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The Caruso Homeopathy Blog

 

     Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to control movements. Descriptions of PD have been around as far back as 5000BC. There is no known cause or cure for PD and typically as symptoms worsen the patient may take pharmaceutical medications to suppress the concerning symptoms. PD involves damage and malfunction of the brain’s neurons or nerve cells. It particularly affects an area called the substantia nigra and corpus striatum over time, the enteric nervous system, the medulla and in particular, the olfactory bulb. Some of these damaged neurons produce a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that sends messages to the brain that control smooth movement and co-ordination.

     Early signs of PD are a loss of the sense of smell, sleep problems and constipation. These are common symptoms in the elderly population. A tremor may develop on one side of the body only, but in time it may be in both sides. Symptoms of PD may progress to a slow or shuffling gait, slow movement, tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw or face, rigid or stiff limbs, poor balance and co-ordination. Sometimes PD sufferers have a blank stare. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, depression and dementia. If PD progresses severely some of the symptoms are a lack of ability to walk, hallucinations and delusions. Typically PD occurs over the age of 65 but there are many incidences of early onset PD. Although there is no known cause, researchers have identified five genes related to PD. They have also found that those over the age of 60, being male, a history of head injuries and exposure to herbicides and pesticides may be have a higher risk factor for the development of PD.

     In the clinic we have seen many cases of PD. The ones in the earlier stages tend to do much better than those with late stage PD. Although, homeopathic and natural medicines do not cure PD they can improve on some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Herein we will mention a few homeopathic medicines and mother tinctures.

     Homeopathic mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. However, if taking any prescription drugs be sure to check for side effects. Some mother tinctures that increase dopamine production are as follows:

Vinca Minor is a herb known as periwinkle or myrtle. This herb contains vinpocetine which helps to improve memory and blood flow. It has many beneficial properties and is used to increase circulation to the brain, eyes and ears. It improves oxygen and blood flow especially in the brain. It has some benefit for post stroke conditions.

Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic herb that helps with stress, anxiety, thyroid function, increases energy and is thought to protect brain cells from damage.

St. John’s Wort is a herb that is often used for mood and depression. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that St John’s Wort increases the feel good hormones serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones help to improve mood and can be effective in treating depression and increasing dopamine. As mentioned earlier dopamine helps with the symptoms of poor limb control and jerky movements in PD.

Mucuna pruriens is a legume known as velvet bean and is the best form of L dopa, the gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests Mucuna pruriens protects the brain by keeping cognitive functions in check and encouraging neural activity. In a nutshell mucuna helps by neutralizing free radical damage on unstable electrons that may damage neurons in the brain.

Green tea or L theanine has been known to increase dopamine as well and promote feelings of relaxation, improve mood, relaxation and blood flow to the brain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found L theanine protects brain cells against toxins like excessive dopamine.

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen herb that is helpful for stress and adrenal fatigue. A study published in the Annals of Neurosciences found that Rhodiola actually has a beneficial impact on parkinson’s disease by preventing toxicity of the brain from a particular substance. It is a great supplement for stress, anxiety and fatigue although it is not a cure for PD. Researchers have found that rhodiola influences many hormones and inflammation that can impact and provide a positive potential future management of Parkinson’s disease.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of PD may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicines help the person suffering from PD not just the name of the disease. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of PD but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Agaracus is a homeopathic medicine made from fly agaric. It is helpful for twitchings, during sleep, alcoholics who tend to develop tremblings and twitchings. These types are worse for cold air, drinking alcohol and mental exhaustion. These types may feel stiff all over, pain over the hips. The toes and feet may be cold and frozen. The face and eyes may twitch and suffer as if cold needles ran through them.

Manganum aceticum is a useful remedy for those with parkinson’s that may be due to an excess of the mineral manganese. These types have exaggerated reflexes, with an unusual gait where a person may inadvertently stagger and feel feeble. These types feel better lying down in bed. These types have pain in their body wherever touched. They have a tendency to fall forward and visual disturbances.

