(This article is dedicated to my neurologist, James Gilbert, M.D., who faithfully put up with me as a terrible complaining migraine patient for over 40 years)
Yes, wild lettuce was my big health game changer. This Gateway herb opened up the world of Herbs for me. After many years of doubt, this lowly herb was my salvation.
As stated in my Ginger article, my first impression of herbs was not positive. I thought they were just placebos. I purchased the well known book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” The 4th Edition by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. It was a couple of years before I even began reading it. When I did finally start reading the book I would look up in the Index “Ailments” such as “Migraines” and investigate listed herbs just as most would do. A very common herb mentioned for migraines is “Feverfew”. It had no effect on me and I even tried a few other common migraine herbs such as “Butterbur’ and “Chamomile”. No effect! I was discouraged!
But my breakthrough came was when instead of researching under “Ailments” I began researching under treatments for the symptoms of Ailments. I looked under “Pain and Nausea’ instead of “Headaches and Migraines”.
Searching for a treatment for the most important symptom of Migraines which is pain lead me to Wild lettuce and scores of others. To paraphrase the famous Robert Frost poem, taking the “less travelled path” which was researching the symptoms and not the disease made all the difference for me. Using wild lettuce to treat migraines is not well known or researched. But it is used for pain. Under the chapter on “Pain Control” in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” was a section on herbs for pain which stated “Hops, Kava kava, passion flower, valerian root, wild lettuce, and wood betony have muscle-relaxing properties and may help to relieve back pain.”
By Google-ing “Wild lettuce” I found wildlettuce.com which sells wild lettuce in a number of forms including the dried herb, a resin, an extract, and as an oil. I have found the 15X extract as most effective to treat my acute attacks. Making warm tea out of one teaspoon of powered 15X wild lettuce extract, half a teaspoon of powered ginger root, and a little pinch of the herb Stevia (to counteract the bitterness of the wild lettuce) will usually stop my migraine attacks in about 30 minutes of resting after drinking the tea.
I have now a large arsenal of various herbs not only for my migraines but also for my wife’s arthritis, asthma, diabetes and also for occasional depression, anxiety, fatigue, and other symptoms which I plan to share with you on this website.
Not every herb is effective for everybody. Some will work for you but not for me. Other times symptoms may be severe and require a different herb or a combination. Sometimes a herb may work well for a period of time and stop working. There is also the issue of tolerance for some herbs. Tolerance means you need more and more of the herb to get the same effect. That is why it is good to have several herbs available just in case. This is particularly true for any pain ailmentAlthough most of the herbs I plan to discuss are relatively safe, they may not be safe in larger amounts. REMEMBER: HERBS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN PHARMACEUTICALS. They can be toxic particularly in large amounts. There are reports in the literature that some herbs may be habit forming to some degree in large doses after long periods of time. Wormwood comes to mind.
In “Wild Lettuce” Part 2, I will discuss the plant, its harvest, preparation, and colorful history.
- “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” The 4th Edition by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC.