Multiple sclerosis, or “MS”, is an autoimmune disorder characterized by damage to the sheaths, or coverings, that facilitate communication among the various parts of the central nervous system. While the exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, there seems to be a genetic aspect to it. Other possible causes of multiple sclerosis include environmental pollutants, common childhood viruses and bacterial infections.
There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis so modern medicine focus mainly on managing symptoms and improving an MS patient’s quality of life. Steroids reduce inflammation, beta interferon slows the destruction of the myelin and immunotherapy works to change the way the immune system works.
Natural Herbal Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis
There are other approaches to the management of multiple sclerosis, too. Natural herbal remedies for MS may help some multiple sclerosis patients better manage their symptoms. Only your doctor can tell you if an herbal MS remedy is appropriate for you, but if you would like more information about the various natural remedies for MS, talk to your primary care physician.
Herbs that Fight MS Inflammation
One of the biggest issues MS patients face is inflammation. Fortunately, a number of natural remedies are standing up quite nicely to scientific scrutiny; two of the best include omega-3 fatty acids and the herbal supplement, bromelain.
To get more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, increase your intake of cold-water fish like salmon. And ask your doctor about adding a tablespoon of fish oil to your diet, too. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements aren’t actually herbal remedies but a growing body of research links omega-3 fatty acids to a reduced risk of a number of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
Another herbal product–this one an extract long prized for its anti-inflammatory properties–is bromelain. Extracted from pineapples, bromelain has been the subject of several scientific studies in recent years and many of those studies support the use of bromelain for both pain and inflammation.
Herbs that Support the Immune System
While some herbs are intended to directly alleviate the pain and inflammation of multiple sclerosis, other herbs are taken to support the immune system. One of the best-known is the herb Ginkgo biloba. A small 2006 study looking at the herb ginkgo for multiple sclerosis found ginkgo significantly improved symptoms compared to placebo. This was an exploratory pilot study and more research is needed but the results are encouraging.
Talking to Your Doctor about Herbal Remedies for MS
Remember, only your doctor can tell you if these or other natural herbal remedies for multiple sclerosis are appropriate for you. Most herbal remedies have known side effects and some may interact with the prescription medications you may already be taking for your MS.
If you have any questions about herbal MS remedies, talk to a licensed medical professional for the advice that’s right for you.
Simopoulos, A. (2002). Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Hale, L., et al. (2005). Proteinase activity and stability of natural bromelain preparations.
Johnson, S., et al. (2006). The effect of Ginkgo biloba on functional measures in multiple sclerosis: a pilot randomized controlled trial.