to make cortisol. Therefore, the more stressed out you are, and the the more cortisol you produce, the more progesterone you will need to manufacture it.  Progesterone puts the brakes on estrogen.  If progesterone becomes depleted because of the high demands on it by the adrenals, there will be an excess of estrogen in the system.  Estrogen suppresses DAO, thus leading to excessive histamine.

The liver processes estrogen. Many people try to treat their migraines by focusing on liver health, but it may make more sense to heal the gut first and thereby support the liver. Some bacteria in the colon act to help detoxify the body, and therefore can be seen as a “second liver” (see Dr. Perlmutter’s book “Brain Maker” for more info). If the liver is already overloaded because the colonic bacteria that act as the second liver are missing, the liver will be more compromised, further contributing to the hormonal imbalance.

Luckily, this situation can be mitigated by improving gut flora balance and eating estrogen-reducing foods like raw carrot as featured in the SimplyWell Protocol. Once the most debilitating symptoms of histamine overload and migraine headache subside, sleep patterns will be re-established, the body can rest and repair itself and the kidneys/adrenals will gradually heal.

The SimplyWell Migraine Protocol can mitigate the damage done to the gut and kidneys by antibiotics.

It’s important to note that while clearly, not all migraine headaches have the same root causes, people with different migraine types are responding well to the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol, indicating that in many cases, migraines with the same root cause (imbalanced gut flora and compromised kidneys) can manifest with different symptoms in different people.

I developed the SimplyWell Protocol in January of 2016. It is a completely drug-free, plant-based approach to migraine headaches that relies on the use of specific vegetables and fruits (especially prebiotics available in various humble starchy roots) to feed healthy gut flora, balance estrogen levels, clean out the liver and gallbladder, and support kidney function (and thereby lymphatic health).

I didn’t fully understand why or how the protocol worked when I first discovered it, but the past nine months of research have shown me specifically why the plants used in the protocol work so well, and has helped me to connect the dots as to how and to what extent my different migraine symptoms were related to each other.

It was through the firsthand experience of reducing inflammation in my colon and the subsequent disappearance of my migraines that I realized that compromised digestion was the primary source of my histamine load and therefore, that antibiotics were the primary culprit in my imbalance. It was also in the process of cleaning up my diet and doing a few six day grape fasts which flushed my kidneys out of large chunks of mucous that I started to look into the connection between antibiotics and kidney disease.  It is well established that antibiotics damage the liver, thyroid, gallbladder, and kidneys, but it took me months to realize the implications of compromised kidney function on blood pressure, hormonal and electrolyte balance, and chronic migraine headaches.

The bottom line?

There is an enormous need for us to discover alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment, which are not only ineffective at addressing the root cause, but in many cases are exacerbating or undermining the body’s self-healing abilities.  This suppressive approach to medicine is in its death-throes.  People are waking up to a new paradigm of medicine that involves a return to common-sense, self-care, and natural solutions.  The problems is that while many people believe in a very general way that food is medicine, it can take years to discover which foods are the best medicine for specific conditions like chronic migraine headaches.

We are in the process of reclaiming our Folk Medicine and also discovering new applications for plant-based solutions that address modern problems largely caused by pharmaceuticals that our grandparents didn’t have to deal with and so were not in the lexicon of their Folk Medicine before it was lost.

I’m overjoyed to offer the Simplywell Migraine Protocol to the Folk as a gift from Mother Nature as she continually reveals options for us that are gentle, nourishing and profoundly effective at addressing intense chronic pain conditions such as migraine headaches. Part of my excitement in sharing these plant-based solutions comes from all the positive “side-effects” of truly holistic medicine (like clear skin, more energy, deeper sleep, improved gum health, diminished PMS and cramping during menstruation, etc).  The good news is that the body doesn’t know how to selectively heal, which is why a whole host of bothersome long-term ailments simply dissolve once the body is truly supported through proper nutrition.

It’s my hope that we can start to wake up to the reality of the damaging effects that antibiotic medications are having on our whole physiology, which for some of us manifests as migraines.  Luckily, there are very simple, affordable, and gentle plant-based solutions to reverse this damage, as outlined in my SimplyWell Migraine Protocol

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Migraine Trigger Alert! High Levels of Nitrates in Green Leafy Veggies

When people with migraines think about foods to avoid, green leafy vegetables aren’t usually on their radar as a migraine trigger.

After all, veggies and especially greens are important foods that you’ve gotta love. They’re packed full of blood-building and cleansing nutrients and exemplify all that is healthful and wholesome.  Most people with migraines and food sensitivities see vegetables as one of the safest food groups to eat from.  Spinach is occasionally recognized as a migraine trigger but usually the explanation given is that it contains high levels of oxalates or triggers histamine.  Both of these explanations may be true, but nitrates are usually not described as a migraine trigger when it comes to eating spinach.

The original SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol addressed the issue of nitrates – though not explicitly – by suggesting that you avoid nitrate rich foods such as lunch meats and cured meats along with most other aged and fermented foods.  What is news to us is that many fresh vegetables also contain significant amounts of nitrates – some naturally-occuring, some a result of how the plants are fertilized, and some a result of the time of year of harvest, growing conditions, and how the food is prepared.

