The smells of certain foods -- such as green apples -- may help ease migraine pain. Headache experts agree that certain odors seem to either provoke or warn of migraine onset. Many migraine sufferers believe smells such as cigarette smoke, cooking odors, or perfumes can trigger an attack, while others recognize various scents as part of the 'aura' that signals migraine onset.
Researchers asked 50 chronic headache patients to rate the severity of their pain before and after smelling an inhaler impregnated with the scent of green apples. After completing the tests at home, 35 of the 50 patients reported that they disliked the green apple odor, while the remaining 15 said they found it attractive.
The authors report that patients who liked the smell experienced a statistically significant reduction in the severity of their headaches, while patients who disliked the smell experienced no significant effects, either for better or worse.
The researchers believe specific food odors may work with memory to ease an individual's headache symptoms. Previous research has revealed that memories evoked by food smells (are) usually pleasant and associated with a positive mood state.
They speculate that the green-apple scent may have induced a positive mood state in the 15 patients, and such a state would tend to reduce perceptions of pain. The Chicago authors believe that eating certain foods or inhaling some food odors, will be used in addition to standard medical treatment of migraines.
Headache Quarterly 1998;9:159-163.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I just love simple and inexpensive solutions. There is a whole science of aromatherapy with which I am unfamiliarnot. If you have migraines, this is certainly something with which you may experiment. I would not restrict it to green apples solely but would also attempt other pleasing scents. If you do have some benefits from this treatment, I would appreciate your feedback.