Website Focused on CAM and MS

This book was written to provide objective, MS-relevant CAM information to people with MS. Also, because the area of CAM is changing rapidly, we developed a website devoted to CAM and MS at the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center. This site, www.ms-cam.org, is updated regularly and has interactive features. This site has several missions To create a worldwide community of people interested in CAM and MS To provide accurate and unbiased information To allow users to discuss their...

Asian Proprietary Medicine or Asian Patent Medicine

Asian proprietary medicine, also known as Asian patent medicine, is a form of Asian herbal medicine. Preparations of this type of medicine usually contain mixtures of herbs as well as animal parts and minerals. Several studies of the chemical composition of these preparations have found that they frequently contain potentially toxic ingredients. Recent data indicate that approximately one-third of these products contain drugs or dangerous metals. Drugs that have been found include diazepam...

Cooling Therapy

Capell E, Gardella M, Leandri M, et al. Lowering body temperature with a cooling suit as symptomatic treatment for thermosensitive multiple sclerosis patients. Ital J Neurol Sci 1995 16 533-539. 2. Flensner G, Lindencrona C. The cooling-suit a study of ten multiple sclerosis patients' experience in daily life. J Adv Nurs 1999 29 1444-1453. 3. NASA MS Cooling Study Group. A randomized controlled study of the acute and chronic effects of cooling therapy for MS. Neurology 2003 60 1955-1960.

Choose Reliable Herb Suppliers

When using herbs, it is important to purchase them from companies that produce high-quality, consistent preparations. Some of the highest quality preparations are produced in Europe. Brands chosen should be standardized and contain specified amounts of active ingredients. The product also should list other specific information common and scientific name of the herb, the manufacturer's name and address, batch and lot number, expiration date, dose recommendations, potential side effects, and...

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is also known as CoQ10 or ubiquinone. Like some vitamins, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that may decrease free radical damage. Also, coenzyme Q10 may improve the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing components of the body's cells. Coenzyme Q10 use has been claimed to produce many different health benefits. Some of these claims are not justified. Coenzyme Q10 may have applications to neurological disorders, especially those that are thought to involve free-radical damage...

Conclusion

Studies suggest that marijuana may decrease MS-associated spasticity. It also may be helpful for pain, sleep difficulties, and bladder difficulties. However, marijuana use is associated with significant side effects, and interactions are possible between marijuana and prescription medications. Further studies on the use of marijuana and marijuana-related chemicals in MS are needed. If marijuana is used for MS symptoms, the user should discuss this use with a physician. Users should be aware...

Dental Amalgam Removal

The removal of dental amalgam has been proposed as a therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS). This treatment is based on the idea that metal is slowly released from amalgam and causes or worsens MS. Dental amalgam is composed of mercury as well as silver, copper, tin, and zinc. Amalgam has been used for more than 150 years to fill cavities and is used currently for 80 to 90 percent of tooth restorations. Very small amounts of mercury are released from amalgam in teeth in the form of solid mercury...

Enzyme Therapy

Enzymes are a type of protein used by the body to perform chemical reactions. Enzymes break down food in the digestive tract and carry out essential chemical functions in the rest of the body. It is claimed that treatment with enzymes is beneficial for many diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Enzyme therapy has a long history. In one form of possible enzyme therapy, the Indians of Central America and South America traditionally use the leaves and fruit of papaya trees and the fruit of...

Ginseng

Several different types of ginseng are available. Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), is the most common and most extensively studied form. Another type of ginseng is Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Both Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng are derived from roots. They are referred to as adaptogens, which means that they are believed to increase resistance to stress and increase energy levels. Although the effects of these herbs may be desired by many people with MS, it is...

Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract use has grown in popularity recently. It is sold for its antioxidant activity grape seed extract contains complex mixtures of chemicals known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs. These chemicals are similar to those in pycnogenol and act as antioxidants. Some studies indicate that the chemicals in grape seed extract are more potent antioxidants than are vitamin C or vitamin E. The clinical use of grape seed extract has not been studied extensively. A preliminary report...

Important Features of Herbs

Most herbs have not been studied as extensively as have drugs. As a result, it is often not known exactly which chemicals in herbs are the active ingredients. Similarly, the side effects of herbs and their interactions with drugs are not fully understood. In summary, even for well-studied herbs, the full range of effectiveness and the full range of side effects are not completely known. Another important aspect of herbs is their variability. Because of the current lack of strict regulation in...

