Southern Cave, Wudang Scenery Zone, Shiyan City, Hubei Province, China

Herbal Medicine for Treating Mutiple Sclerosis (MS)

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The General

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects patients’ entire lives, both physically and psychologically.

Physically, the brain and the spinal cord are involved. Specifically, degeneration of myelin, a material which is composed mainly of fats and serves as an insulation for the nerves, much like the covering of an electric wire, degenerates. This fatty insulation allows a nerve to transmit its impulses with lightning-like speed, enabling people to move almost without thinking. The loss of this myelin insulation causes what is, in effect, a short-circuiting so that a person loses the ability to make smooth, rapid, and coordinated movements. Thus, MS is a demyelinating disease. With multiple sclerosis, the loss of myelin appears to the naked eye as a hardened sclerotic (scar) area. These areas are multiple within the central nervous system, thus the term multiple sclerosis. Different areas of the brain and spinal cord are responsible for different kinds of movements. For example, the cerebellum, an out-pocketing of the brain, is responsible for making coordinated movements. When an area of demyelination occurs in the cerebellum, coordinated movements become difficult. The neurological deficit is quite dependent on the region of the brain or spinal cord that has been affected.

What is MS?

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease, which means that your own immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues in your body. In MS, these attacks are aimed at the myelin in the central nervous system.

The central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, is made up of nerves that act as the body’s messenger system. Each nerve is covered by a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates the nerves and helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, or messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

MS gets its name from the buildup of scar tissue (sclerosis) located in more than one area (multiple) of the brain and/or spinal cord. Plaques form when the protective myelin sheath is destroyed, a process called demyelination. Without the myelin, signals transmitted throughout the central nervous system are disrupted or halted. The brain then becomes unable to send and receive messages.

Although the nerves can regain myelin, this process is not fast enough to outpace the deterioration that occurs. The types of symptoms, severity of symptoms, and the course of MS vary widely, partly due to the location of the scar tissue and the extent of demyelination.

What are the Symptoms?

  • The initial symptoms of MS are most often:
  • Difficulty in walking;
  • Abnormal sensations such as numbness or “pins and needles”; and
  • Pain and loss of vision due to optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve.
  • Less common initial symptoms may include:
    Slurred speech
    Sudden onset of paralysis, similar to a stroke; and
    A decline in cognitive function¡ªthe ability to think, reason, and remember

What Causes MS?

MS is very complex. The cause of MS is not a single thing but a coming together of a certain genetic predisposition, certain environmental contacts, probably early in life, and perhaps certain other factors that we really only partially know about today.

We do know certain things about MS. We know that people with certain tissue types, from certain hereditary backgrounds are more likely to get MS,

We know that there is some likely environmental contact or contacts early growing up, and we know that the disease is mediated in large part through the immune system. The immune system is what then alters the response to foreign materials in the body and appears to be attacking the myelin or the coating of the nerves around the axons in the brain and in the spinal cord.

Some new information that actually [came out] within the last few months, is that there is more going on in MS than just meets the clinical picture. In other words, when patients are clinically stable, they may have disease working on their body, just not being manifest. We learned a few years back with the development of MRI that MS appeared to have more active MRI lesions than it appeared to have clinical exacerbations. But we now know that biochemically with some new tests such as Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, or MRS, that there is much more steady activity in more areas of the body than even show up in the most recent type of MRI testing.

We’re learning more and more about MS all the time, but we still have a ways to go. Fortunately, we now have some treatments that are at least starting to alter the course of MS.

How to diagnose?

The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is usually made as a result of clinical symptoms and a neurological examination. There is no one laboratory test which the clinician can use to make a firm diagnosis. However, in two-thirds of the cases of multiple sclerosis, an elevated gamma globulin is noted in the spinal fluid. Special proteins called oligoclonal bands are found in the spinal fluid of 80 percent of people with MS. Special studies looking at Igg production can be performed.

Electrical tests may indicate short-circuiting in the central nervous system. These are called evoked response tests because a response from the nervous system is evoked with a specific stimulus. The stimulus may be visual, auditory, or through stimulation of an arm or leg. If it takes the stimulus an unusually long time to reach the brain, a short-circuiting may be the cause.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows the brain to be seen without surgery. MRI is particularly sensitive to MS, thus it has become an important aid to diagnosis. It is important to realize that other processes can make an MRI abnormal, and that it can miss MS every now and then.

Treatment by Western medicine

  1. Corticosteroids
    For those with progressive MS, treatment is aimed mainly at relieving symptoms. Oral or intravenous corticosteroids are most often prescribed to reduce inflammation in nerve tissue and shorten the duration of flare-ups. Prolonged use of these medications, however, may be associated with side effects such as osteoporosis and hypertension.
  2. Beta interferons
    A class of drugs known as beta interferons have gained the most attention for curbing MS. In 1993, the FDA approved interferon beta-1b (Betaseron). In 1996, a slightly different version of beta interferon, interferon beta-1a (Avonex) was approved.Interferons are genetically engineered copies of proteins that occur naturally in the body which help fight viral infection and assist in the regulation of the immune system. Betaseron must be injected every other day.Avonex is administered once a week by intramuscular injection. Betaseron and Avonex each have been shown in clinical trials to reduce flares of MS by up to 30 percent. Their exact therapeutic mechanism and long-term benefit aren’t fully understood.
  3. Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)
    The FDA recently approved an alternative to beta interferons for those with relapsing-remitting MS. Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), formerly known as copolymer-1, has been shown to be as effective as beta interferons in curbing MS attacks. It’s believed that Copaxone works by blocking the autoimmune attack on myelin.
  4. Tizanidine hydrochloride (Zanaflex)
    Another advance in the fight against MS is tizanidine hydrochloride (Zanaflex), a new oral treatment for muscle spasticity. Many people with MS experience muscle stiffening or spasms, particularly in the legs, which can be painful and uncontrollable. Unlike baclofen (Lioresal), which has been the drug of choice, Zanaflex appears to control muscle spasms without leaving the legs feeling weak.

