Turmeric - good or bad for migraines?

Turmeric is part of the ginger family of plants and is harvested and ground to a powder and often used as spice in cooking, especially East Indian food, perhaps more so through the use of curry powder which contains turmeric.

In the dietary supplement world, turmeric or to be exact, curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammation properties. It has also has claims of being helpful for the relief of headaches.

It is thought that curcumin may have the ability to trigger the release of cortisone. Cortisone is the hormone released by the adrenal gland during stress.

Curcumin also increases the level of nitric oxide in the body and is often used for that purpose.

So, for the migraineur, Turmeric (curcumin) would appear to be helpful because it might be able to decrease the inflammation associated  with migraines. However, it also causes an increase in the level of nitric oxide in the body, which is a bad thing for migraines as this is one of the chemicals needed in synthesizing CGRP, the chemical associated with migraines.  Moreover, curcumin could also release cortisone, which is the hormone that triggers stress related migraines.

Our recommendation is to avoid Turmeric as it has the propensity to cause a migraine headache more so than to relieve one.

 Nitric Oxide in Migraines Henry, LJ