The natural human tendency is to think that when something is good for you (ie, vegetables), more is even better for you. So our enthusiasm for taking responsibility for our health may result in us getting really amped about the practice of drinking fresh green smoothies every morning (for example)!   Unfortunately, if you get overzealous with them, raw leafy greens high in nitrates eaten in excess can be a migraine trigger, for reasons explained below.

Before moving forward, I want to point out, however, that my migraines went away before I knew about this connection and while eating nitrate-rich veggies.  I didn’t drink many green smoothies though.  My impression is that drinking green smoothies high in nitrates once in awhile should not pose too much of a problem for people who only get migraines occasionally.  But for those who have almost constant migraines, this nitrate issue may be a game-changer and reducing their consumption may improve symptoms and quality of life.  So as you read this, think of this info in light of how severe your migraines are before deciding to change how you eat greens.

The new research into nitrates and migraines

Recently there’s been some new research coming out showing that people with migraine headaches have more nitrate-reducing bacteria in their mouths and nitrate-producing bacteria in their guts.  This is important information, because:

“Nitrates, such as cardiac therapeutics and food additives, are common headache triggers, with nitric oxide playing an important role. Facultative anaerobic bacteria in the oral cavity may contribute migraine-triggering levels of nitric oxide through the salivary nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. Using high-throughput sequencing technologies, we detected observable and significantly higher abundances of nitrate, nitrite, and nitric oxide reductase genes in migraineurs versus nonmigraineurs in samples collected from the oral cavity and a slight but significant difference in fecal samples.” (Source)

While higher levels of nitric oxide (and raw, green, leafy veggies) may be a good thing for people with hypertension and high blood pressure, it’s not sp great for those of us with hypotension and low blood pressure.  Nitrates contribute to vasodilation and low blood pressure, and when our blood pressure is low (as most of ours are who are prone to migraines), there is insufficient blood and therefore oxygen getting to the head (as well as impingement on nearby cranial nerves). If you’d like to learn more about this, read my blog post here, under the section “Why do so many people with migraine headaches have dilated blood vessels, low blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalances?”

I know this isn’t something you really wanted to hear.

The last thing you need is to start being afraid of yet one more food group. In addition to alcohol, cheese, chocolate, and fermented and aged foods and supplements, you may (or may not be) already aware that you’re probably also to some degree triggered by glutamates, histamine, tyramines, benzoates, oxalates, and/or salycilates.  Now also nitrates!?!?  This news is hard to be receptive to, I realize.

The only consolation I have to offer is that by being educated about the properties of foods, we can actually be less fearful and more empowered in how we eat.  We don’t have to avoid these foods entirely (that would be impossible!), but by making discerning decisions about which foods we eat and how we prepare them, we can stop overloading our system with them.  The even better news is that once your gut flora starts to get rebalanced with help from the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol, your body just won’t get overloaded quite so easily, and you’ll be more resilient.

I’d imagine that even among people who are prone to migraines, there is still a diversity in their gut (and oral cavity) microbiome and these differences among us may explain our different levels of food sensitivities and capacities to handle glutamates, histamine, tyramines, benzoates, oxalates, and/or salycilates. There may be differences in our individual capacities to handle nitrates as well, so please test these foods out on yourself to gauge your own sensitivity levels.  What does seem clear is that nitrates ultimately reduce blood pressure, and this is generally undesirable in those with migraines.

So what are the veggies highest in nitrates?

That’s not a straightforward question to answer, because of the variability in factors that contribute to nitrate content (soil, plant type, growing conditions, fertilizers, time of year harvested, how old the plant is, part of the plant consumed, etc).  I’d love to be able to provide you with a very neat list outlining fixed nitrate levels for each vegetable, but doing so would be deceptive. In addition to the factors just described, we probably each have diverse nitrate reducing gut and mouth microbe communities, meaning nitrate levels as a migraine trigger may vary in intensity for each of us as individuals.

So let’s just simplify this.

Generally it appears that there is agreement that spinach, kale, arugula, chard, cilantro, and beet greens are highest in nitrates.  These foods doin’t have to be avoided – but will be better for you to eat cooked.  Cabbage, celery, bok choy, romaine, and radishes seem to be generally in the medium range of nitrate levels.  Cabbage and bok choy are usually cooked anyway, but radishes should still be good for you in moderation because unlike the more leafy green veggies high in nitrates, radishes contain prebiotic fibers and other properties beneficial to people with migraines (which is why they remain an optional but important part of the SimplWell Protocol).  According to some lists, potatoes and carrots are on the lower end of the nitrate spectrum (and also contain prebiotics, so we want to eat them raw).  Cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, and mesclun greens are also in the low to medium range.

Fruits also contain nitrates, but nowhere near the amounts that green leafy veggies do.  It’s my personal conclusion right now that its not important to stop eating any fruits, especially since fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products, one of which is uric acid. Uric acid drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in your blood vessels.  We want to increase our blood pressure to get more blood to the head (again, since people with migraines usually have low blood pressure).  Of course, always consider this information in light of what  you already know about your own particular food sensitivities.

