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Artane (Trihexyphenidyl)

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease that affects the nervous system. It is thought to be a result of an imbalance of the brain chemicals acetylcholine and dopamine. Although the cause is unknown, a deficiency of the chemical that helps the transfer of messages between nerve cells has been identified in certain cells.
Parkinson’s disease was named after the British medical practitioner Dr James Parkinson. In the 1800s the disease, which he called ‘shaking palsy’, was treated by practitioners with blood letting and laxatives. This type of treatment is no longer used in medicine.
Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include infrequent blinking and it progresses to include shuffling walk, tremors, loss of appetite, fixed facial expression and drooling. Tremor may be absent in about 30 per cent of patients in the early stages of the disease; tremor by itself may be essential tremor and not Parkinson’s disease.
Herbal medicine was the only successful treatment for this condition in the past and until the introduction of L-dopa in the 1960s the herb deadly nightshade was the main medication prescribed to help control tremor. Other members of the Solanaceae family have also been used to treat the tremors associated with old age and Parkinson’s disease. However, deadly nightshade has been the most useful, in particular the roots.
This works indirectly on the parasympathetic nervous system by preventing acetylcholine from exerting its usual action on receptor cells. This action helps control micturition, tremor and excessive production of saliva. Most studies were carried out using synthetic atropine as an adjunct therapy to levodopa and not the root extract of belladonna. More studies with regard to the use of the whole herb preparation of the root need to be undertaken.
The plant Datura stramonium, another in the Solanaceae family, is also of use in the control of sialorrhea (excessive flow of saliva), rigidity and tremor. Datura contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine, hyoscine and small amounts of atropine. Datura stramonium has also been used with good results in the treatment of asthma in particular when combined with lobelia and ephedra. Take l00 mg 3 times daily of Datura stramonium (dried herb).This herb can only be medically supplied.
Ergot of rye (Clavicepspurpurea) is a fungus that forms in the ovary of the rye plant. The eating of this fungus found on rye and other similar grasses in overdose caused a disease in humans called St Anthony’s Fire. This disease was characterized by hallucination and madness. Ergot’s use dates back to the fifteenth century when it was used for treatment in obstetrics. This was reported by the German herbalist, Lonitzer. This herb was also used in neurology. Ergot alkaloids are also used medically in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They possess an anti-parkinsonian activity by directly activating dopamine receptors in the brain. One of the alkaloid derivatives of ergot is bromocriptine. However, the use of this drug and other ergot alkaloids is limited because of a number of side effects including hypertension and delirium. Because of their toxicity, ergot alkaloids are now only used by medical practitioners.
Three other herbs that are of benefit when used for the treatment of tremor, rigidity and gait are scullcap, passion flower and valerian. These nervine herbs have anti-convulsive, antispasmodic and sedative properties that also seem to help not only the symptoms of the disease but also the general nervous system.
Scullcap l,000mg dried herb with food 3 times daily
Passion flower 500mg dried herb 3 times daily with food
Valerian 500mg dried herb 3 times daily with food

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