Chinese Medicine Treatment

The following are main diagnosis points summed up by TCM.

  1. Yin Vacuity Stirring Wind
    Main symptoms:
    dizzy vision, headache, limbs and body trembleing, unsteady when walking, vexation, red tongue, less tongue fur, fine and rapid pulse, etc.
    Therapeutic principle:
    Nourish Yin and emolliate liver, extinguish wind and stop trembling.
    Herbal Medicine Formula: Big Wind-Extinguishing Pill
    Gui Ban 30g, bie Jia 30g, Mu Li 30g, Bai Shao 30g, Sheng Di 30g, Gou Teng 15g, Quang Xie 5g, Jiang Chan 10g, Niu Qi 10g, Gan Cao 10g, Yi Ren 30g.
    Decocted with water, one time every day.
    The formula ingredients should change a little according to patients’ practical sydromes.
  2. Blood Vacuity Stirring Wind
    Main symptoms:
    spasm, twitching, unsteady when walking, forceless limbs, dizzy, palpitation, pale tongue body, thin tongue fur, weak and fine pulse, etc.
    Therapeutic principle
    Nourish qi and enrich blood, extinguish win and stop wind
    Herbal Medicine Formula:
    Stop twitching Variant Pill
    Shu Di 30g, Sheng Di 30g, Bai Shao 12g, Dang Gui 12g, Chuan Xiong 10g, Tian Ma 10g, Gou Teng 15g, Quan Xie 5g, Mu Gua 10g, Shen Jin Cao 5g, Niu Qi 10g, Huang Qi 15g
    Decocted with water, one time every day.
    The formula ingredients should change a little according to patients’ practical sydromes.
  3. Yang Vacuity and Blood Stasis
    Main symptoms:
    forceless legs, unsteady when walking, or even paralysis, numbness throughout the body or part of the body, feel cold, clear urine, unclear speech, pale and enlarged tongue body, gray tongue fur, deep and fine pulse.
    Therapeutic principle:
    Warm kidney and quicken the blood, extinguish the wind and stop twitching.
    Herbal Formula: Kidney-Nourishing and Channels Opening Variant Pill
    Huang Qi 30g, Gou Qi Zi 10g, Yin Yang Huo 15g, Ba Ji Tian 10g, Tu Shi Zi 10g, Lu Jiao Shuang 30g, Dan Shen 15g, Chuan Xiong 10g, Quan Xie 5g, Gou teng 15g, Bai Shao 15g, Niu Qi 10g.
    Decocted with water, one time every day.
    Note: The formula ingredients should change a little according to patients’ practical sydromes.

Herbal Formulas for Treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Hu Qian Pill
    Such ready-made Chinese herbal medicine is used widely for treating multiple sclerosis and can effectively steady patients’ conditions. Administration: one pill every time, 2 times daily.
  • Wind Dispeling and Channel Opening Formula
    Composition: Huang Qi, Jiang Chan, Quan Xie, Gou Teng, Xuan Shen, Zhi Mu, herb & cute boyHuang Bai, Jie Geng, Wu Gong, Ju Hua, Sheng Di, Chuang Xiong, Chi Shao, Bai Shao, Dang Gui, Dan Shen, Chi Ji Li, Chen Pi.
    Administration: Take decocted with water, one time daily. Or grind the herbs into powder and take 9g every time.
  • Sinew Soothing and Channel Opening Pill
    Such ready-made Chinese herbal medicine can be used in combination with other medicine.
    Administration: One pill every time, one time every day.
    Acupuncture Treatment
    Puncture Da Zhui, Feng Chi, Jian Yu, Qu Chi, Shen Yu, Gan Yu, San Yin Jiao, Yang Ling Quan, Huan Tao, Zhu San Li, Tai Cong, Tai Xi
  • Herbal Formula Amyotrophy Convalescence Pill Series
    In 1986, Dr. Yang successfully finished his first herbal formula series invention used for treating multiple sclerosis. In 1988, under the leadership of Dr. Yang, Ghangcheng Myelophathy Hospital was set up to professionally treat the illness and carry out more research work to the mechanism of the diseases. Now in China, Ghangcheng Myelophathy Hospital continuously plays the leading role in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) treatment by applying traditional medicine.Nowadays, their medicine has been developed into 7 series and among them 4 series can be widely used to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and syringomyelia.Notes: Amyotrophy Convalescence Pill Series Medicine is generaly consisted of 3 or 4 kinds of medicine. Patients are welcome to contact us first to provide necessary information. In such way, our doctor prescribe the proper medicine for patients. In the same time, in order to gain a steady and definite progress, the combination treatment with Qigong practice is recommended for patients. For more information regarding Amyotrophy Convalescence Pill Series please CLICK HERE.