Information About CAM and MS

For CAM in general, the information available to the general public is vast but of variable quality. For CAM that is relevant to MS, the amount of information is limited and the quality also is variable. To attempt to understand the type of information that is available on CAM and MS, we conducted an informal survey of the popular literature on CAM at the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center. At two local bookstores, we found 50 CAM books written for a lay audience. Two-thirds of these...

Possibly Effective CAM Therapies

People with recurrent UTIs should undergo a medical evaluation because it is important to determine the underlying cause. A CAM approach may be reasonable in some situations and should be discussed with a physician. Cranberry juice may be effective for preventing UTIs and is of low risk. Its effectiveness relative to the conventional approach with prescription antibiotics has not been investigated. Conventional treatment with antibiotics should be used to treat UTIs, because the effectiveness...

Practical Information

Sessions typically last from 20 to 30 minutes and cost between 30 and 60. Practitioners of therapeutic touch may be found in the phone book under various listings therapeutic touch, health services, holistic centers, holistic nurses, and holistic practitioners. More information about therapeutic touch and practitioners may be obtained from Nurse Healers Professional Associates Incorporated, PO. Box 444, Alison Park PA 15101 (412-355-8476) American Massage Therapy Association...

Prayer and Spirituality

Religion has been a fundamental aspect of human culture for tens of thousands of years. Surveys in the United States indicate that nearly 90 percent of the general population believe that there is a God who responds to prayer. Also, nearly 80 percent of the general population and 75 percent of physicians believe that spiritual faith can improve recovery from a disease. The term spirituality refers to devotion to religious values. Prayer is a component of religious practice that may be used to...

Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol has been used as a dietary supplement for approximately 15 years. It is made from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. Pycnogenol is a mixture of chemicals known as oligomeric proanthocyani-dins (OPCs). These chemicals, which are similar to those in grape seed extract and green tea leaves, appear to act as antioxidants. Pycnogenol has been touted as a treatment for many diseases, including MS. At this time, however, no formal clinical studies have evaluated its effects on MS. A...

Side Effects

However, some considerations should be kept in mind. Obviously, people with allergies should avoid pets that provoke allergies, and people who feel uncomfortable or stressed around pets probably would not benefit from their presence. Adequate care and an appropriate amount of space should be provided. Finally, pets should not substitute for the basic emotional needs that should be obtained from humans. They may be used for a certain level of companionship, but...

Studies in MS and Other Conditions

Although Tragerwork sometimes is recommended for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), it has not been specifically investigated in this area. There are anecdotal reports of benefit in people with MS, but few published studies have evaluated the effects of Tragerwork on any medical condition. One study found that people with lung disease had improvement in some measures of lung function after Tragerwork (1). The significance of this finding is not clear because the study was small and did not...

Toxins

Over the years, it has been proposed that many toxins may cause multiple sclerosis (MS) or worsen its symptoms. Recent reports have associated MS with aspartame use and mercury from dental amalgam, both of which are discussed elsewhere in this book. It also has been claimed that MS is provoked by cosmetics or by chemicals in the environment in the form of pollution, aerosol sprays, low levels of formaldehyde, and fumes from solvents. In food, it has been claimed that additives and low levels of...

Treatment Method

Many approaches have been proposed to decrease exposure to specific toxins or to decrease levels of toxins in the body. Avoiding aspartame in the diet and removing dental amalgam are sometimes recommended for people with MS. Other approaches claimed to be beneficial for MS include detoxifying therapies such as chelation therapy and colon therapy, also discussed elsewhere in this book, and the avoidance of processed foods, tap water, aerosol sprays, potent housecleaning products, synthetic...

What Symptoms Do People with MS Experience

The symptoms of MS depend on which areas of the brain and spinal cord develop MS lesions. For example, if the nerve that is involved in vision (the optic nerve) develops a lesion, blurring of vision occurs. This is referred to as optic neuritis. If a lesion develops in the part of the brain that produces movement on the left side of the body, left-sided weakness develops. In addition to visual blurring and weakness, other common MS symptoms include fatigue, depression, urinary difficulties,...

Padma

Padma 28, also known as Badmaev 28 and Gabyr-Nirynga, is a complex mixture of herbs sometimes recommended for MS. This herbal combination was developed in the late nineteenth century in the Buryat region of the Russian Empire by two physicians, Sul-Tim-Badma and Zham-Saram-Badma, also known as Dr. Alexander Badmaev and Dr. Peter Badmaev. The practices of these physicians were influenced by traditions of Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine. Padma 28 is taken by mouth and contains more than 20...

