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Hormonal agents for Migraine?
Some herbs provide chemicals which behave like hormones in the human body; the most well known are phyto-oestrogens. These have a number of actions. Some occupy sites that human hormones might take up and so block an action, giving a protective effect against cancers which 'feed' on hormones such as oestrogen. Other herbs appear to reduce fibroid growth and excessive menstrual bleeding by an unknown hormonal action, these are often referred to as astringents by herbalists.
Some herbs contain oestrogen-like compounds which appear to relieve menopausal problems such as hot flushes and diminished bone density. We can select the right sort of hormonal herb for our wholistic purpose, for example black cohosh relieves hot flushes and protects against breast-cell overgrowth so is ideal for women who have had breast cancer, or have an increased risk factor for it. This herb also increases circulation and is mildly anti-inflammatory, so for menopausal women with arthritis it seems ideal. Some herbs, such as liquorice, act on the adrenal gland, and so help to restore the function of this organ after prolonged use of steroids. The hormonal effects of herbs are the subject of a great deal of research which will, we hope, help to explain their traditional use in helping problems of hormone imbalance.
Prostaglandins for Hormonal Treatment of Migraine
Prostaglandins are so named because of the original site of their discovery - the prostate gland. They arc made from arachitlonic acid and are sometimes known as local hormones. They are secreted by body tissue and blood cells and act directly on blood vessel walls. They can act on target tissue (such as arteriole walls) directly or make tissues more responsive to other hormones. Aspirin inhibits the production of some Chemicals such as prostaglandin E which mediates pain and fever. It is thought that prostaglandins causing vaso-spasm are involved in migraines and headaches.
Histamine Migraine Treatment
Histamine acts like a prostaglandin, although it is not chemically identical. It dilates arterioles and makes capillaries leaky, causing swelling.
Endorphins are chemical messengers which mediate messages about pain. They are natural pain-relieving opiates, found in large amounts in the hypothalamus and pituitary.