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Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Posted by mdgardengurl MD Zone 7 (My Page) on
Thu, May 21, 09 at 16:01

I have been suffering with this disease and several other things that are associated with it - chemical sensitivity, sleep problems....
Valerian helps with sleep, and St. John's Wort for depression, but I am having a terrible time with the pain and muscle contraction. Can someone suggest any herbs that might be helpful?
Thanks so much,
Christine


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I find I feel better when I drink green tea. I make a pot in the morning and drink it throughout the day rather than water. Perhaps the antioxidant effect is what helps. (?)

It's necessary to walk the "straight and narrow" with conditions such as this. Whatever causes you to feel better, do it, and whatever causes you to feel worse, try to avoid. Don't "overdo" if you can avoid it altho most people I know with FM are overachievers and find this difficult. I believe that meditation can help. Also a warm bath with essential oils helps tight muscles. Some people use massage.

I use many of the 'feel good" essential oils such as rose, lavender, benzoin, geranium, patchouli, neroli, and jasmine. I use very few prepared body care products as most have noxious chemicals. Ditto with prepared food. I eat very simply and healthily and use a few nutritional and vitamin supplements.

All you can do is your best so try to live as comfortable a life as you can. I think it's important to keep your mind busy which can control perception of pain (gate control theory).


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Thank you very much for your good suggestions. I do use massage - it is such a helpful thing to me, and baths. I too, use only natural soaps and body products, and I actually make my own so that I know exactly what is in them. I utilize many EOs in my products, so I do reap benefits from different ones. I will pay attention to those that you mentioned, and attempt to figure out which might provide the most relief from pain. I also garden - without the use of chemicals...I pick the bugs by hand and compost all my veggie scraps. The fresh fruit, veggies and herbs are so much better in taste, of course, and don't contain preservatives and other chemicals. I will definitely try the green tea as a regular tonic throughout the day!! :) Thus far, I have only enjoyed a cup now and again. Meditation is such a difficult one for me...I always have a zillion things on my mind and to do..classic, it seems from your post. I will work on it however...smiles. Thank you so very much!!


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

While mitragyna speciosa leaf may provide relief from pain it also could be addicting so I recommend reading unbiased info before deciding to use this.

There are a lot of people who also smoke marijuana or take oxycontin for pain but that can be a slippery slope and not highly recommended if one wants quality of life.

IMO there are many ways of dealing with chronic pain while remaining compos mentis but taking seriously mood altering drugs is not one of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: a drug of concern


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

White willow works well for pain (its basic component is salicylic acid)-- 1 Tb/1 c. water, simmered 20 min., take up to 2 cups at a time, 3x daily; slippery elm can help with "lubricating" the stiffness out of connective tissue & joints-- barely need a 1/2 tsp/day of powdered slippery elm to achieve this affect. Passion flower & catnip are gentle muscle relaxants & can be used with the valerian mentioned above & St. Johnswort to reduce body tension.

A hot bath with 7lbs (yes, 7 lbs) epsom salts will help draw toxins out of the body & leave you VERY relaxed. Even soaking just the feet in 1 lb epsoms at a time can help. Birch oil is a fabulous muscle relaxant & can be diluted in the bath water to help (just a few drops needed).


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Thank you all so very much for this great information!! I will do some research in these areas and learn more about all you have suggested!

I have been on Oxycontin for over 4 years now, with various other heavy duty drugs supplementing it as needed, which is much of the time - Morphine being one of them, and other synthetic opioids. Unfortunately, Morphine loses it's effectiveness when used regularly. I take Prednisone whenever I just can't get out of bed. Works on the immune system and inflammation. My doctor won't put me on it full time because of the side effects and dangers to various organs, but I sure do wish I could use it all the time. My house looks like a pharmacy.

I am not too concerned with opioid addition...I have an extremely high tolerance, and a lot of pain 24/7. Most of what I take on a regular basis would put others in a coma, but to me they are like taking sugar pills. They do, however, 'take the edge off' enough for me to function. I'd just like to find some other, more natural ways to help. Short of overdose, I will take my chances with whatever will relieve the unrelenting pain.

I am considering a move to California where they have removed the penalties for Herbal Practitioners and other alternative forms of 'medicine'. Not to mention they have a good set of medical marijuana laws.

When the pain is so bad and so unrelenting, it is difficult to imagine having to face it every day for the rest of my life. I don't know the statistics, but I would imagine that many sufferers end up committing suicide. There's not a lot of quality of life to be had when there is pain that makes it next to impossible to participate in anything. Other than the pain, I have a good life and many people who depend on and love me. I'd rather find a way to allow me to live with a lesser amount of pain.