Rhus Tox is a remedy that is useful in PD where people tend to feel stiff muscles and joints that are better for motion. They may have numbness of parts. They feel better walking in open air, and irritable at night. These types may dwell on past occurrences after midnight which may affect sleep. The limbs feel numb and prickly after exposure to damp and over work. They are better for warmth and movement. Rhus tox types tend to feel as if their legs are made of wood, and their hamstrings are too short. They are better for motion, warmth and worse for straining, being inactive and cold and damp weather.

Zincum Metallicum types are fatigued mentally and deep in their brain. These types are tired, yet their limbs, like their legs and feet are very fidgety. They tend to have brain fatigue, stupor and are forgetful. They tend to be confused and dull after wine. These types feel depression with their disease, sensitive to noise and complains. These types may have burning along their spine, restless legs and their feet in continuous motion and trembling and twitching. The soles of their feet are sensitive. Their hands are weak and trembling. These types feel better for motion, pressure, rubbing and worse for wine, exhaustion and during the menses.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

     In my years of practice, I have treated many people with PD. Their cases are difficult and those who do the best, know that healing is a process and one remedy will not be a wonder pill cure all. One remedy helps for the constitution and another may be needed at different times for acute problems or side effects from medications. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome using homeopathy.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to www.carusohomeopathy.com

 

 

 

 

     A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is somehow cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and the cells die. The effects of a stroke depends on a number of things, where the damage occurred in the brain and the extent of the damage from lack of oxygen and blood flow. Every year in Canada, a person suffers from a stroke every ten minutes and over the course of a year, that adds up to 50,000 people. For every minute of delay in treatment of a stroke, it is estimated that 1.9 million nerve fibers in the brain die. More women die from strokes than men do and more women will have a stroke than get breast cancer.

     The causes of stroke vary but most often in 50 percent of cases, it is due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. Factors that are linked to stroke incidence is as follows:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure (over 50 percent of strokes are linked to hypertension)
  • Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition where the heart beats irregularly and causes turbulent blood flow, which may trigger the blood to clot. People with AF are 5 times more likely to develop a stroke than people without it. Approximately 15% of all people who have had a stroke have AF.
  • Diabetes are 3 times more likely to develop a stroke. Almost 20% of people who have had a stroke are diabetic
  • Inactivity increases one’s risk of stroke. Those who exercise five times per week or more are less apt to develop a stroke.
  • Smoking doubles one’s risk of stroke.
  • Diet plays an important role in stroke prevention, those who eat a heart healthy, low glycemic Mediterranean diet can reduce their risk of stroke up to 80%.
  • Sleep apnea can increase one’s risk of stroke three times that of a person without sleep apnea.
  • Being overweight with more abdominal fat increases one’s risk of stroke.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse increase one’s risk considerably.

     The symptoms of stroke are important to note because if treatment happens right away, it can prevent a lot of damage to the brain. Some common symptoms are as follows:

  • Sudden weakness
  • Droopy face
  • Speech difficulty
  • Weak arms
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble walking and loss of balance
  • Dizziness

   If you suffer from these symptoms, it is best to take an aspirin to thin the blood and head to emergency immediately. The sooner one gets treatment, the better the outcome. Oftentimes the symptoms of stroke will mock a migraine, but better to be safe than sorry.

   In the clinic we have seen many cases of post stroke symptoms, such as some underlying weakness, trembling or paralysis. Homeopathic medicines are very effective with mild symptoms and can improve on more severe symptoms. Herein we will mention a few homeopathic medicines and mother tinctures.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of stroke may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicines help the person suffering from stroke symptoms not just the name of the disease. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for post stroke symptoms but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Aconite is well indicated in post stroke, when the event has just happened. There is great fear and anxiety and it may have been precipitated by an emotional shock or a fright. These types feel restlessness and tossing about. There is a hot heavy and bursting sensation in the head. Congestive headaches. Quick pulse and tachycardia which causes anxiety. The pulse is full, hard, tense and bounding. The limbs are numb and tingling, especially the left arm. The hands may be hot and the feet cold. The mouth may be numb, dry and tingling. There may be vertigo on rising.

