Cranberry and Other Herbal Therapies for Urinary Tract Infections

Cranberry juice is of relevance because urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common with MS, and cranberry juice has a long history of use in their prevention and treatment. From the 1920s to the 1970s, it was believed that the acid from cranberry juice makes the urine acidic and that this increase in acidity prevents and treats UTIs. However, subsequent studies showed that the effect of cranberry juice was probably due to the presence of two types of compounds, fructose and a class of chemicals...

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

NIH Consensus Development Panel on Acupuncture. JAMA 1998 280 1518-1524. 2. Spoerel WE, Paty DW, Kertesz A, et al. Acupuncture and multiple sclerosis. CMA Journal 1974 110 751. 3. Smith MO, Rabinowitz N. Acupuncture treatment of multiple sclerosis Two detailed clinical presentations. Am J Acupuncture 1986 14 143-146. 4. Miller RE. An investigation into the management of the spasticity experienced by some patients with multiple sclerosis using acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine....

Herbs to Avoid with Urinary Tract Infections

Some herbs may irritate the urinary tract (Table 23.4). The most commonly used herb on this list is coffee. The herbs in this category may worsen the TABLE 23.3. Herbs with Possible Sedating Effects TABLE 23.3. Herbs with Possible Sedating Effects TABLE 23.4. Herbs That May Irritate the Urinary Tract Thyme Watercress Yellow cedar Yerba mansa effects of UTIs, which occur frequently in some women with MS. In addition, frequent use or high doses of these herbs may irritate the urinary tract even...

Music Therapy

Active music therapy in the treatment of multiple sclerosis patients a matched control study. J Music Ther 2004 61 225-240. 2. Lengdobler H, Kiessling WR. Group music therapy in multiple sclerosis initial report of experience. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 1989 39 369-373. 3. Wiens ME, Reimer MA, Guyn HL. Music therapy as a treatment method for improving respiratory muscle strength in patients with advanced multiple sclerosis a pilot study. Rehabil Nurs 1999 24 74-80.

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...

Studies of MS and Other Conditions

The effects of prayer and spirituality on multiple sclerosis (MS) have not been rigorously studied. One frequently described case of MS that appeared to respond dramatically to prayer and faith involved Rita Klaus. Klaus was a nun who was diagnosed with MS in 1960, at the age of 20. Because of the effects of her illness, she was given dispensation of her vows and left the convent. She eventually married and had three children. Her disease progressed significantly over the years. She wore leg...

Creatine

Creatine is a supplement claimed to increase muscle strength and increase body mass. In addition, it may have a protective effect on nerves. Both of these possible effects are relevant to MS. Creatine is made in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is involved in generating energy for muscle cells and other cells in the body. Creatine is available as a dietary supplement and may be obtained in the diet by eating meat and fish. Limited clinical studies have been done on creatine. In healthy...

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...

Journal Articles

The effects of slow stroking on spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis a pilot study. Physiother Theory Practice 1995 11 13-21. Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Field T, et al. Multiple sclerosis patients benefit from massage therapy. J Bodywork Movement Ther 1998 2 168-174. Vanderbilt S. Searching for comfort alternative therapies and multiple sclerosis. Massage and Bodywork 2004 Aug Sept 50-59. Walsh E, Wilson C. Complementary therapies in long-stay neurology...

Coffee and Other Caffeine Containing Herbs and Supplements

Coffee, perhaps not generally thought of as an herb, is in fact one of the most popular herbs in the world. Its effects on mental alertness and fatigue are well known to those who drink their regular morning cup of coffee. The effects of coffee are due to one of its chemical constituents, caffeine. In addition to coffee, other herbs and supplements contain caffeine. Coffee is of interest for people with MS because of its possible effects on fatigue. No systematic approaches exist to using...

Psyllium Bran and Other Herbs for Constipation

Psyllium is an herb used to relieve constipation. It is of potential importance to people with MS because constipation is a relatively frequent symptom of the disease. Clinical studies have shown that psyllium effectively treats constipation. Unlike most other herbs, psyllium is approved by the FDA. It is referred to as a bulk-producing laxative because it increases in size, or bulk, when it comes in contact with water. Psyllium, probably the most popular bulk-producing laxative, is used daily...

Yohimbe and Yohimbine

Yohimbe refers to the bark obtained from a West African evergreen tree, which traditionally has been used for sexual disorders and as an aphrodisiac. Yohimbine is one the major chemicals present in yohimbe. Limited studies have evaluated the effectiveness and safety of yohimbe for sexual disorders. Some studies indicate that yohimbe may be beneficial for erectile dysfunction in men and decreased libido in women. However, it has many serious side effects, including severely decreased blood...

Conclusion

Different Interpretations of Information The area of diets and fatty-acid supplementation in MS is controversial. This review of the positive and negative evidence shows that some suggestive studies exist, especially those with omega-six fatty acids. However, these studies are not definitive. With the information available, it is striking how many different interpretations and recommendations one can find. Some vendors of supplements and some books on CAM are overly enthusiastic about dietary...

Valerian

Valerian has been used as a sedating and calming herb for over 1,000 years. It is sometimes referred to as the Valium of the nineteenth century. Valerian has a characteristic odor, which is similar to that of dirty socks. A stink rating is sometimes used to evaluate different valerian products. Valerian may produce its effects by an action similar to that of Valium diazepam and related prescription drugs benzodiazepines . However, the active chemicals and their exact biological activities have...

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...