How to Stop Migraines with Ginger
This is a complete guide on how to stop and prevent migraines with ginger.
The following is a summary of ginger and migraine research that includes specific doses and forms of ginger.
First Case Study of Ginger and Migraine
A case study published in 1990 found that a patient who consumed 500 to 600 mg of powdered ginger mixed with plain water was able to stop migraine attacks (study). The patient consumed the ginger water at the first sign of a migraine and was able to stop migraines every time.
Ginger is as Effective as Migraine Drugs
A study published in 2014 found that 250 mg of ginger was just as effective at stopping migraines as Sumatriptan in 100 patients (study). Sumatriptan is a leading prescription migraine medication.
The Science Behind Ginger
If you want to learn more about the science behind why ginger stops migraines, read my previous article. The article below is about the exact amount of ginger you need and why it is easy to screw it up.
How to Stop and Prevent Migraines with Ginger
Minimum ginger required to stop migraines:
♦ 250 mg of ginger powder
♦ 1/8 tsp. of dried ginger powder (Simply Organic)
♦ 1/4 tsp. of freshly grated ginger
♦ 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger steeped in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes
♦ 1 tsp. of fresh ginger (not grated) steeped in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes
♦ 1 cup of ginger tea from 1 prepackaged ginger tea bag.
Above are six different ways to get the amount of ginger you need to stop a migraine. The exact amounts were produced from over 20 hours of research on ginger.
The doses of fresh ginger and powdered ginger used in research vary widely, but there are reasons why.
I’ve summed up how to use ginger to stop and prevent migraines as well as avoid the pitfalls.
How Much is 250 mg of Ginger?
The first problem you will come across is finding a reliable source that converts 250 mg of ginger into teaspoons of dried ginger powder. I came across studies and online references that stated to get 250 mg of ginger you would need anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 of a teaspoon. That’s a huge difference.
The research varies because the weight of dried ginger and the volume (teaspoon) of dried ginger will vary depending on the brand or the process the researchers used to grate and dry the ginger.
Measurement also varies.
For example, I was able to take 1/4 teaspoon of dry ground ginger and packed it into 1/8 teaspoon—the same amount of ginger, but two different measurements.
To get 250 mg, should we pack the ginger tightly into a dense 1/8 teaspoon or scoop a light and fluffy amount of dried ginger? After doing some experimenting, I’ve discovered that a fluffy scoop of ginger is all you need. The reason for this is described below.
250 mg equals 1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
I scooped out 1/8 teaspoon of the ginger and scrapped off any extra at the top. Simply Organic Ginger is packaged light and fluffy. The 1/8 teaspoon weighed 290 mg.
Thus, 1/8 teaspoon of Simply Organic Ginger is sufficient to produce over 250 mg of ginger required for stopping migraines.
I then measured 1/8 teaspoon of ginger, but this time I pushed in as much ginger as possible and scrapped any extra off the top. The dense scoop of ginger weighed 590 mg.
Thus, packing a dense 1/8 teaspoon of Simply Organic Ginger is enough to produce the over 500 mg of ginger that was used to stop migraines every time in the first case study.
Freshly Grated Ginger
The research is consistent on freshly grated ginger.
The findings show that 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger is equivalent to 250 mg of ginger.
You need twice as much grated ginger (1/4 tsp.) as dried ground ginger (1/8 tsp.) because the fiber and water take up more volume.
If you wanted a 500 mg dose of ginger, that would be a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.
Use organic ginger because organic foods tend to be richer in nutrients that prevent migraines and are lower in pesticides (full article).
You need twice as much ginger when steeping because some of the nutrients remain in the ginger and don’t make it into the water. For clarification, you can eat or drink 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger to get 250 mg of ginger, but you need 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger if you are drinking tea and NOT ingesting the remaining ginger at the bottom of the cup.
I recommend steeping ginger for at least 10 minutes in a mug with hot water. The longer the better. Steeping in a pot over a low heat for 10 minutes gets even better results.
Freshly Grated vs. Whole Ginger
How much whole ginger is the equivalent of 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger or 250 mg? About 1/2 teaspoon of whole ginger will give you the correct amount.
To find this rough conversion, I measured out two sticks of ginger of the same size and weight. I cut off 50 percent of one stick, chopped it, and measured roughly 1/2 teaspoon On the other stick, I finely grated 50 percent off and measured 1/4 teaspoon.
You need about double the amount of whole fresh ginger as grated ginger. Ginger has a lot more water volume and fiber than I was expecting.
A 1/2 teaspoon of whole ginger is about 250 mg (1/8 teaspoon) worth of ground ginger. For steeping, you will need about 1 teaspoon of whole ginger (instead of 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger). It will also take longer to steep than grated ginger.
How to Grate Ginger
Ginger is a pain to grate.
The easiest way to grate ginger, according to simplyrecipes.com, is to wrap ginger in plastic and freeze it.
Take the frozen ginger and grate it with a microplane grater. Peeling is optional.
Make Your Own Tea Bags
Stainless steel strainers also work great, but teabags are more convenient.
Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure
Prepare ginger tea ahead of time.
Make tea for the week:
Fill a big pot with 9.5 cups of water and 4.5 teaspoons of grated ginger.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Fill up some mason jars to be ready for the week. Each cup is a 250 mg dose of ginger (9 cups total).
Have grated ginger for the month:
Grate enough ginger for the entire month and freeze it. Wrap each 1/2 teaspoon in plastic to take with you anywhere. Just add hot water.
Always carry an actual measuring spoon that is 1/8 of a teaspoon along with some dried ground ginger with you.