Again, I do appreciate all the suggestions and comments I receive from you. It is wonderful to learn more about things that may help me, and also to find a forum to offer such great support!


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

wow, gardengurl. That must be a lot of pain to be on all that. I'm so sorry for you. Please be careful with that stuff, it can be addictive. Perhaps a move to Cali where you can get a different prescription!!!


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Kava root tincture (sometimes also called Kava Kava).

There's a bit of controversy over Kava Kava. A few years ago the FDA pulled it off the shelves because of some reports of liver damage due to extensive use. Apparently, they were unable to substantiate or reproduce those results, and Kava Kava is now back on the shelves.

In any case, do your own research and give it a shot if you feel safe doing so. Kava Kava is a muscle relaxant and mild analgesic and does WONDERS for muscle pain and stress. If you take too much it will also make you sleepy. I find it a wonderful cure for insomnia as well. Even at normal doses, I would not recommend driving a motor vehicle after taking Kava Kava.

Last but not least, have you talked to your doctor about prescribing Lyrica? (No, I am not a big pharma rep) It doesn't make all the pain go away, but it does make a pretty big dent for me.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Thank you for the info on Kava Kava. I am a veteran on disability. All my prescriptions come from the VA. They do not offer Lyrica unfortunately. That's another issue...I have had to change medications several times mid-stream whenever they decide not to carry one or more of them anymore. I would be lost without them, but it is sometimes very difficult to get what I need. Maybe if Lyrica isn't too terribly expensive, I could get my doctor to prescribe it and have it filled at my expense.
Thanks again for your info.!


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

One thing I have studiously avoided is buying into what the medical profession wants to prescribe for me. I have been told by doctors that they wish to help me by prescribing medications I do not wish to take. They call me "non-compliant" but I don't care. I prefer to have a clear mind and be able to think, drive, and make decisions unclouded by drugs. Consequently I take no pharmaceuticals for pain. Yes, I have pain, but there are many ways to deal with that without taking meds which really don't improve the condition. BTW I don't accept fibromyalgia as a "real" diagnosis. I think it's a "catch-all" diagnosis when doctors don't know what else to label patients with such complex symptoms.

There are many things which can help alter one's perception of pain. I do avoid some foods which I have found to increase pain. Nightshade vegetables, refined sugar, prepared foods with synthetic chemicals are some. I also notice a difference when we travel with different climates and humidity however that doesn't stop me from traveling as we are retired and we enjoy seeing different places. I find meditation, vitamins, good food, wine, good relationships, love and sex are helpful to a happy and healthy life.

The most important attitude is to live your life as well as you can and try to focus on anything other than the discomfort. Waiting for a miracle that may not come is not conducive to that aim and not what I want to do.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Chanchal Cabrera has a book called "Fibromyalgia: A Journey Toward Healing." Chanchal is a medical herbalist and now lives in Canada. She has fibromyalgia and shares how she has dealt with it. Please before you take any herb or mineral or supplement, check with your doctors and pharmacist. Some items can potentiate prescription drugs. Some can reduce efficacy. Her website has lots of articles to peruse.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

You have all been so very helpful and I do so appreciate all of your advice and suggestions. I have a lot of studying to do on all of this! I will Google Chanchal Cabrera and read about her experiences, and will for sure talk to my doctor before taking anything that might interact with the drugs I am already on. May be some hope...I talked him out of my sleep meds and now take valerian instead.
Again, Thank you all so much for your help.
Christine


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

You might want to check out guaifenasin, which is from a plant.

According to Wiki:

"[edit] Treatment of fibromyalgia
Because of its uricosuric effect, guaifenesin was chosen in the 1990s for the experimental guaifenesin protocol a treatment for fibromyalgia. Proponents of the guaifenesin protocol believe that it cures fibromyalgia by removing excess phosphate from the body. A lesser publicized and thus lesser known fact among fibromyalgia sufferers is that guaifenesin has skeletal muscle relaxant activity, like its carbamate ester methocarbamol which is used primarily for that purpose. This may explain some of the symptomatic relief experienced by fibromyalgia sufferers who take guaifenesin.[citation needed]"

I used it fairly extensively for "fibromyalgia" for several years in the form of plain Robitussin or its generic equivalents. They sell it in pill form now, which may be OK if it is time release--I have read it is otherwise upsetting to the stomach in that form.