Here’s a quick primer on how to minimize nitrate load from greens in your diet:

  1. Always choose organic greens.  Organic greens generally have fewer nitrates than conventionally-raised greens (which are more likely to to be a migraine trigger).
  2. Greens harvested during the spring and summer have lower nitrate levels than those harvested in the fall and winter.  Eating locally in season is one way to reduce nitrate levels.
  3. Cooking greens significantly lowers nitrate content, so eating cooked rather than fresh veggies will be less of a trigger, especially for the greens that are still healthful, like kale and spinach, but are very high in nitrates when fresh.
  4. Vegetables lower in nitrates should be chosen when you are eating fresh vegetables in the form of salads or green smoothies.  Mesclun greens, romaine lettuce, and cucumbers are lower in nitrates, but still contain nitrates.

A reminder: this info on nitrates is preliminary.

The research on higher nitrate-reducing bacteria in the mouths of those with migraines, and higher levels of nitrate-producing bacteria in their colons, just came out a few weeks ago. The implications of this research has not been tested out in large numbers of people with migraines to see how reducing nitrate-rich veggies and greens will impact their migraines.  But the mechanisms for how and why nitrates would affect those of us with migraines (and attendant low blood pressure) is pretty clear.

It just so happens that recently, when I experienced an unusual week of headaches and cloudy brain fog, I had been choosing to drink a lot of green drinks (normally I just rely on my carrot potato juice).  I had attributed my headaches to hormonal changes in my pregnancy, and low blood pressure from weather changes.  But then I found this research on nitrates. It’s almost as though the universe decided to perfectly time my green drink experiment with the releasing of this information so that I would make the connection.  So I stopped drinking the green drinks, and my headaches went away.  I’ve briefly tested this again and noticed fresh salads high in nitrates seem to give me headache symptoms.  Because my gut flora are more balanced from the prebiotics and improved electrolyte balance, high-nitrate greens aren’t a migraine trigger for me – but they do seem to give me a headache and other milder symptoms that would otherwise turn into one without implementation of the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol.

Scientific Research + Experiental Learning + Sharing Insight = Folk Medicine

The validity of this insight as it pertains to those who are prone to migraines should be tested more, and we have other members in our SimplyWell Protocol Community currently testing out this insight.  So if you normally drink a lot of green drinks, and decide to stop after reading this, please let me know what you find out.  You’ll be contributing to Folk Medicine knowledge by sharing your anecdotal evidence.  The combination of insights and explanations gleaned from scientific research which is then applied through personal experimentation – followed by the sharing of your observations with those who are also asking the same questions – is the best of both worlds.

Important! The goal is NEVER to be more afraid of food.

The goal is to be educated enough about food and how it affects us that we can actually feel well and function while we do the important work of healing the underlying imbalances that are causing the food sensitivity in the first place.  The body knows how to heal if we support it properly, and we can do so through better understanding of the properties of foods including this new information on nitrate migraine triggers and how to eat veggies in a way that won’t overload us or lower our blood pressure to much.

Check out my delicious recipe for a low-nitrate green drink made with romaine, cucumber, mint, and pear!

.

5 Ways to Get Migraine Relief without Drugs – Quick!

Back in the day, when I lived with the weekly beast of migraine headaches gnawing at my skull or looming nearby, I experimented with a wide variety of ways to get migraine relief without drugs.  When I felt one coming on, I’d frantically start going through my arsenal of tricks, and usually ended up succeeding one way or another in keeping it at bay or dissipating it entirely.  I refused to take pharmaceutical pain or migraine meds – because I understood that my migraines were actually caused by pharmaceuticals, especially antibiotics, that threw off my gut flora balance.  I’m not sure that my strength to stay away from pain meds would have persisted had I not finally discovered the plant-based solution to migraine headaches that I now call The SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol.

Some of the ways I’ve succeeded in getting rid of migraines were not only not replicable at all, but highly esoteric (visualizing sacred geometry – specifically, the torus symbol below).  Other attempts were successful but extremely hard to pull off while in so much pain (such as giving myself a craniosacral therapy treatment, or making love with a splitting headache, eventhough they worked!).

torusSo I want to share with you the five most common ways that I consistently managed to stave off or get rid of a migraine.  Obviously, these techniques are the most effective when applied the soonest you feel a migraine coming on.  However if you are like I was and constantly have some kind of a headache more or less all the time, there’s the tendency to hope that early signs of a migraine will just resolve themselves with a little sleep or rest.  Better to be proactive before things ramp up too much.

I offer these tips as a temporary measure for those of you who have not managed to get your dietary triggers figured out or who have not done the SimplyWell Protocol for long enough to see results yet.

In order to understand why the approaches below can often work to get rid of a migraine, we need to understand what migraine is and why it manifests.  My belief is that the majority of migraines result from 1) compromised kidneys which affects blood pressure and electrolyte balance, 2) imbalanced gut flora with a predominance of histamine and nitrate producing flora, which makes eating foods high in these substances overwhelming and activates inflammation in the gut and brain, and 3) congested lymph, especially in the neck area.  There are of course other factors involved, such as liver health, thyroid health, and issues with nutritional absorption all of which also affect migraines, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll just focus on these main points.  I’ve listed the most effective solutions here first.

