Herbs and Parkinson's Disease
Biotoxins as Neurotoxins
The presentation of biotoxin exposure often parallels neurological and psychological impairment due to the interrelationship between the ENS (Enteral Nervous System) and the CNS. The biliary tree, gall bladder, and bile formation within the liver serve in the vital processes of detoxication (disposal of waste products bilirubin, heavy metals, biotoxins, xenobiotics), lipid metabolism, transport and digestion (bile acids). Abnormalities of the hepatobiliary system may involve biliary stasis whereby infectious material or biotoxins reside within the liver, biliary tree and gall bladder, as a viscous suspension in biliary sludge.
Biotoxins as bacteria, viruses, parasites, spirochetes, dinoflagelletes, and fungus may be within biliary sludge often creating neurotoxins impacting the CNS via the ENS, or the Second Brain (gut). The occurrence of biliary sludge may be due to prolonged fasting, low fat intake, high carbohydrate diets or exposure to pathogens. Restriction of dietary fat may impair biliary flow which would be contraindicated in attempting to clear toxicity as bile is paramount to cleansing the body and getting biotoxins and heavy metals excreted into the fecal matter.
Neurotoxins are minute compounds between 200-1000 KD (kilodaltons) that are comprised of oxygen, nitrogen and sulfate atoms arranged in such a way as to make the outside of the molecule fat loving and water hating. As such, once it enters the body, it tends to bind to structures that are rich in fat such as most of our cells, especially the liver, kidney, and brain. Neurotoxins are capable of dissolving in fatty tissue and moving through it, crossing cell membranes (transporting against a gradient, particularly with potassium) disrupting the electrical balance of the cell itself.
As fat soluble neurotoxins move through the cells of the body from the GI tract to sinus to lung to eye to muscle, to joint to nerve, whereby they eventually enter the liver and the bile. Once neurotoxins bind with bile they have access to the liver, the body is poisoned over and over again as the bile is re-circulated (first released into the intestine to digest fats, and then reabsorbed).
Neurotoxins cause damage by disrupting sodium and calcium channel receptors, attacking enzyme reactions involved in glucose production thereby disrupting energy metabolism in the cell, manufacturing renegade fatty acids as saturated very long chain, odd chain and branched chain fatty acids impairing membrane function, stimulating enzymes (PLA2) which uncouple essential fatty acids from the cell membrane and impairing the function of the nuclear receptor PPAR gamma which partially controls transcription (the conversion of instructions held in our DNA to RNA which then leads to translation or protein production in the cell).
Heavy Metals reside in Fatty Tissue with Biotoxins
Heavy metals are also lipid soluble and often compound the removal of biotoxins (Aschner et al 1990, 1998; Dutzak 1991). As has been observed by many clinicians, often as the patients' heavy metal toxicity is addressed they are faced with the additional complication of the presence of biotoxins. Biotoxins and heavy metal exposure co-exist within the cell membrane and fatty tissue requiring consideration for both types of toxicity in regard to patient intervention.
By stabilizing glutathione we in turn impact metallothionein markers (Nordberb and Nordberb 2000, Ebadi et al 1995, Sato et al 1995, Kerper et al 1996, Susanto et al 1998), glycoaminoglycans or GAGS (Klein 1992), methylation, sulfation, hepatic and renal function as we introduce treatment protocols for detoxication with gentle, natural modalities that unload cellular toxicity safely. The herbal total Detox Tonic js a remarkably useful method to unload the body burden of heavy metals and neurotoxins without side effects.
Renegade fatty acids as Neurotoxin Markers
Renegade fats as very long chain fats (VLCFAs) that are over expressed, disrupt the membrane structure. There is a beautiful geometry to the membrane that is highly sensitive to the size of the lipid chains. The overall width of the fatty acid portion of the membrane is ~3 ½ nm which must be maintained for stability. Saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids with a length of 16 or 18 carbons and polyunsaturated fatty acids of 18 to 22 carbons are preferred to permit the structure to maintain optimal horizontal fluidity. VLCSF As that range from 20 to 26 carbons force the parallel dimensions vertically. There simply is not enough room. The distortion weakens the phosphate bonds that derive their strong attraction only as long as the phospholipids are parallel to each other on both sides of the membrane. The cell weakness is then expressed in leaky attraction to ion channels and receptors which marginalize cell cytosol fluids and electrolytes with the only option as early cell death.
The Brain is Comprised of 60% Fat
To view the brain beyond its architecture as a biological orchestration of the physical and chemical constituents necessary for performance, we cannot begin to conceptualize without considering the importance of fatty acids as the human brain is 60% lipid. Dendrites and synapses are up to 80% in lipid content. Although Arachidonic Acid (AA) has been given a negative association, it is the most prominent essential fatty acid in the red cell and comprises 12% of the total brain and 15.5% of the body lipid content.
If AA is depleted by overdosing with marine or flax oil establishing the balance of the EFAs is profoundly impaired. Often both prostaglandin one and two series relating to omega six metabolism are compromised when flax and marine oils are overdosed or lipid intake is insufficient. When AA, the lead eicosanoid of the body, is suppressed due to excess intake of omega 3, toxicity or disease the control circuitry of the body is impaired as is clearly viewed in the patient's presentation. Arachidonic acid is preferentially wasted in states of heavy metal toxicity (Tiin and Lin, 1998) and has been observed to be sharply suppressed in RBC lipid analysis in states of heavy metal toxicity (Kane, clinical observation 1997-2002).