I have cut back on my useage since my hip replacement. My diagnosis has now miraculously changed to osteoarthritis, and I take a liqiud "Drinkables" combo (which tastes absolutely horrid) of glucosamine with MSM, chondroitin, and collagen. You can't use it if you're allergic to fish; my understanding is the glucosamine is derived from crustacean shells.

I can't help wondering if the guaifenesin contributed to my hip failure by expediting the removal of phosphorus from my hip bone; main reason I have decreased its use. I was also trying some other over-the-counter products that I am even more suspicious of now, though. It had a definite beneficial effect when I received massages; when I took it before a massage I did not get the usual "kick-back effect" that I did without it. There's a whole book advocating for guifenacin by a physician that had been doing research with gout patients. Some fibromyalgics somehow got into the study and he fouond guaifenacin helped them, he thought, by excreting some sort of harmful substance, which he guessed to be phospherous. He had fibromyalgia himself and that is apparently what motivated him to write the book. I think the title is "What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Fibromyalgia".

Another thing they won't tell you is the high number of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia that will progress to osteoarthritis.

The Wiki link provides som other links. Guifenasin is basically used as an expectorant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wiki Guaifenasin article


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Has anyone checked the price on Lyrica? Unbelievable!!!!
No wonder gardengurl can't get it.


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Lyrica

Has anyone checked the price on Lyrica? Unbelievable!!!!
No wonder gardengurl can't get it.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Guifenasin...Yes, I have read a bit about it, but had forgotten about it till now. I looked for it for some time, and could only find it in cough medicines, and I now buy only expectorants that contain it. I haven't really considered using it all the time, but may try that. I was unaware of it eliminating phosphorus, but rather thought that the primary reason it was helpful in FMS is that it 'thins secretions'. More study on my part is definitely in order. I need to find out more about the effect on bones. Doc just put me on calcium and vitamin D because of painful bones and a deficit of D in my bloodwork. Thank you very much for the reminder about this very helpful stuff, and for sharing your experience with it.
Christine


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Sam-e is not an herb, but an enzyme produced by your body.
My 80-year old father found that it eliminated the pain that he used to take Tylenol for all day.

You must research before taking it bec. for some things it is not recommended, and I know if a person is taking a mao inhibitor anti-depressant it is not recommended.

It is also probably not covered by your insurance, and can be expensive.

But you might want to check it out.
I used to use it for depression, which I no longer have, and it worked remarkably well.
I also used it for the pain of arthritis, which I no longer have.

good luck

ellen

ps "Luckygal" - I am also called non-compliant. lol. Once my doctor "fired" me bec. I was not sufficiently awed by his "God-like" powers.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I tried that guaifenesin stuff. My doc gave me some free samples. . .he had a whole goody bag of it.

It gave me awful headaches! I only took it for a week. YMMV.

Yes, Lyrica is expensive because there is no generic equivalent yet. It does help though. Does the VA have an appeals process? I'm on medicaid myself and it took a call from my rheumetologist but they eventually did cover it after we jumped through a bunch of hoops.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I've often wondered if taking a lot of pharmaceuticals causes more problems than it solves. I think for some of us the added synthetical chemical load on the body (liver and kidneys) and circulating chemicals may increase the pain. I've tried Guai and didn't notice any improvement but felt worse so d/c it. I've always been super-sensitive to most Rx's and over-the-counter meds. It's why I walk the straight and narrow as far as life-style/food/additives.

I believe there are often side-effects to everything for those of us who are "the canaries in the cage" and it's necessary to balance those with the benefits. Sure helps the budget to not spend money on Rx's so I can spend more on healthy foods and a comfortable life.

We've been traveling for a couple of weeks so my garden has suffered. Heading out after a good breakfast to get the weeds under control and start some new compost piles. Tonite I'll be hurting more than usual but a nice warm bath with EO's will help. My garden gives me a lot of pleasure so it's worth it.

BTW I think I've had FM all my life so it's not a new thing for me. Just wish more research dollars were available to understand the cause.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

>> I've often wondered if taking a lot of pharmaceuticals causes more problems than it solves. I think for some of us the added synthetical chemical load on the body (liver and kidneys) and circulating chemicals may increase the pain. I've tried Guai and didn't notice any improvement but felt worse so d/c it. I've always been super-sensitive to most Rx's and over-the-counter meds.

Guaifenesin is a naturally occurring compound from the Guaiac tree (Lignum vitae, tree of life); it has been used by the native Americans/Caribs for many centuries and the latecomer Americans learned of it from them. Of course, that is independent of whether it has side effects or makes an individual feel better or worse.


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Echinacea??