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – and Raise Your Blood Pressure

Yes, we’ve all heard this one before.  What some of us haven’t heard is that drinking water doesn’t make your cells hydrated if your electrolyte balance is off.  The cells need an optimal ratio of potassium to sodium in order for the potassium/sodium channels to work (as well as magnesium and calcium, but potassium and sodium are the most important for actually getting rid of a migraine). Therefore, have a DIY electrolyte powder on hand that you can drink when you feel a migraine coming on.  Buying pre-formulated electrolyte powders won’t work as wel because most of them are formulated for athletes who lose a lot of sodium or aren’t directly formulated for migraineurs.

Click here for a DIY Electrolyte Drink Recipe!

So, in order to be hydrated you need both electrolytes and water.  Water contains oxygen but also increases blood volume, which is important because increased blood volume will mean there will be more blood to permeate all the extremities as well as the head even in the midst of low blood pressure. After you’ve taken 1 T of the elecrolyte mixture in water, drink a minimum of 3 pints of fresh water to raise your blood volume.Low blood pressure and dilated blood vessels will mean that less blood and oxygen will get to the head, so we need to constrict the blood vessels and raise the blood pressure (in addition to raising blood volume).  Getting sufficient sodium will also help to raise blood pressure (in addition to hydrating the cells), while potassium will help to relax tense muscles (in addition to hydrating the cells).

2. Move Your Lymph

People with migraines often have congested lymph, especially in the head and neck area.  Contrary to popular belief, muscular contraction during exercise is not what moves lymph along.  It’s actually deep diaphragmatic breathing (which can also occurs during exercise).In order to move congested lymph from your head, first massage under the jaw.  Use deep firm pressure under the lip of the jaw bone moving medially inwards to outwards towards your sternocleidomastoid and jaw (putting pressure directly on the submental and submaxillary glands).  Next, massage your cervical glands by gripping your sternocleidomastoid muscle in a pincer grip from top to bottom.  Here is a video demonstrating manual lymph drainage.

face-and-neck-lymph-nodes-5514bd716d393Once you have the muscular tissues and lymph moving in your neck and head, do a few deep breathing exercises, making sure to emphasize a complete and full EXHALE.  Get all the stagnant air out of the lungs.  This is just as important as a deep inhale.After this, go outside for a vigorous run, ideally up a steep hill or up a flight of stairs.  Do this for at least 20 minutes.  The exercise will increase blood flow to the brain, move stagnant lymph, and oxygenate your entire body.  The headache should subside, especially if you have also taken electrolytes prior to running.  It can be hard to push yourself during a migraine, but it’s well worth it.  If you don’t have stairs or a steep hill, do jumping jacks or any kind of vigorous movement that gets the heart pumping hard and the diaphragm moving vigorously for 20 minutes.  Dancing works too!

3. Calm Your Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve acts as the communication link between the gut and the head.  When the gut is inflamed, the vagus nerve sends alarm signals to the brain.  There are simple ways to calm down the vagus nerve.  You can take an alternating hot/cold shower.  The heat will increase blood flow, and the cold will constrict blood vessels, encourage deep inhalation, and calm the vagus nerve.  Get the water as cold as you can, and make sure you are proportionally staying under the cold water at least twice as long as the hot water.  Make sure you get the cold water on your head, face, back and torso.  Definately end with cold water, not hot.  (In general, avoid soaking in hot water while you have a migraine, as this dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure).If you cannot take a shower, you can calm your vagus nerve by splashing cold water repeatedly on your face (a minimum of ten times).  This may not get rid of a migraine by itself, but it can really help especially in conjunction with other approaches outlined here.For more ideas on how to calm your vagus nerve, read this article here.

4. Constrict Your Cranial Blood Vessels

When vertebral arteries and blood vessels are engorged (dilated) and blood pressure is low, blood does not get to the head and the blood vessels impinge on the plexus of cranial nerves leading into the head from the neck.  Therefore, constricting these blood vessels is an important way to get rid of a migraine. The cold shower should help with this, but in addition, you can place an ice pack or pack of frozen peas on the base of your skull, thereby creating more space for the cranial nerves going into the skull at the foramen magnum.In addition to the ice pack, you can constrict your blood vessels by drinking a frozen drink (getting a “brain freeze” can help constrict the blood vessels by cooling the back of the mouth).  Some people find more success using a frozen coffee drink, since caffeine also constricts blood vessels.  You can also drink chilled peppermint tea (peppermint is a vasoconstrictor).  This alone is not likely to get rid of a migraine but may help to tip you away from it when used in conjunction with other methods outlined here.58qv-2804

Another way to constrict your blood vessels is to use a blend of hypertensive essential oils. You’ve probably noticed that it’s not just synthetic fragrances that are a horrible trigger when you have headache and migraine symptoms – some essential oils (especially the more floral and low-note oils like jasmine and patchouli) can wreak havoc on your fragile brain too.  That’s because those and many other oils are hypotensive (ie, vasodilating) oils. Therefore, migraineurs may want to avoid geranium, jasmine, marjoram, rose, valerian, lemon, melissa, neroli, nutmeg, vetivert, and ylang ylang essential oils, especially when they are symptomatic – and instead opt for hypertensive oils.