With thanks to John Foster, M.D., Patricia Kane, Ph.D., Neal Speight, M.D.
(for full article see http://www.mercola.com/2003/aug/9/detoxification_biotoxins.htm)
Parkinson's Herbal Tonic uses herbs to address some of the symptoms of parkinson's disease:
Bradykinesia is slowness in voluntary movement. It produces difficulty initiating movement as well as difficulty completing movement once it is in progress. The delayed transmission of signals from the brain to the skeletal muscles, due to diminished dopamine, produces bradykinesia. - there are nervine herbs to try to help this condition
Tremors in the hands, fingers, forearm, or foot tend to occur when the limb is at rest but not when performing tasks. Tremor may occur in the mouth and chin as well. - there are relaxant nervines to try to reduce the tremor
Rigidity, or stiff muscles, may produce muscle pain and an expressionless, mask-like face. Rigidity tends to increase during movement. - there are vascular dilators to help the muscles relax and perform more normally.
Poor balance is due to the impairment or loss of the reflexes that adjust posture in order to maintain balance. Falls are common in people with Parkinson's. - there are general 'awareness' stimulating herbs to try to improve the reflexes in patients.
Parkinsonian gait is the distinctive unsteady walk associated with Parkinson's disease. There is a tendency to lean unnaturally backward or forward, and to develop a stooped, head-down, shoulders-drooped stance. Arm swing is diminished or absent and people with Parkinson's tend to take small shuffling steps (called festination). Someone with Parkinson's may have trouble starting to walk, appear to be falling forward as they walk, freeze in mid-stride, and have difficulty making a turn.
The progressive loss of voluntary and involuntary muscle control produces a number of secondary symptoms associated with Parkinson's. Most patients do not experience all of them, and symptoms vary in intensity from person to person. Some secondary symptoms of Parkinson's disease include the following:
* Constipation - gentle bowel activating herbs are included; if it becomes more serious take MoveMore1 or MoveMore2
* Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)–saliva and food that collects in the mouth or back of the throat may cause choking, coughing, or drooling - the relaxant herbs in the tonic may help this condition
* Excessive salivation (hypersalivation) - this condition may respond the the tonic
* Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) - this condition may respond to the tonic action (or else SweatLess Herbal Tonic may help)
* Loss of bladder and/or bowel control (incontinence) - use WaterLess or IncoLess Tonics
* Loss of intellectual capacity (dementia)–late in the disease - use ForgetLess Tonic or MentalPepTalk or BrainMore
* Psychosocial: anxiety, depression, isolation - there are herbs for stress in Parkinson's Tonic; or use WorryLess
* Scaling, dry skin on the face and scalp (seborrhea) - there are herbs for general skin health in Parkinson's Tonic; or use SkinClear Tonic
* Slow response to questions (bradyphrenia) - MentalPepTalk
* Small, cramped handwriting (micrographia)
* Soft, whispery voice (hypophonia)
Did you Know? The Source of Dopamine is in a Plant: Mucuna pruriens
Some plants are a rich source of chemicals that scientists have used to make medicines to help people with diseases of the nervous system.
One plant, Mucuna pruriens - velvet bean, is a rich source of l-dopa, the chemical that is converted to the neurotransmitter called dopamine. The plant contains relatively high (3–7% dry weight) levels of L-DOPA. Mucuna pruriens - velvet bean, cowhage, cowitch, yerepa. This herb contains L-dopa and is used for parkinsons disease (for centuries by Ayurvedic Medicine) and is in our Parkinson's Tonic. It is still used to increase libido in both men and women due to its dopamine inducing properties. Mucuna pruriens seeds have also been found to have antidepressant properties in cases of depressive neurosis when consumed. Mucuna pruriens seeds contain high concentrations of levodopa, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including Parkinson's Disease. It has been shown to be as effective as pure levodopa/carbidopa in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability is available. In addition to levodopa, Mucuna also contains serotonin (5-HT), 5-HTP, nicotine, N,N-DMT (DMT), bufotenine, and 5-MeO-DMT. The mature seeds of the plant contain about 3.1-6.1% L-DOPA, with trace amounts of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin), nicotine, DMT-n-oxide, bufotenine, 5-MeO-DMT-n-oxide, and beta-carboline. The leaves contain about 0.5% L-DOPA, 0.006% dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 0.0025% 5-MeO-DMT and 0.003% DMT n-oxide. Mucuna is also used as a dietary supplement and it will help the deposition of protein to strengthen muscles and prevent muscle wasting. It is known to restore mental alertness and to improve coordination. In summary: Mucuna is used for Parkinsons Disease; it helps the nervous system; it regulates the sex hormones; it protects muscle mass and strength; it enhances mental functioning. You can order Mucuna or Parkinsons Tonic from our webstore
Order our Parkinson Tonic to help support the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Note: we do not actually treat the causes of Parkinson's Disease. Find out about herbal medicine for treatment of this condition
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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