Has anyone tried echinacea for fibromyalgia?? A fair number of studies point to a deficiency or disruption of the endocannabinoid receptors in the body in this disease, and marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids have shown some promise. Echinacea works mostly on the CB2 receptors (immune system), not the CB1 receptors (nerves), but at least some of the dysfunction in fibro involves the immune system. Also, some of the compounds in echinacea can inhibit the enzymes that break down anandamide, the body's natural cannabinoid that presses both CB1 and CB2 buttons. Just thinking out loud.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Thanks apollog for pointing out that guai is not a synthetic chemical. I didn't mean to imply it is. I did a thorough search before I ordered it but others may not be familiar with it.

Haven't tried echinacea, might give it a trial altho using immune boosters can be problematic. I find if I use tea tree too much I have increased joint pains possibly from the increase in immune function. Have thot of marijuana but try to avoid anything that might be addictive.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I sure am glad that I started this thread. I have learned so much from everyone who has commented on it. I also would like to see more research about this 'syndrome'. I, too, have had it at least since my late teen years, so pretty much a lifetime thing for me. I went through all those years hearing that there is nothing wrong with me, people thinking I was looking for attention or sympathy, doctors sending me to shrinks, etc...I got a diagnosis, finally, when I was probably in my mid-40's. That was so bitter-sweet for me.
You guys are truly a blessing to me. Thank you so much for all your information and support!
Christine


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

? Any empirical, or evidence, basis that medical "marijuana" in California has helped anyone control their figromyalgia suffering ?
The human body does have cannabanoid receptors inside it for some reason & fibromyalgia sufferers probably have investigated that.
So far it seems the only consensus course to pursue is struggling through the exertion of keeping physically active so maintain circulation & mobility.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I'm not really familiar with the empirical evidence on this issue. But some research has been done that suggests it may be a factor. It is not clear if this gets to the root cause or merely treats some of the symptoms.

"Preliminary studies suggest that the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone might be an effective therapy in patients with fibromyalgia." from Are cannabinoids a new treatment option for pain in patients with fibromyalgia?

"Fibromyalgia is now conceived as a central sensitization state with secondary hyperalgesia. Cannabinoids have similarly demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, IBS and related disorders." in Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?

"A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to determine the benefit of nabilone in pain management and quality of life improvement in 40 patients with fibromyalgia...this is the first randomized, controlled trial to assess the benefit of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, on pain reduction and quality of life improvement in patients with fibromyalgia. As nabilone improved symptoms and was well-tolerated, it may be a useful adjunct for pain management in fibromyalgia." from Nabilone for the treatment of pain in fibromyalgia.

"This pilot study demonstrated that a generalized statement that delta-9-THC is an analgetic drug cannot be made. However, a sub-population of FM patients reported significant benefit from the delta-9-THC monotherapy." from Delta-9-THC based monotherapy in fibromyalgia patients on experimentally induced pain, axon reflex flare, and pain relief.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Hi appolog,
Will clue both female family members with decades of fibromyalgia on to the links;one is in California & other re-locating there, so they've potential for legal option to pursue cannabinoid modality.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

I doubt even California is ready to OK medical cannabis use for such conditions as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia (pretty soon you'd have a majority of Californians arguing that they're eligible for legalized pot use). Could be, though, that such applications will be another driving factor for cannabis legalization.

Incidentally, the author of the paper apollog quotes regarding possible endocannabinoid deficiency in fibromyalgia and other states is affiliated with GW Pharmaceuticals, a drug company that seems to be big on investigating synthetic cannabinoids for future drug marketing. Maybe they or a competitor will figure out a way to harness health benefits for these conditions without the high.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

Isn't Marinol already on the market? That's a synthetic cannabinoid that doesn't have the "high".


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

It is, but it's also considerably more expensive and not suitable for some patients (i.e. those with marked nausea who have trouble with pills), though a nasal spray is also or will become available). There are also claims that it doesn't work as well as smoked pot for some. The upside is that it delivers predictable levels of THC, lacks impurities and doesn't come with smoking-related hazards.


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RE: Herbs to ease Fibromyalgia??

My girlfriend has had fibro for quite some time and has gone the western medicine route with no luck. A few years ago she switched to an all vegetarian diet, no junk food, yoga, exercise, meditation, massage, makes her own colloidal silver, echinacea and other herbal tinctures, and smokes a little weed to help her sleep. She does still get her heart, liver, kidneys, etc checked regularly. She is now able to live a normal life with only occasional flare-ups. Good luck with your journey to wellness :-)


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