To learn more about hypertensive, vasoconstrictive essential oils, head on over to my blog post on that topic, where I share with you my recipe for a vasoconstrictive/hypertensive essential oil blend.  The oils I’ve chosen to use in my own SimplyWell Migraine, Headache, & Brain Fog Support Blend are only a few of the vasoconstrictive essential oils out there. All of the oils used in this blend are also great for digestive issues.  No surprises there, since most migraines are digestive migraines!

5. Remove Fermentation & Histamine From the Colon with an Enema

This is a last resort, but it has worked for me many times.  It is not an optimal solution, because we don’t really know how enemas affect the gut flora.  However, some people may find it to be a solution preferable to taking a pharmaceutical medication (which also negatively affect gut flora).  Coffee enemas tend to be the most effective, perhaps because they help to stimulate the hepatic nerve of the liver and thereby reduce liver congestion (which is also implicated in migraine headaches).Most importantly, an enema will help to remove food that has reached the colon that is triggering inflammation, perhaps because this food has not been sufficiently broken down through DAO (diamine oxidase). Many people with migraines have low DAO levels, and DAO receptor sites on cells are also affected by electrolyte balance, so the electrolyte mixture above will help with that as well.When food which has not been properly broken down by DAO reaches the colon, it starts to feed unfriendly bacteria which produce histamine, thus adding to your histamine load.  Removing this histamine burden through an enema can often make a migraine go away.While I won’t be going into a tutorial on how to do an enema here, it’s important to emphasize that the water or coffee be lukewarm and not hot, and that the water be purified.  A full quart bag is usually needed to clean out the colon, and multiple enemas may be necessary.

I Hope These Tips Are Beneficial to You!

None of these ideas are long-term solutions, they are merely singular ways that I’ve found to consistently get rid of migraines.  The important point is to get to the root of your migraine problems by avoiding trigger foods and healing your gut, as outlined in the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol.  Luckily, we do have very powerful plant food allies that can help us so powerfully that over time, we will no longer need to resort to any of the techniques above to get rid of a migraine.

Please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat migraines, or act as a replacement for medical care from a medical professional.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. [/author_info] [/author]

Migraine Hackers

Below are a few of the testimonials I’ve received from those who have tried my protocol:

I wanted to thank you again for the migraine work you have done and the protocol!! It’s really brilliant and more importantly, has reduced my migraines immensely. In prior postpartum periods, the residual inflammation has left me so miserable with headaches, sometimes daily. This information is cutting edge, super accessible, and pretty easy to try. I highly recommend it and have tried nearly every alternative therapy to help with migraines over the years. This has helped the most.  I feel so grateful because I am actually able to do stuff, and overall love that the actual issue is being addressed!” ~ Maryn Green, Indie Birth, Arizona

“I feel like a new person. I have more energy and I no longer feel like migraines run my life. The other day as an experiment I drank a beer (alcohol is a guaranteed migraine trigger for me), and I did not get a migraine. Of course, I have no intentions of pushing that but it was a great confirmation that true healing is occurring.” ~ T. Ranes, Lakewood, Colorado USA

“Day 31- Today had been the best day ever… Do I dare say I feel normal? What does normal actually feel like, I’m sure I’ve forgotten, lol! After six years of autoimmune disease and the migraines this is quite frankly amazing. Good to be alive. So this is what it feels like after one month on the protocol, worth all the effort!!!” ~ K. Griffin, Prince Edward Island, Canada

“Marya I had such a good coaching by you. I haven’t felt hopefull in so long regarding migraines, and was in the mindset where I thought I knew it all. You are so plugged in when it comes to the energy body and the importance of plants. I can recommend everyone with a (dis)ease to get a coaching with you. Im starting the “program” today. Thank you.” ~ G. Koldtoft, Denmark

“I just wanted to share my experience: I don’t get headaches often, but every once in awhile a powerful one creeps in. Last Friday night a big one came on, the kind that wakes you in your sleep. When I woke up Saturday morning it was still hanging on strong, so I thought of Marya’s work. I drink fresh pressed juice nearly every morning, so I grabbed a potato and added it to my juice. Within an hour of drinking my juice the headache was gone. Amazing! Thanks Marya.” ~ M. Sperry, Portland, OR USA

“My headaches have disappeared almost entirely and almost immediately after starting to eat the recommended foods. . . It feels like a small miracle. I no longer dread waking up in the morning because I wake up with no headache. You understand what a taxing effect that can have on your emotions and ability to be present.  My 18 month old daughter juices with me and loves it! And I have my husband and dad drinking juice every day, too, not because of headaches.” ~ A. Tyus, Nebraska, USA

“Day 62. Still no migraines, I can hardly believe it. Things that used to give me migraines before, like for example having visitors for hours and getting exhausted from that, doesn’t anymore. I am so grateful, I can’t even find words to describe it. Even the severe pain from my fibro and rheumatism, gives me migraine anymore.” ~ S. Skov, Denmark

“The prebiotic powders have allowed me to have normal bowel movements. In an earlier email to you I had written that I haven’t been regular in ‘years’ but when I really thought about it, I don’t think I have ever had normal bowel movements (regular =once a day) in my life (I was constipated as a baby even, so I am told) so this is really a huge thing for me. I take about 3 Tablespoons of the prebiotic and about 2 T of the potato starch each day. Love this! Thank you! Your emails and knowledge have given me much to look forward to! There’s a light at the end of this migraine/headache/GERD tunnel! No doctor, chiropractor, dietician, symptometrist, neurologist, has even come close to providing that.” ~ M.G., Phoenix, Arizona

Migraine Medications or Folk Medicine?