Any time you feel a migraine coming on, take a dose with a few ounces of water.
You can also make the dose ahead of time and store it in a zip lock bag.
A 1/8 teaspoon of ginger is over 250 mg and a 1/8 teaspoon that is packed tight is over 500 mg.
Prepackaged Ginger Tea
However, it’s impossible to know the exact amount of ginger in any brand because tea contains more fiber than ground ginger. A tea bag can list 1500 mg of dried ginger in the ingredients, but we won’t know how much dried ground ginger that actually equates to.
Of course, 1500 mg of ginger tea is likely to contain more than 250 mg worth of ground ginger, but we don’t know the exact amount.
Always go with organic tea which will have less pesticide and more nutrients. Cheap teas may contain high levels of pesticide and low amounts of ginger.
We know that 250 mg is as effective as Sumatriptan for stopping migraines. However, research suggests that ginger has the ability to prevent migraines from starting in the first place (full article).
No specific dosing has been formulated for using ginger daily. “Most clinical research has used between 250 milligrams and 1 gram of powdered dried ginger, taken one to four times daily. For pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting, most research studies used 250 mg four times daily,” according to 2007 research (study).
The research suggests that 250 mg of dried ground ginger four times per day (total 1000 mg per day) is a safe and effective amount to obtain the benefits of ginger. This may be a good daily dose for migraine prevention as well.
Migraine prevention dose of 1000 mg of ginger per day (5 options):
♦ 250 mg ginger powder, 4x per day for a total of 1000 mg per day.
♦ 1/8 tsp. of dried ginger powder, 4x per day for a total of 1/2 tsp. per day.
♦ 1/4 tsp. of freshly grated ginger, 4x per day for a total of 1 tsp. per day.
♦ 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger steeped in hot water for 10 minutes, 4x per day for a total of 2 tsp. per day.
♦ 1 cup of ginger tea from prepackaged tea bag, 4x per day for a total of 4 tea bags per day.
Speak with your doctor or nutritionist before taking ginger for migraine prevention and make sure you read the side effects sections below.
Prevent Menstrual Migraines
Seventy percent of female migraineurs report a menstrual relationship with their migraines (full article).
Ginger was just as effective as ibuprofen at relieving premenstrual syndrome in a study published in 2009. Women received four doses of 250 mg of ginger per day (total 1000 mg) several days before and during menstruation (study).
A study published in 2014 found that premenstrual symptoms were reduced by more than 50 percent after taking 250 mg of ginger twice per day for seven days prior to menstruation and the first three days during menstruation (total 500 mg per day). Symptoms continued to improve over the next three months (study).
Ginger taken for up to a week before and during menstruation may help prevent migraines by reducing inflammation and nausea.
Ginger Dose to Immediately Stop Migraines
The research here suggests that 250 mg of ginger powder can immediately stop a migraine. The case study used 500 mg of ginger powder to stop migraines every time.
The current research is not enough to conclude the correct dose for migraines or any other condition. Suggested serving sizes from ginger studies range from 250 mg to 4,770 mg per day (study).
Ginger doses for morning sickness range from 500 mg to 2500 mg. Often, 1000 mg to 2000 mg of ginger is administered before surgery. In addition, 1000 mg of ginger has been given to prevent dizziness and vertigo (WebMD).
A good starting point would be to begin taking 250 mg of ginger. Take ginger at the first sign of a migraine. Time is of the essence and 1/8 teaspoon of ginger mixed into water can be quickly consumed.
Caffeine may help speed ginger through the body and improve its migraine efficacy, but take caution because of rebound headaches (full article).
Follow the directions of a doctor or nutritionist for ginger dosage and migraines.
I often warn readers that many supplements are fake (NYT article). Ginger is no exception.
A study published in 2006 tested ten different ginger supplements and found that “there is a wide variation in the gingerol composition of ginger root powder from different manufactures.”
Gingerol is the active ingredient in ginger. Indeed, some of the ginger supplements tested had zero gingerol composition (study).
Here are a couple reputable brands:
♦ Nature’s Way 550 mg of ginger
♦ Jarrow Formulas 500 mg ginger
The above brands are tested by third-party companies for accuracy (labdoor.com).
For the highest quality and 100 percent pure ginger, you can take 500 mg of ginger from Pure Encapsulations. Pure Encapsulations is an elite tier supplement company that sells directly to health practitioners. They are free of common allergens, but this level of pharmaceutical grade production and testing is expensive.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any supplement. Follow the directions of the supplement and your doctor. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, many are fake, and any concentrated substance may come with risks.
The study that found that 250 mg of ginger was just as effective as Sumatriptan reported an upset stomach as the only side effect of ginger. Only two of the 50 patients prescribed ginger reported an upset stomach, which could have been a placebo effect.
Dr. Michael Greger, a migraine expert, noted that 10 out of the 50 patients in the Sumatriptan group experienced dizziness, a sedative effect, vertigo, or heartburn. Sumatriptan has also killed people as a side effect (video).
Dr. Greger cautions that taking one full tablespoon of ginger powder on an empty stomach did cause gastric irritation in a study published in 1990, while lesser doses did not (study). A tablespoon is 20 to 30 times more ginger than a standard 250 mg dose of ginger. Dr. Greger encourages ginger over the dangerous alternatives.
People who are pregnant, breast feeding, or have bleeding disorders, diabetes, or a heart condition should speak with their doctor about ginger use (WebMD).
See a doctor before using ginger for any medical condition, including migraine. While ginger is “likely safe” for most people, there are 77 drugs that interact with ginger (drugs.com).