Arnica is useful post stroke to aid in healing. This remedy is often called for after chest or heart pain after a vigorous, violent run. It is useful in cases of angina, where there is a severe pain down the left arm and elbow. Stroke symptoms may occur after over exertion, injuries, surgeries fright, financial loss and anger. Strokes in these types have a great effect on the person’s mental function. They may be absent minded, forgetful, forgetting the word they are about to say. These types are famous for saying that they are fine and sending away the doctor when they need help.

Baryta Carbonica is useful for post stroke symptoms in the elderly. These types may tend to take cold easily, suffer from dementia or slow metal grasp. They become slow and inept. They have difficulty concentrating and become shy towards strangers, almost childish. They may suffer from senility and other types of cardiovascular disease.

Crotalis Horridus is a remedy that is useful for post stroke paralysis that tends to affect the right side. It is suited to types that may be overly talkative, muttering and depression. They tend to focus on thoughts of death and cerebral decay. They can be agitated, irritable and cross.

Lachesis is a remedy for post stroke paralysis affecting the left side. These types may suffer from hot flushes, high blood pressure and a sensitivity to things around their neck.

     Homeopathic mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. However, if taking any prescription drugs be sure to check for side effects. Some mother tinctures that help with stroke prevention and symptoms are as follows:

Allium Sativa is made from garlic. Garlic is an excellent cardiovascular tonic, and is thought to thin the blood, improve circulation and heart disease.

Gingko Biloba is a useful remedy for improving the circulation. It helps with memory loss associated with poor blood flow. This herb is known to decrease clotting and platelets, so best not to take it with blood thinners.

Vinca Minor is a great herb that improves circulation to the brain. It helps with cognitive function and also tinnitus and vision.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

     In my years of practice, I have treated many people with post stroke symptoms. It amazes me that even in some severe cases in time, they get improvements. Post stroke cases are difficult and it is best to seek the help of a qualified homeopath rather than self prescribing. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome using homeopathy.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to www.carusohomeopathy.com

 

 

The Healing Properties of Echinacea Purpura

The Healing Properties of Echinacea Purpurea

By Heather Caruso RNCP/ROHP, Hom

     Echinacea purpura (EP) is a native plant that is a member of the sunflower family that grows quite nicely in gardens all around North America. It has showy fuchsia pink blooms and tends to bloom in late summer until fall. As a herb it has many medicinal benefits. It is best known as an immune stimulant. It doesn’t act as an antibiotic but it stimulates white blood cells to work better in order to fight infection. Herbal books mention its ability to activate macrophages, an immune system cell, to eat up or attack bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, even cancer cells. It has been used in cancer studies with good success as well, in particular colorectal cancer and liver cancer. EP also increases natural killer cells, NK cells, that are an active immune cell that helps reduce cancerous cells in the body. In chemotherapy it can help increase white blood cells when they drop during treatment.

     EP is often used in cold and flu herbal preparations. It not only helps cold and flu but research shows that it can be beneficial in coughs, ear infections and strep throat. In ear infections, EP is usually best when used in combination with goldenseal. It has been found to reduce the incidence of colds by one and a half days. Some researchers have found it to be useful in cases of lyme disease because of its effect on NK cells. It is best to take EP at the first sign of cold and other viruses because it often is not as effective when the virus has set in and symptoms are severe. It is best to take a higher dose of EP at the beginning of an infection. After a period of seven days EP is not as useful to keep taking. In fact, it initially gives an immune boost but doesn’t seem to help by increasing immunity more so by taking it longer. Typically in the clinic, we would recommend taking EP two weeks on and two weeks off.

     The Great Plains Indians found EP to be a great pain reliever. They used it for a variety of pains such as in cases of bowel inflammation, herpes, measles and gonorrhea infections, headaches, snakebites, tonsillitis, tooth and stomach aches. EP has benefit in cellulitis as well because it helps to purify the blood and stimulate the immune system to kill any bad bacteria in the blood stream.

     Some say a cup of Echinacea tea is helpful for constipation but there are better herbs to keep the bowels moving. It is also known to help speed healing and reduces inflammation in skin diseases. Some research has found that it helps with a parasitic infection called leishmaniosis, that causes disfiguring skin symptoms. EP has some benefit in boils, acne and infected nails since it helps to speed healing and reduce inflammation. According to “The Prescription for Herbal Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, 1 tsp of EP juice is thought to have the same benefit as 100 mgs of cortisone. In the clinic, we use it in a blend to help treat inflammatory skin conditions such as in eczema, psoriasis and acne rosacea. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, in May 2017, found that EP was very helpful in treating people with atopic eczema. It helped to speed healing and reduced symptoms when used both internally and externally in a cream form.