Migraine Medications or Folk Medicine?

The Necessity of Pharmaceutical Migraine Medications

It’s very clear that pharmaceutical migraine medications allow some people with migraines to function and keep a job while dealing with what is considered to be the sixth most debilitating condition.  The annual burden of migraine costs in the US in 2005 was estimated at $17 billion annually.  Without migraine medications, migraines are a serious handicap which lead to lost productivity, huge impacts on quality of life, lowered energy,  compromised presence with kids and family, and on migraine days – inability to function in any capacity.  Therefore, use of migraine meds is totally understandable, especially given the scarcity of truly effective, safe, natural alternatives – or the fact that they are not being actively marketed to us and so require a lot of digging and research to hear about.

Since most people manage their migraines by way of health insurance and the treatments that the practitioners within their networks provide, they are less likely to discover natural and plant-based solutions unless they have literally become so desperate to find a solution that they spend much of their time researching how others have healed themselves and/or experimenting with ways to heal themselves.

This is what happened to me.  Without health insurance and after a few expensive out-of-pocket expenditures with various alternative health care practitioners, I still had debilitating migraine headaches a few times a week and finally reached the point where I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Two and a half years of self-experimentation, online research, cleansing and dietary and lifestyle changes, mixed with some incredible luck, led me to the discovery of a folk medicine solution to migraine headaches that completely cleared my head and is now helping many others to do so: the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.  There is now a choice between pharmaceutical migraine medications and folk medicine solutions to chronic migraine headaches.

In comparing pharmaceutical migraine meds with plant-based, drug-free folk medicine solutions to migraine headaches, it’s not my intention to judge or demonize anyone who is taking pharmaceutical migraine medications.  Some people have had daily, weekly, or monthly migraine headaches for literally decades, and must do something to manage them.  These people are acutely aware of the drawbacks of pharmaceutical medications and their attendant side effects, but haven’t found a better solution to manage their migraines besides meds.

I wish I could say that the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol were an easy replacement for migraine meds, but it appears that frequent use of migraine medications makes the protocol take longer to be effective, and in the case of daily use of migraine medications, may render it totally ineffective until those meds have been weaned off.  It’s my belief that this is because anything we ingest orally will affect our microbiome (the gut flora balance in our colon), and that pharmaceutical meds feed pathogenic bacteria (this is just a hypothesis) which keeps the histamine load in the colon high (thus perpetuating migraines).  They also steal vital nutrients needed to create important enzymes that break histamine down.

The good news is that people who only use migraine medications very intermittently, or who wean themselves off these meds, usually respond very well to the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.  Since I never took migraine meds, I didn’t have to go through that process, but very soon I’ll be highlighting the stories here of some of the courageous people who have managed to successfully wean themselves off meds and how they did it.  So stay tuned!

Pharmaceutical Migraine Medications:

  • require a prescription, are high-tech and patented (not easily accessible)
  • are expensive (require costly health insurance or are subject to random price hikes)
  • have negative so-called “side-effects” (in other words, are making you sick with dizziness, fatigue, rebound headaches, medication-induced headaches, drowsiness)
  • are suppressive, so don’t solve the underlying problem but rather, drive it deeper into the body.
  • are foreign substances to our bodies (evolutionarily novel for our organs to process)
  • steal vital nutrients needed for essential body functioning
  • compromise liver, kidney, and gut health (thereby affecting bile flow, gallbladder health, lymphatic health, and gut flora balance).
  • some opiate-based medications activate mast cells and increase histamine release
  • are habit-forming and prevent some other natural therapies from working
  • we don’t really know how many of them actually work

The Ultimate Migraine Medicine

  • Reduces histamine load
  • Reduces estrogen dominance
  • Balances the gut flora
  • Balances electrolyte levels
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Raises blood pressure and thereby improves blood flow to the brain and extremities
  • Improves vitamin/mineral absorption
  • Supports liver, gallbladder, kidney,  pancreas, colon, adrenal and thyroid function
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves energy levels

In other words, a truly holistic medicine will have POSITIVE SYSTEMIC “SIDE-EFFECTS”.  The Simplywell Migraine Protocol is the ultimate migraine medicine.

Medicine by the People, For the People
(ie, Folk Medicine)

  • discovered by laypeople without expertise or specialized training
  • easily accessable, affordable or free
  • self-administered, ie, self-empowering
  • free from unwanted side-effects
  • safe, gentle, and effective
  • easy to comprehend and therefore, relay to others
  • easy for our bodies to process
  • natural, nourishing and supportive
  • low tech and open-source (free from trademarks and patents)

Wellness comes about through a lifestyle of self-care, firsthand experience, self-experimentation, and community gossip about what works.  The Simplywell Migraine Protocol is an expression of Folk Medicine.  Folk Medicine is happening.  It’s not prescriptive – it’s descriptive of what people prefer and are creating, rediscovering, and sharing as laypeople, as the “Folk”.