Herbs Contain Many Different Chemicals

An important distinction between drugs and herbs is that most drugs consist of a single chemical compound, whereas herbs consist of many different ones. Of all the chemicals in herbs, some may be beneficial, some may be harmful, and a large number have unknown effects on the human body. Fortunately, most of the chemicals are not toxic, and most are present in small enough quantities that significant harmful effects are unlikely. Many chemicals with beneficial activity against disease have been...

Additional Resources Books

Medical Acupuncture A Western Scientific Approach. Edinburgh Churchill Livingstone, 1998. Freeman L. Mosby's Complementary and Alternative Medicine A Research-Based Approach. St. Louis Mosby, 2001, pp. 333-369. Hsu DT, Cheng RL. Acupuncture. In Weintraub MI, Micozzi MS, eds. Alternative and Complementary Treatments in Neurologic Illness. New York Churchill Livingstone, 2001, pp. 11-26. Lin Y-C. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. In Oken BS, ed. Complementary...

CAM Use in MS

Several studies have evaluated CAM use in MS. One of the earliest studies was conducted in Massachusetts and California in the 1990s (5). Approximately 60 percent of people had used CAM, and, on average, people used two to three different types of CAM. We conducted a similar survey, in 1997, at the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center and found that approximately two-thirds of those who responded to the survey used CAM. Several subsequent studies have investigated CAM use in people with MS....

Immune Stimulating Herbs

In scientific studies, many herbs have been shown to potentially activate the immune system (Table 23.2). Some of these herbs may stimulate immune system function through the action of a type of sugar molecule known as a polysaccharide. The immune system has two components the cellular immune system and the humoral immune system. The immune-stimulating effects of herbs may occur on one or both of these components. Although much MS research focuses on abnormalities in the cellular system, both...

Additional Readings Books

Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Philadelphia Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 2004, pp. 58-60. Jellin JM, Batz F, Hitchens K. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2005, pp. 82-83. Kaplan GP. Ayurvedic medicine. In Oken BS, ed. Complementary Therapies in Neurology. London Parthenon Publishing, 2004, pp. 145-158. Manyam BV Ayurvedic approach to neurologic illness. In Weintraub MI, Micozzi MS, eds. Alternative and...

Herbs That May Interact with Antidepressant Medications

Tricyclic antidepressants are an older class of antidepressant medications. These drugs, which include amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor), may be used to treat depression or pain in people with MS. When using these antidepressants, one should avoid St. John's wort, belladonna, henbane, jimson weed, mandrake, and scopolia. St. John's wort also should be avoided when taking the antidepressants known as SSRIs, which include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine...

St Johns Wort

John's wort has been used for therapeutic purposes for more than 2,000 years. Its most common current use is as an antidepressant. Although St. John's wort has been studied extensively, the chemicals that may produce its effects have not been clearly identified. In the past, it was thought that a chemical known as hypericin may be responsible for its effects. However, more recent studies indicate that another chemical, hyperforin, may play an important role. In addition to uncertainties...

Antioxidant Vitamins Generally Vitamins A C and E

Among all categories of dietary supplements, antioxidant vitamins were among those used most frequently by a large group of people with MS who were surveyed through a study at the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center (the full results of this survey may be seen at www.ms-cam.org). Antioxidant vitamins include Vitamin A or beta-carotene (a chemical converted to vitamin A) These vitamins act on free radicals, chemicals that can damage cells in the brain and other organs of...

Calcium EAP

Hans Nieper, a German physician, developed a compound known as calcium EAP. It is also known as calcium-2-aminoethyl phosphate, calcium AEP, and calcium orotate. Thousands of people have apparently been treated with this compound. Most information about calcium EAP is available only from literature by Dr. Nieper who died in 1998 or organizations affiliated with him. Calcium EAP is one component of an approach to MS referred to as the Nieper regimen. It is believed that...

Summary of the Effects of Popular Dietary Supplements

Aloe May interact with steroids, possible toxic effects with oral use Alpha-lipoic acid Promising studies in animal model of MS, human studies are underway Androstenedione Multiple possible toxic effects Ashwagandha Ayurvedic herb that is sometimes recommended for MS, may be immune-stimulating Asian ginseng No definite therapeutic effects possibly immune-stimulating may interact with steroids may inhibit blood clotting may interact with warfarin Coumadin Astragalus Possibly immune-stimulating...