     Used in a mouth rinse, EP has great benefit in treating mouth and gum infections and speeding healing in mouth ulcers. It has also found to be beneficial in candida, thrush and other fungal infections and as well in some types of urinary tract infections.

     EP tends to deplete vitamin E, so if you want to take it for the long term, take a vitamin E supplement as well. Do not use EP if you have had an organ transplant or an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus for example because it stimulates the immune system. Studies have shown EP is not safe during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. It also may interfere with certain medications, so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking it. Also EP may be irritating to those who suffer from ragweed or sunflower allergies because it comes from the same family of plants.

If you would like more information on how we can help you naturally, book a free get acquainted chat today. www.carusohomeopathy.com

    

 

The Healing Properties of the Herb Urtica Urens, Stinging Nettle

 

     Urtica Urens is a tall edible perennial native plant to Ontario. It also grows freely in North America, Europe and Asia. People who walk in the woods may have encountered its sharp and irritating hairs that cause a prickling burning rash. The leaves, shoots and roots are edible and nettle has quite a lot of nutritional value. Ancient cultures such as the North American Indians and ancient Celts consumed nettles are part of their daily diet. Once nettles are cooked they lose their sting but one must wear gloves when picking this plant. According to the International Journal of Food Science, when analyzed processed nettle can supply 90%–100% of vitamin C and A (including vitamin A as β-carotene) and is a good source of dietary calcium, iron, and protein. It also contains chlorophyll, silica, potassium, chromium, vitamin K and fiber.    

     In the book “American Healing Arts”, the author writes about a recipe made by North American Indians with steamed nettle with evening primrose. They recommend putting 10 green nettle tops, 20 green evening primrose leaves and six young evening primrose seed capsules into 1 cup of water and place over medium heat. Once the liquid boils, let it sit for ten minutes and then strain the liquid out. Use this liquid as a tea or dab it onto skin rashes, bites or eczema.

     Nettle is used with great success in allergic conditions. It increases the production of T cells which are the immune cells that control other cells that cause allergies. Stinging nettle root extract increases a chemical messenger (IL-2) stimulates the production of new T cells and wakes up existing T cells. Stinging nettle is often found in herbal combinations for seasonal allergies. It is quite good at reducing the severity and incidence of hives. Some herbalists say that it can be helpful in eczema both internally and topically.

     Stinging nettle is said to be good for anemia because it contains iron, vitamin C and chlorophyll. However, in practice, it has not shown as great a benefit as touted in this regard. However, it acts as an excellent blood purifier and helps to remove waste and uric acid crystals. This is of particular benefit in those with kidney stones and gout.

     Men can benefit from adding nettle to their tea pot or diet because it helps with prostate health. According to the book, Prescription for Herbal Healing, nettle root decreases the rate of cell division in the prostate gland. It is thought a compound in nettle sits in a receptor site on the prostate cells that usually accept growth hormones. This prevents growth hormone from acting and in turn there is less enlargement of the prostate. Nettle is also helpful in increasing testosterone levels in both men and women.

   Herbalists often use nettle for water retention because it increases urination volume and reduces residual urine in the bladder. It increases urine flow whilst stimulating the kidneys. Studies have found that stinging nettle also useful for arthritis, gout, joints pains and in difficult cases like rheumatoid arthritis. Research has found using nettle along with NSAIDs, reduces the need for medication. Nettle is also used topically on painful joints with great success.

     Nettle comes in capsule, tea, powder and tincture form. Fresh nettles can be consumed in soups, sautes or as a tea. Be aware that nettle has anti bleeding properties so beware of taking this herb along with blood thinners or if you have a clotting disorder. Occasionally nettle can cause mild digestive upset in sensitive people.

For more information on how we can help you naturally, book a free get acquainted chat at www.carusohomeopathy.com/appointment-booking