To learn more about Folk Medicine, read my article “Resuscitating Folk Medicine – for Migraine Headache Relief and Beyond”

To get your copy of the Simplywell Migraine Protocol E-book, go to the homepage and subscribe for a free copy.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

Histamine Intolerance: What it is, and Foods to Avoid (Video)

Histamine Intolerance: What is it?

Histamine Intolerance is an overall state of inflammation characterized by an overly full “bucket” of histamine, which is caused mostly by various pharmaceutical medications and dietary habits. For a more detailed paper on Histamine Intolerance, click here.

Histamine & Tyramine Rich Foods

Antihistamine Foods

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-5-26-25-pm

Antihistamine Recipe Links

Anti-inflammatory Chai with Turmeric, Ginger, & Coconut
Antihistamine Mint, Jicama, and Radish Prebiotic Salad

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

Anti-inflammatory Chai with Ginger, & Coconut

Antihistamine Ginger Turmeric Chai Simplywell Migraine Protocol

If you’re familiar with the low-histamine diet as a way to manage histamine intolerance symtoms, you’re probably aware that many spices traditionally used in delicious chai contain histamine – especially cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.  I love cinnamon, and am so grateful I can eat it again.  Cinnamon is a plant that is dear to my heart, because it was the ingredient that clued me in to my migraines and histamine intolerance.  Early on in my migraine hell post c-section, a naturopath prescribed a Chinese remedy that contained cinnamon in it as its first ingredient.  She was trying to help me with my peripheral neuropathy issues, and thought cinnamon would be great for increasing circulation to my limbs.  But while on the remedy, my migraines got even worse (she also prescribed vitamin B12 to me, which increases histamine). I examined the ingredients and started doing some online research.  It was the realization that cinnamon contains histamine that tipped me off to the whole concept of histamine intolerance, which was one step on the path towards me finally healing my migraines.

The beauty of my protocol, the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol, is that elimination of histamine and tyramine rich foods is only a temporary step while your gut heals.  So, you should be able to drink normal chai with all the cinnamon and nutmeg in it again – but you may not want to after tasting this delicious and creamy antihistamine chai.  Eventhough I can consume traditional chai spices now, I stick to this chai recipe because I love the benefits all the ingredients confer, and it tastes amazing.

This chai imparts an incredible creaminess without the use of dairy, thanks to the coconut oil.  You can use coconut manna too (which has arabinogalactan prebiotics in it) but it will be a little bit gritty.  I prefer just the oil. Cardamom is anti-inflammatory and incredibly delicious.

This chai will spice up your antihistamine diet during the temporary month long elimination phase of the Simplywell Migraine Protocol.  The majority of antihistamine foods are bland and have little flavor – so this chai will bring some much-needed character and kick to an otherise bland diet.

Anti-inflammatory Chai Recipe

2.5 thumbs of chopped raw ginger (a thumb is the width and length of the tip of your thumb to its first joint)
3 cups of water
seeds from 2 pods of fresh cardamom, or 1/8 t of turmeric powder
a dash of fresh black peppepr
honey or maple syrup to taste (I use 1.5 teaspoons)
1.5 T coconut oil (or manna)

Important Note: I also like to add 1 thumb of fresh turmeric (or 1.5 teaspoons of dry turmeric powder) to this mix, but I don’t include it in the main recipe here because turmeric is a DAO inhibitor.  If you get migraines relatively infrequently, adding turmeric to this drink will probably be overall very beneficial for you, but if you get constant migraines, you should probably leave the turmeric out.  Now that I no longer get migraines thanks to the SimplyWell Protocol, I use turmeric liberally.  Turmeric is not a migraine trigger, but because it is a DAO inhibitor, it is not supportive of the breakdown of histamine.

To make this, simply blend together all the ingredients except for the coconut and honey in a blender on high.  Transfer this mixture into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes.  The color will change from a lite to a deep orange.  Strain the mixture back into the blender so that only liquid remains.  Add the honey and coconut and blend for about 30-60 seconds so that the coconut gets fully whipped into the chai.  I like my tea very strong but if you prefer it less concentrated, just add a little more hot water.

Enjoy!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

Antihistamine Mint, Radish, & Jicama Prebiotic Salad

antihistamine mint, radish, jicama salad

It’s Autumn, and prime season for the delicious jicama – a fiber-rich, gently sweet, very hydrating, and generally overlooked tuber.  As many of you are aware, I am a big fan of starchy tubers and humble roots.  They literally pulled me up out of a severely compromised state of inflammation, brain fog, and chronic migraine headaches and into my new life now where I can think clearly, be more available and energetic with my young son and husband, eat a wide variety of foods without severe consequences, and help others to heal themselves with these antihistamine roots.

The recipe I share below is fantastic for a number of reasons: 1) It includes a variety of foods that contain both arabinogalactan and inulin prebiotics, essential for good digestion and lowering histamine in the colon 2) the recipe mutes the strong taste of radish, which some people want to ingest for its insane health benefits, but whose flavor they don’t prefer, and 3) it is hydrating, cooling, anti-inflammatory and downright refreshing – not to mention delicious.

I personally don’t mind the taste of radishes one iota.  I love the combination of crisp crunch, sweet white meat, and pungent, invigorating red rind.  I snack on radishes a few times a day (ever heard the Chinese saying, “A radish a day keeps the doctor poor?”).  But once in awhile it is fun to mix radishes up in a creative way and see how their character can mesh with other unique flavors such as mint and jicama.

Antihistamine properties of this salad

Technically speaking, the only foods featured here that are truly antihistamines are the watercress and blackseeds – these foods directly block the cellular receptors for histamine.  Prebiotic soluble fibers present in the roots of this salad are actually very potent antihistamines in their own right as well.  They reduce histamine indirectly (but very profoundly) by feeding friendly flora that crowd out histamine-producing flora.

Let’s start with a little primer on jicama and then explore some of the other ingredients in this salad.  Like most foods made so exquisitely well for us by our sweetest Mother Nature, jicama has many benefits not to be overlooked!  But here I want to just highlight two of its nutrtitional properties –  it is a very good source of vitamin C and also contains B6.  As we know here at Simplywell, Vitamin C is a mast cell stabilizer (ie, it reduces histamine).  While vitamin C is usually known as a potent anti-oxidant, it is actually a pro-oxidant because it turns into hydrogen peroxide further down the line.  Our bodies, unlike other mammals, don’t produce vitamin C, so we really need it in our diet.  Vitamin B6 is also important because it is needed by the body to assimilate B12, increases serotonin in the brain and gut, and is needed to convert excessive inflammatory glutamate into calming GABA.

But I digress away from our friend the jicama.  Back in the late 1800’s Gen. Rivera and his Mexican army listened to a wise woman and used it to cure thousands of soldiers of typhus fever and pneumonia.  Jicama is full of inulin prebiotic fiber which binds to pathogenic viruses and bacteria. The wise woman who shared this wonderful root with Gen. Rivera didn’t know what inulin was. But she knew jicama’s effects and shared it freely.

If you’ve read my Simplywell Migraine Protocol e-book, you’ll know already that carrots are incredible not only because they contain arabinogalactans (another kind of prebiotic), but because they lower excessive estrogen, which also contributes to histamine.  So carrots are antihistamine as well – however indirectly.

Watercress is a wonferful antihistamine green that should be used if you can get ahold of it – replace with arugula or other greens if it’s not available.

I decided to throw a few roasted blackseeds on this salad because the contrast of the blackseeds with the red and orange colors was pretty – but also because blackseeds (aka nigella sativa or kalonji) are antihistamine as well (not to mention, they increase glutathione production by 500%).

But best of all, the arabinogalactan and inulin prebiotics in this salad will feed the friendly bacteria in your colon and, as I mentioned, crowd out the unfriendly histamin-producing bacteria.  In so doing, they will also raise GABA levels, thereby putting the brakes on excessive glutamate, which we know also contributes to migraine headaches and inflammation.  Once these friendly bacteria are proliferating thanks to ingestion of foods like this salad and implementation of other lifestyle choices as outlined in the SImplywell Migraine Relief Protocol, the histamine-producing bacteria in the gut won’t have such a stronghold, and your overall histamine load or “bucket” will be considerably reduced.

Again, THANK YOU Mother Nature.  She trumps the corporate pharmaceuticals yet again.  Gratitude.

Here’s the Recipe:

1/2 c thinly sliced jicama
1/2 cup grated carrots
3-4 thinly sliced radishes
3 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
juice of 1/2 orange or tangerine
juice of 1/2 lime
dash of salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkling of roasted blackseeds (aka, kalonji, nigella sativa)
1 handful of watercress (or arugula)

Note: If you live in a place where jicama is not available or in season, this salad is delicious made with apple or cucumber.  You’ll still get some prebiotic and antihistamine benefit from the radishes and carrots.  If you’d like to download the Simplywell Migraine Protocol e-book and learn how to banish migraines and histamine intolerance symptoms, go to the homepage and subscribe to get it!

Enjoy!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

SimplyWell Classes for Migraine Headache Relief Portland Oregon

Our next migraine relief class will be held at Fettle Botanic Supply at 3327 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214.  Please visit their site to RSVP!

Plant-based, Drug-Free Migraine Relief with the SimplyWell Protocol
Join Marya Gendron to learn how a few humble healing plant foods can help you to relieve migraine headaches by: balancing the bacteria in your colon, improving your electrolyte balance, healing your kidneys, and gently cleaning your lymph, liver and gallbladder. The information shared in this class may be beneficial for anyone who is recovering from the impacts of antibiotics and/or NSAIDs, or who has symptoms of inflammation and histamine intolerance. We will go over the healing properties of foods in the protocol, foods to avoid while getting stabilized, and how to adapt the protocol according to special dietary needs and busy lifestyles.
Length – 90 minutes.  The actual presentation will probably not be more than an hour but its good to have extra time for questions and conversation.
DateMarch 29th, 7-8:30pm


Previous classes:

Simplywell_Celestial Awakenings

 

Save

Save